Accreditation: Keepin' up with the Joneses

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

BURBANK, Calif. - Ted and Denise Jones have been at the accreditation game off and on since 2000. Now they're on again and in a big way. After spending a year developing their own accreditation manual, the couple began preparing HME providers for accreditation in early 2006. Since then, their company, IB Network, has successfully helped 15 HMEs become accredited, and the duo has another 17 clients working toward that goal. Ted has a degree in healthcare administration. Denise has extensive experience in human resources, payroll, accounting and finance. They have also owned and operated an HME. HME News talked to the couple last month to get a firsthand account of how providers are doing in their quest to become accredited. Here's what they had to say.
HME News: What are you seeing in the field?
Denise: It varies. We have some clients that have some kind of clinical or medical background, and they have a general idea of what should be done but are not doing it. They just need some guidance to get them on track. Then you have others who are oblivious to half of the things they should be doing. They are saying, 'Wow! We had no idea.'
HME: Are people nervous about becoming accredited?
Ted: They are resistant at first. Some DME owners are like: 'I don't want to do this. I think it is stupid. This doesn't make any sense. It has nothing to do with the way I run my business. I've seen accredited organizations do a terrible job.' You get that and then you get into working with them, and they start to slowly come around. By the time it is all over, they are so focused on making sure every "i" is dotted and "t" is crossed.
Denise: Then you have those who say, 'You know what? I've been dragging my feet long enough. I'm ready to get started. What do I need to do?'
HME: Where are providers most often deficient?
Ted: Paperwork. There is a lack of a paper trail. Typically, providers know how to market, they know how to deliver the equipment, and they know how to bill. Everything in between, they miss it.
HME: What kind of paperwork are we talking about?
Ted: We're looking at safety; the patient follow-up process; infection control procedures; human resource files.
Denise: They are not keeping proper documentation for their employees. They are not doing performance improvement or performance evaluations.
HME: Are bigger companies more sophisticated when it comes to keeping these kinds of records?
Ted: No. Human resources doesn't come up until they have a problem with an employee.
HME: Does anything surprise you anymore, or are you past that point?
Denise: I think we are past the point of surprise. When we started doing just the state-required policies for California in 2000, the places we walked into--we were surprised the state was allowing them to run DMEs in these types of areas.
Ted: Some of these places were like public storage facilities.
HME: You probably don't see much of that anymore.
Denise: No. That is what we try to explain to people: That this regulation has come about because of all the fraud that was going on in DME years ago.
HME: Are some companies so bad off you have to turn them down?
Ted: No. We think we can work with any organization that wants to be worked with. There is hope for everyone out there that is willing to take it seriously.