Providers place value on non-clinical staff

‘Excellent customer service is a must’
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Friday, October 25, 2019

YARMOUTH, Maine – The vast majority of respondents to a recent HME Newspoll said they pay non-clinical staff more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

It’s important to recognize that front-line employees like customer service reps and delivery techs not only have stressful roles, but also set the tone for patient experience, say providers.

“They are the ones that deal with the public and, therefore, they need to be compensated at a reasonable rate,” wrote Michael Murphy, president, Murphy Medical Supply. “Excellent customer service is a must-have in our industry today.”

Sixty-two percent of respondents said they pay a starting wage of between $11-$15 an hour, while 22% say they pay more than $15. Only 16% of respondents said they pay between $7.25-$10 per hour.

Competitive pay also helps to retain good employees, which saves in hard costs and boosts company performance, respondents say.

“Most companies do not factor in training costs, which can be up to $10,000 per employee,” wrote John Galvin, director, Kent Home Medical Equipment. “A talented workforce is what propels a successful company above the competition.”

With unemployment at record lows, 47% of respondents said they have had to increase starting pay in the last year.

“We had to increase our starting wages to attract quality staff,” wrote Tim Martin, owner, Attention Medical Supply.

Still, it’s no surprise that some respondents say margins are too tight to increase pay.

“We are actually under a wage freeze because of accreditation costs and decrease in payment amounts received from Medicare and insurance companies,” wrote Linda Moore, director, Indian Territory DME.

While competitive pay is important, it’s not the only thing that retains employees, said one respondent, who has no plans to go above $15 per hour.

“Good work environment, empowerment, peer-to-peer leadership and full benefits are keys to retaining staff,” the respondent wrote.