HQAA Blog

The Surveyor’s Questions

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Fri, Nov 10, 2023 @ 09:16 AM

One of my funniest memories from surveying was many years ago at a small DME company in the Midwest. The staff was pleasant and accommodating and had been well prepared for the survey. But for some reason (probably related to a co-worker’s retelling of a “bad” survey that she’d gone through), the staff was pretty nervous about the accreditation visit. I pride myself on NOT presenting an intimidating attitude, but the staff at this place thought I was the police, the IRS, and the guy in charge of the Inquisition rolled into one. I tried my best to put the staff at ease. At one point, I asked a customer service representative about how they conveyed information on the patient’s rights and responsibilities to new customers. She fumbled through a pretty good answer. I asked her if she could name one of the responsibilities and she answered that they need to inform the company if they move or if their insurance changes (a good answer). I asked her if she could name a right and she froze up. Finally, she took a deep breath and blurted out: “The right to remain silent”.

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Topics: Employee Training, Billing, HME Accreditation Requirements, Clinical Practice Guidelines, Retail, Delivery

'Best If Used By...’ --A Look at Products with Expiration Dates & How They Are Surveyed

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Tue, Apr 11, 2023 @ 03:17 PM

A woman in the grocery store who happened to be in line in front of me realized an item she was buying from the frozen food section was past its expiration date by about a month. She came to this realization perusing her items and just in time to bring it to the check-out clerk’s attention. The clerk admitted she didn’t realize frozen food even HAD an expiration date, and called a stock boy over to replace the item. The woman turned to me to apologize for the delay and said something about how the quality control in the store wasn’t what it used to be.

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Topics: Quality, Process Improvement, Retail, Delivery, Oxygen, Warehouse, Customer Service, Business Practices

Creative Ways to Deal with Supply Chain Issues

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Tue, Mar 07, 2023 @ 02:45 PM

From coffee shops to hardware stores, home appliances to automobiles, food at grocery stores and restaurants, lumber, paint, clothing, eggs, and even DMEPOS…. how many times have you heard the phrase “supply chain issues” in the last few years? Along with a crippling pandemic, staffing shortages, and a couple major equipment recalls, supply chain issues were something we all had to cope with and learn to work around in the marketplace. It became an almost mantra-like excuse, explaining away why goods were not available, or why there were delays, or why the cost of product and shipping was rising so dramatically.

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Topics: Showroom, Retail, Warehouse

A New Year: A New Company

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Wed, Jan 04, 2023 @ 03:41 PM

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.  

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Topics: Employee Training, Security, Quality Improvement, Renewing Accreditation, Compliance, Process Improvement, Materials Management, Showroom, Retail, Warehouse, Work, Disaster Preparedness, Business Practices, Marketing, Equipment

I’m Thankful For...

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Thu, Nov 10, 2022 @ 09:54 AM

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.

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Topics: Quality, Employee Training, Process Improvement, Showroom, Retail, Delivery, Competence, Work, Customer Service, Business Practices, Marketing, Infection Control, Equipment, DMEPOS

Contract Staff

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Tue, Jun 14, 2022 @ 09:10 AM

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.

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Topics: Employee Training, Personnel Files, HQAA Accreditation, Clinical Practice Guidelines, Quality Care, Retail, Delivery, Clinical Respiratory Services, Competence, Customer Service, Business Practices, Surveys, Equipment

Background Checks

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Fri, Feb 11, 2022 @ 02:58 PM

The pandemic has changed how we look at employment in the United States in a multitude of ways. Many of us now “telecommute” to work, which opens up the opportunity to live farther from the office than ever before. Young people have new and different considerations and priorities when it comes to accepting a job. And of course, there’s the fact that it is increasingly more difficult to recruit and retain good long-term employees. Complicating these issues specifically in our industry are the pesky and sometimes misunderstood background check requirements.

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Topics: Quality, Security, HQAA Accreditation, HME Accreditation Requirements, Compliance, Showroom, Retail, Delivery, Competence, OIG

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE--IN THE DME INDUSTRY

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Fri, Dec 10, 2021 @ 09:36 AM

Part of our family’s holiday season tradition is the annual watching of “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE”. The movie is –in my opinion, anyway--a masterpiece of happiness and positivity. The primary lesson of the movie is that our deeds, both good and bad, have a profound effect on the lives of other people in our circle of friends and family. The main character, George Bailey, finds out in dream sequences reminiscent of Charles Dicken’s “A CHRISTMAS CAROL” that his life has had profound meaning because of his good work, kind deeds, and charitable attitude.

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Topics: Quality Care, Retail, Delivery, Work, Customer Service, Equipment

Revisiting Retail Showrooms

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Tue, Aug 10, 2021 @ 10:34 AM

We’ve talked about retail showrooms before, but in the several years since we’ve covered the topic, retail has made a triumphant resurgence. The DME retail showroom’s amazing comeback is a product of a perfect storm of factors in the industry. Certainly, declining reimbursement and limitations to coverage for DME products and services is at least partially responsible. The fact that Baby Boomers are retiring and becoming eligible for Medicare is also a factor. Retirees today –compared to retirees of a decade or so ago—are tech savvy computer users who are comfortable shopping on line and also somewhat conditioned to paying for larger portions of their healthcare out of pocket. The bad news for local DME’s is that they are tech savvy and capable of shopping on Amazon-like platforms. The good news for local DME’s is that they are willing to pay more out of pocket for healthcare. Retail provides a “hedge” for your organization. If someone wants the traditional “deliver it and bill my insurance” DME model, you can do it. But you also have a showroom and are prepared to deal in cash.

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Topics: HME Accreditation Requirements, Compliance, Showroom, Retail, Delivery, Customer Service

OSHA: More Than Just a Lunchroom Poster

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Thu, Jun 10, 2021 @ 03:26 PM

Many durable medical equipment company employees equate “OSHA” with those plasticized posters typically hung in a breakroom or kitchen in the organization. Training requirements by both accreditation standards and OSHA itself have gone a long way to educating employees about the various OSHA mandated requirements and led to a better understanding of OSHA. This in turn has led to better adherence to the rules and regulations and ultimately to a safer workplace.

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Topics: Employee Training, HQAA Accreditation, HME Accreditation Requirements, Compliance, Avoiding Deficiencies, Showroom, Retail, Delivery, Warehouse, Infection Control