Tag Archives: yakima

Howard’s beats industry billing standards by 60%!

No medical supply ever publicizes their billing numbers; however, I want to let everyone know what the team at Howard’s is up to. According to CMS standards, on the first round of audits for Medicare, the average durable medical supply has 85% of their claims denied by Medicare when they are audited. Now, there are four rounds of appeals, so even though this means only 15% of claims are paid on average in the first round of appeals, it gives you an idea the number of claims Medicare denies that comes across their books.

Last week, Howard’s Medical received our numbers for the last forty-five days. We are running at a 25% denial rate for our Medicare claims, a full 60% better than industry average!

How do we do it?

  1. We communicate with your providers and know the rules for billing equipment inside and out in regards to medical supplies. Just as you want your accountant to know the tax rules inside and out, we know medical supply rules inside and out.
  2. We have an amazing team. They take the time to verify your eligibility, work with you when you are in the store, ask the right questions so when we bill your claims everything goes through and it gets paid.
  3. We also know when an item is not going to be covered. For example when a patient is in a nursing home or hospice, Medicare does not cover most medical equipment.

One other question you might wonder, a 25% denial rate still seems high. You are right, it is. A few other thoughts on this:

  1. There are multiple rounds on the appeals processes when we bill claims. The 75% success rate for Howard’s is just for round one. If we have one of your claims and we fail in round one, we look to see why we failed, verify the reason and sometimes it is a very simple reprocessing of the claim. Other times we have to contact your provider and ask for addendums to chart notes. Worst case scenarios we do have to pick up equipment.
  2. Other insurances for the most part are significantly easier to bill than Medicare. So if you don’t have Medicare take heart, life is much easier for the billing side of things for your medical supply company.
  3. Medicare is slowly working on things. There are a number of bills in congress working to streamline things. Please contact your senator and congressperson and ask them to ease up on the audits. We are not anti-audits because they prevent fraud but in high school if you get 99 out of 100 on a test this is an A+. With a Medicare audit, a 99 out a 100 is a failure that has to be fixed!

If you have any durable medical or respiratory billing questions, give the team at Howard’s a call, we really do know what we are talking about and have the numbers to back it up: 509-654-9899.

What I learned in Vegas and bringing it back to Yakima!

Spring MedTrade 2015  

It’s that time of year again. Our semi-annual trade show in Vegas where all the business leaders who run medical supplies gather in Las Vegas to network and look at the newest products. I want to share some of my insights from the trip.

Several hundred of us cramped into a large room to hear what is next in Washington DC and legislation.
Several hundred of us cramped into a large room to hear what is next in Washington DC and legislation.

I always like seeing new products. Three of my favorites:

  1. Evolution walkers:  We have carried these for over a year now. These are the BEST walkers on the market and they are priced this way too. For the person who doesn’t want to deal with the generic Medicare walker and has the money to spend, this is the way to go. We call them European walkers because those in Europe know how to get around and appreciate walking. We have three different kinds of these walkers at our store so try both the Medicare walker and this one out and you’ll see what we are talking about!
  2. Sunrise Medical who handles all of our lightweight wheelchair products has a new no-insurance wheelchair. Howard’s is the exclusive dealer here in Yakima. Some of the neat things you get in this chair: easily adjustable push handles (which is great for someone like me who is 6’2” tall), brakes on the handles instead of having to bend down and set them on the wheels, and disc brakes. All of the other qualities of a lightweight wheelchairs are still there including quick release axils but they took a good wheelchair and made it great!
  3. How does someone who is a quad supposed to easily pull their pants up in the bathroom? There is a product now for this individual called pants-up-easy. This is a product we can order for these individual because they deserve to be independent just like the rest of us!

I hate talking about this, but most of our business is contingent on what is going on in Washington DC. In January of 2016, Medicare is planning on making rural areas accept the larger city’s reimbursements. What this really means for the residents of the Yakima Valley is we will be reimbursed less for our medical products. For example instead of being reimbursed $182/month for oxygen, this will drop to close to $100. Instead of $140 for a walker with seat, this will drop to $85. It doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to know you won’t get the same quality product.

Howard’s recently joined AA Homecare to help in the lobbying effort to make this so it doesn’t happen. If it does go though we will be okay as business; however, Howard’s will have to become even more efficient and handle more with less. What this means for our customers is we frequently have to provide a more affordable options instead of what we currently offer. Yesterday as an example, we had a patient who needed help and adjustments on a product in Mabton, we made the trip. These trips will be harder to make if Medicare forces us to do more with less and those patients will have to come to our store instead of us going to them.

It was Vegas and I did bring my daughter.  In-between networking, I did get 30 minutes of swimming in the wave pool.
It was Vegas and I did bring my daughter. In-between networking, I did get 30 minutes of swimming in the wave pool.

Last and my favorite part of MedTrade was the networking. There are not many of us here in Yakima who run a medical supply store. I had a great opportunity to go to dinner with another family owned DME out of Wenatchee and another out of Oregon. We shared some of our secrets about taking care of our customers, winning audits, and what we can do to become even better at our trade (what we call our Ninja secrets here at Howard’s).

Erik at Howard’s


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

Customer Service Team Job Opening

Mission Statement
“To enhance the quality of life for the community of Central Washington by providing high quality home medical equipment and supplies with a compassionate touch.”

• Must be flexible, dependable, and have the ability to solve problems
• Communicate effectively with seniors and people of all ages, smile and make people feel welcome
• Have an ability to use computers, the internet, and Microsoft Office
• Must be able to make decisions and be a leader
• Must know basic math, grammar and problem solving skills
• Must have a high school degree
• Must pass a background and drug test
Responsibilities Include:
• Understanding and empathy to our customers.
• Continuously learn new skills
• Fitting of medical equipment
• Will adhere to company manual and not use any illegal drugs or smoke on the job
• Open or close the medical supply nightly
• Count money accurately
• Determines the best method for providing services by knowing what is and what is not covered by insurances
• Responds to telephone inquiries and orders from homecare patients, doctors and referral sources
• Complies with an adheres to all regulatory compliance areas, policies and procedures and “Best Practices”
• Resolves patient complaints by identifying problems and coordinating appropriate corrective action
• Limited marketing on phone, writing, deliveries, and some directly to adult homes, hospices, and doctors
• Variety of other day-to-day requirements to include filing, keeping area’s organized, etc
• Some lifting required
• Coordinates the delivery and pick-up of equipment, supplies and services with appropriate personnel
• Keeping a clean showroom
• You must communicate clearly with customers as well as manual dexterity for filing purposes.
● Part-time, mostly fixed (30 hours/week) depending on customer traffic; must be able to close the store nightly until 6:30pm and will average 3 Saturdays/month (9:45am-3pm).


● Varies depending on qualifications. $9.50-11/hr. Health club, dental, and 401k benefits. There are certain commissions regarding on-the-job performance that can add an extra $1-3/hr depending on job performance.

There are multiple jobs within Howard’s and many people have been promoted from customer service so this in no way is a “dead-end” job. We also love working with students for a few years because we realize students make for great team members while going to school.

If you are interested in this job, please respond back to this posting (jobs@howardsmedical.com) with your resume and we will email you five introductory questions. We are looking for the right team member as much as you are looking for the perfect company to work for.

Last, in the subject of the email please write: Attention Mr. Jaeger. This lets us know you are not a robot.

Auto Safety

We often think of using wheelchairs and walkers to help get around.  There is also a whole line of aides-to-daily living products to help people get in and out of their cars.  With swivel cushions, handy bars, and window hangers, they will help you get in and out of your vehicle safely and all under $40.  Stop by our Yakima store on North 16th Ave. and River Road to look at our supply and remember that you get a fifteen day trial on all our aides-to-daily living products. Let our family serve your family’s healthcare needs at Howard’s.

Stop by one of our two locations in Selah next to the Red Apple Market or in Yakima on North 16th Ave or call us at Tel: 509-654-9899.

Powered Mobility

I get a lot of phone calls from people in the Yakima Valley to fix their scooter or power wheelchairs they purchased by some supplier on the west side of the mountains or on the internet. Scooters and power wheelchairs can have problems just like your car and it is important to make sure you have someone that can come that same day or week and fix it as well as provider a loaner in case the problem can’t be fixed same day. When looking at powered mobility think Howard’s Medical.

Stop by one of our two locations in Selah next to the Red Apple Market or in Yakima on North 16th Ave or call us at Tel: 509-654-9899.

Vehicle Lifts

Hi, I’m Erik from Howard’s Medical. As our power mobility customers use their chairs outside, they want to travel to and from church, the grocery store, or on a vacation. An interior or exterior mobility lift allows our customers to bring their scooters anywhere. A vehicle lift can be installed on most vehicles. You can come to Howard’s Medical Supply Store on north 16th Ave. to watch these working vehicle lifts in action. Dream about where you will travel this summer with your scooter or power wheelchair.

Stop by one of our two locations in Selah next to the Red Apple Market or in Yakima on North 16th Ave or call us at Tel: 509-654-9899.

Go-Go travel Scooters

As we enjoy the great weather in Selah and Yakima, our customers love to enjoy the outdoors. If you have a hard time getting around and don’t want to be tied down you can get outside with our Go-Go Travel Scooters. With a range of 7 miles, they will take you down the Yakima Greenway or to the local sports field to cheer your grandkid play soccer. Its heaviest piece is only 31 pounds and can be put in any car. Stop by either Howard’s Store in Selah or Yakima and we will show you how easy this scooter is to disassemble.

Stop by one of our two locations in Selah next to the Red Apple Market or in Yakima on North 16th Ave or call us at Tel: 509-654-9899.


Most people don’t know that after childbirth, over 50% of women deal with some form of incontinence. Just because you or someone you cares for has a small bit of incontinence does not mean you have to worry about the unexpected leak anymore when you exercise, laugh, or are active with friends. Inserts, pull-ups, and diapers are also covered by medical coupon if you have a prescription from your doctor.

Stop by one of our two locations in Selah next to the Red Apple Market or in Yakima on North 16th Ave or call us at Tel: 509-654-9899, we offer free delivery anywhere in the Yakima Valley.

Canes and Walking Sticks

Unfortunately, your doctor or loved one might not suggest you need a cane or walker until after you have a fall and have a scare. Canes are used to help you compensate for an injury or disability. The most common medical supply on the market today is the cane and at Howard’s we carry thirty kinds. We have different colors, folding canes, ergonomic canes, adjustable canes, acrylic canes with different styles of patterns and prints, derby canes, and canes with seats on them, you name it, and we probably have it and most are under $20.

One of the many benefits of using a can is you get to keep your independence. I will admit using a cane is a downside of aging but it is a whole lot better than falling down and possibly permanently your independence. People who use a walking aid stand up straighter and move with more and more control.

When sizing for a can, it is best to see your health care professional. The cane users should be wearing his/her normal shoes and be as upright as possible. His/her arms should hang at their sides with a normal bend at the elbow. If possible, have a second person place the cane upside down and the bottom portion of the cane should be even with the bend in the wrist. If you do not have a second person, you can use a tape measure to measure the bend of the wrist of a person to the floor to get the right length of a cane.

Stop by one of our two locations in Selah next to the Red Apple Market or in Yakima on North 16th Ave or call us at Tel: 509-654-9899.