Newsletter Article

Jan 21, 2022

Provider Perspective – Rodney Meadows, Director, Eastern Alabama Home Medical

Eastern Alabama Home Medical is located in Opelika, AL, and has been a client of The Compliance Team since 2008. They provide all types of home medical equipment, from wheelchairs to ventilators.

Tell us about your career path to Home Health services.

I applied for a “store manager” position in August of 1980. It turned out to be for a new DME location for a regional drug store chain. “Manager” turned out to mean doing EVERYTHING! Deliver, repair, cleaning, customer service, sales within a 150-mile radius and anything else you can think of.

In 1990 my brother-in-law and I opened a DME business together. We sold that business to American HomePatient in 1997, which had a joint venture with the local hospital. We ran the joint venture’s 3 locations. In 2002, the hospital CEO asked if they were to buy the business, would we run it. We agreed and in 2003 the hospital purchased the business, which we continue to run.

Research at the time showed family businesses last longer because it’s harder to walk away and that seems to be true.

In April of 2022, I’ll be retiring.

What do you do to relax outside of work?

I’m a runner and try to get in 15-20 miles a week. I also enjoy gardening, which was a lifesaver during the early days of the pandemic.

I’ve recently started playing Pickleball in a local group with my wife and brother-in-law and that has been great fun.

I’m also on the board of directors for our local theater group, and act and direct as well. My favorite role was as Teddy Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace.  Our current production is “It’s a Wonderful Life Radio Play.”

How has being accredited been beneficial to EAM?

Accreditation makes you write down your processes and plans, and then make sure they are being followed. The first survey I went through, with a different accrediting organization, all 11 stores failed.  We had written down our processes and plans but hadn’t check to see if the staff were following them!

Accreditation makes everyone perform better, and makes you think about the many things that can happen and plan for them. For instance, we’re in tornado alley and as Safety Officer, I’ve got to think about what we do during a tornado and make a plan for it.

How has working with TCT been?  Anything we could do better for you?

Really appreciate TCT being there for us. TCT wants us to get things right and are good at explaining how to do that. The staff are very responsive, and we feel like we are on the same team. We wanted an accrediting organization that was a partner and that’s what we got!

What has been the best thing about working with TCT?

The policy templates and self-assessment checklists are essential and very helpful. On January 3, I’ll get those checklists out and start using them as my work plan to make sure we are current on everything.

TCT was also Johnny-on-the-spot during the PHE and continually offering webinars and resources. I especially liked when TCT highlighted what other businesses were doing to solve a problem and we could learn from that.

How has the ventilator/PAP recall affected you?

Operationally, this is one of the worst things that has happened to the business. We carry 100% Phillips vents and PAPs and the recall has caused a major disruption to our operations.

We chose to notify and manage the device replacement processes ourselves. We have deployed our CPAP and clinical staff to this project, with the addition of temp workers they are replacing 18-20 devices per day. So far, 70% of our replacement CPAPS that we received from Philips have been replaced.

Covid?  Any lesson learned/silver lining?

The pandemic forced us to become more efficient and we have streamlined some processes. We no longer have walk-ins coming in to pick up supplies and that has helped with disruptions.  At times, there would be 6 or 7 patients coming in, at the same time, that needed supplies.

It has also caused us to be more mindful of proper protective equipment and infection control. We’re careful to make sure we follow procedure.

Any final thoughts?

It’s our passion for this industry and business that made a difference during the PHE. It’s rewarding when you know that what you’re doing means more than dollars and cents, and you love what you’re doing. It will be hard to step away and retire in April but it is time.