Annual Advisory Board Roundtable

COVID-19 Means Accreditation Adjustments

The public health emergency’s direct impact on day-to-day HME operations includes accreditation. What do providers need to know?

Introduction: Each fall, members of HMEB’s Editorial Advisory Board share their time and expertise to examine the various factors that will impact providers in the coming months. In this installment, Sandra Canally, RN, the founder and CEO of accreditation organization The Compliance Team, discusses how COVID-19 has impacted accreditation and simultaneously made it all the more important for providers to secure.

The most important thing impacting accreditation is COVID-19 and the public health emergency has altered day-to-day operational practices. That’s directly related to accreditation, because we’re looking at not only what’s in HME providers’ manual with their policies and procedures, but whether they’re actively performing those processes, according to the written policies and procedures. And certainly what we found over this period is providers have had to alter not necessarily what they’re doing, but how they’re doing it.

If providers are coming up for renewal, The Compliance Team has a real-time, remote virtual program that we’re utilizing for the survey process as long as the public health emergency exists. Once the PHE is dropped, we still have to go out and perform an on-site within a certain time period for these same providers. But that said, right now, they’re submitting their policies and what plans they put in place, which we’re then reviewing. And then, using technology, we’re actually doing a survey looking at their warehouse, talking to staff, etc.

Also, we already have an accreditation backup due to the PHE, but now we’re going into a heavy, three-year renewal cycle year that is typically double the amount of on-sites that we have in the off years. Also, CMS has given us a timetable that says it needs to be either done six months from the date of the virtual, or within a calendar year, or six months from when the public health emergency is lifted, or within a calendar year of the virtual site survey.

So you can see accrediting organizations have all these people that we’ve had to extend. That’s not even counting the new people that have come into play that got their numbers without accreditation.

About the Author

Sandra C. Canally is founder and CEO of The Compliance Team, Inc., which was approved by CMS in 2006 to accredit all types of DMEPOS businesses. For more information, visit www.exemplaryprovider.com or e-mail info1@tctinc.us.

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