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:

Read More

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

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

Read More

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

HIPAA – Ten Years Old & Still an Issue

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Thu, Dec 07, 2017 @ 11:36 AM

Confidentiality, privacy, and the protection of their medical records and information is something that our customer/patients have come to expect.  It’s been over ten years since HIPAA (the Healthcare Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996) went into effect and consumers have had over a decade of education every time they interact with any business related to healthcare. The consumer is a lot more well informed about their rights now compared to a decade ago.  So, it might surprise some of us to find out that in the DME world, there are still instances of security and privacy breeches where medical information is NOT protected.  

Read More

Topics: HIPAA, Patient Privacy

“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.

Read More

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

Protecting Patient Privacy: HIPAA & Beyond

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Fri, Aug 14, 2015 @ 04:55 PM

 

 

Consumers have come to expect confidentiality and privacy in all business transactions today, whether on line or in retail establishments.  Healthcare is no exception and patient/customers are now protected by HIPAA (the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996).  Consumers who have received any healthcare service in a hospital, doctor’s office, medical lab, or pharmacy have been exposed to some education about HIPAA.  Medical equipment companies are no different and have some unique issues to plan and prepare for to comply with this complex regulation and the even more fundamental patient right to privacy and confidentiality. 

Read More

Topics: Employee Training, HIPAA, Security, HME Accreditation Requirements, Patient File Requirements, Compliance, Patient Privacy