Reporter's notebook: Welcome to our world, hospitals

Friday, September 26, 2014

WASHINGTON – The Aug. 20 Open Door Forum was pretty much all hospice, all the time (OASIS, payment rates, cost report, cap survey), so you won’t be seeing a full story about it in HME News.

But there was an interesting question asked during the Q&A portion that’s worth mentioning.

Someone from a hospital called in to ask CMS officials why physicians are getting such detailed requests for documentation from DME providers.

He said: “We’re getting requests from DME providers for some level of documentation from the physician that there has been a face to face by the nurse practitioner. We’re wondering, in a situation where (patients have been hospitalized), wouldn’t the medical record itself serve that purpose? Can you clarify what’s really needed? There have been situations where discharges are delayed. Physicians, especially in the surgical world, are tied up. We’re not sure what’s required and they’re asking for some detailed information.”

Where do I begin: That the hospital sees the DME provider as a nuisance for trying to follow the rules? That CMS policies can sometimes defy common logic? That patients are getting delayed in their discharges due to that lack of common logic? That hospitals still don’t know what’s going on with the face to face?

CMS didn’t have anyone present at the forum to answer his question. Randy Throndset, director of the Division of Home Health, Hospice and HCPCS, advised him to send an email to the Open Door Forum email address.

I say, welcome to our world, hospitals.