HME Excellence Awards: Carolina's HME targets 'quality revenue"

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

MATTHEWS, N.C. – Carolina’s Home Medical Equipment has its own way of measuring just how well the full-service DME company is meeting patient expectations.
The first: customer satisfaction.
“We treat every customer as if it was our own parent, so if it’s not good enough for our mom we’re not going to do it,” said Andrew Trammell, vice president and CFO of Carolina’s, based in Matthews, N.C.
Carolina’s founder, Frank Trammell, calls this focus “extreme service.” It’s an approach that resonates with customers, who are willing to pay for Carolina’s extra attention to detail and high-quality products.
Andrew Trammell said this kind of laser-focused customer service is possible because of Carolina’s 36 hard-working employees, who have become increasingly adept at navigating competitive bidding, payer denial and audits.
The second way Carolina’s measures its success: data mining.
Every HME company has felt the sting of Medicare audits, but rather than accept a payer denial as the cost of doing business, the company now mines data and patient outcomes to improve performance and increase revenue.
It’s an approach that has led to changes across the company to boost efficiency, anticipate payment issues and be more responsive to customer needs.  
When Kaitlin Nacarato, director of audits and revenue enhancement at Carolina’s, analyzed all of Medicare wheelchair audits in an effort to reduce denials, her work led to changes in the company’s intake procedures. As those changes were rolled out, Nacarato posted frequent updates on a dry erase board to let the rest of the staff know how the process was going.
“It gave everyone a vested interest,” Andrew Trammell said. “Having that partnership is a really positive experience.”    
Thanks to data mining, Carolina’s prepaid audits paid at appeals has jumped from 23% in the second quarter of 2014 to 95% in the first quarter of 2016
“It revolutionized everything we do,” Frank Trammell said. “Our revenue is quality revenue. We know we are going to get paid. Period.”