ATLANTA – The start of spring, NCAA brackets, and warmer weather all took a back seat as the United States endured unprecedented closures and cancellations due to concerns about the spread of corona virus. With many DME providers on the front lines of home ventilation (and other medical needs), the situation has led to profound personal and professional concerns.
“It’s scary in West Virginia, because there are not enough test kits and we have an at-risk population,” said Regina Gillispie, RRT, owner of Best Home Medical, Barboursville, W.V., and winner of the 2018 Van Miller Homecare Champion Award. “Our state government is not prepared. We need Medicare and Medicaid to waive ‘chronic stable state’ and make COVID-19 a qualifying diagnosis. Both audits and bidding must also be stopped.”
“We’ve been busy amidst the crisis, but it’s given us some new obstacles, most of all, keeping staff and customers safe,” says Tim Rutti, president, Valley Medical Supplies, Phoenix. “For example, a daily cleaning is required for our locations, our equipment, our employee zones, and company vans.
“We are providing free gloves to customers and free delivery for anything they purchase over the phone or website,” Rutti continues. “We’ve seen rehabs being in lock-down, so this is forcing patients home instead of at a facility. Therefore, demand for lift chairs, beds, and bathroom safety categories has been way up. We have also been lucky in sourcing common COVID-19 supplies like gloves, masks, disinfectant, hand-sanitizer, nebulizers, and thermometers. We limit purchases to one item, but it’s helpful for customers.”
Meanwhile, the American Association for Homecare made industry wishes known last week when it sent a multi-part letter to Seema Verma, CMS administrator. The letter covered such pressing issues as: competitive bidding; coverage for short term oxygen; standard written order; face-to-face encounters; alternatives to proof of delivery request; and more.