Q. How do we choose an accrediting organization that's right for our company?
A. It's important to remember that while CMS is driving accreditation, all payers are rapidly moving in this direction. With that in mind, avoid choosing an accrediting body that is not well known or widely recognized throughout the healthcare industry. It's important to the long-term success of your company that the accrediting organization you select be compatible with and accepted by other healthcare providers.
You want to be surveyed by someone who knows how an HME should run. This is critical: Make sure that the agency will send a surveyor with proper experience in your line of business. For instance, an R.N. who has only clinical experience in a hospital setting is not a good fit for your organization. Accrediting bodies that hire registered respiratory therapists and seasoned DMEPOS owners are an asset to your business.
Ethical business practices are essential. Don't choose a company that allows the same person who prepared you for accreditation to also perform your survey. There's an obvious conflict of interest here. Would that person fail someone he prepared for accreditation? It's unlikely. Private payers and other healthcare entities vital to your organization's future frown on this tactic.
Make sure that the accrediting body you hire provides an exact figure on what your accreditation will cost. You don't want an agency that quotes one price and then sends a contract with substantial hidden fees.
You want to ensure that the accreditor you choose is very clear on what is included in the service, such as continued education and information to ensure you are continually updated with all of the changes in accreditation. You want a body that will offer all types of information and news to keep you fully informed on the ever-changing HME industry.
Denise Jones is a partner with TheIBNetwork Inc., a consulting firm that prepares HME providers to become accredited. Reach her at 800-447-7201 or e-mail her at email@example.com.