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Frequently Asked Questions




What is HOMELINK?

HOMELINK was founded in July of 1993 as a subsidiary of The VGM Group, Inc. (VGM). VGM is the largest Member Services Organization in the nation for independent home medical equipment dealers.

HOMELINK offers centralized intake, billing and reporting services to approximately 150 contracted referral sources. The 240 employees currently coordinate over 75,000 new patient referrals a year.

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Who makes up your provider network?

HOMELINK is the nation’s largest ancillary provider group with more than 9,000 independent, community-based providers. Through these providers HOMELINK’s network of services include, but are not limited to: home medical and respiratory equipment, custom seating and mobility products, home health nursing and IV therapy, physical, occupational, and speech therapies, orthotics, prosthetics, patient transportation, translation services, home and vehicle modification, hearing devices and supplies, pharmacy, electro medical devices, bone growth stimulators, wound care and ostomy supplies, diabetic products including insulin pumps as well as a variety of other specialty products.

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What advantage do we have with using HOMELINK over another network, a national company or individual providers?

  • The independent providers that HOMELINK refers patients to, join our parent company, VGM Group, Inc. (VGM). As the largest group purchasing organization, HOMELINK is able to pass equipment cost savings back to you, in the form of very competitive rates. By offering other cost savings programs to providers, our relationship with them is a partnership, not just a source for referrals.
  • These same savings are passed onto you through our other networks. (OPGA®, US REHAB®, and HNNA®)
  • As a result of our direct manufacturer contracts, we have the ability to do more in-depth product research.
  • HOMELINK is a One Stop Shop. With just one toll-free call, we will coordinate all of your home care needs.
  • We have multiple community-based providers in all areas of the country to select from. If a referral source insists on using a specific local provider, we can accommodate them.

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What certification requirements are needed to belong to each group?

All orthotic and prosthetic practitioners are ABC certified.
All U.S. Rehab ® members must be NRRTS certified.
Over 75% of the home medical equipment providers are accredited.

All of the home health agencies are state licensed, with the majority being either Medicare certified or JCAHO accredited.

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Do you have a quality process and indicators that validate the quality?

Our Quality Management and Performance Improvement Programs meet NCQA and URAC standards, and are reviewed annually to maintain compliance.

HOMELINK has effective processes in place to provide an ongoing mechanism for review and evaluation of all services provided. The goal is to improve overall performance, as well as to correctly identify problems, trends and deficiencies.

HOMELINK considers process improvement as an ongoing initiative and tracking outcomes helps identify the need for evolving changes within our internal business operations.

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How does HOMELINK handle complaints?

HOMELINK has policies and procedures and an internal incident tracking system in place to resolve patient and provider complaints. This system is designed to make certain that questions, concerns and complaints/grievances are resolved in a timely and fair manner. If the party submitting a complaint/grievance does not agree with a resolution regarding services provided/arranged an appeal process is in place and can be filed.

The complaints resulting in a potential quality of care/service issue are reviewed by the HOMELINK Quality Officer and taken to the Quality Committee for recommendations and improvement initiatives.

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How do I know what the Group/Reason/Remark codes mean on my EOB?

The definitions of the codes can be found here: http://www.wpc-edi.com/reference

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What is the HOMELINK order entry process?

We recognize each of our clients’ needs vary, so our system is designed to maintain maximum flexibility to accommodate these needs.

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HOMELINK’s referral process

Certain minimum information is required for all orders (e.g., patient, billing, and delivery information). We will contact, as necessary, the physician, discharge planner or patient. If a payer needs specific information for claims processing or reporting, we will gather it at this time.

  1. The Case Manager/Adjuster/Claims Examiner or other referral source, contacts our HOMELINK Patient Care Coordinator via telephone/e-mail/ internet/fax requesting needed services & equipment.
  2. HOMELINK arranges all services and equipment with the local provider closest to the patient’s location. HOMELINK will use a specified provider if requested as long as they agree to the contracted rate and the provider can verify licensure. HOMELINK confirms arrangements and validates quality of services delivered with both provider and patient (“Follow-up” Process).
  3. HOMELINK bills the payer source for services and equipment electronically or on a customized billing form. When payment is received from the payer, HOMELINK then reimburses the local provider.

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Who is responsible for determining Medical Necessity or for Pre-certifying the item ordered?

If the plan or case manager requires a prescription, Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) or other type of documentation, HOMELINK will acquire it from the prescribing physician. HOMELINK will call the plan for those items or services that require Pre-certification.

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What is your turnaround time for deliveries?

Most orders are completed or arranged for the same day. This may involve scheduling an appointment, delivery or evaluation and is dependent on the patient’s discharge and availability. Urgent orders are coordinated within two hours.

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What is HOMELINK’s procedure for patient follow-up?

We have a number of mechanisms to ensure the correct equipment or service was delivered to the patient.

  • For DME referrals, our follow-up department attempts to call all patients to ask a series of patient satisfaction questions. Follow-up will attempt to reach the patient by phone for two consecutive days. If contact is not made, HOMELINK will call the dealer for proof of delivery or service. Follow-up personnel relay any possible negative comments back to the appropriate personnel, who contact the dealer and/or the patient to correct the situation. If the situation warrants, we will contact the case manager.
  • For home health services, HOMELINK attempts to reach the patient for two consecutive days. On the third day, if follow-up personnel are unable to reach the patient we call the home health agency. HOMELINK will always provide the name of the home health agency to the Case manager if they wish to contact the provider directly. One day prior to the completion of authorized services the provider is called by HOMELINK to see if further visits are needed. If additional visits are indicated, the case manager/adjuster is contacted to discuss the situation. No nursing visits will be provided unless they are authorized by the case manager or adjuster.

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How often is the Case Manager contacted? Is there follow-up communication as well?

The case manager is always kept in the communication “loop” throughout the process. After a case manager calls in a referral they will receive an e-mail or fax reconfirming the order, including rates, if applicable. We send a final e-mail after the item has been delivered and our follow-up is completed. Nursing referral notes are faxed to the case manager on an as needed basis.

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What types of reports are available to case managers?

HOMELINK currently has over 100 standard reports in our proprietary system.

These reports are available as needed by the payer or referral source. The most commonly requested reports contain utilization, savings and billing summary information. Reports are usually run monthly or quarterly, but can be generated for any time frame needed. The reports can be customized for a client, listing only the data they desire.

  • ADHOC reports can be run at no charge as long as the data is stored in our system. Custom reports can be designed for any client.

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What is included in your specialty services?

Diabetic supplies (including insulin pumps), ostomy supplies, bone growth stimulators, CPMs, regular TENS and specialty electro-medical devices, negative pressure wound therapy, wound supplies, all types of specialty beds (low air loss and bariatric), other types of bariatric products, and comprehensive respiratory supplies and services as well as home and vehicle modifications.

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Are custom seating and mobility products part of HOMELINK’s specialty services?

Yes. HOMELINK’s US REHAB® network is made up of NRRTS certified companies and can provide almost any type of custom manual or power electric wheelchair, seating systems or other patient mobility products. All services are provided after a thorough patient evaluation by a qualified rehab technician.

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Does HOMELINK provide Respiratory Equipment?

Yes. We arrange for the provision of all types of oxygen (concentrators, compressed gas or liquid), nebulizers, CPAP and BiLevel, ventilators, apnea monitors, suction equipment and supplies for all services mentioned above.

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How does HOMELINK monitor initial compliance?

HOMELINK contacts the provider to monitor and assess compliance as requested. This is generally communicated through the benefits verification or recertification process. If it appears the patient is compliant, we then bill for the item.

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Does HOMELINK arrange for Wound Therapy services, equipment and supplies?

Yes. HOMELINK provides negative pressure wound care systems and can arrange for virtually any type of support surface. Wound care supplies are available at very competitive rates via HOMELINK’s mail order program. We can also arrange for many supplies needed the same day for short-term patients. We also have several providers with wound care specialists/ET nurses on staff.

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Do you bank TENS units?

Yes.

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Since HOMELINK works with many independent home care providers, how are claims submitted?

HOMELINK bills for all patients referred through our call center. Providers are required to bill us and we submit the claims to the individual plan. All billing is done under the HOMELINK Federal Tax ID and NPI number.

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What form does HOMELINK use for billing?

HOMELINK uses over 15 forms and methods for billing. 1500 forms can be modified for each payer source based on their information requests. HOMELINK submits claims electronically using the ANSI-837 format. We also have direct connectivity to some payers. Individual company requests for specific billing formats are readily available.

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How have you established your prices, both billed charges and contracted rates?

HOMELINK’s parent company, VGM Group, Inc. is the largest group purchasing organization in the home medical equipment industry. The VGM group of companies negotiate discounts with about 200 manufacturers and allow more than 3,000 companies with over 6,000 locations to obtain equipment and services for the best rates in the HME industry.

These companies range in size from the smallest “Mom and Pop” companies doing less than $500,000 per year in sales to large regional providers with sales in excess of one hundred million dollars. As would be expected, larger providers may get bigger volume discounts than the smaller companies. All receive substantially lower prices than they could get on their own.

As a purchasing group we know what prices our members pay for most types of equipment. The following procedure is then used to give us a starting point for the development of a fee schedule:

  • Starting with the rate a smaller company pays for an individual item per HCPCS code, a reasonable profit margin is calculated.
  • HOMELINK’s processing fee is added to this rate.
  • The result is compared to Medicare fee schedules, other rates offered to HOMELINK by individual payers, manufacturer suggested retail prices and amounts charged by competitors.


Usual and Customary rate calculation is more complicated. HOMELINK subscribes to the Ingenix MDR system for billed charges. We combine rates for the 11 largest MSA’s in the United States and develop an average charge using the same methodology as the Medicare program. This rate is compared to our standard fee schedule and an available discount is determined. If the average billed charge is more than 40% higher, we try to assure an apples to apples comparison is being performed. A similar examination takes place if the available discount is lower than 20%.

Manufacturer suggested retail prices are also used if the procedure discussed above does not give a clear rate. These types of products would include any non-contracted products, custom manual and power wheelchairs, and a broad range of specialty products. HOMELINK has also conducted surveys with members to determine how they set U&C prices versus the Medicare fee schedules. These rates are compared to the calculated prices discussed above resulting in a U&C fee schedule.

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Does HOMELINK charge for shipping and handling or delivery?

Our standard policy is that all delivery is free. There may be cases when a patient needs a particular item(s) by the next day, and special ordering is required. In such cases where a premium-shipping fee is requested, it will be discussed with the patient and the case manager before HOMELINK bills for it.

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What happens if a HOMELINK member bills us directly?

This occurs infrequently (in less than 0.5% of all referrals). If it does happen, please notify us immediately. We will address the matter with the local provider, and reiterate the procedure for handling these claims.

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Since HOMELINK uses independent subcontractors to fill patient referrals, how do you assure the use of qualified providers?

It is our goal to obtain and maintain information about providers which HOMELINK accesses, and to validate that each provider meets HOMELINK’s acceptable level of quality performance standards. The following is reviewed to validate each provider: provider credentialing application, quality management plan, customer satisfaction information, as well as additional information deemed appropriate by the Credentialing Committee. Providers are asked to submit the following information:

  • The completed HOMELINK application
  • A copy of their business accreditation certificates/licensures and personal credentialing/licensures of employees or contracted professionals
  • A copy of current liability insurance coverage
  • A copy of their W-9
  • Summary of professional liability claims for past (5) five years if applicable
  • A list of current locations and hours of operations
  • A copy of their existing quality/improvement management program
  • A copy of their existing HIPAA Privacy Policy Practices

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Where can additional information about HOMELINK be obtained?

Additional information can be obtained by calling our marketing department at 800-482-1993 or by visiting our website at www.vgmhomelink.com.

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