NewsPoll: Quality employees lead to success

Sunday, February 26, 2006

YARMOUTH, Maine - Only a smattering of providers believe they are well prepared to survive in the current climate of decreasing reimbursement, according to February's HME News Poll.

Of 151 respondents to the poll, only 13 or 8.7% considered themselves very well prepared to do business in the current market conditions; 4.7% said they are not prepared at all. The majority of providers--63.3%--said they are prepared but need to make some changes.

When it comes to business success, nearly three quarters of poll respondents said they considered quality employees a key factor.

"The image of our company is represented by our employees," wrote Steve Fuller, president of Quality Home Medical in Spartanburg, S.C. Fuller's employees receive on-line training and attend local and regional seminars related to their jobs.

Employee training at other companies encompasses everything from CMS seminars for billing personnel to manufacturer seminars for drivers. Providers invite speakers to their facilities, pay for travel to outside events and personally develop training programs to suit their needs.

Providers like Alta Kuzov carefully monitor in-house policies and procedures to determine areas that need improvement.

"Our compliance officers do frequent audits," says Kuzov, a location manager for Air Option Respiratory Care in Montrose, Colo. "Our company is very motivated to train and update all employees."

Most providers say retaining good employees entails seeking staff input and offering incentives. More than half of respondents, or 68.7%, said they offer financial incentives beyond salary. Those incentives range from individual gift certificates to bonus programs based on sales and company growth.

"I firmly believe sharing the wealth is part of ownership," said Ronald Reed, president of Benchmark Mobility in Indianapolis. "If the company succeeds, so does the employee."