An HME provider is the complete package
I think it's worth highlighting a comment to my last blog about a recent OIG opinion criticizing arrangements between DME providers and sleep labs whereby the DME provider pays the sleep lab to perform certain services related to setting up patients on CPAP devices and educating them.
The question I posed in my blog was: If an HME provider pays sleep labs to set up patients on CPAPs and educate them, what’s left for the provider to do?
Here's the comment from Robert:
Huh? Maybe this is the same reason Medicare thinks competitive bidding is a good idea. It is clear that neither understand how much work is involved before set-up, and in supporting the patient after therapy is dispensed. The actual set-up is a small fraction of the total time spent helping patients get on therapy and stay compliant. I am surprised and disappointed by this editorial posting. To feed into an opinion that all DME’s drop and run and an insult to those who work hard to keep patients compliant and healthy.
Looking back at my blog, I can see how Robert interpreted it that way.
I certainly didn't mean to imply that all HME providers do is "drop and run." Few people outside of the industry know better than the staff of HME News all the work that HME providers do to care for their patients. It's our jobs to know these things.
I know that HME providers are often the first to recognize that a patient may have a sleep disorder.
I know that an HME provider's job doesn't stop after a patient is set up on a CPAP device and educated on not only how to use it but also why it's important to keep using it.
I know HME providers play an important role in making sure patients meet with their physicians between 31 and 90 days after beginning treatment, so they're able to continue treatment.
I know some HME providers even organize support groups to help patients with sleep disorders.
But in my mind, if one removes the set-up and education from the equation, you don't have a provider of home medical equipment and services, you have a manager of patients. To me, an HME provider is the complete package.