Professionalism, meet new certification

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – BOC, a Medicare-approved accreditation organization, will add a DME certification to its stable of offerings in January.

The Certified Durable Medical Equipment Specialist (CDME) will join BOC’s existing certifications for orthotic and mastectomy fitters, orthotists, prosthetists and pedorthists.

“We did a soft launch at Medtrade,” said Claudia Zacharias, president and CEO. “Folks seem eager to embrace a new certification, seeing it as a way to demonstrate their professionalism and move the DME industry forward in a positive way.”

The CDME is targeted at technical staff who deal with equipment delivery, set up, basic repairs and trouble shooting, and patient education.

For owners, having CDME specialists on staff offers a whole host of benefits, Zacharias said. Among them: differentiating your company in the market, managing risk, limiting fraud, increasing customer satisfaction, and helping to assure compliance.

“The CDME will provide psychometrically sound credibility to an industry that is seeking ways to demonstrate their value and trustworthiness to the public,” she said.

BOC has a supporter in provider Rod Borkowski, who says he has heard his share of “horror stories” about delivery technicians.

“The drivers are the face of your company,” said Borkowski, general manager of Health Essentials in Santa Ana, Calif. “I can’t be there at every install to assure the quality that we feel should be delivered is delivered. We have to have our staff on the same page.”

Provider Greg LoPresti believes “you can never have too much professionalism in an industry,” but he also believes the CDME will be a tough sell. Many providers are struggling to make ends meet, never mind spend $200 for an employee to get certified, especially when they probably have pretty extensive training programs.

“Medicare has made the declaration that there isn’t much professional service in what we do and that we’re just drop-shippers, and the cuts to reimbursement reflect that,” said LoPresti, senior vice president/CEO of Upstate Home Care in Clinton, N.Y. “That doesn’t leave much, in terms of investing back in the company.”

But Zacharias and Borkowski believe that adding a level of competency and quality to the industry is worth the expense.

“To me, even if it costs $200 and you have three drivers and two intake personnel, that’s $1,000,” he said. “That’s not a lot of money, especially if it will heighten awareness.”