When the ball dropped at the stroke of midnight January 1 this year, did you make any resolutions? Most people do—sometimes a new diet, an exercise program (January 1st is traditionally the busiest day in a gym!), a more responsible financial plan, or some version of “be a better person” by saying something nice to a new person every day or trying to bestow a compliment on a stranger.
I’m not going to name names, but many years ago, as a young surveyor, I was inspecting delivery vehicles at a place (the location will remain unnamed) and observed one of the worst safety hazards I ever saw in my career. A delivery technician who covered a two-state territory had been in the adjacent state where fireworks were legal, and decided to stock up for the
Calendar year is a very predictable January 1-December 31 each year. With very few exceptions, this is “the year” and most folks say “Happy New Year” on January 1st. The exception to that is in the world of business—where there are arcane and unusual, but well thought out, differences and exceptions.
During that little pandemic thing we dealt with 2020-2022, our structure, processes, and even values changed in many ways. It can be argued that many of these changes made us stronger, more flexible, and more efficient. Think of things like teleconferencing for meetings, billers working from home, porch drop off deliveries, and virtual equipment set up/instruction. We, as an industry, were pretty resilient. Some of the changes however were generally perceived to be negatives. For instance: we lost in-person customer service skills. Good, bad, or indifferent, our industry adapted to these changes quickly. In some cases, it’s safe to say we’re never going back.
2023. We’re twenty-three years into the new millennium. Medicare is close to sixty years old. Time is marching on quickly—relentlessly, some would say. New Year’s Eve parties continue the great tradition of partying into the wee hours, ringing in the New Year with a toast, and getting up January 1st with a renewed optimism, a positive outlook on life, and a list of resolutions to improve. You might say it is a great example of continuous quality improvement.
Topics: Employee Training, Security, Quality Improvement, Renewing Accreditation, Compliance, Process Improvement, Materials Management, Showroom, Retail, Warehouse, Work, Disaster Preparedness, Business Practices, Marketing, Equipment
In early November, each year, our minds turn to Thanksgiving. No surprise that Thanksgiving ranks as one of many American’s favorite holidays. It’s a time of positive reflection, a time to literally give thanks for all the blessings in our lives, and the gateway to the triumvirate of important holidays (Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s Day). And then there’s the food: a grand feast of turkey, ham, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, rolls, and pecan and pumpkin pie. For many people, it’s a glorious four-day weekend of eating, watching football games, visiting with family and friends, and reflection on the past year.
Just about every July 4th, I’m reminded of a holiday weekend in the late 1980’s, when I was just a pup. Well, not a “pup”, but a young respiratory therapist working in homecare and enjoying the Monday-Friday routine with no weekends, no holidays, and no night shifts. As an RT, to be in your late 20’s, and achieve a job with no shift work and no holidays was pretty amazing. I had mentors from the local hospitals that were my parent’s generation who were still working every other weekend and still working shifts and holidays. This particular July 4th fell on a Monday or a Friday (I don’t remember which), meaning there was a three-day weekend associated with it. Picnics, fireworks, getting together with friends, and a trip to the lake were all on the schedule. For the first time since college, I wasn’t going to be working a night shift or a holiday day over this important summer holiday!
You could write a book about “employee vs. contractor” pros, cons, legality, and operational efficiency. In fact, there are books written about that very subject. There are also lawyers who specialize in employment law who advise companies about how to structure their staffing around those two broad categories of staff. While accreditation organizations won’t delve into the legalities (that’s for the lawyers to do), accreditation standards DO in fact address both categories of staffing.
Topics: Employee Training, Personnel Files, HQAA Accreditation, Clinical Practice Guidelines, Quality Care, Retail, Delivery, Clinical Respiratory Services, Competence, Customer Service, Business Practices, Surveys, Equipment
It's tempting to believe that those Amazon trucks that zip down your street every day are a completely new phenomenon. But if you believed that, you’d be wrong. Today, Amazon trucks descend on neighborhoods bringing appliances, clothes, books & music, and even groceries. A generation earlier, we ordered music from flyers in the newspaper—carefully selecting stamps with our favorite titles and sticking them on the order page, promising to buy four or five additional albums in return for a half dozen free ones up front. And the generation before that ordered small appliances and kitchenware from Jewel T men. And the generation before that could order up a mail order “kit house” from the Sears Roebuck Catalog. Truth be told, mail order is as old as the mail itself. Subsequent generations have refined the practice over the last century and a half; but the practice of mail order anything is not new!
In the durable medical equipment industry—as well as in life—it always pays to have a backup plan! Whether its backing up data on the cloud, having contingency plans for staffing issues, or having multiple suppliers for a particular piece of equipment, these plans have saved countless heartaches, businesses, and even lives. While all of these are important, let’s focus today on a company’s responsibility to have adequate back up equipment for their existing customer/patients.