As the world slowly but surely returns to normal, surveyors will take to the road once again to visit durable medical equipment organizations across the United States. For several months CMS suspended the accreditation process. On August 12, 2020, CMS gave the approval to resume surveys both onsite and virtual visits (with a follow up onsite visit), or a combination of onsite and virtual survey. With these new guidelines, CMS and the accrediting bodies are beginning to resume surveys with slightly revised procedures and protocols.
There is a restaurateur in Columbus Ohio, let’s call him “Aaron,” who has opened and operates dozens of high-end, upscale restaurants in and around the Columbus area. There are several steakhouses, seafood, Italian, and other “concept” restaurants that bear his name. His name on a place guarantees a following and customers flock back for the good food and the good experience. I’ve been to many of his places and they never disappoint. The food is sometimes outstanding, sometimes just pretty good, but the service is consistently the best in the industry. I’ve never eaten in one of his places—in fact, I’ve never talked to anyone who’s eaten in one of his places—where the service was anything less than impeccable.
Topics: Customer Service
Because of the nature of our work, the durable medical equipment industry did not close our doors, shelter in place, or shut down for the Covid-19 Pandemic. We did, however, change the way we do business in many ways. Some of these changes will undoubtedly get back to normal as our nation and the world climb out of the pandemic. And of course, many of these changes will become the “new normal” and are destined to remain changed forever. At the time this blog article is being written, HQAA is carefully monitoring the industry as well as law and regulation and CMS policy to determine how accreditation surveys will be performed in both the short and long term. More on that in the weeks to come.
Topics: Employee Training, HIPAA, HME Accreditation Requirements, Patient File Requirements, Materials Management, Showroom, Retail, Delivery, Oxygen, Warehouse, Customer Service, Business Practices, Marketing, Infection Control
A phrase we’re hearing a lot through this crisis and pandemic is “new normal”. As in, there’s a new normal out there that involves social distancing, wearing masks, working from home, restaurants and non-essential businesses closed or working limited hours, and on and on and on. Every person has had some aspect of their life changed in sometimes small, sometimes profound ways. Of course, this applies to medical equipment providers as much as anyone else.
Here we are several months into the pandemic. It appears perhaps the worst is behind us and the world is slowly starting to re-open. For many, the novelty of sheltering in place has worn off and folks are ready to get back to work. In the durable medical equipment industry, work has continued as our companies have been considered “essential services” and for the most part, stayed open and done business during and despite Covid-19.
Early last month, I started penning a blog article relating to Covid-19. I modified it multiple times and finally scrapped the idea because it was too sensitive a topic, too important to cover in something as “casual” as a blog, and because the information was coming in and changing so fast that anything I wrote would be outdated by the time it was submitted. My, how a couple weeks can change the world…
Author’s Note: Over the past week to ten days, I’ve put pen to paper (well, I am admittedly using a laptop keyboard) to write about the Corona Virus / COVID-19 more times than I care to admit. Every time I walked away from the writing and took even the shortest pause, the information changed. It continues to change daily—even hourly. So, rather than post an article which will be outdated by the time the “submit” button is hit, here’s some timely, relevant information on one of the easiest and most effective preventive measures.
On a recent survey, I was chatting with the staff member who was responsible for cleaning and disinfecting the rental medical equipment. This particular organization had traditional DME patients, but also serviced a Hospice contract, so the equipment flowed mightily through the warehouse’s clean, dirty, and waiting to be repaired areas. As I was asking him about the cleaners and disinfectants he used, I noticed a poster above his workbench. It was one of those pithy and ubiquitous “keep calm” sayings: “KEEP CALM & MAINTAIN CLEANLINESS.” He smiled and shrugged when he saw me eyeing the poster. This staff member took his responsibility very seriously and was doing an excellent job. His paperwork and technique were both very good, his workspace was orderly and clean, and he understood the underlying reasons it was so important to clean equipment properly for staff safety as well as patient safety.
In all aspects of a person’s life, the first of the year affords an opportunity to “start fresh,” begin again, and resolve to improve. Every year, I humbly suggest all business owners and managers take a look at their organizations, take stock in what they’ve accomplished, consider opportunities for improvement, and resolve to make the next year better than the last one.
The DME industry has been hit with significant challenges that leave most owners and managers, well, not in a partying mood. Those of us in the industry for decades remember the days of big Christmas bonuses and lavish holiday parties. Profit margins aren’t what they used to be. As the year winds down and the holiday season approaches, it’s important to reflect on the positive and what we DO have rather than what we don’t.