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

Hepatitis B and DME Personnel

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Mon, Oct 08, 2018 @ 09:27 AM

New employees who apply and secure jobs with durable medical equipment companies are often surprised to find out that they are being offered vaccinations to protect them against Hepatitis B.  In fact, some new employees find it unsettling to learn that their new job offers this “benefit” because of increased exposure risk to this dreaded but somewhat misunderstood disease.  Let’s dispel some myths and lay out the basic facts about the disease, its prevention, and why healthcare workers are being offered this vaccination.  

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Topics: Business Practices, Delivery, Clinical Practice Guidelines, Personnel Files, Employee Training

Death, Dying & DME

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Wed, Jul 11, 2018 @ 12:11 PM

A cousin of mine just passed away a few months ago after a long illness.  He was fortunate to be able to spend his last few weeks at home with the family and friends he loved around him, either looking out the window at his beautiful backyard or some days, on the back porch.  “Fortunate” is a relative word: he was in his early 50’s and should have lived a lot longer.  On the other hand, after weeks in hospitals and long term acute care (LTAC) facilities, he (and his family) were grateful that he was able to spend his last days at home.  During those last weeks, he tapped into the durable medical equipment industry more than most people do in a lifetime.  

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Topics: Customer Service, Oxygen, Delivery, Quality Care

A Brief History of Home Oxygen Therapy

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Tue, Mar 06, 2018 @ 09:27 AM

Mathematician and author Vernor Vinge popularized (and named) the notion that technological change grows exponentially.  He called the phenomenon “exponentially accelerating change” and wrote both scientific articles and popular culture fiction about the concept.  We have all heard statistics thrown around; such as the fact that your child’s IPOD has more capability than the computer on the Apollo mission that landed on the moon in 1969.  Or that we’ve developed more technology in the last 25 years than in the previous 10,000 years.  

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Topics: Oxygen, Delivery

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

Delivery Vehicles & Accreditation: Everything You Need to Know

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Thu, Jun 15, 2017 @ 09:59 AM

Fed Ex, UPS, and the US Postal Service have consistent, easily identifiable, and even iconic delivery vehicles.  Pizza delivery vehicles often sport magnetic signs and/or rooftop billboards identifying the vehicle as part of their organization.  And who hasn’t seen an Edible Arrangements truck cruising down the highway?  This “branding” serves several useful purposes including marketing an organization.  Delivery vehicles have been part of home medical equipment services since the inception of the industry.  Be it a large truck from an industrial gas company, a cargo van, open pickup truck, or even a small, gas efficient compact car, delivery vehicles are an integral part of any DME organization. 

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Topics: Delivery, Compliance, HQAA Accreditation, HME Accreditation Requirements

O2 Orders 101

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Thu, May 04, 2017 @ 10:14 AM

It might surprise some readers to learn that there are enough rules and regulations, quirks and nuances, and potential problems to devote an entire blog article to a topic limited to “oxygen orders”.  The fact is that oxygen orders are a complex enough issue to devote an article to, and more importantly, for your company to devote resources including training time --toward the goal of compliance.

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Topics: Oxygen, Clinical Practice Guidelines, Compliance, Delivery, Employee Training, HME Accreditation Requirements

“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

3 Keys to an HME Accreditation-Compliant Delivery Vehicle

Posted by Jim Moyer on Tue, Jan 21, 2014 @ 02:28 PM

How do you ensure your delivery vehicle is roadworthy, safe and prepared for your daily delivery and pick-up activities?

You keep in mind the three keys to an HME accreditation-compliant delivery vehicle: safety, maintenance and security.

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Topics: HME Accreditation Requirements, Compliance, Delivery

5 Accreditation Rules for Infection Control

Posted by Jim Moyer on Tue, Aug 28, 2012 @ 03:43 PM

There are several issues to address when dealing with transporting your equipment. To meet the intent of the infection control standard properly you need to protect your patients from potential pathogens, transport oxygen properly, avoid excess dust and dirt on equipment and more.  

Follow these five rules to help you meet and exceed your standards for infection control:

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Topics: Materials Management, Compliance, HME Accreditation Requirements, Delivery