Ensure survey success

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

After more than 12 years working in compliance, training, billing and collections for large HME providers, Angela Miller knows a thing or two about compliance. She started her own compliance, billing and collections consulting firm, Medical Auditing Solutions LLC, in 2006 to help providers navigate this aspect of their business, which she says comes with a "huge learning curve." Miller says too few providers make the investment in compliance that's needed, and they may be opening themselves up to risk as a result. In her Medtrade session "The Compliance Puzzle," Miller educated providers on the elements and benefits of a compliance program to ensure success in a survey. She had this to say to HME News.
HME News: On a scale of one to 10, how are providers doing when it comes to compliance?
Angela Miller: I would say a five, because many suppliers don't keep up with the changes to the coverage criteria. Many smaller providers don't have a true compliance program, and many suppliers don't realize the compliance issues they have that could present a risk.
hme: What characteristics do providers with rigorous compliance programs share?
Miller: The ones that are on top of the compliance game are usually larger regional providers with $14 million to $20 million a year in revenues. They have more resources to devote to ongoing education and put more focus on compliance. They often have a compliance manager or at least a billing manager.
hme: For smaller providers who don't have those resources, what can they do to ensure compliance?
Miller: I tell them to inspect what they expect. Hire people with a healthcare background who understand billing. There's a huge learning curve. It's a very difficult task to get someone off the street you can hire and train, plus that process will put you further behind in billing and collections. Make sure they're taking online or offline training. Smaller providers need to look at education as a marketing tool. This is an area where you have to spend money to make money. Often small business owners wait until they have creditors on their doorstep to think about compliance. They need to get someone in to help them before it's too late.
hme: Will a strong compliance program improve a company's business performance?
Miller: A strong compliance program will educate your staff and protect your business. Referral sources want to do business with providers with good compliance programs. It will improve your overall cash flow and improve your DSO.
hme: What one piece of advice do you hope providers took away from your presentation at this year's Medtrade?
Miller: That compliance should not be looked at just as overhead, but as a cost that will improve your business.