SANDWHICH, Mass. (March 19, 2020)—As information about COVID-19 continues to update rapidly, health care providers are continually seeking guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the administration on protocol for dealing with patients and adjusting their practices in these challenging circumstances. Many home medical equipment providers have been proactive in implementing advanced safety measures for their employees and taking additional steps to protect their patients. Gary Sheehan, president and CEO of New England-based Cape Medical Supply, shared some of the actions his company is taking during this emergency with the American Association for Homecare:

“For the safety of our patients and team members, and to comply with the spirit of The Executive Office of Health and Human Services in Massachusetts, which has recommended that all health care providers, ‘Identify ways to limit direct person-to-person contact by leveraging technology, where appropriate,’ we have taken the following steps, after discussion with our payer partners:”

  • 80% of workforce is working from home
  • Telephonic intervention prior to shipment as well as following shipment
  • Numerous digital resources added to assist patients with orientation
  • No disruption to pick/pack/ship for resupply
  • Exception policy for physical visitation where there is a need (table in parking lot where items/paper can be safely exchanged)

“Our feedback from patients has been universally positive and our referral partners were very impressed at the speed of our plan implementation and communication,” said Sheehan in a statement to AAHomecare. “We are balancing the safety of our team and patients with the needs of our patients, with the goal of uninterrupted service. The severity of this situation demanded immediate action and we are pleased at the flexibility and determination of our team in the face of substantial stress for their personal well-being and the well-being of those around them.”

“We have every plan to continue to operate in this fashion and get our patients what they need as quickly as we can, Sheehan added. The situation on the ground here is not particularly encouraging and we are wishing our colleagues in the acute care community, who are about to face an unprecedented challenge, all of our thanks and well wishes. We will do whatever we can to continue to support the healthcare supply chain to ensure our communities have the best chance of success.”