Noble House's Mehan on buzzwords, bidding
DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – Richard Mehan believes there will be a time when “everything will be electronic,” but when it comes to HME providers, don’t get him started on buzzwords like EMR. Here’s what the founder and president of Noble House, which recently celebrated its 25th year in business, had to say about more realistic uses of technology for this industry.
HME News: It seems like the biggest hubbub in software right now is the ability of providers across the healthcare spectrum to talk to each other electronically.
Richard Mehan: In the DME arena, electronic medical records gets thrown out a lot, but my first question is always: Who do you want to share data with and what data needs to be shared? It’s a buzzword: ‘Oh, EMR, have to have it.’ But when you talk to a provider, they don’t know who they want to share data with and what data needs to be shared. That’s what I see playing out right now.
HME: It’s too soon for HME providers?
Mehan: How do you get all these different players to start sharing data—no one has stepped up to the plate yet.
HME: So what are some more realistic uses of technology for HME providers?
Mehan: In the beginning, electronic claims submission was 60% and today it’s 99%. Now that the foundation has been laid, we’re working on supporting documentation. There’s a little known or promoted feature of ANSI called Standard 275. What it does is allow a document to go electronically with the claim. Medicare is not there yet, but private payers are supporting this standard.
HME: How does this help HME providers?
Mehan: For workers comp claims that require progress notes and other documentation—currently, the provider is faxing that in to the payer, so the claim gets married to the documentation. With this standard, both the claim and the documentation can be submitted electronically.
HME: Looking back, what changes in the industry have you seen over the past 25 years?
Mehan: For some of the smaller providers, competitive bidding has given them an exit strategy. But for some of the larger providers, it has given them the opportunity to expand. We’ve seen consolidation, but those still in business today are thriving and growing. They’re becoming more efficient by using the resources available to them in the most economical and productive way. There are some really smart providers out there.