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

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

Retail Showrooms & Your Accreditation Survey

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Tue, Oct 04, 2016 @ 04:10 PM

Home medical equipment companies frequently mention that it seems that the majority of survey (inspection) activity takes place in equipment storage, cleaning, and warehouse areas, as well as out in the field during “ride-alongs” to observe patient interactions with staff.HME staff is sometimes caught by surprise when the surveyor turns their attention to the retail showroom during the inspection. Why would a surveyor want to look at a retail showroom and what accreditation standards apply in that setting?

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Topics: Retail, Showroom, Avoiding Deficiencies, Compliance, HME Accreditation Requirements

Heroes Among Us

Posted by Mary Nicholas on Tue, Oct 30, 2012 @ 04:48 PM

Almost everywhere we look today, we see superheroes.  With Halloween nipping at our heels, the stores are advertising how we can dress up like the Hulk, or Catwoman, or Captain America.  Heroes seems to have a pretty high profile right now in movies, books, video games and marketers tell us all the time that we can be just like them. 

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Topics: Safety Officer, Warehouse, Materials Management, Retail, Security