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

“Ride Alongs:” A Useful Tool for Your Company

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 @ 03:16 PM

“Ride alongs” are home visits that are performed with a new orientee or current staff member where an evaluator rides along to teach and observe the staff member performing the visit.  These visits are typically done during orientation/training and on an on-going basis for competency assessment.  These visits ensure that all of job-related tasks are being performed in a correct manner while the staff member is unsupervised in the field.

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Topics: Delivery, Patient Privacy, HME Accreditation Requirements, Quality Care, Quality Standards, Competence, HIPAA

4 Best Practices for Managing DME Employee Competence

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Thu, Nov 07, 2013 @ 11:37 AM

In healthcare and the healthcare workplace, competency assessment has become crucial to ensuring employees—particularly those providing direct patient care—have the necessary training and skill to do  their job and care for their patients.

For DMEs that provides medical equipment and supplies to patients, this concept of assessing and maintaining staff competence is crucial, and sometimes misunderstood. 

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Topics: Employee Training, HQAA Accreditation, HME Accreditation Requirements, Competence