HME News

DEC 2018

HME News is the monthly business newspaper for home medical equipment providers. This controlled circulation publication reaches 17,100 home medical equipment services providers, including traditional HME dealers & suppliers, hospital- and pharmacy-o

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Smart Talk 12 WWW.HMENEWS.COM / DECEMBER 2018 / HME NEWS BUSINESS OPERATIONS LEADERSHIP EQUIPMENT MANAGEMENT Define your mission BY ANNE ORRICK Q. If I have collection procedures, do I need a collection policy? A. Yes, a collection policy defines the mis- sion and rules you want employees to follow to reach company goals. It guides employees on how to han- dle patient accounts and outlines your approach to balancing getting paid with customer satisfaction. Policies will differ for each provider. For example, providers that are direct may demand more credit cards captured upfront, compared to providers who receive referrals or infusion providers who are supporting end-of-life scenarios. Collection procedures detail the patient invoice workflow starting with the referral and ending with the balance being paid in full or written off as a bad debt. When creating or reviewing your workflow, you and y o u r t e a m c a n have a healthy dis- cussion on how to handle a patient's balance through- out the process. Here are some questions to con- sider as you are o u t l i n i n g t h e workflow: 4What information is collected with each new order? 4Will credit card info be kept on file? 4What payment terms are offered? 4When and how to contact patients with balances? 4Will a new order be processed on accounts with an outstanding balance? Answers should be clear, concise and easy to understand. Before finalizing your policy and pro- cedures, ask your accountant to identi- fy topics unique to your business that should also be addressed. Then, follow these four steps to keep your policy and procedures relevant: 4Train your staff 4Make the documents easy to access 4Hold employees accountable by mea- suring their adherence to the procedures 4Review quarterly, updating the docu- ment and retraining staff as you make changes Remember, these proactive steps will help improve your cash recovery. The time you spend on these doc- uments will reap benefits for your organization. HME Anne Orrick is COO of Allegiance Group. Reach her at aorrick@allegiance-group.com Uncover your hidden costs BY WILL ROSS Q. Are your equipment service vendors helping you grow a more profitable business? A. The total costs associated with maintain- ing your equipment fleet is a lot more than the cost of individual biomedical services. Consider the costs associated with inef- ficiency surrounding your fleet (poor track- ing of devices, time spent managing the ser- vice process, accounting challenges with incorrect transactions). The hidden costs surrounding your equipment management are nearly as large as the service itself. Below are examples of services offered by vendors that help you reduce those inefficiencies, so you can grow more profitably: WEB-PORTALS THAT IMPROVE STAFF PRODUCTIVITY Your staff is one of your largest expenses. Managing your equipment service with vendors who still operate manually could be costing you thousands in wasted time. Equipment service workflow systems that support online RMA creation, service estimate review and approval, pickup/deliv- ery scheduling, and service history/reports are available to you today. These portals improve staff productivity and reduces costs, so select vendors that offer them. DATA AND ANALYTICS TO HELP YOU MAKE GOOD BUSINESS DECISIONS Without data, you cannot effectively man- age your fleet. Reports on service trends by catego- ry, branch vs. branch comparisons, and exception reporting are all deliverables you should expect from your vendors. GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATIONS AND CAPABILITIES THAT MATCH YOUR BUSINESS Working with multiple service vendors to meet your needs is an older, inefficient way of working. Reducing the number of equipment ser- vice vendors helps you streamline opera- tions and create consistency in your pro- cesses. OPERATE WITHIN A QUALITY SYSTEM Be wary of vendors that operate without formal quality certifications (e.g. ISO- 9001). The U.S. Food and Drug Administra- tion is currently reviewing this part of the market and companies operating without formal quality systems may be gone in the coming years. Get ahead of those changes by shifting your business to vendors that have these necessary quality systems in place. HME Will Ross is vice president of marketing at Quality Medical. He can be reached at wross@quality- medicalsouth.com. Follow mindfulness to compassion BY KELLY FRANKO Q. How do I lead by example? A. We have long known the truth that chil- dren will do as we do not as we say. The same holds true for the people we lead. In my first article, I discussed our need to focus on giving, not getting; serving, not ruling. When we truly seek to lead others through serving them, compassion devel- ops naturally. As a practice, mindfulness almost always leads to the cultivation of compassion. Being present in thought and conver- sation will strengthen our ability to dem- onstrate kindness when dealing with any situation. Mindfulness helps us to develop an atti- tude of compassion toward oneself and others. Combining a car- ing attitude with p e o p l e l e a d i n g skills, our service to others helps them realize their own skills and capabili- ties. The practice of paying attention inward, in the pres- ent moment, with- o u t j u d g e m e n t , improves our own self-awareness. This awareness m a k e s u s m o re accepting of our own flaws and vulnerabilities. In doing so, we extend that same attitude of compassion while relating to others. Above all else, be kind. "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never for- get how you made them feel," says Maya Angelou. Helping others to feel valued, appreci- ated and respected at work improves our relationships with them. Setting this example also gives others the opportunity to return the kindness and pay it forward. When employees see these examples in action and understand the value they bring to the organization, they become more committed to the cause. They are true drivers of opportunity and look for ways to offer even more value through increased creativity and produc- tivity. A culture of mindfulness and compas- sion within any company will always be a winning combination. HME Kelly Franko is owner of Advantage Training & Coaching Solutions. Reach her at kelly.franko@ aol.com. MARKET OPPORTUNITY Create successful retail operations BY ROB SCHLISSBERG Q. Am I missing opportunities to serve my customers? A. With industry changes coming down seemingly every day and continued cuts to reimbursement, many of our DME pro- vider partners are finding it difficult to sur- vive on reimbursement alone. In response to these challenges, we are finding that—in addition to category expansion—many of our smart DME part- ners have focused on growing their retail cash sales. However, building a successful retail operation takes more than just opening a retail showroom and hanging a sign. In our experience and working closely with our DME provider partners, we find that those who create a successful retail operation share the following strategic elements: PRODUCT PORTFOLIO Realize that your retail cash offering might be complete- ly different from your traditional offering. It's impor- tant to work closely with your strategic partners to develop the right portfolio of products. STORE DESIGN Design a showroom layout with light- ing that welcomes customers and create displays that provide product details and encourage in-store sales. DRIVE TRAFFIC Consider hosting educational events, training or product maintenance events to drive traffic with your existing customers. For instance, if you sell CPAP, consider hosting sleep events where attendees can have their equipment cleaned, checked, and resized. CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE Train your staff to ensure the right custom- er experience and encourage customers to place reorders in-store. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a successful retail operation, using the best practices high- lighted above, combined with finding the right partner, will help put you on the right path. In collaboration with our vendor part- ners, we have launched a retail initiative that provides resources to help grow your retail operation. HME Rob Schlissberg is vice president and gen- eral manager, Independence Medical & Home Healthcare Solutions at Cardinal Health. Reach him at Rob.Schlissberg@CardinalHealth.com. Review your policy and procedures quarterly, updating documents and retraining staff as you make changes. Mindfulness helps us to develop an attitude of compassion toward oneself and others. This will always be a winning combination. Building a successful retail operation takes more than just opening a showroom and hanging a sign. visit: www.hmenews.com

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