CPM Machines:

How to Work with Referral Partners to Provide CPMs Post-Surgery

CPMContinuous passive motion devices are widely used for a variety of joint and limb-related surgeries to ensure that patients recover their full range of motion after a procedure. And at one time, providing CPMs was an extremely lucrative business for homecare companies. However, funding for CPMs has seen reductions in the past.

While reimbursement levels for CPMs have dropped from the heady days of the 1980s and 1990s, the funding for CPMs is still very respectable, and there are still ways to build thriving CPM businesses. The key to succeeding in providing CPMs comes down to building relationships with the right referral partners to ensure quality care and service, says Steve Lusky of top Pennsylvania CPM provider for J&J Medical Inc. in Birdsboro, Pa. “You have to know how to do it, and do it the right way,” he says. So how does a provider begin?

Build the Right Relationships

In many instances, patients are often put on hospital-issued CPMs right out surgery — almost while they’re still coming off their anesthesia — and then the treatment needs to continue immediately when they get home. Because this treatment is such a high priority for patient and physician alike, it is critical that the HME provider establish solid relationships with physicians and other key referral partners so that they are the first, post-hospital step in that patient’s treatment.

“When the patient goes to rehab or home, the patient will continue to use it for
up to 21 days in most situations,” Lusky says. “You want to build a relationship not
just with the discharge planner from the hospital, but you want to make a relationship
with the physician that is doing the ordering.”

The way to do that is for the provider to help the physician understand what it does with the passive motion machines. While some competitors might offer CPMs, it is not their expertise and they depend on physical therapists to set them up. A key way to differentiate from those providers is to become a local expert and care partner that offers a range of options that the physician can leverage as part of the treatment program.

And again, this depends on fostering excellent communication with the physician so that the correct frequency, length, range of motion, the right amount of progression, etc. This is especially important given that not all doctors have the same CPM requirements for one procedure or another. The provider must take care to ensure the set up refl ects these differences.

“We delivery [the CPM], we set it up, we measure, we follow up with the patient two or three times after they return home, and if there are issues we go out and take care of it,” Lusky explains. “And we make sure to tell our referral sources what we’re doing.”

An All-Encompassing Approach

Partnering with physical therapists is also crucial, he explains. “We don’t want to be in conflict with physical therapists,” Lusky says. “Passive motion has to work with the physical therapist. Everything the physical therapist does is important, and passive motion is a part of recovery for the patient.”

Bearing this in mind, J&J Medical created an Outcome-Base Care program that not only encourages patients to stick to their CPM treatment, but also reminds them to do their exercises. Part of that program includes providing patients with forms for them to log many times they do their exercise each day, for how long and often did they use the CPM, whether or not they met with the PT, and how their treatment is progressing.

Moreover, the has Outcome-Base Care program inclusion of the full spectrum of the patient’s care has pleased J&J Medical’s central referral partners, the physicians, “[The program] been very successful for us in creating great relationships with our doctors,” Lusky says. “The doctor is who you are following up with after the patient leaves the hospital.”

Educate, Educate, Educate

In some cases hospitals employ well-used CPMs that have been around for a long time and don’t offer the features that newer devices do. This presents providers with an excellent opportunity to offer state-of-the-art solutions for post-hospital care. Make sure that physicians are aware of the options they have available from you. Again, this helps establish you as a key resource with a range of solutions.

Likewise, let referral partners understand the entire process of offering CPMs, including funding. For instance, some physicians are unaware that patients need to be put on a device within a certain time frame after surgery, or that CPM will not get funded by Medicare

Points to take away:

  • While CPMs enjoyed more lucrative funding in the past, the funding for CPMs is still very respectable. But in order to enjoy good success at offering CPMs, a provider must foster solid referral partner relationships.
  • In addition to forging relationships with discharge planners, it is essential that providers work with physicians and physical therapists so that the CPM becomes part of the entire treatment.
  • Also communicate how you provide CPMs and the sorts of quality of service and communication referrals can expect from you.
  • Also work with patients to ensure they are properly set up and fully understand their CPM treatment. Let the doctor know that you are working with the patient, as well.
  • Educate physicians about the equipment options you offer. Many hospital CPMs used immediate after surgery can be dated.

This article originally appeared in the July 2010 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Editor of HME Business.

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