Requests for Electronic Copies of Books

Over the years, MedForms has maintained a reputation for exceeding customer satisfaction and remains committed to providing our customers with products that meet their needs in the age of fast-paced technological advances.

Recently, a few customers have requested MedForms to provide them with an electronic copy of their entire Patient/Client Orientation book to utilize within their organization (POC systems, iPads, websites and other methods of electronic dissemination).  Although we readily provide clients with permission to reproduce electronic versions of any form included in their booklet (via an amended license agreement), we have not granted requests to provide the entire contents of our copyrighted booklets to date.

Concerned that federal, state and accreditation regulations (as applicable) dictate certain information must be provided to the patient/family in writing (e.g. paper, hard-copy) during the admission process or before care/treatment begins, MedForms contacted representatives from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and National Supplier Clearinghouse (NSC) seeking clarification on the issue.

Question: Recently, we have had a few clients ask us to provide an electronic copy of our copyrighted booklet in order to review electronically with patients on admission.  We have always felt our booklets are a perfect companion to point-of-care electronic systems as the agency still must leave written information in the home – info such as state hotline info, agency’s complaint procedure, state-specific advance directives, Rights/Responsibilities, NOPP, etc.  We are learning some customers would like to provide patients with a secure password to be able to access such information online or through a secure website.  Since Appendix B instructs surveyors during home visits to review the written information left behind if a patient is unclear in addressing their questions, we would appreciate a better understanding of CMS’ expectations in the fast-paced age of technology.  Are agencies allowed to provide information only in electronic format without leaving written information in the home?

CMS’ Response Not all Medicare beneficiaries have home computers, and/or ability to access such documents when the home care or hospice staff is not there.  As of this time, we have not considered leaving electronic information in the home or access to that information.  So, as of now, we would need to see paper copies left in the home [of items such as, but not limited to], Bill of Rights, OASIS Privacy forms, HIPPA forms, authorization to treat and other documents.

NSC’s Response: Although NSC commends HME businesses that provide electronic review of materials and access to information electronically, they still must provide required information in hard copy (paper) format; items such as, but not limited to, Supplier Standards (or NSC-approved verbatim statement), warranty agreements, sales slips, education on equipment use and maintenance and infection control.  The provider is responsible for assuring all patients/clients are able to access information in home (even if a computer savvy caregiver is assisting with care) and meeting any additional accreditation requirements.

Given the responses from both CMS and NSC and the knowledge that accreditation bodies also require certain written, hard-copy information to be provided to the patient/family, MedForms will not provide clients with an electronic version of our entire copyrighted booklet.  Our conclusion is that our unique product is an essential and valuable resource for patients/families at admission.

Cathy Green, RN
Vice President of Regulatory Affairs • MedForms®, Inc.

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