Excellence flows from top to bottom

Monday, March 31, 2008

The overarching philosophy at Valley Home Care is to “focus on clinical and service excellence and the rest will take of itself.” As demonstrated by two consecutive first runner-up titles in the HME category of the HME Excellence Awards, that approach seems to work very well for them.
Whether it’s with patient care, referral source relations, retail operations or customer service, the Valley team emphasizes quality and excellence above all, said Michael Wade, director of marketing and customer relations.
“It is what has built our reputation with our customers,” he said. “Our referral sources trust us to give their patients the best care possible and our patients know that our company will get them the products they need.”
Centralized intake is designed to ease the referral process for clinicians and hospital discharge planners, Wade said. When referral sources call the company, patients are automatically directed to the closest of Valley’s three branches.
“That way the referral source doesn’t need to figure out which store to call to serve that patient,” Wade said. “Intake is where excellent service starts—it’s about better coordination of resources and having a centralized understanding of which equipment needs to go where.”
Valley Home Care is affiliated with the Valley Health system, a hospital-based provider network serving the northern Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, West Virginia and western Maryland. Its spectrum of services includes acute care, rehabilitation, extended care, outpatient and community-based care.
Among several outstanding aspects of Valley’s operation, the HME Excellence judging panel zeroed in on its retail business, quality improvement, customer service and community involvement.
“I liked their store from an aesthetic point of view,” one judge stated. “It was modern, had an easy flowing design and presented customers with easy instruction on product usage.”
Besides creating an attractive and functional showroom, Valley’s retailing approach depends on thorough patient assessment, Wade said.
“Patients have more than just one condition, which means they often need more than just one product,” he said. “They need a full range of products and services. We carry a lot of products that can make their lives easier and many of them aren’t covered by insurance.”
Valley has also launched a new home safety initiative in which a company representative visits a patient’s home, evaluating the environment and making safety recommendations.
“It can be something as simple as adding grab bars, but it doesn’t have to involve products at all—it can be removing something, like a throw rug,” Wade said.
The commitment to excellence flows down through the organization from the top. President Frank Heisey and Director Angie Fishel are respiratory therapists by trade, and Heisey served as a surveyor for the Joint Commission.
“They both show strong leadership,” Wade said. “With their backgrounds, they have placed a great emphasis on performance improvement, setting the bar high and hiring people who are committed to doing things right and doing them well.” hme

Valley Home care
Founded: 1984
Headquarters: Winchester, Va.
Employees: 42
Accreditation: Joint Commission
Groups/ affiliations: AAHomecare, VADMEC, RESNA, NRRTS, AARC, VGM
Community projects: Camp Super Kids for asthmatic children, Shenandoah Valley AWAKE for sleep apnea patients