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Patient Data: Tap into this resource

Patient Data: Tap into this resource Q. What does the law say about using patient data in your marketing efforts?

A. The HME community has faced many challenges over the past few years, from competitive bidding to bundled payment initiatives and audit programs. Providers are left assessing all available options to generate more business and find new revenue streams. HME providers must focus on creating a strong, efficient marketing operation to communicate with referral sources and directly to patients.

While many providers don't realize it, there is a new potential revenue stream already at their fingertips: patient data. Medicare supplier standards governing the usage of patient data, and an HME provider's ability to utilize it in marketing efforts, have caused many to simply stay away out of confusion or fear of violating Supplier Standards. This patient data series will discuss the rules, what to avoid and best practices.

What does the law say?

DMEPOS suppliers are prohibited from making unsolicited contact with a Medicare beneficiary (including phone, email, computer, instant messaging or in person) unless one of three exceptions have been met:

1.     The beneficiary has given written permission to the supplier to contact them about an item

2.     The supplier has previously provided a Medicare-covered item and is contacting them about that item

3.     The supplier has, within the last 15 months, previously provided at least one Medicare-covered item to the beneficiary

Integrating a beneficiary authorization into your new patient onboarding process is a great way to begin building your patient marketing database. Particularly for items that require timely resupply or pair well with retail items, marketing additional products and services has proven effective in engaging additional interest from patients already receiving equipment.

Stay tuned for tips on how HME's are using patient data to find new revenue.

Ryan Ball is director of VGM Market Data. Reach him at


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