HOMELINK began operations in July of 1993 with two objectives in mind. The first was to make it easier and more cost effective for insurance companies and independent case managers that work with patients/injured workers to arrange for the delivery and set up of home medical equipment. The second was to direct this business to vendors who are part of The VGM Group, Inc, a group purchasing organization (GPO) for DME services, and HOMELINK’s parent company. As part of The VGM Group, these vendors have been vetted for their quality, ability to service our customers and best in industry pricing obtained through VGM’s manufacturer relationships.
HOMELINK is much more than a referral network. We offer a unique business model that includes centralized intake and coordination of orders, simplified billing through one federal tax identification number, the expertise to direct services to the right products, cost based pricing, and world class service that includes local delivery, set up and instruction, as well as ongoing service.
Call Center – Centralized Intake/Coordination/Billing: HOMELINK’s call center based in Waterloo, Iowa includes 240 associates. Our associates go through a very comprehensive, six month initial training program. Regular re-training is also provided through on-line courses, manufacturer in-service sessions, monthly all staff meetings, monthly supervisor/leadership meetings and individualized training as needed. We have a very low turnover rate, resulting in an experienced, motivated and efficient staff.
We offer clients dedicated 800 call in numbers and dedicated teams to handle their referrals. All calls are answered LIVE by a HOMELINK associate who has been properly trained and understands that particular client’s unique servicing needs. Our call center staff is available 24/7/365.
Along with verifying benefits, authorizations and coordinating the orders, we handle all billing. Any payments to local providers are handled by HOMELINK. We can bill electronically or by using the appropriate paper billing forms. All necessary documentation is included and clients have one remit address.
Expertise – Right Product/Service, Right Price: For most of the orders we coordinate there are numerous product and accessory options with multiple price and quality levels to consider. Through our experienced staff we are able to navigate through the options and recommend the appropriate product or service to meet the patient’s needs.
Our first step is to verify benefits and that the equipment or service is medically necessary. We then evaluate the individual and unique needs of the patient to make sure we recommend the most appropriate equipment or service. We work closely with the patient, their physician and all interested parties to gather the facts and make our recommendation. In some cases our local member/network provider will assist by visiting the patient where an evaluation is needed to assist in the selection. We always balance providing the most cost effective option with making sure quality is not compromised.
Local Delivery, Instruction, and Service: With the exception of some supplies, products are not drop shipped to the patient. We coordinate delivery, set up and instruction by a local member/network provider we work with. Many items need to be set up and adjusted to properly fit and work for the patient. They also need to be instructed on proper use. This local presence also helps us with ongoing servicing and repair needs, supplies, and re-orders.
Product Innovation: HOMELINK has preferred relationships with hundreds of manufacturers in the HME/DME industry. We are provided with timely information and training on new products they have to offer. We routinely have multiple product in-service sessions each month with manufacturers so our staff is well versed on the availability of the latest product offerings.
HOMELINK also strives to continually look for additional ancillary products and services we can provide to clients. Some of our latest new product offerings include:
- National Sleep Services – program targeted for diagnosing and treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). We offer initial screening, in-home sleep testing with chain of custody, CPAP/APAP therapy and ongoing compliance monitoring.
- EO2 Advance Wound Healing – we are the sole provider of the TransCu wound care device which provides low dose and continuous topical oxygen for difficult to heal wounds. Our success rate for complete healing of these complex cases has exceeded 70% which is quite impressive considering many of these patients have been on a traditional negative pressure wound device for more than six months.
- National Independent Rehab Association (N.I.R.A) – We have developed a comprehensive program for complex rehab cases including spinal cord injuries, paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and other diseases and disabilities where high end rehab equipment is needed.
Technology: HOMELINK has our own dedicated internal IT staff. Along with supporting our internal business needs, they excel in working with clients to establish electronic interfaces (i.e. for sharing claims data). Referrals can be sent electronically and we have a web portal where clients can obtain status and information on orders we are coordinating. We also offer electronic billing and reporting services.
Reporting: We offer a wide range of stand and customized reports we can share with clients reporting on utilization, cost savings, trend analysis and other factors. Reports can be employer specific and all reports are created and handled in-house by our reporting analysts.
At HOMELINK, our vision is to be an elite, managed healthcare cost containment industry leader by providing superior services and value, embracing clinical cost saving innovations, presenting exceptional customer service, and supporting a knowledgeable, skilled and caring employee staff, in the eyes of our customers and employee owners. We do this by showcasing efficiency to ensure service is completed in an accurate and timely manner, maintaining the highest quality standards, focusing on continuous creation and enhancement of partnership through teamwork.
- Organizational Stability/Ownership Structure – HOMELINK is owned by our employees. As employee owners, our associates are naturally motivated to help the organization, our clients and their members achieve great outcomes. Many of the companies in our industry are owned by venture capital firms. We are not dependent, now or in the future, on VC investments and our associates and clients don’t have to worry every 5 years or so if the company will be sold.
- Cost based pricing – HOMELINK’s fee schedule is based on a “cost plus” structure. As a part of The VGM Group, Inc., we know the acquisition cost of equipment for our network providers. VGM has relationships with the manufacturers and we have negotiated group buying discounts on behalf of our member/network providers. We start with their acquisition cost and add in a small operating margin to help the provider cover their costs (delivery, stocking, etc.). Then, we add HOMELINK’s operating margin (call center, billing, etc.) to come up with a fair and competitive rate. We then compare those rates with Medicare rates and the rates our competitors charge to make sure we are competitive.
- HOMELINK Business Model – Our business model is efficient and easy to work with. The components include:
- Centralized intake and coordination of orders – Call our client specific, toll free referral line and speak to the dedicated team servicing your account. Or if it is more convenient, submit your referral to us on-line, where you can also check for the status of the order.
- Local delivery, set up, instructions, and service – Our local member/network provider will deliver the product to the patient’s home, to the hospital to coincide with their discharge, or wherever and whenever it is convenient. The product/equipment is set up and customized for the patient and thorough instructions are given. If the patient has any subsequent issues with the product/equipment our local member/network provider will service and/or replace the product/equipment as needed.
- Centralized billing – All billing is done by HOMELINK using one FTIN. You will see consistent and professional billing and you will have one remit to address. Electronic billing is available and preferred.
- World class customer service – Whether it is our call center staff, our member/network provider, our billing staff, or any member of our service team you will be very impressed with our responsiveness, expertise and accountability.
- HOMELINK University - As a partner with HOMELINK, you have unlimited access to HOMELINK University. This internet-based “college” has hundreds of courses available for access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. HOMELINK University offers continuing education credit from the following accrediting agencies:
- Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC)
- Commission for Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC)
- Certification of Disability Management Specialists (CDMS)
- Commission on Certification of Work Adjustment and Vocational Evaluation Specialists (CCWaves)
- If you are looking for general knowledge or for a more complex curriculum, this is a great resource.
- The VGM Group In the 26 years since VGM was founded, there have been two constants: serving members and continuous growth. What started as a buying group for independent home medical equipment providers has evolved into a national organization that is known for both the services it provides through more than 20 business units, its extraordinary customer service, and the warm Iowa hospitality extended to the thousands of visitors who’ve come to Waterloo, Iowa, our founder’s hometown and the epicenter of the home medical equipment industry.
So what does all of this mean to you? It means that HOMELINK, as a part of The VGM Group, has access to industry experts directly under the same roof. We can research a product or service so you don’t have to track down the information, we already have people with all of the answers. Also, through our member services buying group, small local companies are able to compete with the competitive rates of larger corporations, increasing the discounts that can be passed along to our customers. This allows not only a larger variety of items to be provided but, for a growing population, more of those items to be accessible.
- Credentialing- HOMELINK understands the importance of quality care, and we work to extend that through our provider network. HOMELINK works exclusively with durable medical equipment providers that have been accredited and we are working to do the same with our home health network. HOMELINK accepts accreditation from the top accreditation entities; JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations), NCQA (National Committee for Quality Assurance), URAC (Utilization Review Accreditation Commission), CHAP (Challenge-Handshake Authentication Protocol), ACHC (Accreditation Commission for Health Care), HQAA (Healthcare Quality Association on Accreditation).
These entities ensure that standards focused on the importance of individual care are being upheld and meet community health needs in a cost efficient and effective manner while maintaining the viability of community health practices nationwide.
HOMELINK holds ourselves to the same standards we do our providers; and are accredited by ACHC. This means that while working with HOMELINK we will always put your needs first while upholding the highest standard of customer service and business practices.