Face-to-Face Documentation Change

Under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), the requirement for physicians to document face-to-face encounters conducted by nurse practitioners, physician assistants, or clinical nurse specialists has been eliminated, effective 9/9/2015.

As revised by MACRA, a physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or clinical nurse specialist can document a face-to-face visit with a patient and write an order for durable medical equipment. The physician no longer needs to co-sign the face-to-face visit when the nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or clinical nurse specialist performs the visit. *An exception to this rule is diabetic shoes – those must still be signed by an M.D. or D.O.

The 6-month face-to-face encounter requirement has not been changed by MACRA, so written orders for durable medical equipment must occur within 6 months of the face-to-face patient visit.

If you or your staff have any questions, please reach out and our Regional Account Managers will be happy to assist in any way they can.

Scott Russell earns top certification to become an Assistive Technology Professional


Scott Russell, Assistive Technology Professional

REDWOOD FALLS, MN (November 23, 2015) – Rice Home Medical is pleased to announce that Scott Russell has recently passed his certification exam to become an Assistive Technology Professional (ATP). The ATP certification recognizes demonstrated competence in evaluating and assessing the needs of consumers with disabilities, assisting in the selection of appropriate assistive technology for the consumer’s needs, and providing training and implementation for the customer and caregivers in the use of the selected device.

To earn his ATP, Russell had to complete 3,000 hours of work experience, 20 hours of assistive technology related training and education, and pass a comprehensive exam.

Russell has over two years of experience with Rice Home Medical as a Rehab Specialist fitting and configuring mobility equipment for customers. He is registered with the National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers as a professional who offers quality care and service to provide wheelchairs and seated positioning systems for people of all ages and diagnoses.

“Scott has been an important part of growing the Rehab Department in Redwood Falls and the surrounding area,” Briana Mumme, Rice Home Medical Branch Manager, stated. “With his new credential of ATP, Rice Home Medical will be able to provide more advanced quality mobility equipment for all customers, in all areas. We are looking forward to the growth of these services in the future.”

Russell adds, “I’m excited to work with such a great group of people and continue the tradition of excellent service provided by Rice Home Medical.”

KWLM Open Mic with Shawn Flegel, Clinical Manager

If you missed KWLM’s Open Mic with Todd Bergeth yesterday, take a listen to Shawn Flegel, Clinical Manager at Rice Home Medical, and Anna Mohrmann, Willmar Sleep Center Coordinator, talk about sleep disorders – specifically sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment options in your community.

Spotlight on Sleep Apnea

New-System-one_withAmara_CKHiSmIn honor of Sleep Awareness Month, we at Rice Home Medical are shining the spotlight on sleep apnea.  Sleep apnea is more common than you might think.  The National Sleep Foundation reports that more than 18 million Americans struggle with this nocturnal disorder.  Despite that statistic, sleep apnea often goes unrecognized by its sufferers and their loved ones.  This can be a dangerous, even deadly oversight.

What is sleep apnea?

“Apnea” is a Greek word meaning “without breath.”  It is aptly named, as sleep apnea occurs when a person ceases to breathe during sleep.  These pauses in breathing can last from ten seconds to often over one minute.  This happens repeatedly throughout the night, forcing the brain to trigger a wake-up response to restore air flow to the lungs and brain.  These interruptions do not allow the sufferer to enter deep sleep, causing the disorder’s effects to bleed well into waking hours.

The most common form of sleep apnea is called obstructive sleep apnea (or OSA).  It occurs when the airway closes, or partially closes, due to a collapse or looseness of the soft tissues in the back of the throat.  This is a dangerous disorder that can manifest in a host of serious side effects: loud, disruptive snoring, nighttime choking or gasping, irritability, memory loss, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, depression, headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness, among other issues.

What is the treatment for sleep apnea?

The most common course of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is the use of continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP.  This machine supplies air with a predetermined level of pressure to keep airways open.  The pressured air is delivered through a breathing mask, available in different forms according to comfort and breathing style.  This regulates the patient’s breathing and even keeps snoring at bay.  This is the most consistently successful method of treatment.  Less common options include surgery, medication, oral appliances, and implants.

While sleep apnea is not considered curable, there are steps patients can take to improve their overall condition.  Some of these include: losing weight, exercising, drinking alcohol only in moderation (and not for several hours before bed), quitting smoking, and avoiding sleeping on their backs.

What should sleep apnea patients know?

Veteran patients should remember to change their CPAP supplies regularly in order to keep their therapy consistent.  CPAPs should be checked annually, and patients should contact their doctor if they have any concerns about their symptoms or their machine’s performance.  Patients should not cease therapy without the approval of their doctor.

New sleep apnea patients should know to enter this therapy with a positive attitude, understanding that there will be a transitional period.  It will take time for the CPAP to feel entirely comfortable.  Patients should keep in mind the importance of this therapy and the danger of the disorder it treats, and let that be motivation to work through the transition.  Most importantly, new patients should be certain they have the correct type of mask, to match their breathing style and ensure a proper seal.

Rice Home Medical Clinical Manager Shawn Flegel urges family members to “be encouraging and supportive of CPAP use.  Look at the positive use of CPAP: better control of other associated health issues, waking up more refreshed, enjoyment in daily activities if they are more rested.  Be patient: don’t give up.  Slow but steady progress is often the realistic path to sleep disorders and use of a PAP device.”

Perhaps most importantly, do not be afraid to ask questions.  If you notice symptoms in yourself or a loved one, speak up.  Ask your doctor.  Be informed, and be safe.  Remember: it is always worth the time it takes to take care of yourself.


Sleep Apnea FAQ

Are you changing your disposable filters on a regular basis?
You can bill two disposable filters to insurance per month.

Does your CPAP use a reusable filter?
A reusable filter can be billed to insurance at 6 months.

Have you replaced your tubing recently?
You can bill insurance for replacement tubing at 3 months.

Is your mask sealing properly?
Large leaks can be a significant problem with your OSA therapy. Contact your clinician about a new mask style/size.

Is your pillow causing your CPAP mask to leak?
A CPAP pillow may be beneficial.

Are you using the correct style CPAP mask?
The wrong mask can significantly impact your OSA therapy.

  • Nasal Pillow Mask – must be a nasal breather, less invasive, simple to put on and take off.
  • Nasal Cushion Mask – must be a nasal breather, cushion around the nose only.
  • Full Face Mask – allows you to mouth breathe also, cushion around your nose and mouth.

Are you replacing your cushion, mask, and headgear regularly?
You can bill insurance for a new cushion monthly, mask every 3 months, and headgear every 6 months.

Are you having problems with rain out (water) in your tubing and mask?
A heated climate line can help eliminate the problem.

Have you had your PAP pressure checked recently?
Your clinician can verify the accuracy of your PAP pressure with a manometer.

Did you know the life expectancy for your PAP device is 5 years?
Insurance will pay for a replacement PAP device after 5 years.


*Special thanks to Shawn Flegel, CRT, Rice Home Medical Clinical Manager for sharing her sleep apnea expertise, and to Tim Volk, Rice Home Medical Clinician for his added expertise, and for supplying the FAQ.

ESGR Award

Aaron Olson, Sales Director at Rice Home Medical, has been presented the Patriot Award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support an employee serving in the National Guard or Reserve through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence if needed.

Ryan Heidelberger, Regional Account Representative at the Alexandria Rice Home Medical branch and member of HHC 1/34th Armored Brigade Combat Team of the Minnesota National Guard, nominated Olson for the support he has shown Heidelberger throughout the course of his employment at Rice Home Medical and his involvement in the National Guard.

“Employers like Aaron make it possible for Soldiers in the Minnesota National Guard to perform at the highest level,” Heidelberger stated. “This was an opportunity to recognize Aaron and to personally thank him for his continued support of my service.”

Olson was presented the award from ESGR Representative and former 34th Infantry Division Command Sergeant Major Retired (CSM), Ron Muehlbauer on Wednesday, February 19th at the Rice Home Medical branch in Willmar.

Left to right: Ron Muehlbauer, Ryan Heidelberger, and Aaron Olson

Left to right: Ron Muehlbauer, Ryan Heidelberger, and Aaron Olson

Redwood Falls – New Year, New Space!

The long-awaited new Rice Home Medical store in Redwood Falls is open and ready for business! After several moves within the past few years, we have finally moved in to our permanent home on E Bridge Street right beneath the water tower.

The spot where Motel 71 once stood, has now turned in to a beautiful 7,000 sq. foot storefront. While still offering the same service you have come to trust, the showroom and product lines have expanded, complete with a women’s boutique, Bellaforma.

To celebrate this new store, we will be hosting a Grand Opening Open House on January 17th from 10 am – 4 pm. Register to win a lift chair and other great prizes, as well as enjoying refreshments and scoring great deals!

Need to contact us? Please note that our Redwood phone number and fax have changed:
Phone: 507.637.2330
Fax: 507.637.2393

To learn more about the new store, read this article from the Redwood Gazette: Rice Home Medical opens new Redwood facility

Renovation in Willmar – Complete!

After months of hearing the buzz of hammering, our Willmar remodel project is completed! We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to showcase our brand new showroom to the flocks of people that came through during our Grand Opening celebration.
After the ribbon was cut, people were able to enjoy refreshments, play games with Q102, and register to win prizes! Rice Home Medical’s Grand Prize winner took home a new lift-chair, and Bellaforma’s Grand Prize winner received a $200 gift card!
Sandal WinnerGrand Prize WinnerGrand Prize Winner















To read more about the renovation, check out the latest article featured in the West Central Tribune:

Rebranding, renovation gives Rice Home Medical a whole new look

Home Sweet Home

Living at home is a dream that all Americans have dreamed. For seniors this dream can be risky if their home is not adequately equipped to prevent falls. The Centers for Disease Control reported that each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls. Reality is that these falls are the leading cause of injury death. And even more telling, 54% of these fall related deaths occur in the home, according to the National Safety Council.

Despite these risks, seniors want to continue to live in their home where they have experienced most of life’s greatest moments. Many have worked hard to stay in their home, proud to call it their own, and watched their children grow up and move out of their house. This is why Rice Home Medical does what we do. We want to continue to allow seniors to keep their dream and make even more memories in their home.

Many solutions can be installed in one’s home to lower those risks. A simple grab bar by the bathtub can provide stability around slippery floors. A walk-in tub can lower the risk of tripping while stepping in and out of the tub. A stair lift can transfer a person from one floor to the other with ease. And an outdoor ramp can reduce the risk of falling on steps (especially during those Minnesota icy winters!). These are only some of the home modification solutions that Rice Home Medical provides.

To find out more about what Rice Home Medical can do to make your home safer, contact us at 1.800.637.7795.

This article was adapted from an article from HME Business magazine, “Home Safe Home.”

walk-in tub

Rice Home Medical goes to Washington, D.C!

Two of our very own, Lisa and Carol, went to Washington, D.C. recently to speak with Senators and Representatives about the negative impact that competitive bidding is going to have on our Medicare beneficiaries.
Competitive bidding is a new program that changes the amount Medicare pays suppliers for certain durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies and makes changes to who can supply these items. This limits the beneficiary’s choice of providers for their Medicare-covered equipment, products, and services.
Rice Home Medical will make sure that residents in our area will receive the best possible care!

Lisa and Carol with Senator Amy Klobuchar and other MAMES members!

Lisa and Carol with Senator Amy Klobuchar and other MAMES members!

To read more about the effects of competitive bidding and to sign the petition go to:


Building Updates

Rice Home Medical is growing and expanding!

Our Willmar store is currently undergoing a remodel expansion project. A larger retail floor, new women’s health boutique, and repair services are being added to better serve our customers.

Construction has also begun on our new Redwood Falls store! The new location is planned to open early 2014, next to the water tower. Find us at our temporary location:
252 2nd Street East, Redwood Falls, MN 56283

The Alexandria store will also undergo a remodel late 2013, making way for a new women’s health boutique.

Read more about these projects in the West Central Tribune:
Bids Awarded for Rice Home Medical Project
Bids Awarded for $1 Mil Construction of New Rice Home Medical Store in Redwood Falls, Minn