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Hospice Source makes acquisition in California

HME News - Wed, 06/09/2021 - 09:41
DALLAS – Hospice Source has acquired Respiratory Therapy Home Care of Bellflower, Calif., further expanding its presence in the state.  "Hospice Source is committed to providing exceptional patient care to all its hospice partners,” said Jeff West, CEO. “The acquisition of RTHC allows us to extend that passion for service to a greater number of Southern California hospice patients and hospice partners.” Founded in 1997, Hospice Source offers full-service DME to hospice providers from 62 locations in more than a dozen states. RTHC President Tim Hansen will transition to the Hospice Source team. "In contemplating the sale of our business after nearly 25 years, it was critically important that we found a buyer who has the same focus on excellent patient care,” he said. “Jeff and his team at Hospice Source fit that description to a T. I'm thrilled to be staying on with the Hospice Source team, with the goal of expanding our reach in the Eastern United States and beyond." The latest acquisition is the company’s 14th in the past five years, including, in late 2020, the acquisition of Martinez, Calif.-based Superior Healthcare.

Marketing: Help them think of you

HME News - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 11:52
Q. How can I stay "in front" of customers while we are still social distancing? A. When you hear “stay in front of the customer,” you might first think of web and social media marketing tactics. True, these are important. You want customers to find you. But the best place to start is to leverage your expertise to “stay in front” of a patient’s pain points. In our last article, we discussed Harold, a new CPAP user, and suggested ways to build a relationship through tips and advice. Let’s take it a step further now.   When you set up a new patient, you know not only what questions and pain points they’ll likely have, but also when. After all, you field these questions daily. You know when they might experience dry mouth, nose irritation or general discomfort. You know when maintenance and re-supplies should take place.  Use that knowledge to develop an automated program.  If Harold, Taylor and Robin are new CPAP patients, what should they know in the first, third, even sixth month? Send a couple recommendations every other week (not everything in one communication). Balance is crucial and helps the advice feel more personalized. Because remember, while the message might be automated, it should still be personalized. Email is a fine place to start, but don’t neglect text messages and, especially, mailers. Research shows brand recall is 70% higher for direct mail vs. digital ads. The key is to establish yourself as a partner in the patient’s compliance. This keeps you “in front” of the customer, growing trust, loyalty and future purchases. But it also shows your value as a provider. Discuss your program with referral sources in your area. They’re looking for a partner in compliance, too. So, the next time they have a patient in need of DME, they’ll think of you.  Christina Throndson is business developer with Moxie & VGM OTS. Reach her atChristina.Throndson@ExperienceMoxie.com.

Telehealth: Look outside the box

HME News - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 11:47
Q. How can I grow my home ventilation program? A. In part 1 of this series, I talked about “raising some eyebrows in a good way.” The topic was remote PAP setups. Let’s continue with remote ventilator follow-ups. The RT labor shortage has hit HME companies particularly hard, so looking “outside the box” for solutions is certainly a good idea. Removing barriers to success is essential for providing telehealth in the home setting. This is important whether you are using your RT staff to perform the remote visits or seeking outside assistance. Telehealth can provide the HME company with the tools necessary to remotely provide ongoing follow-ups with non-invasive and invasive ventilator care. I suggest using a simple video chat solution that is HIPAA-compliant without having to download an app or having patient usernames, passwords etc. Speaking of video-chat, the ability to visualize the customer’s equipment and environment is beneficial when performing routine follow-up on the ventilation services you are providing. The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” comes to mind. Assessing and troubleshooting is much easier when you don’t have to rely on verbal descriptions. Outsourcing a ventilation follow-up process allows for your protocols to be followed without having to worry about finding and hiring RTs. Let your staff take care of other business and allow for convenient virtual visits for routing follow-ups. Your customers and caregivers may find the remote visits less intrusive, simpler and easier to schedule. While the pandemic has given us a lot of problems, it has also provided opportunities.Growing your ventilation program fearlessly is now possible with tele-respiratory therapists and technology. Curt Merriman is chief sales officer for rtNow. Reach him at curt@rtNow.net.

Accreditation: Rely on AOs to guide you

HME News - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 11:42
Q. How do I prepare for my accreditation site survey? A. Once you’ve applied for DMEPOS accreditation, the next step is your site survey. This is how you demonstrate compliance with federal, state and local laws, and CMS regulations.  While the accreditation site survey process might seem intimidating, an accrediting organization (AO) that is invested in your success will guide you through with exceptional customer service. Here are some tips for how to prepare: Document your business practices. Related reviews during the survey include:• Analyzing your corporate structure.• Confirming your accounting practices and billing procedures.• Inspecting your employee files and training documentation.• Examining documentation regarding proper exchange of information with physicians, as well as proof of delivery to patients.• Reviewing your quality improvement plan.• Confirming compliance with patient information privacy and HIPAA protocols.Prepare your staff. Make certain your staff knows and understands your policies and procedures and can locate important documents.Prepare your documentation. Documents to have on-hand include:• Employee handbook• Policies and procedures• State licenses• Proof of liability insurance• Business license and permits• At least five patient files• Well-ordered employee filesRemain open and available during posted business hours. Your unannounced site survey will occur during posted business hours. A staff member with high-level accountability must be present and have authority to access everything requested by the surveyor.  In addition to following these suggestions, rely on your AO to guide you. Although timing varies among the AOs, some offer expedited surveys within as few as 30 days. Also, during the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS approved AOs to conduct virtual surveys for businesses unable to allow in-person visitors. If you require this arrangement, ask your AO for more information. Matt Gruskin is the credentialing director for BOC. Reach him at matt.gruskin@bocusa.org.

Legal Update: Know your waivers

HME News - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 11:36
Q. What waivers related to the public health emergency do I need to keep track of? A. On April 15, 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) extended the public health emergency (PHE) for another 90 days, meaning the PHE will last until at least July 19, 2021. This PHE is expected to continue through at least the end of 2021. This is important news to HME providers since numerous waivers and flexibilities will continue to remain in place at a federal level during the duration of the PHE. A brief overview of relevant HHS waivers includes the following: • Expansion of permitted telehealth services, including all professionals eligible to bill Medicare are now permitted to provide telehealth services and receive payment for same.• Waiver of the in-person initial assessment requirements for home health agencies by permitting remote visits or record review.• Allowing DME MACs to waive replacement requirements for lost, destroyed or irreparably damaged DME.• Waiving licensure requirements for physicians providing Medicare services to out-of-state beneficiaries whether in-person or via telehealth.  (State law still applies.)• Relaxation of various HIPAA requirements and enforcement actions that may be brought during the PHE.Also relevant to HME providers is the NSC’s still-current waiver of DMEPOS supplier standards #9 and #30 related to maintenance of a primary business phone and hours of operation. The NSC has resumed normal site visits and enrollment criteria. Given the dynamic nature of the pandemic and the guidance coming from HHS, it is important to closely monitor HHS updates regarding emergency blanket waivers and the status of the PHE. The PHE can also affect certain state laws, such as the recently enacted law in Washington requiring insurers to pay providers a PPE-cost reimbursement for all in-person visits. Kelly T. Custer is a shareholder with the Health Care Group at Brown & Fortunato. Reach him at (806) 345-6343 or at kcuster@bf-law.com.

MACs restart reviews

HME News - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 10:18
WASHINGTON – The Medicare Administrative Contractors may now begin conducting post-payment medical reviews for dates of service later than March 2020, CMS has announced. In August 2020, the MACs resumed post-payment reviews of items and services with dates of service before March 2020. The Targeted Probe and Educate program, which involves intensive education to assess provider compliance through up to three rounds of review, will restart at a later date, CMS says. The MACs will continue to offer detailed review decisions and education, as appropriate, the agency says. 

Lifestyle Mobility Aids to transition to Rhythm Healthcare

HME News - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 10:16
ST. PETERSBURGH, Fla. – Lifestyle Mobility Aids is changing its name to Rhythm Healthcare to better reflect the clinically complex nature of its products. The new name is also a nod to the company’s relationship with customers, says Doug Francis, president and CEO. “The new company name is meant to point toward the operating rhythm that exists between our provider partners and us,” he said. “Because we don’t connect directly with the consumer, there’s a real need for us to be ‘in sync’ and aligned with our partners.” The company will use both Lifestyle Mobility Aids and Rhythm Healthcare at the upcoming Medtrade shows, but it plans to complete the transition to Rhythm Healthcare by the end of the year. Lifestyle Mobility Aids launched a portable oxygen concentrator in December and a 5-liter stationary oxygen concentrator in March, and plans to launch a range of aerosol devices later this year.  

Rehab Medical supports 3,000th ramp build

HME News - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 10:15
INDIANAPOLIS – Rehab Medical is supporting Servants at Work (SAWs) to raise awareness of the organization’s 3,000th wheelchair ramp build. SAWs, a faith-based nonprofit organization, has been building high-quality, removable and reusable wood ramps for those using wheelchairs, scooters or walkers since 2013. “SAWs is honored to partner with Rehab Medical for this milestone event since they’re one of the largest distributors for customer wheelchairs and our missions are so complimentary,” said Bob Richmond, executive director of SAWs. “We both want to improve the lives of people who need accessibility options to overcome physical disabilities and are freed from the confines of their homes with special chairs and ramps.” As part of their alliance, Rehab Medical is helping SAWs look for mobility users who live in central Indiana who would benefit from a ramp. Rehab Medical has also donated $3,000 toward the organization’s campaign to raise $30,000. “Rehab Medical has worked with SAWs in the past on a ramp build and it was a great experience,” said Kevin Gearheart, president of Rehab Medical. “Their ability to impact wheelchair users fits perfectly with our mission to Improve Lives.” To apply for the ramp build, go here. To donate, go here. 
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