Enough is enough: the patient population deserves simplicity and clarity

Health literacy    Wound care

THE WOUND CARE supply industry is designed to be a simple, efficient and direct way for patients to receive wound care supplies at home. The supplies are ordered by licensed clinicians based on the medical necessity of their patient.  The common understanding of this simple and effective delivery method is that the order being delivered will be billed to the patient’s insurance for payment.

Yet this straightforward practice is being polluted by a new breed of companies that obtain the referral, but are unable to bill the patients insurance; auto-referring to other suppliers unbeknownst to the referring clinician or the patient. This practice, on the face of it, seems like an effective way to create an easy mechanism for a clinic to rely on one provider to handle all patient supply needs.  Unfortunately, the leading provider of this service – who shall remain nameless – is sending the order to several other providers simultaneously. This action creates several shipments to a single patient, resulting in billing by all providers for the supplies shipped to the patient’s insurance.

The result: tremendous confusion at the patient level, creating a barrage of calls to the ordering clinician who has no idea who provided the product.  This practice allows only one provider to be paid, and the other’s claims being denied, creating unnecessary bills sent to the patient in need and a violation of the trust the clinician has placed in their selected provider.

The perceived simplicity that this action provides only complicates the entire supply chain.  The reality is that this practice results in much less efficiency in the clinic, more confusion at the patient level, and ultimately unnecessary losses for the providers.  With the healthcare system in a constant state of flux, this type of unorganized and reckless practice only exasperates an already frustrated patient population. Patients need to be responsible for many aspects of their own care will ultimately be a victim of such ridiculous practices.

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