HQAA Blog

When a Surveyor Calls…

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Fri, Sep 10, 2021 @ 10:38 AM

Since the early days of the Covid pandemic, surveyors have been avoiding “home visits”—those interactive ride alongs where the surveyor goes with a delivery person or clinician to visit a patient/customer in their home. This is for the safety of the staff members, the surveyor, and most important, the patient/customer. Although our process has changed a bit over the last few months, the surveyors are still not going out on home visits and are not likely to start that process up again any time soon.

Read More

Topics: Delivery, Customer Service, Surveys, Equipment

Revisiting Retail Showrooms

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Tue, Aug 10, 2021 @ 10:34 AM

We’ve talked about retail showrooms before, but in the several years since we’ve covered the topic, retail has made a triumphant resurgence. The DME retail showroom’s amazing comeback is a product of a perfect storm of factors in the industry. Certainly, declining reimbursement and limitations to coverage for DME products and services is at least partially responsible. The fact that Baby Boomers are retiring and becoming eligible for Medicare is also a factor. Retirees today –compared to retirees of a decade or so ago—are tech savvy computer users who are comfortable shopping on line and also somewhat conditioned to paying for larger portions of their healthcare out of pocket. The bad news for local DME’s is that they are tech savvy and capable of shopping on Amazon-like platforms. The good news for local DME’s is that they are willing to pay more out of pocket for healthcare. Retail provides a “hedge” for your organization. If someone wants the traditional “deliver it and bill my insurance” DME model, you can do it. But you also have a showroom and are prepared to deal in cash.

Read More

Topics: HME Accreditation Requirements, Compliance, Showroom, Retail, Delivery, Customer Service

The Customer is Always Right: The Ultimate Sales ‘Hack’

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Thu, Aug 06, 2020 @ 02:27 PM

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.

Read More

Topics: Customer Service

Are You Ready to Re-Open?

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Mon, Jul 13, 2020 @ 10:55 AM

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.

Read More

Topics: Employee Training, HIPAA, HME Accreditation Requirements, Patient File Requirements, Materials Management, Showroom, Retail, Delivery, Oxygen, Warehouse, Customer Service, Business Practices, Marketing, Infection Control

The ‘New Normal’ in DME

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Tue, Jun 02, 2020 @ 02:38 PM

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. 

Read More

Topics: Employee Training, Clinical Practice Guidelines, Materials Management, Physicians, Avoiding Deficiencies, Showroom, Retail, Delivery, Warehouse, Customer Service, Marketing, Infection Control

Five ‘Good Business’ Tips for the Holiday Season

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Tue, Dec 10, 2019 @ 09:22 AM

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. 

Read More

Topics: Customer Service, Business Practices, Marketing

Customer Complaints Can Be a ‘Good Thing’

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Wed, Nov 13, 2019 @ 08:32 AM

Nobody wants to have a customer complain about any aspect of their business.  Complaints are negative feedback, indicative of an unhappy customer, and generally a bad thing.  They can be harsh or mild, constructive or destructive, fair or unfair, deserved or not deserved.  But at the core of any customer complaint, there is feedback about a customer experience, or at least their perception of that experience.  And this information and feedback can be a treasure trove of information to use to improve the customer experience, your internal processes, and how your organization does business. 

Read More

Topics: Employee Training, Quality Improvement, HME Accreditation Requirements, Process Improvement, Complaint Process, Customer Service, Business Practices

Put Your Best Foot Forward: The Art of the Effective Set Up Packet

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Tue, Aug 06, 2019 @ 10:51 AM

Think about this: In many/most cases, a patient’s first experience with -- and impression of -- your organization happens when they are set up on equipment and admitted to service.  Thus, when your organization delivers equipment or supplies for the first time, or when your respiratory therapist sets up your respiratory device, or when a pedorthist “fits” someone for diabetic shoes, they are forming an impression that will be with them for a long time.  It’s certainly possible they will talk to their friends and family about that experience. 

Read More

Topics: Patient File Requirements, Customer Service, Business Practices, Marketing

Carrying the Beeper: DME Staff & On Call

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Tue, Jul 16, 2019 @ 09:05 AM

A few years back, at 5:00am Saturday during the coldest February Northern Minnesota had seen in decades, a longtime home care patient’s oxygen concentrator failed.  The patient’s wife retrieved an E cylinder that was for back up from the guest bedroom and proceeded to try to open the gauge.  Her husband—the patient—tried as well but neither could get the tank to open.  The couple was a little panicky because the patient had been using oxygen continuously for over a year with only a few moments here and there off oxygen.  Regular delivery for portable cylinders was Monday, and they were down to two small portable cylinders with a total of about one hour of oxygen combined. 

Read More

Topics: HME Accreditation Requirements, Compliance, Delivery, Oxygen, Customer Service

Staffing Issues & Summer Vacations

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Thu, Jun 06, 2019 @ 10:00 AM

Memorial Day Weekend, the end of the kid’s school year, or the first day of June all mark the beginning of summer for most of us.  Sure, scientists will tell you that summer begins with Summer Solstice, around June 21st, the day the Sun is the farthest north; but we all start our summer season based on man-made demarcations and arbitrary dates and times.  For many of us, summer means swimming pools, picnics, a long break from school, and of course, summer vacations. 

Read More

Topics: Employee Training, Showroom, Retail, Delivery, Customer Service, Business Practices