Building Block Nebulizers!

Lego Neb by AirialDo you hate trying to get your kids to eat their vegetables? I can only imagine in my family how much easier and more enjoyable dinner time would be if we did not have to go through this ordeal every night. Imagine if you have a young one who has asthma and has daily treatments with a nebulizer? I have good news and its . . . AWESOME!

Howard’s just received our first shipments of block nebulizers that kids can play with. We had a child in our store yesterday and he was excited for his asthma treatment because now he gets to play while taking his medication.

In addition to the starter set, we have two other nebulizer packs (one with pirates) and the pricing starts at $14.99 so if you are a mom or dad and have a little one who needs their nebulizer, go with the FUN way and try our new nebulizers. Also, if you are older, we won’t judge, you can get one too if you’d like!Pirate Series Neb

Last, nebulizers are covered under all insurance programs if you have a valid prescription and diagnosis.

Call us if you have any questions, we are here to help!

Erik at Howard’s


City Series Lego

Preparing for surgery

Preparing for surgery can be full of anxiety. About of the quarter of the patients we work with at Howard’s are surgery patients. Hip replacement, knee replacement, back surgery, etc.  Most of these surgeries are predicable where the patient has had some kind of chronic problem and then after all other forms of therapy, drugs, and alternate forms have failed the patient decides to jump in and get cut.

We have some amazing doctors in Yakima or Seattle depending on where your surgery takes place so know you are in good hands. When the surgery is done though, there will be a period of recovery that varies in time depending on your surgery.

I went through back surgery last year and it was hard for me to realize I would be sidelined for a period of time given I had backpacked 18 miles over hilly terrain a few months earlier. I thought I would rebound quickly. However, when you are cut in surgery, there is a set amount of time the body must recover and no matter how fit or unfit you are going into surgery it is going to take a few weeks to months to recover.

After you get out of surgery you will have a team of nurses that tend to your every need. But once you go home, unfortunately the nurses do not go home with you. So what are you to do?

This is where Howard’s comes into play.  We have multiple items designed to make you or your loved one’s life easier as they recover from their surgery:

  1. The lift chair—For a patient that has either hip or heart surgery these are a must in our opinion until strength comes back. At Howard’s we rent them for $75/week or $150/month. Delivery, setup, and removal are included in the price.  Even if you are strong, the lift chair will recline and lift you up at the push of a button.  They are even very comfortable and allow for sleep if you would like.
  2. Hip kit (this is pictured on this page)—If you have had back, hip, or heart surgery you may lack the strength for several weeks you had pre-surgery. The hip kit (pictured) comes with a reacher, extra-long shoehorn, elastic shoelaces, long sponge for the shower or tub, and stocking donner to help you put your socks or compression hose on. The complete kit runs $49.99 or you may by each individual item separately at Howard’s too.
  3. Bedside table—You may be spending a lot of time if your favorite chair or couch, you will want to eat and read frequently from this location. The bedside table is very helpful as it is on wheels and has a height adjustable feature to it.  We rent them for $15/week or $30/month.
  4. CPM—A Continuous Passive Motion machine is needed for anyone who has knee surgery to keep the joint moving. Usually insurances will cover these items for 21-days post-surgery.  Howard’s has a complete inventory of CPM machines so make sure you have a prescription
    The hip kit from Howard's comes with everything you will need to recover from hip surgery.
    The hip kit from Howard’s comes with everything you will need to recover from hip surgery.

    and pick it up at least two days before your surgery.


  • For our rental fleet of lift chairs, we only use Crypton fabric from Pride Mobility. This fabric is waterproof and allows for disinfecting after each patient.  Because it is a fabric, it is still comfortable and not uncomfortable like the old vinyl lift chair of the past.

As always, if you have any questions or need home healthcare supplies give us a call at 509-654-9899 and let our family serve your family’s healthcare needs.


Benefits of a HSA

We waste a lot of time at Howard’s! Not really if you look at it from a business perspective; however, the average oxygen patient for us to get their paperwork covered by Medicare requires eight faxes and two trips to the doctor’s office. A complex rehab wheelchair runs around ten faxes, three trips to different provider’s offices, and a final patient file that usually is over forty pages long. Even something as simple as a basic brace comes with a prescription and at least five pages of documentation and intake forms.

Why not use a HSA account instead?

The HSA or health savings account in my opinion could solve our country’s health insurance problem. For those that do not know what a HSA account is, it is a tax advantaged savings account for people who are enrolled in high-deductible insurance plans.

From a personal family standpoint, I decide how to spend our family’s money.  Instead of being limited on what our insurance covers, we can use it on what our family feels serves our health needs best. There are requirements to things you can and cannot spend the money on.  For example, a health club membership would not count.  But items our family has used the money on: chiropractic care, massages, drug prescriptions, copays at our doctor’s offices for check-ups and test, etc. are covered under a HAS plan and tax-free (in 2015 $3350 for individuals and $6650 for families).

Now if it were up to me, I would give a cash discount to anyone who wanted to buy at Howard’s because this would make a lot of sense because it would allow us to focus on taking care of the customer instead of chasing chart notes and paperwork. Unfortunately, Medicare does not want us to do this because there is actually a law that states we need to give the same price to Medicare as everyone else.  So what have we done at Howard’s? We have two lines of braces and products: one for our insurance patients made by a specific brand; we also have another brand (non-coded for you high-compliance lawyers out there) that we have specifically for our HSA patients or cash pay patients.

For example, our carpel tunnel wrist brace through Medicare and insurances we charge about $79.99*. A very similar brace from our similar vendor for our HAS or cash pay customers runs between $19.99 to $29.99. See the difference in price?  Likewise our insurance scooter (coded at K0008 for our lawyers) runs $1499.99.  A very similar scooter (coded E1399 which is a misc. non-covered code by Pride Mobility our scooter provider) sells at $999.00.

Now there are usually two people out there who come into the store who figure out what we are trying to do at Howard’s. The first group applauds what we are trying to do. The second group will frequently get mad at us for circumventing the rules of Medicare.  However for this second group who wants us to give Medicare the same pricing, I want to remind this is the same Medicare who requires us to use costly methods of paperwork, faxing, visiting doctor’s offices, etc. to meet their documentation requirements.

In summary, know that if you are paying for an item with cash or a HSA account you can get a nice discount if you buy specific items.  If you are a patient who has Medicare or Medicaid (DSHS in the state of Washington) please be patient with us because your insurance has us jump through a lot of hoops before we are paid.

Erik Mickelson—Team Lead and ATP at Howard’s Medical

*Now on these prices that we charge, most insurances including Medicare have something called an “allowable” which is what we are actually paid on the item.  At Howard’s we comply with these allowables.  For carpel tunnel wrist braces they run between $45-70 and if you have a copay, your copay would be off of the allowable amount and not the charged amount.  We work and bill with over 100 insurances so this means over 100 different allowables. I leave this up to our incredible billing team!