I have received numerous phone calls and more e-mails about sending stethoscopes to Nigeria and mostly Indonesia (“Scam Alert,” HomeCare Monday, July 26, 2004). When I get these e-mails, I get their [credit card information] and address and phone numbers. After I receive this info, I take the time to contact the card holders (banks) and alert them to the fraud.
I myself have fallen [for one of these schemes], but caught the crime before [the crooks] received the merchandise. We got our stethoscopes back but lost to the tune of $500 in shipping.
My only advice is this: Do not sell to foreign countries, period. Or at least, verify the credit card numbers and names and addresses. We really should be doing that for our local customers anyway. I will never sell to anyone outside the USA!!! – Earle Gregory, operations manager, Canyonlands Medical, St. George, Utah
I read the article by Neil Caesar and Kelly Pickens several times and copied and highlighted it (“Are You on the NSC’s Naughty or Nice List?” May 2004). I am taking it very seriously and using it as a study guide to [help keep my company compliant].
What I need to know now is where I can find: already printed/published logs for customer complaint resolution; samples of how other companies deal with this; delivery documentation forms that spell out on paper (in a legally acceptable manner) that delivery and instruction were completed; [and] a warranty coverage policy. I know every store has its own policies, but is there an industry standard that I could modify? – Elliott Magalnick, Adelsys Healthcare, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Neil Caesar of the Health Law Center responds: The NSC has posted helpful Model Equipment Warranty and Beneficiary Complaint Forms on its Web site (www.palmettogba.com). The Medicare Supplier Manual also offers guidelines and suggestions.
To incorporate these templates into your systems, conquer the tasks in steps: 1) Write down what you currently do. Compare existing procedures with the applicable Supplier Standards. (Review the NSC’s Web site for tips.) Revise your existing practices as needed. 2) Train your work force to perform their tasks compliantly. 3) Monitor your staff’s ongoing compliance. 4) Discipline personnel who do not follow the company’s policies and procedures. 5) Monitor education resources for changes in the rules.
Note: The five steps outlined above are the five rungs of the ROPE (Rule Overload Prevention and Elimination) Ladder that have been detailed this year in Neil Caesar’s “Compliance University” column. Watch future issues for its resumption. Check page 84 in this issue for a feature article from Caesar called “The Rule of Courtship.”
Maybe We Can Find Some Money on Mars
While there may not be a pit full of money to pay for the health care needs of the nation’s elderly, (“Spending Spirals Up as Medicare Turns 39,” HomeCare Monday, Aug. 9, 2004), there is a standard of ethics that the nation [should] follow.
We have [money] to look for water on Mercury and … to see if we can find any on Mars. We have pictures of Saturn, and we’re looking toward Uranus … but we don’t have enough to help some old folks get health care. Yet, [the government] points to the [Medicare] entitlement as the “hold-the-line” budget priority.
I’d suggest realignment. – William Baker, president, Rx02, Tucson, Ariz.
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