Home infusion group seeks to distance providers from 'bad apples'

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Home infusion providers are considered to be by and large an ethical bunch, and they want to make sure everyone knows it.

The National Home Infusion Association (NHIA) in April released the "Standards for Ethical Practice," during its annual conference.

"We thought it was a good time to make a public statement that reflects what we've been doing for so many years," said Russ Bodoff, NHIA president and CEO. "We are committed to the patients and we are committed to good ethical practices."

The new code of ethics was developed by a group comprised of clinicians, providers and compliance experts. It is based on rules and guidance already in place. It covers key areas of operating a home infusion business, including: patient care and caregiver support; business practices; interactions with referral sources; compliance oversight and accreditation.

"They are all important but it's not a coincidence that the first major section is devoted to patient care," said Bruce Rodman, vice president of health information and policy for NHIA. "Patient care is what it is all about."

Another impetus behind creating the code of ethics is Congress' increased focus on getting healthcare industries to set standards and police themselves, said Lisa Getson, NHIA board member.

"Both Congress and CMS were starting to see examples of some bad apples in Miami and other areas," said Getson, executive vice president, government relations and corporate compliance for Apria Healthcare/Coram Specialty Infusion Service. 

Of particular concern for the home infusion industry: Fly-by-night infusion clinics that have been caught up in fraud sweeps, she said.

"Those weren't true home infusion companies," said Getson. "The association wanted to separate itself from them by establishing a set of standards that members would embrace."