HME News

JUL 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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8 www.hmenews.com / july 2018 / hme news editorial publisher Rick Rector rrector@hmenews.com editor Liz Beaulieu ebeaulieu@hmenews.com managing editor Theresa Flaherty tfl aherty@hmenews.com contributing editor John Andrews editorial director Brook Taliaferro editorial & advertising of fice 106 Lafayette Street PO Box 998 Yarmouth, ME 04096 207-846-0600 (fax) 207-846-0657 advertising account manager Jo-Ellen Reed jreed@hmenews.com advertising coordinator Cath Daggett cdaggett@hmenews.com production director Lise Dubois ldubois@unitedpublications.com reprints For custom reprints or digital reuse, please contact our reprint partner, The YGS Group, by calling 717-505-9701, ext. 100, or unitedpublications@theygsgroup.com art credits Steve Meyers: cartoon subscription information www.hmenews.com/subscribe HME News PO Box 1888 Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-1888 800-553-8878 Publishers of specialized busi ness newspapers including HME News and Security Systems News. Producers of the HME News Business Summit and the Home Health Technology Summit. ceo J.G. Taliaferro, Jr. president Rick Rector Words are great, but ... e ver sINCe the interim fi nal rule was published in the Federal register, there has been a cloud of disappointment hanging over the hMe industry. But for those of you who took the time to read the IFr in full, you'll fi nd some interesting lan- guage from CMs acknowledging issues with the competitive bid- ding program and the agency's ability to monitor the program's impact on access. here is CMs, in its own words: ✔ Given the rapid changes in health care delivery that may disproportionately impact rural and more isolated geographic areas, we are concerned that the continued decline of the fees and the number of suppliers in such areas may exacerbate the already emergent access concerns faced by benefi ciaries. ✔ Our monitoring data, by its very nature, would not alert us to the present and immi- nent threats to benefi ciary access that stake- holders have raised in recent months. If CMs continues to pay the fully adjusted payment rates in rural and non-contiguous areas, it could further jeopardize the infrastructure of suppliers that benefi ciaries rely on for access to necessary items and services in remote areas of the country. ✔ Also, as noted earlier, our systematic claims monitoring only looks backward in time and may not detect rapidly emerging trends, particularly in isolated or rural areas. We also referenced the GAO's acknowledge- ment that there are challenges associated with monitoring the CBP. ✔ We recognize that reduced access to DMe may put benefi ciaries at risk of poor health outcomes or increase the length of hos- pital stays. ✔ Given the strong stake- holder concern about the con- tinued viability of many DMe- POs suppliers, coupled with the Cures Act mandate to consider additional information material to setting fee schedule adjust- ments, it would be unwise to continue with the fully adjusted fee schedule rates in the vulner- able rural and non-contiguous areas for 7 months. Any adverse impacts on benefi ciary health outcomes, or on small busi- nesses exiting the market, could be irrevers- ible. this is a big deal, as a number of stake- holders have told me, because to date, CMs has portrayed the program with nothing other than rose-colored glasses. tom ryan at AAhomecare: "some of the words they used to express concern are the exact words we've used. they're aware of the real-time crisis that is beginning to become apparent. It's a fi rst." Cara Bachenheimer at Invacare: "this is a huge step forward. there are many, many more steps forward that need to be made, but this is a huge step forward." But this big deal poses a big question: What will CMs do now? In a press release at the time of the release of the IFr, CMs said it is "continuing to engage with stakeholders" and it "intends to undertake subsequent notice-and-comment rulemaking to address the rates for DMe and enteral nutrition furnished in 2019 and beyond." Words are great, but now let's see some action. hme liZ beAUlieU think about deliveries like customers w Ith ALL the moving parts required to run a suc- cessful hMe/DMe business, the ultimate goal should be providing an exceptional customer experience and high-quality service during every encoun- ter, by ensuring that the customer's wellbeing and satisfac- tion are top priority. there are a multitude of ways to ensure your company is providing high-quality customer service, including tak- ing a look from the outside in and considering your busi- ness operations from the customer perspective. enhancing processes through the use of technology, particularly in the fi eld, will ensure deliveries run more effi ciently and customers reap the benefi ts of the well-oiled organization. to begin thinking like the customer, consider some of the delivery issues they can typically experience: #1: I don't know where my delivery is and I can't wait around all day long. We've all experienced this frustration. It's no fun to be given a multiple-hour window of when the delivery will show up and you feel chained to the house for the major- ity of the day for fear of missing it. When hMe companies use a delivery logistics system to optimize routes and track delivery technicians in real time, customer service represen- tatives can give more accurate estimated times of arrival. this transparency can provide a level of service that most companies cannot offer, giving your organization a leg up on the competition. #2: the technician is too worried about ensuring I com- plete all the paperwork and is not focused on installing my equipment. there are many factors competing for a technician's attention during each delivery and, unfortunately, paper- work can be time-intensive and a hassle for both parties. Leveraging a mobile device, such as a tablet, can streamline the delivery process. the technician can easily guide the customer through the paperwork and ensure all the neces- sary documentation is complete with one simple signature. As a result, the technician can spend more time training and educating the customer on the equipment and less time on documentation, ensuring the customer has a positive experience. #3: the technician didn't have all the proper equipment I need and will have to come back to deliver the rest. When it comes to delivering medical equipment, it can be critical that patients receive the proper equipment the first time. especially when dropping off oxy- gen tanks or other respiratory equipment, forgetting items in the warehouse is unacceptable and can be detrimental to the health of the patient, not to mention frustrating for the technician to have to make a return trip. A delivery logis- tics system that provides checks and balances to ensure all equipment needed for the day's trips are loaded onto the truck ensures this mistake won't happen. By implementing a delivery logistics technology and automating processes that can provide complete fl eet vis- ibility, electronic signature capturing and properly docu- mented deliveries, an hMe business will not only have happy customers, but improved operations. —Aimee Swope is the customer success manager at Apacheta Corporation FOOD FOR THOUGHT Aimee swope

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