HQAA Blog

DME Policy Manuals

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Thu, Nov 08, 2018 @ 10:28 AM

Many in the home medical equipment industry equate policy manuals to their accreditation inspections. And of course, these bulky tomes are certainly a large part of the accreditation and survey experience for every DME. Policy manuals serve as the road map for how work gets done within an organization, a set of rules for the organization, and the document that defines the structure, function, and philosophy of the organization. Let’s look at what a policy manual should contain and how it impacts not only accreditation, but also the overall day-to-day operation of an organization.

A well-crafted policy manual should contain not only policies, but also procedures. Think of a “policy” as a guiding principle, used to steer an organization in some direction. A policy should also define or describe a course of action that is to be taken. “Procedure” is the steps to be followed to accomplish whatever the policy described. The steps are spelled out so that the organization’s staff can accomplish a task in a consistent manner. The policy is the what and the procedure is the how to.

Policies and procedures may be contained within the same document or within two separate documents. They can be hard copy, old-school paper in a binder or electronic files stored on your organization’s hard drive. The key to the success of your policy manual is that it is accessible by all staff and well understood and followed. Since the manual is considered a set of rules, the staff must be aware of the rules and where the rule book is stored, so they can use the manual on an on-going basis to refer back to when questions arise.

DME policy manuals are sometimes written by the staff and management of an organization. Other times, home medical equipment organizations will purchase a template, which uses boilerplate policies and procedures. Both can be used effectively. If you write your own, include the staff that actually has to live with the policy and utilize the procedure as you craft the document. If you use a template, be sure to customize and personalize the policies and procedures so that it accurately defines the principle and the steps to be followed in the procedures. Change the template’s verbiage to match your actual practices, not the other way around.

Written policies and procedures that are required by law and regulation, payer requirements, or accreditation standards include:

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Topics: Business Practices, HME Accreditation Requirements, Quality Standards, Compliance, HQAA Accreditation, Patient File Requirements, Employee Training, Renewing Accreditation, Patient Privacy, Materials Management, Personnel Files, Avoiding Deficiencies, Quality Improvement, Complaint Process, CMS, Billing, Clinical Practice Guidelines, Emergencies, Disaster Preparedness, Customer Service, Marketing, Safety Officer, Competence, Warehouse, Oxygen, Delivery, Clinical Respiratory Services, Showroom, Retail, Quality Care, Security, HIPAA

Resolutions for the New Year - DME Style

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Fri, Jan 05, 2018 @ 02:32 PM

Cheers to a new year and another chance to get it right” --Oprah Winfrey

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Topics: Avoiding Deficiencies, Compliance, Billing, Employee Training, HIPAA, Delivery, Retail, Warehouse, Showroom, Personnel Files, Materials Management, Patient File Requirements, Process Improvement, Quality, Safety Officer, Quality Improvement, Patient Privacy, Quality Standards

A Stroll Through Your Warehouse: Standards Compliance in Equipment Storage Areas

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Thu, Oct 05, 2017 @ 12:13 PM

Say the word “warehouse” to many people, and you conjure up images of a dark, dusty, damp place with rows of equipment and boxes, piled to the ceiling.  A home medical equipment company’s warehouse certainly can be the source of problems, deficiencies with standards, safety hazards, and infection control issues.  But with just a little planning, some elbow grease and hard work, and a bit of ongoing monitoring, you can turn your warehouse into a clean, safe, even pleasant environment that improves operational efficiencies and helps your employees do their job well. 

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Topics: Avoiding Deficiencies, Compliance, Warehouse

What to Expect During an Accreditation Survey

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Mon, Apr 10, 2017 @ 02:04 PM

Companies going through an accreditation process usually experience at least some degree of anxiety.  The importance of achieving and maintaining accreditation is often “life and death” to an organization—lose it and you may not be able to continue billing or receive referrals from a payer or a referral source.  If it’s the first time you’re going through the process, you can also add the fear of the unknown to that equation.  Add these factors together and you have a combination that can cause a lot of stress!

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Topics: Avoiding Deficiencies, Compliance, HQAA Accreditation, Renewing Accreditation, Quality Standards, HME Accreditation Requirements

Top Ten Deficiencies & How to Prevent Them

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Wed, Mar 08, 2017 @ 11:33 AM

The nature of accreditation is that a company embraces a continuous quality improvement methodology and operates its business in compliance with laws, regulations, and industry best practices to the best of its ability. Accreditation is a journey not just a destination – a journey full of learning opportunities, education, and revision and tweaking of your company’s processes and procedures.

That process doesn’t lend itself well to quick “punch lists” and it is not advisable to look for shortcuts along the journey. However,

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Topics: Avoiding Deficiencies, HME Accreditation Requirements, Quality Standards, HQAA Accreditation, Compliance

Retail Showrooms & Your Accreditation Survey

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Tue, Oct 04, 2016 @ 04:10 PM

Home medical equipment companies frequently mention that it seems that the majority of survey (inspection) activity takes place in equipment storage, cleaning, and warehouse areas, as well as out in the field during “ride-alongs” to observe patient interactions with staff.HME staff is sometimes caught by surprise when the surveyor turns their attention to the retail showroom during the inspection. Why would a surveyor want to look at a retail showroom and what accreditation standards apply in that setting?

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Topics: Retail, Showroom, Avoiding Deficiencies, Compliance, HME Accreditation Requirements

4 Easy Steps to Ensure Your Warehouse Meets HME Accreditation Standards

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Tue, Feb 04, 2014 @ 03:55 PM


Say the word “warehouse” and many people conjure up images of a dark, dusty, damp place with rows of equipment and boxes piled to the ceiling. 

A home medical equipment company’s warehouse certainly can be the source of problems, deficiencies with standards, safety hazards, and infection control issues. But with just a little planning, some elbow grease, and a bit of ongoing monitoring, you can turn your warehouse into a clean, safe, even pleasant environment that improves operational efficiencies and helps your employees do their job well. 

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Topics: Quality Improvement, HME Accreditation Requirements, Avoiding Deficiencies, Warehouse

Most Common Accreditation Deficiencies in Patient Files

Posted by Jim Moyer on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 @ 11:09 AM

In reviewing over 1,000 patient files in the past six years, here is a list of some of the most common patient file deficiencies I have found.

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Topics: HME Accreditation Requirements, Patient File Requirements, Avoiding Deficiencies

Creating a Thorough HME Complaint Process

Posted by Jim Moyer on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 @ 09:02 AM

In order to determine if a grievance or complaint needs to be recorded, you must first decide what is, and what is not, a complaint. Your team must determine the threshold that it takes for a concern or question to truly be a complaint/grievance. Not every concern expressed may be a complaint. Let’s look at two examples:

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Topics: HME Accreditation Requirements, Avoiding Deficiencies, Complaint Process

Common Deficiencies of Personnel Files

Posted by Jim Moyer on Tue, Aug 14, 2012 @ 11:47 AM

Whether you keep paper or electronic personnel files, you must maintain them in a secure and organized manner so they will be ready for your surveyor during your unannounced survey. A good best practice is to audit your personnel files two to four times annually to ensure that the files are complete and up-to-date. 

There are a few items that are commonly marked as personnel file deficiencies. Make sure the following articles are completed, organized and stored in a secure fashion.

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Topics: Personnel Files, Avoiding Deficiencies