Over the next few months I will be writing about the five things you should expect from your DME company. I have broken it down into segments because who has time to read a novel? Over the past 20 years I have had the opportunity to serve several segments of the professional care market (skilled nursing facilities, hospitals, hospices, etc.), and I believe that there are five critical components to a successful DME partnership: Service, transparency, cleanliness, a true partnership mindset, and experience. This month I will focus on service.
Service seems like a no-brainer right? However, I have found in my discussions with many professional care agencies that they are underserved and they don’t even know it. We (as humans) get used to our circumstances. Often the mediocrity that we hate becomes the standard we expect. The bottom line is you don’t have to settle with mediocre service! Your building/agency demands a certain level of service from your staff to maintain the quality experience required by your customers. A DME company should be an extension of these expectations. I believe there are three basic pillars of service that should be a minimum for any DME company: Timeliness, education, and professionalism. All DME companies should offer 24/7/365 service to accommodate late or weekend admits, afterhours tech support or emergencies, and should be able to accommodate reasonable time requests. Your DME partner needs to understand that your ability to perform timely admits often depends on their ability to provide timely service. Timely service is a key indicator of how your DME partner views your relationship.
We are the experts in DME. When you call we should be able to help your staff choose the right product for your patient and help them understand how to use it. If your DME partner is doing a quick drop off and not performing the education portion of the delivery, or you are constantly being upsold to a more expensive unit, you are being short-changed. It is our responsibility to set-up the equipment, educate the patient/caregiver, and give a return demonstration to ensure it will be used properly. This isn’t just a perk. It’s a requirement by our accreditation body. Isn’t this why you outsource your DME?
Finally, your DME partner is an extension of your brand. They should look and act the part. What do your patients and families say about the staff that delivers their equipment? A large component of our service is patient (and patient family) interaction. In fact, it may be the most important. We train our drivers to make a positive impact on those whose lives we touch. We may be the only human contact they have that day. We may also have an opportunity to bring someone in a bad situation a bit of levity. This is the compassionate side of what we do, and it’s exactly what you should expect from your DME partner.
Service seems like such a basic concept. Every vendor knocking on your door (begging for your business) will proclaim that theirs is the highest level of service available. There are some amazing DME companies out there that do provide excellent customer service. Are you contracting with them? If you’re not sure ask for the full list of their existing clients including branches and facilities, and call their customers. A great DME company will not worry about which customers you call because all will say the same thing…“They Rock!” I hope you all have a great December a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. Look for more next month!
During this Thanksgiving season it is important to reflect on those that have enriched our lives for the better. I personally do not do this often enough, so I would like to take this opportunity to extend a deep heart-felt thank you to all that helped our company come so far over the past year.
First, I would like to thank my amazing staff. You are a first rate team with some of the deepest dedication I have ever seen. When we changed our business model to include DME service to hospice organizations I was scared. No, I was terrified. Your experience, insight, and guidance through this process has helped us become a first-rate service organization. Your long hours, attention to detail, amazing senses of humor, and unwavering compassion to serve is unmatched. I cannot express to you all how much you have all enriched my life. Thank you so much. You are my extended family.
Thank you to the families of the amazing staff. You share your loved ones with me, and I often see them more than you do. Thank you for the late nights, for tolerating the 3:00 AM emergency phone calls, family time disruptions, and all of the other inconveniences that go with the profession we have chosen. Your support in this organization is critical, and I appreciate it more than you will ever know.
Thank you to our customers. Skilled nursing facilities are under a constant barrage of corporate pressure to go with national contracts. Our customers fight this battle every day helping to keep our small company in their buildings. I promise that we will continue to provide the best service possible, and that we will continue to work on improving that service. Thank you for your loyalty, and your friendship.
When we began serving the hospice market we needed a “guinea pig” to help us hone our skills. Thank you Horizon Hospice for providing this opportunity. Your patience and guidance has been priceless. Trevor, Danny, Bridger, Tyra, Sandy, Amanda, and so many more people within your organization all deserve a personal thank you for helping us overcome the hurdles of this new adventure.
Thank you to (in no particular order) Alliance, Complete, and All Care for trusting us to extend service to your patients and their families. I hope that we are living up to our commitments and honoring your service missions. Our hospice relationships have become so much more than a business model. The interactions and personal relationships we earn with patients and patient families are amazing. It is gratifying on an indescribable level to hear about the positive impacts we can have with so many people. It has been an honor to share this mission with you.
Thank you to my partners and mentors David and Gordon. You are an integral component of our company. Your experience and guidance means so much. I have enjoyed getting to know you and your families on an individual level, and I look forward to the next stage of personal and organizational growth.
Thank you to my own family. Thank you to my wife who listens to my silly ideas every day, keeping me grounded, and always watching out (mostly for taking care of the finances because I hate that). Thank you to my children for their patience. Tolerating the inevitable business discussions that seep out of the office and into the dinner table. Thank you to my brothers and mother, all of whom helped establish this organization and different points of our journey. To my entire family; thank you for everything you do and have done. I love you all.
Finally, thank you to the men and women of the United States Armed Services. Your sacrifice makes all of my entrepreneurial adventures possible. There is no way to fully express my gratitude, so I will keep it simple. Thank you for all that you do. Thank you to all veterans active, deployed, and inactive. You are incredibly special people.
There are so many specific expressions of gratitude that I would love to extend to all of you. However, brevity and all of that, so I will close with happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I hope that this is the best yet, and that next year is even better. I look forward to 2016 and all it brings.
As many of our customers know ProCare has added LipoGel to our wound care line. Prior to pulling the trigger on this addition, we researched the product thoroughly. Interviews with Dr. John Kennedy (founder of GenTex, manufacturer of LipoGel), studying the research, and working with doctors in the wound care field gave us confidence that LipoGel would work as advertised. But all of the white papers in the world will not replace first-hand accounts of a product's success.
LipoGel offers two variations of the lipid gel. The standard gel serves as a biofilm inhibitor reducing the bioburden in the wound and disrupting the ability of bacteria to mature. When coupled with NPWT, the gel also serves to protect fragile new tissue from meshing with the NPWT medium. The results are noticibly increased healing rates over traditional standard NPWT. LipoGel Rx has all of the features of the standard product, but also allows clinicians to identify the true nature of pathogen types and counts present in the wound with DNA accuracy. Previous to the introduction of this product, clinicians have been able to treat less than 5% of active bacteria present in the wound (Dowd, S.E. Healing Society, April 2011).
Our conversion to the Kool-Aid came by way of a chronic foot ulcer. The patient was a non-compliant 37 year old female. The wound had a documented history spanning over six months, and the treating physician feared that amputation was the last course of action. ProCare suggested the use of LipoGel Rx in conjunction with the existing NPWT therapy. Treatment began June 27, 2011 and ended July 21, 2011 with closure of the wound. The physician, home health caregiver, and all of us at ProCare were amazed with the spectacular results. And the patient was pretty happy too. It was a last ditch effort that really paid off. ProCare has seen constant positive patient outcomes, and we look forward to many more.
For more information on LipoGel or LipoGel Rx, or to request copies of the LipoGel clinical research contact your local ProCare representative or call 866.633.5755.
We like to think of ourselves as relatively social people at ProCare. In fact, I have left my office on at least two occasions this month and interacted with at least four people. To celebrate the intensity of my new social calendar I have decided to start posting Facebook specials at irregular intervals. Random connection right?
Facebook friends of ProCare will receive offers, via our awesome FB page, for some of our most popular items for nothing or very close to nothing. Yesterday we posted an 18"x16"x3" wheelchair cushion for $4! The wheelchair will be on the block next. Most of this stuff will be new, but we will occasionally have a gently used and refurbished pieces available as well.
Participation couldn't be any easier (unless you don't have a Facebook account, then it could be easier). Just look for us on Facebook (you don't have to look hard... www.facebook.com/ProCareInc ) and click the like button. If you really want to be cool, suggest our page to your friends. It is a statistical fact (myth) that people who are willing to suggest specialty medical company Facebook pages who's offices cover Idaho and Nevada are 200% more likely to experience nirvana within their lifetime. So you've got that going for you.
A good friend of mine had the misfortune of a family member seriously injuring themselves in a fall accident. Her mother fell down a set of stairs while visiting relatives out-of-state which resulted in a lengthy hospital stay. My friend rushed to Montana to be by her mother's side. Thankfully her mother is on a steady road to recovery, and is now back home with her family. However the discharge process was less than smooth, and more than stressful. Here are a few ideas to help make a stressful situation a little easier.
When you are dealing with the trauma of a loved one, the moment is often all that matters. If you can look ahead to recovery, you will gain hope and the ability to make a smooth transition back home. Trauma resulting in hospital stays will often require special medical equipment in the home during recovery. Most of the time we try to get all of this lined-up at the last minute. The inability to have everything ready could delay discharge from the hospital resulting in another day or two stay in the hospital.
Once the situation has calmed-down, it is time to start puting the puzzle together. It isn't that difficult as long as you know where to find all of the pieces. Start in the hospital. The professionals working with your loved one will be your best resource. Physical therapists will know what the most important Home Medical Equipment (HME) will be. Ask them for a starter list, and ask them to keep you updated with any changes or additions. These items will often include: Wheelchairs, crutches, toilet risers, bed frames, oxygen, walkers, grab bars, etc. Begin compiling this list as soon as you are able.
The next step will be to visit the hospital's discharge planner (case manager). This is the individual within the hospital responsible for transitioning your family member back into the home. Discharge planners have access to lists of providers able to supply the HME needed for your family member to go home. There are typically several providers in an area that could provide the HME you will need. The trick is to make sure you pick the right one. Ask the discharge coordinator specific questions. Find out if any providers come more reccomended by patients than others. Ask if the provider has the ability to bill your specific insurance. Then google the providers you are interested in using and see what information the search provides.
Finally, begin dialogue with the HME provider. Find out about delivery schedules, co-pays, and follow-up service. What are their hours of operation? For larger equipment such as air surfaces and negtive pressure, will they be available in the middle of the night if something goes wrong with the product? There are several HME providers, but not all provide the same level of service. A good HME provider will work with you to make the transition home easy and stress-free.
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