We continue with part two of our five part series. Last month we discussed the value of service as a primary component of what to expect from your DME provider. This month we will cover the importance of transparency. If your current DME vendor’s definition of transparency means they are virtually invisible until they need something, then it may be time to have a conversation with them.
The healthcare industry is a continuously evolving landscape shaped by state and federal regulations, accreditation requirements, the economy, political environments—the list goes on. As a result, we need real-time information to ensure that we stay ahead of the curve and make decisions based on accurate information. Your DME budget is a significant portion of your monthly expenses, and with the right information you can bring it in line with your revenue goals. This is where your DME value partnership kicks in. A good DME partner should help you understand your expenses, learn about your specific operational goals (as relating to DME), and help you choose the best products based on patient needs and not rental rates.
You should have, at a minimum, regular access to what equipment is currently in your facility, what equipment is assigned to which patient, how long the equipment has been in your facility, the daily/monthly rental price and how much you have spent to date. This will allow you to make decisions about your DME program including when to purchase long-term rentals and how to manage the therapeutic needs of your patients, as well as maintain a vigilant eye for unnecessary items that may have been lost in the shuffle or billed past their pick-up dates. Over the past 10 years, I‘ve seen the average DME expense decrease by more than 50%, because facilities have reviewed this type of information on a regular basis.
Another important area of transparency involves invoicing. During my time with AP/AR professionals in hospice, skilled nursing, LTACH and in-patient rehab facilities, I’ve seen invoices ranging from immaculate to atrocious. Know that each customer (facility/organization) is different, and that each has specific preferences. It would be nearly impossible for a DME company to establish a perfect invoicing system that every customer would universally embrace. However, it shouldn’t take an interpreter with a degree in forensics to decipher your monthly invoice. You should be able to see at a glance what is/was in your facility and where during the invoicing period. In fact, if you have weekly rental reports, it should be easy for you to assess your invoices and move it through the system faster.
Does your DME partner provide a transparent system that helps you meet your DME goals? If not, have a discussion with them. It may be as simple as alerting them that you expect more. At ProCare we have an automated reporting system providing weekly reports to our customers regarding their current DME. We have the ability to customize reports, frequency of reports, and the distribution list of recipients. Again, not all DME companies have this ability. At the very least they should have some type of system that allows them to maintain accurate records of their inventory (that’s an accreditation standard). Ask for it. If they aren’t willing to establish something for you, it might be time to go vendor shopping.
I hope you all had an incredible 2016 and that your New Year’s went off without a hitch. We are looking forward to 2017 and the opportunities that it brings for both us and our client partners. Stay tuned next month for the third installment where we will cover the need for cleanliness. I know that seems like a no-brainer, but you might be shocked at what industry standards allow into your facility and for your patients. After that we will discuss “A Partnership Mindset” and “Experience.” Thanks again! See you next month.
Chris Hunt, CEO at ProCare