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

Are You ‘Any Willing Provider’?

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 @ 11:08 AM

In July 2018, CMS made a rather important announcement: that effective January 1, 2019, after the current bid schedule expires December 31st, 2018, any Medicare provider can supply durable medical equipment and supplies to Medicare patients/recipients.  This will likely continue until the next round of bidding takes place, which will be at least a calendar year later.  This rule revision, known in the industry as the “Any Willing Provider” provision, is something the industry has talked about since competitive bidding began. “Wouldn’t it be fair,” one provider I spoke with posited, “if they {CMS} settled on a bid amount and opened it up to any credentialed, accredited, licensed DME to provide equipment and services?”

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Topics: Marketing, Retail, CMS

Re-inventing Your DME

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Fri, Aug 10, 2018 @ 10:33 AM

People have thrown around the words “re-invent,” “re-imagine,” and “re-purpose” in regards to their career, their life’s goals, their outlook, and their businesses quite a bit in the last decade.  It is considered chic to reinvent ourselves—in both our personal lives and our careers and businesses.  And it’s becoming more and more useful and important to do that in our DME businesses today.  Reimbursement changes (and by “changes”, we almost always mean “cuts”), as well as technological advances, coupled with the changing styles of consumerism, how people shop, and the fact that customers are willing to pay for an increasing amount of their healthcare all make the environment ripe and ready for change!  

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Topics: Marketing, Customer Service, Business Practices