Cape Medical Supply digs deep for every improvement

Provider named first place in HME Excellence Awards
Friday, October 11, 2013

YARMOUTH, Maine – Being customer service-oriented has been a part of Cape Medical Supply’s ethos since the company was founded in 1977.

But the term “customer service” isn’t specific enough for President and CEO Gary Sheehan. Two years ago, he and his team launched a Lean process improvement effort to more clearly define customer value and eliminate waste in their processes.

“I can’t imagine where we would be had we not embarked on that journey,” says Sheehan. “Payroll as a percentage of revenue is down, and patient and employee satisfaction is up.” 

Headquartered on Cape Cod in Sandwich, Mass., Cape Medical Supply has four locations bordering both ends of the Boston Round 2 competitive bidding area (CBA). Serving such a tricky territory has left Sheehan’s referral partners—as in many other CBAs—in a state of confusion.

So he created a detailed flyer for discharge planners to understand which HME providers can serve which product lines in their region. The flyer includes screen shots demonstrating how to use CMS’s online supplier directory.

“Sometimes that means they end up using another provider,” Sheehan says. “But that’s service for them. They’re just trying to meet their patients’ needs—when you create these tools for them, that’s going to reflect you in a positive light.” 

Every process across Cape Medical’s operations has been scrutinized for improvements, from how many patients an RT can see in a day to how to communicate patient-pay AR. Sheehan is transparent about the challenges facing the industry with his employees, and keeps them engaged in the company’s plans for the future.

It’s tedious work, Sheehan admits, but necessary for a provider’s survival in today’s climate. 

“The amount of waste and inefficiency you’ll find in most businesses, let alone HME businesses, is staggering,” he says. “The opportunities to improve are what will separate the companies that thrive and those that cease to exist.” HME