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Disaster Preparedness: Know the dollars and cents of disaster 

Disaster Preparedness: Know the dollars and cents of disaster 

Emily HarkenQ. What expenses do most providers incur during a disaster? 

A. Last month, the Emergency Preparedness Committee, along with VGM Government Relations and AAHomecare, surveyed DMEPOS suppliers regarding all the overlooked expenses associated with a disaster.  

The intention of the survey is to illustrate the number of dollars and additional expenses incurred before, during and after a disaster to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CMS and state/federal emergency groups. Due to unforeseen disasters, suppliers incur increased financial expenses that are not recouped by any insurance and often not reimbursed by federal or state disaster aid.  

The findings from the survey showed that the majority of suppliers report a more than 25% cost increase due to a disaster. 

  • More than 80% report having to make additional deliveries prior to and immediately after a disaster to keep up with patient needs.  
  • More than 60% report an increase in their delivery radius by up to 50 miles to service patients in preparation for and after a disaster and its aftermath. 
  • And almost all report that deliveries take an additional 50% of their time in these times of need.  
  • The survey also showed that most suppliers experienced increased expenses not covered by insurance, including: 
  • Lost, damaged, destroyed equipment (87%) 
  • Time spent researching updates from federal/local governmental agencies (75%) 
  • Time and resources preparing for the disaster (71%) 
  • Communication efforts (64%) 
  • Technology and equipment for remote staff access (64%) 
  • Equipping vehicles/tires for DMEPOS deliveries/pickups (54%) 

Findings from the survey are being compiled and sent to CMS. Our hope is to show CMS there is a significant need for additional reimbursement, as well as regulation leniency, during a disaster. 

We greatly appreciate the suppliers who took the time to complete the survey. 

Do not forget, there are many disaster resources available to you on the committee’s website: https://www.vgm.com/services/government-relations/resource-center/emergency-preparedness-for-home-medical-equipment-suppliers-committee/   

Emily Harken is director of operations for VGM Government Relations. Reach her at [email protected]

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