Wednesday, December 31, 2003

HMEs & the new order
With Calvin Cole

Q. How will the accreditation portion of the Medicare bill affect HME dealers?

A. The Medicare Drug Act will dramatically change the way HME providers operate. Because of the new law, our industry has an outstanding opportunity to proactively raise the quality bar. Accreditation is first and foremost a quality improvement; it is the stamp of approval from an independent organization that verifies not only the credentials and processes utilized in our industry but also requires a higher level of standards. The supplier community has always needed a level playing field in order to compete fairly.

Self-policing our sector of health care is, quite frankly, not only a necessary requirement but also a serious responsibility. This action regarding accreditation is timely and an important first step. Of course, it will not solve all the fraud and abuse our industry has experienced, but it will go a long way to ensure that companies have policies and procedures for employees and will help reduce the problem. Knowing that companies will be raising the quality bar of their respective businesses will go a long way to help AAHomecare fight for stronger programs in the future.

Although some may not readily accept accreditation and the extra work it requires, they may be the ones that need to participate the most. The rest of us should embrace this law and take the necessary steps to inculcate quality and accreditation into our everyday operations.

Calvin Cole is the director of corporate development at Hoveround: 800-964-6837