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July Facilitator

 

The Facilitator
 

ABCOP
 

July 2020

We're Here for You!

Stay updated with our COVID-19 information page
ABC continues to support accredited facilities during this difficult time. For updates on what ABC is doing for certified individuals and accredited facilities, along with resources from CMS and the O&P profession, please visit our dedicated information page.

 

Medicare Corner: Patient Calls Requirement

When reviewing our most recent accreditation process satisfaction survey comments, we discovered that some compliance officers weren’t aware that CMS requires ABC surveyors to contact and speak with Medicare patients during all onsite surveys. Let’s address this important part of the survey process for those who may be unaware of this requirement or have forgotten about it since your last survey.

Here are the basics:

  • CMS requires ABC surveyors to contact and speak with a few randomly selected Medicare patients from your practice.
  • Someone from your staff should be present for these calls so they can address any follow-up questions or concerns the patient may have.
  • Your surveyor will go over the questions they plan to ask with you or a designated staff member prior to calling patients. Your surveyor will inform your patients that they are calling them as part of your quality assurance program.
  • Your surveyor will confirm with the patient that they received a specific device/item and ask:
    • Were you given information on the function, care and use of your device?
    • Were you told the benefits and precautions of your device?
    • Were you asked to make a follow-up appointment?
    • Were you provided contact information in the event of problems before your next visit?
    • Do you have any questions about the device or services you received?

While allowing your surveyor to directly call a sampling of your patients may seem slightly invasive, it is all in an effort to prevent fraud and abuse of the Medicare program, a program in which millions of Americans depend for vital health care services and drugs. We want you to be aware of this CMS requirement, so that you aren’t caught off guard and to ensure we are all doing our part to prevent fraud within our profession.


 

New Application and Expiration Dates for 2020 Expirees!

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, ABC delayed application and expiration dates for facilities expiring in 2020. All facilities with new application and expiration dates have been notified via email. The new dates are as follows and can also be found on ABCop.org:

Original Expiration Date New Application Due Date New Expiration Date
June 30, 2020 not applicable September 30, 2020
August 31, 2020 July 1, 2020 November 30, 2020
October 31, 2020 September 1, 2020 January 31, 2021

The above dates are subject to change and we will notify your primary facility if there are additional changes. You can also look for any facility updates on our dedicated Coronavirus Update page.


If your facility is expiring in 2020, then your primary facility should have received an electronic copy of your Accreditation certificate. Please note that the primary facility email address shown in your facility’s MY ABC account is where we send all major communications, so it is important that you check to make sure that email is correct and up to date.


We encourage facilities to submit your applications and fees on time to ensure that your survey can be conducted before your expiration date. As always, you can apply and submit payments for reaccreditation online by simply logging into your facility’s MY ABC account.


 

Surveyor Notes: Improvement Takes Leadership
By Pam Lupo, CO, ABC Surveyor

One of the most rewarding aspects of having been an ABC facility accreditation surveyor for many years is the ability to share what I have learned with my peers. The one thing that has stayed with me the most is the guidance from ABC’s mission statement -- to establish and advocate for the highest patient care and organizational standards in the provision of safe and effective orthotic, prosthetic, and pedorthic services. These words may appear simple, but are really all-encompassing. They stand for so much more.

Historically, the varied landscape and vast range in the quality of facilities at times was extreme. However, during my 15 years as a surveyor, I’ve seen the dedicated individuals in this profession step up to the plate and help transform O&P from an industry to a true healthcare profession dedicated to professionalism, best practices, quality care, education and a vision to meet the needs of our future patients.

Among the biggest areas of improvement have been leadership ‘buy in’, employee development and consistency. As I observed years ago, facility accreditation was something owners often did because it was required in order to bill CMS or other payers. Sadly, owners often felt it was a waste of their time and avoided any involvement in the process. Today’s facility owners and managers, on the other hand, are eager to participate in the survey process, understand opportunities for improvement and are more engaged overall. When I return to some of the same facilities, it’s clear that the positive changes that occur between visits are due in part to the support and encouragement of the facility’s leadership.

Previously, less than 50% of facilities met the standard for staff development and annual performance reviews and that has definitely changed. Facility owners often scoffed at the idea that employees needed a written annual review or failed to understand the potential positive outcomes of providing employee development. But over the years, through education and training from ABC, its surveyors and the profession, there has been a marked improvement in communications between employers and employees which has resulted in consistent performance assessments, staff development and effective goal setting using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Facility leadership is now meeting the Human Resource (HR) Standards more than they ever before and there has been a dramatic increase in employee and business performance through effective employee goal setting.

Facility owners recognize the long-term positive impact that compliance with these standards has on revenue. In the past, the pendulum of focus would often swing back and forth depending on the stage of a facility’s accreditation cycle. Now, both facility owners and staff are engaged in the accreditation process throughout the entire year and the difference it has made in overall compliance, business efficiency and most importantly, patient care, has been tremendous.

I take great pleasure in working with facility owners to improve their processes and procedures and am happy that I am able to share some of my positive observations. I look forward to the continued growth of our profession. Keep up the great work!


 

Telehealth in O&P

Social distancing restrictions and precautions have an increasing number of O&P professionals turning to telehealth as an alternative method for continued patient care during the coronavirus pandemic. Our current Statement on Telehealth in O&P is even more relevant now that the usage of telehealth has been magnified. The statement also specifies the appropriate use of this technology as it relates to the ABC Code of Professional Ethics, Scope of Practice and Facility Accreditation Standards.

We encourage facilities that are considering telehealth for patient care, or are currently implementing it, to review this great resource as it addresses specific criteria and protocol such as new vs existing patients, referrals, solicitation, valid patient-provider relationships, required documentation, appointment types, technology, security, PHI, HIPAA and billing. Also included are Telehealth FAQs that you may find helpful to print out and share with staff.

And there’s more! Listen to our two-part Telehealth in O&P podcast where we get guidance and insights from several special guests:

Episode 25 – Whether you’re already using telehealth in your practice or considering it, be sure to listen to part one of our two-part podcast which includes guidance from ABC and insight from one practice owner and the impact on her practice.

Episode 26 – provides insights from three practitioners who are successfully using telehealth for the continuum of patient care.

Listen to these and other CredCast podcasts at ABCop.org or subscribe via Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts. 

 

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American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics
330 John Carlyle Street, Suite 210
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Tel: (703) 836-7114
ABCop.org

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