Ready, Set, Grow…
– Kristen Gentry, 9/14/2019
In the past month, Encompass Medical has grown and started to embody the vision that I had when I first put the pen to paper in creating a business plan. Quickly after receiving our Accreditation, we received our Home Medical Equipment License for the State of Florida. So, in terms of becoming a true Durable or Home Medical Equipment company we are there – at least on paper!
The next steps were inventory evaluation and acquisition and training. This step will never truly be accomplished in my opinion. My true belief is if we are listening to the needs of our community, physician partners and healthcare facilities then we will continue to find additional unmet needs that Encompass Medical can fill. However, since receiving our State of Florida License, we have made major strides on inventory evaluation and acquisition. Some of these include adding walkers, rollators, wheelchairs and knee scooters to our inventory for purchase and/or rental. Furthermore, we reviewed different pre-fabricated orthotic braces and added these as part of our in-stock inventory. Third, we made compression garments a focus. Myself and Terri, my mom and associate, have been trained to properly size lower extremity compression garments (socks, stockings, pantyhose) and we offer the full line of Jobst Compression Garments. That’s not all, we have worked with the companies Joerns and The Comfort Company to become direct distributors of healthcare beds for rental as well as a system often used in Assisted Living Facilities called the HALO system. The HALO System is a really neat rail and bed assist handle that is specially designed to offer a variety of different handle options and sit/stand assist positions. It is also created to eliminate any of the typical entrapment points that can and may be found when utilizing a bed rail system that is not manufactured as part of the bed. Encompass Medical is the only Direct Distributor of this product between Tampa and Fort Myers!
It has been a busy month, to say the least! Our work is not done though- far from it in fact! This month we are working on adding Recliners and Lift Chairs to our show room. Come visit us! See what we have to offer. It’s been such an exciting month that almost every day we are making changes to our showroom to accommodate new inventory. More importantly though, it’s been a great month of working one on one with our patients and customers to meet their needs, a month of building relationships with our community, and a month of working to build Encompass Medical into a true community asset that provides Quality Products for Quality of Life. We are honored to serve you!
The Beauty of Accreditation
– Kristen Gentry, 8/5/2019
Working thru the steps of providing quality and safe products and services is key in every industry. There are specific licenses, inspections and sign-offs required before offering certain goods and services for sale to the general public. Well, DME direct to consumer sales and services are no different. In order for a provider to sell certain durable medical equipment items to the public, we are required to be licensed by the State in which we intend to sell.
A Major Milestone
Encompass Medical has been open for approximately three (3) months now. However, today we achieved a major milestone in our business opening process. We were officially notified that the business is Accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Healthcare! This accreditation signifies that Encompass Medical meets the quality and supplier standards required by the State and CMS. It also means that our policies and procedures are in place and acceptable for business operations. Lastly, it displays our commitment to ethical and responsible business practices as well as customer and referral satisfaction.
Moving Along in the Process
So, our first step in the DME business was to set-up the business and open the store. Our inventory, although diverse in terms of including scrubs, cosmetics, ramps, incontinence and ostomy products, has been fairly limited to only those items that do not require a license in the State of Florida. More complex equipment such as walkers, wheelchairs, lift chairs, hot/cold applications, even orthotic braces are all license-required items. But, once open we can apply for Accreditation which means an organization deemed by the State to oversee compliance with State and CMS standards actually comes in to the store and completes an in-depth survey of our policies and practices. Then, once this step is achieved, the Supplier can provide the State with proof of this Accreditation and apply for a State License.
Only One Major Step Remains
Today marks a major achievement and our ability to move forward to achieve a License! I worked last week to complete the State application and this morning when the official Accreditation certificate arrived, the application packet with the accreditation certificate swiftly went in the mail. Now, we play the waiting game for a few more weeks until our license is approved! But, it’s part of the process and necessary to ensure that only suppliers committed to providing quality items and services are actually part of the healthcare delivery system. Today though, we celebrate and display with pride our Gold Seal of Accreditation!
DME or HME Alphabet Soup
– Kristen Gentry, 7/27/2019
In the healthcare world we get all too comfortable with our “alphabet soup” of acronyms. Unfortunately, so much of healthcare jargon is made up of acronyms that we often forget to actually speak in words when we are talking to someone who has not engrossed their entire life in the medical and healthcare world. Admittedly, I’ve done this myself on too many occasions. In an effort to provide some helpful information, I’d like to dive into DME/HME a bit.
What Does DME stand for?
DME spelled out is Durable Medical Equipment. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina provides one of the most comprehensive definitions of DME that I have seen. “Durable Medical Equipment (DME) is equipment that provides therapeutic benefits to a patient in need because of certain medical conditions or illnesses. It consists of items which are primarily and customarily used to serve a medical purpose, are not useful to a person in the absence of illness or injury, are ordered or prescribed by a physician [or other permitted licensed provider based on State], are reusable, can stand repeated use, and are appropriate for use in the home.” (“Corporate Medical Policy, Durable Medical Equipment.” Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. September 2018)
The What is HME?
So, you may have heard the term HME used also. HME stands for Home Medical Equipment. The definition is the same and the two terms are generally interchangeable.
What types of Equipment are Considered “Reusable and Stand Repeated Use”?
The answer to this question is Many Types. Crutches, Canes, Walkers, Wheelchairs, Glucose Monitors, Oxygen Concentrators, Nebulizers, Commodes, Continuous Passive Motion Machines (CPMs), Electro-Stimulation Units (often referred to as TENS or NMES) to name a few of the most common.
Basically any equipment found at a Medical Supply or Equipment Store is considered DME or HME, RIGHT?
Not exactly. To be considered a DME provider you have to carry one category of DME (mobility aids, ambulation aids, respiratory equipment, etc.). However, this does not limit our inventory. Many providers, such as Encompass Medical, work hard to make their store meet the local needs. For example, at Encompass Medical we also sell toilet seat risers, shower and bath chairs, bed rails, even modular and threshold ramps. None of these items are considered DME according to CMS.
Are all of these DME and HME items covered by Insurance?
The short answer to this question is “no.” There are very specific requirements set out by CMS and other Insurers as to what is covered and when it is covered. Although there are a lot of different items covered, it’s important to work with your DME supplier and insurance company to understand the specifics for any single item and your out-of-pocket payment.
In a healthcare environment full an acronyms, it’s important that we as providers are mindful of who we are speaking with. However, just as important though is your questions as a consumer. Don’t let the alphabet soup of healthcare leave you guessing. It’s your health – you have a right to know and understand the information.