Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog


older | 1 | .... | 57 | 58 | (Page 59) | 60 | 61 | newer

    0 0

    09/07/2018
    HME News Staff

    WASHINGTON – A coalition of 20 patient and physician groups is asking CMS to remove liquid oxygen from its competitive bidding program.

    “For too long, patients who require a high-liter flow of oxygen have not been able to leave their homes, jeopardizing their physical and mental health and quality of life,” stated seven organizations leading the coalition. “Everyone deserves the opportunity to live a full and healthy life and, together, we ask CMS to use its existing authority to exclude oxygen from competitive bidding.”

    The coalition, which includes the American Association for Respiratory Care and the American Lung Association, made the argument in comments that it submitted to a recent proposed rule. In the rule, CMS proposes creating two separate payment classes for liquid equipment and liquid contents, in an attempt to increase access to the therapy.

    The coalition commends CMS for its “recognition of numerous problems associated with access to oxygen, in general, and liquid oxygen systems, specifically.”

    “However, our organizations recognize that CMS’s proposal will not, ultimately, solve the problems facing patients—especially those who require liquid oxygen,” the organizations state.

    The coalition says it looks forward to working with CMS and Congress to ensure patients receive the oxygen treatments that they need.

    Other organizations in the group are: Allergy & Asthma Network, Alliance for Patient Access, Alpha-1 Foundation, American Sleep Apnea Association, American Thoracic Society, CHEST/American College of Chest Physicians, Children’s Interstitial Lung Disease Foundation, COPD Foundation, Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research, Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome Network, LAM Foundation, Lung Transplant Foundation, LUNGevity, National Association for Medical Direction of Respiratory Care, Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, Pulmonary Hypertension Association, Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance and U.S. COPD Coalition.


    0 0

    09/11/2018
    HME News Staff

    RENO, Nev. – Great Elm Capital Group has partnered with Mesa, Ariz.-based Valley Healthcare Group to acquire Portland, Ore.-based Northwest Medical and combine the two companies.

    The deal creates a leading regional provider of sleep and respiratory equipment and services across Arizona, Nebraska, Washington, Oregon and Alaska serving about 70,000 patients annually, according to a press release.

    “With Great Elm’s support, we believe that we will continue to grow organically, as well as be an acquirer of choice for other sleep and respiratory focused businesses that share our commitment to high-quality patient care,” said Ron Evans, co-founder and CEO of Valley Healthcare.

    Northwest Medical is Valley Healthcare’s eighth acquisition since Ron and Pam Evans co-founded the company in 2006.

    The combined companies, which will continue to operate under local brand names, generated $43.6 million in revenue, $2.5 million in net income, and $11.1 million in adjusted EBITDA in the calendar year 2017, according to the release.

    To complete the transaction, Great Elm purchased an 80.1% equity interest in an entity formed to acquire and combine Valley Healthcare and Northwest Medical. It funded the $63.6 million transaction using $19.7 million in cash from its balance sheet, with the remainder funded using $31.3 million of secured debt, $5.3 million of qualified preferred stock and $7.3 million of equity rollover from Ron and Pam Evans and Corbel Capital Partners, a structured debt and equity fund.


    0 0

    09/13/2018
    HME News Staff

    WASHINGTON – A CMS proposed rule that, among other things, outlined changes to the competitive bidding program drew 514 comments by a Sept. 10 deadline.

    “This is an incredible leap from last week, when we reported 216 submissions,” VGM stated in a bulletin. “These comments are crucial to demonstrating the need for additional relief for the non-rural areas among the other areas where CMS fell short in their proposals.”

    The comments, which are public, can be read here.

    In addition to the submitted comments, the Iowa delegation to the House of Representatives has joined the Ways and Means Committee and others in writing to CMS to express their concerns about the bid program and the proposed changes, VGM reported.

    Reps. Rod Blum, Steve King, Dave Loebsack and David Young sent a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma asking the agency to take into account accessibility issues in rural areas when reviewing the public comments and before issuing a final rule, likely in November. They ask that CMS extend the 50/50 blended reimbursement rates to all non-bid areas, not just rural and non-contiguous areas.


    0 0
  • 09/14/18--10:18: Stark, Baird on post-Jan. 1
  • They address referral source re-education, capped rental conundrums, and outdated agreements
    09/14/2018
    Liz Beaulieu

    YARMOUTH, Maine – The Medicare landscape could look very different on Jan. 1, 2019, but industry watchers don’t expect any knee-jerk reactions from HME providers.

    In a recent proposed rule, CMS outlined its plans to implement an “any willing provider” provision when the current competitive bidding contracts expire on Dec. 31, allowing any Medicare-enrolled provider to serve beneficiaries while it overhauls the program.

    “The guns will go off on Jan. 1, but I don’t expect anyone to lunge to make drastic changes,” said Andrea Stark, a reimbursement consultant for MiraVista. “There are too many things providers need to be thinking about logistically.”

    Jeff Baird, chairman of The Health Care Group at Brown & Fortunato, agrees, saying, while he expects more providers to accept Medicare business post-Jan. 1, he doesn’t expect a “sea change,” because they’re “rooted in old habit.”

    Re-education of referral sources

    If non-contract suppliers do decide to accept Medicare business, they’re going to have the tall task of reaching out to referral sources to let them know they can now send business their way, Stark says.

    “Referral sources have been told for years now, ‘You can only send referrals to these 10 contract suppliers,’” she said.

    This process will likely be easiest for purchased items like walkers and commodes, Stark says.

    Capped-rental conundrums

    For capped-rental items, however, it will be more complicated, Stark says.

    “In many cases, these items capped more than a year ago and the supplier is no longer in contact with the beneficiaries,” she said. “Suppliers must be careful how they re-engage beneficiaries so they don’t violate Supplier Standard 11, which allows suppliers to contact beneficiaries regarding previously covered services but requires them to have provided a covered service in the last 15 months to market new products.”

    If you’re a non-contract supplier that has continued to serve beneficiaries as a grandfathered supplier, for example, you’ll want to look at where your customers are in the useful lifetime of their equipment, Stark says.

    “Once you get to the 36-month marker, you can’t bill for a rental, but you get to bill again at the 60th month,” she said. “You’ll want to make sure you’ve collected all 36 payments before restarting. Maybe it’s only 32 payments because the patient was in a skilled facility—capture those missed payments first, then get restarted.”

    Relationship status

    Baird says if there’s one thing that providers will likely change right out of the gate, it’s common-ownership agreements—where you have one company with a bid contract and one without, and one company buys 5% or more of the other company, allowing both companies to serve beneficiaries.

    “I anticipate a number of suppliers who are going to undo these,” he said.

    Providers will also rethink subcontracting agreements, Baird says.

    “There may be a number of providers that are subcontractors today who will no longer want to subcontract and will want to participate on their own or who will not want to participate at all,” he said.


    0 0

    09/14/2018
    Theresa Flaherty

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Proponents say a bill in the Illinois House of Representatives that would address reimbursement cuts for home medical equipment and supplies is critical as more and more payers offer below-Medicaid rates.

    This year, IlliniCare Health, a Medicaid MCO, announced rate cuts ranging from 10% to 50%. House Bill 5930 would prohibit MCOs from paying providers less than 10% below Medicaid “fee for service” rates.

    “IlliniCare was the first one, but there’s been quite a bit of talk about Blue Cross Blue Shield doing the same,” said Dan Heckman, owner of Heckman Health Care in Decatur. “That makes it even more critical to get it passed.”

    The bill, which Heckman hopes gets passed this fall or during the 2019 spring session, would also require “minimum quality standards” for medical supply companies and would prohibit MCOs from signing “sole-source” contracts.

    Cutting reimbursement to the point where it doesn’t make sense for providers to be in-network with certain payers would severely curtail beneficiary access, especially outside of the Chicago area, says Heckman.

    “The MCOs, in general, don’t have real robust networks in the downstate area,” he said. “When IlliniCare expanded downstate, their initial offer to us was the deeply discounted rate. We just didn’t take it. Nope, not playing that game.”

    Minnesota: Judge sides with MAMES on incontinence proposal

    SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Industry stakeholders scored a victory in late August when the state tabled its plans to create a preferred provider program for incontinence supplies, but they said the fight isn’t over yet.

    MAMES received a temporary restraining order Aug. 24 to delay the program, which would have awarded a single contract to provide incontinence products to Medicaid beneficiaries.

    “We are celebrating the temporary win, if you will,” said Rose Schafhauser, executive director. “But, we still have work to do.”

    At issue with the program: The reimbursement was calculated at 20% above acquisition cost—not enough for providers to continue to provide products; and, as proposed, it went against other statutes governing reimbursement for state health programs, says Schafhauser.

    “The judge concurred and said, ‘Modify this and prove you are filing within the statute,’” said Schafhauser.

    Once the restraining order was granted, the state said it would withdraw the RFP.

    “Our main goal is to get this program delayed until the next legislative session and get a bill passed,” said Schafhauser.

    So far, lawmakers have been on their side. MAMES succeeded in getting legislation passed once already this year, but it was included in an omnibus bill that was ultimately vetoed by the governor.


    0 0

    09/14/2018
    HME News Staff

    WASHINGTON ­– A CMS proposed rule that, among other things, outlined changes to the competitive bidding program drew 514 comments by a Sept. 10 deadline.

    “This is an incredible leap from last week, when we reported 216 submissions,” VGM stated in a bulletin. “These comments are crucial to demonstrating the need for additional relief for the non-rural areas among the other areas where CMS fell short in their proposals.”

    The comments, which are public, can be read here.

    In addition to the submitted comments, the Iowa delegation to the House of Representatives has joined the Ways and Means Committee and others in writing to CMS to express their concerns about the bid program and the proposed changes, VGM reported.

    Reps. Rod Blum, Steve King, Dave Loebsack and David Young sent a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma asking the agency to take into account accessibility issues in rural areas when reviewing the public comments and before issuing a final rule, likely in November. They ask that CMS extend the 50/50 blended reimbursement rates to all non-bid areas, not just rural and non-contiguous areas.

    MedPAC comments on proposed bid changes

    WASHINGTON – The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission isn’t on board with all of CMS’s proposed changes to the competitive bidding program.

    On CMS’s proposal to implement an “any willing provider” provision on Jan. 1, 2019, while it makes changes to the program, MedPAC comments:

    “While we appreciate the fact that CMS is proposing some significant changes to the CBP, we believe that reforms can be implemented while the program continues to operate. If additional time is needed to properly implement any finalized changes, we believe the agency has better alternatives than letting the program lapse. For example, the agency could seek to extend current contracts for six months or a year.”
    MedPAC commented on the proposed changes in an Aug. 31 letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma.
    MedPAC supports CMS’s proposal to use lead item pricing and maximum winning bids, though it worries that relying on maximum winning bids could result in “excessive payment rates if beneficiary demand is overestimated or supplier capacity is underestimated.” It also supports the agency’s proposal to use bid surety bonds.
    MedPAC, however, does not support CMS’s proposal to continue the 50/50 blended reimbursement rates for rural and non-contiguous non-bid areas, let alone all non-bid areas:
    “Using 50/50 blended payment rates results in large payment increases, often of 50% or more. While CMS presents data indicating that some supplier costs are higher in rural and non-contiguous areas, the agency also found that other costs are lower in those areas, and the agency doesn’t present data to justify the large magnitude of the proposed adjustment.”

    Holding company combines Valley Healthcare, Northwest Medical

    RENO, Nev. – Great Elm Capital Group has partnered with Mesa, Ariz.-based Valley Healthcare Group to acquire Portland, Ore.-based Northwest Medical and combine the two companies.

    The deal creates a leading regional provider of sleep and respiratory equipment and services across Arizona, Nebraska, Washington, Oregon and Alaska serving about 70,000 patients annually, according to a press release.

    “With Great Elm’s support, we believe that we will continue to grow organically, as well as be an acquirer of choice for other sleep and respiratory focused businesses that share our commitment to high-quality patient care,” said Ron Evans, co-founder and CEO of Valley Healthcare.

    Northwest Medical is Valley Healthcare’s eighth acquisition since Ron and Pam Evans co-founded the company in 2006.

    The combined companies, which will continue to operate under local brand names, generated $43.6 million in revenue, $2.5 million in net income, and $11.1 million in adjusted EBITDA in the calendar year 2017, according to the release.

    To complete the transaction, Great Elm purchased an 80.1% equity interest in an entity formed to acquire and combine Valley Healthcare and Northwest Medical. It funded the $63.6 million transaction using $19.7 million in cash from its balance sheet, with the remainder funded using $31.3 million of secured debt, $5.3 million of qualified preferred stock and $7.3 million of equity rollover from Ron and Pam Evans and Corbel Capital Partners, a structured debt and equity fund.

    Gov’t makes concessions for Hurricane Florence

    WASHINGTON – Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has declared public health emergencies in North and South Carolina and Virginia, giving Medicare beneficiaries and their healthcare providers there greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs. CMS has temporarily suspended certain requirements necessary for beneficiaries who have lost or realized damage to their DME, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies as a result of Hurricane Florence. “This will help to make sure that beneficiaries can continue to access the needed medical equipment and supplies they rely on each day,” the agency stated. CMS advises beneficiaries to contact 1-800-MEDICARE for assistance. The agency’s efforts also include implementing waivers for hospitals and other healthcare facilities; making available special enrollment opportunities for beneficiaries who are victims of the hurricane; and developing a disaster preparedness toolkit for state Medicaid agencies.

    House passes LCD Act

    WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives has passed a bill that outlines a set of standards that MACs must adhere to before they hold meetings related to local coverage determinations. The Local Coverage Determination Act, H.R. 3635, passed by a voice vote on Sept. 12. The standards are: publishing online a proposed version of the determination and other specified, related information; convening one or more public meetings to review the draft determination, receive comments and ensure that meetings of the MAC’s advisory panel are on record; posting online a recording of the minutes from each such meeting; providing a period for submission of written public comments; and posting online specified information related to the rationale for the final determination. The bill is supported by more than 25 health and medical associations, including the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists and the College of American Pathologists. 

    Essentially Women releases schedule

    WATERLOO, Iowa – Essentially Women has released the schedule for its annual educational conference for HME and mastectomy service providers. FOCUS: The EW Conference will feature nearly 20 sessions covering topics like billing and reimbursement, succession planning, compliance and cyber security, compression therapy, mastectomy fitting and marketing, among others. “FOCUS is all about providing our members with education tailored to help them improve their business,” said Nikki Jensen, vice president of Essentially Women, a division of The VGM Group. “Our sessions will help attendees gain valuable insight to not only grow professionally but also adjust to the ever-evolving healthcare industry.” The conference will take place Feb. 2-4 in St. Pete Beach, Fla.

    F&P responds to ResMed

    IRVINE, Calif. – Fisher & Paykel Healthcare has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission seeking an exclusion order to prevent the import and sale of ResMed’s AirFit P10 range of nasal pillows masks in the United States. The company alleges that ResMed’s AirFit P10 masks, AirFit P10 for Her masks and AirFit P10 for AirMini masks infringe on five F&P patents. “Over the last 20 years, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare has built a significant portfolio of more than 2,000 issued and pending patents,” said Lewis Gradon, managing director and CEO. “WE have developed unique mask technology that has provided improved care and outcomes for patients with OSA and we take infringement of our intellectual property rights very seriously.” Earlier in September, ResMed filed a new petition with the ITC seeking an order banning the import and sale of F&P’s Simplus full-face mask, Eson nasal mask and Eson 2 nasal mask for allegedly infringing on five ResMed patents related to mask system and cushion design.

    Motivo names new exec to lead ramp up

    MILWAUKEE – Motivo has named Michael Lenzie CFO and COO to help ramp up the manufacturing of its Motivo Tour Walker in response to increasing customer demand, the company announced Sept. 11. Lenzie, who will be based at the company’s headquarters in New Berlin, Wis., will also oversee accounting, supply chain and production. “Hiring Michael represents yet another important growth milestone for Motivo,” said Jeremy Knopow, co-founder. Before joining Motivo, Lenzie served in various management roles at several industrial companies, including NABCO Entrances, Aqua-Chem and Cleaver-Brooks. He is a certified public accountant. Earlier this year, Motivo rounded out nearly $5 million in funding and launched its Tour Walker nationwide.

    Medtrade offers retail-focused education

    ATLANTA – Medtrade has added a new retail-focused educational offering: The eRetail Experience by Health Mobius. Attendees can choose from two, one-hour sessions each on Tuesday, Oct. 16, and Wednesday, Oct. 17. “Pre-register and attend this session and we will create your e-commerce website, backed with a virtual warehouse containing more than 25,000 cash-sale products from hundreds of manufacturers, and provide a tech team to manage it all,” says Kamal Haddad, CEO of Health Mobius. “Yes, we will create and demonstrate a live, fully functioning webstore for every pre-registered attendee and allow you to take it for a free test drive.”

    Growth in the sleep market continues

    BOSTON – Sleep center patient volume grew 7% in the last 12 months and is expected to grow 9% in the next 12 months, according to the results of a new survey conducted by Needham & Co. ResMed looks likely to lose 2% of flow generator prescription share, but gain branded mask prescription share. For flow generators, Respironics’ share is up 1.1%, Fisher & Paykel’s share is flat and other companies’ share is up .8%. ResMed’s mask ratings are slightly above its competitors in all three mask categories. In nasal masks, its AirFit N20 was rated 5.9 (out of 7.0), compared to Respironics' DreamWear at 5.7 and F&P’s Eson 2 at 5.7. In nasal pillow masks, ResMed’s AirFit P10 was rated 5.9, compared to Respironics' DreamWear Gel at 5.7 and F&P’s Brevida at 4.7. And in full face masks, ResMed's AirFit F20 was rated 6.1, compared to Respironics' DreamWear Full at 5.9 and F&P’s Simplus at 5.8.

    VMI taps new leaders

    PHOENIX – Vantage Mobility International has named Mark Shaughnessy as its new president and CEO, the role previously held by Tim Baron, the company announced today. Shaughnessy’s resume includes leadership positions at Mars, Inc., Coca-Cola Company and Rubicon over a 24-year period. “Mark is a dynamic, consumer focused executive with an exemplary track record of leading small and large corporations to achieve greater employee cohesiveness and operational efficiencies,” said Barone in a press release. Barone is continuing at VMI as chairman of the board.

    One Drop integrates with Apple

    NEW YORK – One Drop users can now seamlessly transfer data from One Drop | Chrome to the Apple Watch, according to a press release today. Apple Watch Bluetooth connectivity is the newest of thousands of One Drop integrations that allow users to pull their data from other apps and devices. "For too long the diabetes industry has operated on point solutions and closed systems focused on the needs of healthcare providers in the clinic, rather than the needs of the people using the systems to manage their disease every day," said Jeff Dachis, One Drop CEO. With the release of iOS 12, One Drop will further expand iOS integrations by launching Apple Health Records and Siri Shortcuts. One Drop, a diabetes management solution, originally launched in 2015 as a mobile app and has since added its own blood glucose monitoring system and coaching.

    Ways and Means weighs in on proposed bid changes

    WASHINGTON – The Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives has sent a letter to CMS asking the agency to provide broader relief from competitive bidding during an upcoming transition period. “It is crucial to any fresh start that the playing field be set in a fair manner to avoid the over-correcting and re-correcting required through both regulatory and congressional action over the last seven years,” the letter states. In a recent proposed rule, CMS outlined plans to extend 50/50 blended reimbursement rates in rural and non-contiguous areas from Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2020, but not in all non-competitive bidding areas. It has no plans for relief in bid areas. The committee also commends CMS for its plans to move to lead item pricing but cautions the agency not to be “overly restrictive” in the amount of lead items and not to tie the pricing rations of these items to older fee schedules into perpetuity. “(That) may in the end undermine the great efforts to reduce burdens and increase access in this rule,” the letter states.

    MK Battery debuts new website

    ANAHEIM, Calif. – MK Battery has rolled out a newly designed and enhanced corporate website. Highlighted features include more user-friendly product searches and application cross-referencing, as well as dealer lookup and distribution center locator tools. “The aim of the website redesign was not only to modernize the look, but also to provide more comprehensive content and improved navigation and functionality,” said Rick Spiegel, vice president of sales. “We wanted to make it easier for visitors to access all the many resources that we make available online.” The new website, www.mkbattery.com, has also been designed to include mobile responsiveness for phones and tablets, and long-scroll pages to provide added content without additional clicks.


    0 0

    09/18/2018
    HME News Staff

    WASHINGTON – CMS released a proposed rule yesterday aimed at removing unnecessary, obsolete or excessively burdensome Medicare compliance requirements.

    Collectively, the provisions in the rule would save healthcare providers an estimated $1.12 billion annually, the agency says.

    “We are committed to putting patients over paperwork, while at the same time increasing the quality of care and ensuring patient safety and bolstering program integrity,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “With this proposed rule, CMS takes a major step forward in its efforts to modernize the Medicare program by removing regulations that are outdated and burdensome. The changes we’re proposing will dramatically reduce the amount of time and resources that healthcare facilities have to spend on CMS-mandated compliance activities that do not improve the quality of care, so that hospitals and healthcare professionals can focus on their primary mission: treating patients.”

    Many of the provisions in the rule would simplify and streamline Medicare’s conditions of participation, conditions for coverage and other requirements, CMS says.

    One key provision: eliminate a duplicative requirement on transplant programs to submit data and other information more than once for “re-approval” by Medicare, the agency says.

    The proposed rule is part of CMS’s response to President Trump’s charge to federal agencies to “cut the red tape” and reduce burdensome regulations.


    0 0

    09/20/2018
    HME News Staff

    WASHINGTON – HME industry champion Cathy McMorris Rodgers has released a congressional sign-on letter to CMS, HHS and OMB asking for additional relief for HME as part of the proposed rule currently under consideration, according to AAHomecare.

    Rep. Rodgers, R-Wash., encourages stakeholders to ask their members in the House of Representatives to sign on to the letter before it closes on Friday, Sept. 28.

    The letter expresses support for CMS’s plans to suspend competitive bidding while it makes changes to the program, and extend relief for rural and non-contiguous areas through 2020.

    The letter also advocates, however, for additional improvements to the proposed rule, including:

    • Increasing reimbursement rates in competitive bidding areas until the next bid round is implemented: “Since CMS has recognized these SPAs are deficient due to the bid program’s median price methodology, we are concerned that these rates are inadequate, particularly when there no longer remains the increased market share that was the balancing rationale for the lower bid prices in the first place,” the letter states.
    • Extending relief to all non-competitive bidding areas by implementing the 50/50 blended rates to all those areas until the end of 2020.
    • Improving access to liquid oxygen by considering a more comprehensive effort to modernize Medicare oxygen policies, including those for liquid oxygen.


    Other original co-signers to the letter include Reps. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., Diana DeGette, D-Colo., and Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa.


    0 0

    ‘After 40 years in this field, I never thought I would see this happen,’ wrote one respondent
    09/21/2018
    Liz Beaulieu

    YARMOUTH, Maine – A large majority of respondents to a recent HME Newspoll (69%) say they won’t buy products from manufacturers that are selling direct to consumers.

    “If the manufacturers choose to chase this business, we should, as an industry, stand together and refuse to carry their products,” wrote one respondent. “These manufacturers may deny it, but they have decided they can grow their business without us.”

    Invacare and Philips recently joined Inogen in selling portable oxygen concentrators direct to consumer for cash. Inogen also provides POCs through insurance.

    A slimmer majority of respondents (56%) say it doesn’t matter if manufacturers are just selling POCs direct to consumers for cash, not through insurance.

    “Cash sales are the future of our industry, and I find it difficult to support these manufacturers,” wrote one respondent. “They need to do better at supporting us.”

    As an example, a number of respondents say they’ve already stopped buying products from Medline, a distributor that has been tapped by a number of managed care companies as a preferred provider for incontinence supplies for Medicaid recipients in numerous states.

    “Medline won the bid for all incontinence products to Medicaid patients in our state,” wrote one respondent. “This cut us out completely. After that, we only bought things (from them) that were a complete necessity. This is not exact, but if we used to spend $1 million, we now only spend $50,000.”

    Respondents who will continue to buy products from these manufacturers cite the Holy Grail—service—as the reason consumers will continue walking through their doors, regardless of what manufacturers are doing.

    “I think we have to expect this as an industry,” wrote one respondent. “Sony sells TVs off of their website, but that doesn’t mean Target doesn’t sell them in their store. It’s about positioning the service behind the product, or at least positioning yourself as the main choice for the consumer.”

    A few respondents even say manufacturers selling direct to consumer will boost their businesses.

    “I believe we will benefit, indirectly, from their marketing campaigns,” wrote one respondent.

    For the majority of respondents, however, the increasing number of manufacturers moving in this direction is hard to believe.

    “It goes against the dealer network,” wrote one respondent. “After 40 years, in this field I never thought I would see this happen. This could spell the end of dealers.”


    0 0

    09/21/2018
    HME News Staff

    WASHINGTON – HME industry champion Cathy McMorris Rodgers has released a congressional sign-on letter to CMS, HHS and OMB asking for additional relief for HME as part of the proposed rule currently under consideration, according to AAHomecare.

    Rep. Rodgers, R-Wash., encourages stakeholders to ask their members in the House of Representatives to sign on to the letter before it closes on Friday, Sept. 28.

    The letter expresses support for CMS’s plans to suspend competitive bidding while it makes changes to the program, and extend relief for rural and non-contiguous areas through 2020.

    The letter also advocates, however, for additional improvements to the proposed rule, including:

    • Increasing reimbursement rates in competitive bidding areas until the next bid round is implemented: “Since CMS has recognized these SPAs are deficient due to the bid program’s median price methodology, we are concerned that these rates are inadequate, particularly when there no longer remains the increased market share that was the balancing rationale for the lower bid prices in the first place,” the letter states.

    • Extending relief to all non-competitive bidding areas by implementing the 50/50 blended rates to all those areas until the end of 2020.

    • Improving access to liquid oxygen by considering a more comprehensive effort to modernize Medicare oxygen policies, including those for liquid oxygen.

    Other original co-signers to the letter include Reps. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., Diana DeGette, D-Colo., and Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa.

    NHIA keeps pressure on CMS

    WASHINGTON – Industry stakeholders met with CMS officials on Sept. 17 to discuss their concerns with home infusion provisions included in a recent proposed rule.

    Board members of the National Home Infusion Association and others met with Demitrios Kouzoukas, principal deputy administrator of CMS and director of the Center for Medicare, to highlight the potential negative impact of the provisions on providers and patients, according to a bulletin from NHIA.

    In particular, they urged CMS to strike a provision that would require that a nurse be present in the home the day an infusion drug is administered. They also urged the agency to adopt an expanded definition of home infusion professional services.

    Kouzokas was familiar with the issues, but he expressed concerns about the budget implications of daily reimbursement, according to the NHIA.

    Congressional champions are circulating sign-on letters in the House of Representatives and the Senate that ask CMS to modify the provision to allow payment for each calendar day that home infusion occurs and to adopt a more comprehensive definition of professional services.

    The NHIA is asking its members to contact their members of Congress and ask them to sign on to the letters.

    Regina Gillispie named this year’s Champion

    WASHINGTON – Regina Gillispie, president and owner of Best Home Medical in West Virginia, has been named the 2018 Van Miller Homecare Champion, AAHomecare announced on Wednesday. She will be honored at the Stand Up for Homecare reception at Medtrade in Atlanta on Oct. 16. The award recognizes and honors AAHomecare members for outstanding service to the HME community. Gillispie has built strong relationships and earned a great deal of credibility for the HME sector on Capitol Hill, AAHomecare says. In July, she spearheaded efforts to get all five members of West Virginia’s congressional delegation to send a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma asking her to address their concerns about the impact of the competitive bidding program in rural areas. Gillispie has also been at the forefront of state policy issues and has helped to convince the state’s Medicaid program to mandate that managed care organizations honor the timeframe of current authorizations for patients under previous MCO plans and to secure a 24-month timeframe for recoupments for MCO plans. Gillispie opened Best Home Medical in 2005 and has since expanded to two locations serving patients in Charleston and Huntington, and surrounding areas.

    Proposed rule lifts unnecessary regulations, CMS says

    WASHINGTON – CMS released a proposed rule yesterday aimed at removing unnecessary, obsolete or excessively burdensome Medicare compliance requirements.

    Collectively, the provisions in the rule would save healthcare providers an estimated $1.12 billion annually, the agency says.

    “We are committed to putting patients over paperwork, while at the same time increasing the quality of care and ensuring patient safety and bolstering program integrity,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “With this proposed rule, CMS takes a major step forward in its efforts to modernize the Medicare program by removing regulations that are outdated and burdensome. The changes we’re proposing will dramatically reduce the amount of time and resources that healthcare facilities have to spend on CMS-mandated compliance activities that do not improve the quality of care, so that hospitals and healthcare professionals can focus on their primary mission: treating patients.”

    Many of the provisions in the rule would simplify and streamline Medicare’s conditions of participation, conditions for coverage and other requirements, CMS says.

    One key provision: eliminate a duplicative requirement on transplant programs to submit data and other information more than once for “re-approval” by Medicare, the agency says.

    The proposed rule is part of CMS’s response to President Trump’s charge to federal agencies to “cut the red tape” and reduce burdensome regulations.

    NCART: Share new data with lawmakers

    WASHINGTON – Complex rehab stakeholders have another data point to support their efforts to stop CMS from applying competitive bidding pricing to components of complex rehab manual wheelchairs. The Clinician Task Force surveyed clinicians from across the county and collected patient-specific issues related to the ongoing cuts to complex rehab, and shared them in a recent letter to Reps. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., and John Larson, D-Conn. “With the recent reduction in payment for CRT manual wheelchair components (accessories) related to competitive bidding pricing, there are particular technologies that are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain unless clients or their families can buy them,” the task force states. The task force’s survey and letter follow an NCART survey that showed 65% of complex rehab providers say the cuts have reduced their ability to provide accessories for complex rehab manual wheelchairs. NCART encourages stakeholders to share the two surveys with lawmakers to increase support for H.R. 3730 and S. 486, which would stop the cuts.

    WHILL secures funding

    SAN CARLOS, Calif. – WHILL, which launched the Model Ci in the U.S. in January, has secured $45 million in funding led by investors SBI Investment Co., Daiwa PI Partners Co. and Daiwa Corporate Investment Co., and WHIZ Partners, as well as Endeavor Catalyst and others. This funding brings WHILL’s total funding to about $80 million. WHILL, expanded sales into the U.K. and Italy in July, following its expansion into Canada earlier this year, will use the funding to further broaden its geographic footprint across other European countries. It will also use the funding to significantly expand its consumer products offerings, and develop and expand its mobility as a service business. The company’s MaaS business focuses on “efficiently and safely moving people through large and crowded venues like airports, sports venues, shopping centers and public sidewalks,” it says.

    Flexpoint Ford invests in MobilityWorks

    RICHFIELD, Ohio – Flexpoint Ford, a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on the healthcare and financial services industries, has made a “significant equity investment” in MobilityWorks, a provider of wheelchair accessible vehicles, it was announced today. The new partnership will boost the provider’s expansion strategy and vision of “Accessibility for All,” according to a press release. "We are thrilled to be teaming up with Flexpoint Ford,” said Bill Koeblitz, founder and CEO. “We chose them as our institutional investment partner because of their proven track record of collaborating with founders in the healthcare and financial services sectors to accelerate growth.” MobilityWorks will continue to operate as an independent company led by its current leadership team, which will retain an ownership stake. Founded in 1997, MobilityWorks has more than 70 locations in 24 states and employs more than 1,200.

    AOPA names new executive director

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association has named Eve Humphreys as executive director effective Nov. 19. Humphreys, currently the executive director for the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, has more than two decades of experience navigating legislative and regulatory advocacy, working with volunteer and society leaders to create policy and position statements, practice guidelines, and continuing medical education content to advance organizations and industries, according to a press release. “It is an exciting time in the orthotic and prosthetic field,” Humphreys said in the release. “AOPA is well positioned to continue on its trajectory of success by expanding its influence and leadership in all areas.” Humphreys is taking over for Tom Fise, who announced in April he was stepping down after nearly 12 years at the association.

    AAHomecare issues white paper on sole source contracting

    WASHINGTON – AAHomecare’s Medical Supplies Council has published a white paper on the impact of sole source contracting. The paper, “How Sole Source & Narrow Network Contract Arrangements Lessen Patient Choice and Reduce Access,” details problems that arise when managed care organizations use sole source contracting, including limiting product choice, reducing personalized patient services and potentially disrupting continuity of care. The white paper is intended for use in working with MCOs, Medicaid officials and other stakeholders to ensure a robust network of providers.

    ACHC offers discounts to MNCHA members

    CARY, N.C. – The Accreditation Commission for Health Care has partnered with the Maryland-National Capital Homecare Association to offer MNCHA members special pricing on its home health, hospice and private duty accreditation services, as well as discounts on educational resources, according to a press release. “ACHC is very excited to partner with such a great organization that cares so much about bringing education and value to their members,” said Matt Hughes, director, Business Management & Customer Service, at ACHC. “We look forward to working with MNCHA to provide resources for their members to navigate the ever-changing dynamics of the home care market.”

    Bridge Connector, PointClickCare partner

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Bridge Connector has formed a strategic partnership with PointClickCare Technologies, a cloud-based software vendor for the long-term and post-acute care markets. As part of the partnership, Bridge Connector will play a large part in PointClickCare’s new developer program, offering its developers a streamlined, integrated process to build on the PointClickCare platform and leverage third-party integrated solutions. Bridge Connector and PointClickCare, both Salesforce Independent Software Vendor partners, are also using the partnership to focus on accelerating customer relationship management integration for PointClickCare customers. Additionally, the partnership allows PointClickCare customers to select from numerous Bridge Connector-powered, turnkey, integration options soon to be offered on PointClickCare’s new developer app marketplace.

    CareCredit pays off for Pride

    EXETER, Pa. – Pride Mobility Products has seen an increase in provider retail sales thanks to CareCredit. “We’re at a place in the evolution of our industry where retail sales of power lift recliners, scooters and power chairs are key to providers’ success,” said Micah Swick, director of Pride Sales. “The purchasing power that CareCredit offers consumers, along with giving providers an added sales tool, creates an ease of transaction where everyone wins.” CareCredit is a health, beauty, wellness and personal care credit card accepted through a national network of more than 200,000 provider and retail locations. Pride’s in-house support services for providers that are part of the CareCredit network include assistance with the enrollment process, co-branded marketing materials, joint educational webinars and tailored one-on-one training.

    OSA affects more Europeans than previously thought, ResMed says

    PARIS – Approximately 175 million Europeans have obstructive sleep apnea, including 90 million with moderate to severe OSA, according to an abstract presented by ResMed at the European Respiratory Society’s annual ERS Congress. Russia had the highest prevalence of OSA at 40 million. “This data is a warning call to Europe’s doctors and other care providers to properly identify, screen and diagnose these people so they can get the life-changing treatment they need,” said Dr. Adam Benjafield, lead researcher and ResMed’s vice president of Medical Affairs. Other European countries with high rates: Germany, 26 million; France, 24 million; Ukraine, 13 million; Spain, 9 million; and United Kingdom, 8 million.

    Permobil Foundation hosts charity event

    LEBANON, Tenn. – The Permobil Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Permobil, will host its annual charity open golf tournament on Sept. 20 at the Hermitage Golf Course in Old Hickory, Tenn. The event, which is sold out, raises money toward the foundation’s mission of partnering with nonprofit organizations to help individuals with disabilities live a life without limitations and assisting with insurance denials for DME. So far, the foundation, which celebrated its one-year anniversary this past March, has supported 194 nonprofits and assisted 268 individuals get a wheelchair or accessory that provides them with independence. Sponsors of this year’s event include U.S. Rehab, National Seating & Mobility and Numotion. The event comprised not only golf but also breakfast and lunch, a putting contest, and pictures with the Titans cheerleaders.

    Short takes: VirtuOx, Huggenberger

    VirtuOx and Brightree have completed an integration that enables HME providers to streamline workflows to use both solutions. Providers can now route orders for VirtuOx’s home diagnostic testing services directly through Brightree…Former Inogen CEO Ray Huggenberger has joined the board of directors at Ebb Therapeutics, a startup that develops products for insomnia sufferers. Huggenberger, who will remain on Inogen’s board, also serves on several other boards, including those of Somnetrics and Tactile Medical.


    0 0

    09/24/2018
    Liz Beaulieu

    ATLANTA – It’s time for HME providers to reacquaint themselves with the Unified Program Integrity Contractors, or UPICs, says Wayne van Halem. CMS announced plans to create this new program integrity contractor years ago, but after numerous protests and transitions, the UPICs are only now “fully operational,” says van Halem, president of The van Halem Group. Here’s what he had to say about where the UPICs are looking first.

    HME News: Who are the UPICs?

    Wayne van Halem: There are three contractors for five jurisdictions. AdvanceMed for Jurisdiction 1 (Midwest); Qlarant for Jurisdictions 2 (Western) and 3 (Southwest); and Safeguard Services for Jurisdictions 4 (Southeast) and 5 (Northeast).

    HME: What kind of audits are they conducting?

    van Halem: They’re doing both pre- and post-pay audits. We like to use the term audit, but they use the term investigation. They’re doing fraud investigations.

    HME: Are they focusing on any specific product categories right now?

    van Halem: They seem to be focused on orthotic braces, because there are a lot of issues going on there related to telehealth or lead generation, and the volume is high. We’ve also seen some audits involving vents.

    HME: So high volume can trigger these audits?

    van Halem: They’re heavily using claim data analysis, so yes, they’re looking for spikes in billing. But they’re also basing their audits on complaints from patients and referrals from other contractors for companies, for example, that go through the TPE process and fail.

    HME: How do the UPICs compare to other auditors?

    van Halem: They’re much more aggressive and seem to be doing a lot more payment suspensions. Also, one of the things they’re doing now is, when a UPIC in one jurisdiction implements a payment suspension, all of them initiate a post-payment audit. We’ve had providers go through this. There’s a suspension from one contractor then a letter from all the other contractors requesting claims to review, and then each identifies an extrapolated overpayment. Before, with the ZPICs, there was usually one extrapolated overpayment to deal with.

    HME: Does their aggressiveness have to do with the size of their contracts? Safeguard, for example, is getting about $130 million for its contract for the Southeast.

    van Halem: They have to show CMS a return on investment and the investment is significant. When they do a payment suspension, that’s quantified as savings. When they extrapolate an overpayment, that quantifies as savings.

    HME: Do providers have any avenues of recourse?

    van Halem: The UPICs certainly don’t make it easy. Most of the time, they provide a main phone number where you can leave a message and hope someone gives you a call back. If they do call you back, they often refuse to give you information. They don’t necessarily want to communicate and they don’t have to.


    0 0

    Miller’s and Respiratory Services of Western New York tie for second place
    09/25/2018
    HME News Staff

    SAVANNAH, Ga. – Medina, Ohio-based Aeratech Medical has been named the first-place winner of the HME Excellence Awards.

    Akron, Ohio.-based Miller’s Rental and Sales, and Buffalo, N.Y.-based Respiratory Services of Western New York were named second-place winners (tie).

    “Winning this award is a tremendous accomplishment on a number of levels,” said Rick Rector, publisher of HME News, which sponsors the awards. “It showcases a provider’s loyalty and commitment to their patients and community, and their ability to make smart and creative business decisions in the face of some of the most difficult times in the HME industry. The winners represent the best in the industry.”

    All three companies worked their way through an initial application then a finalist application, providing information on their financials, quality control, staffing and community involvement.

    • Aeratech Medical, which was started in 1999 by a respiratory therapist, is a provider of home respiratory care and equipment, including portable ventilators, CPAP machines and supplies, and home oxygen equipment.
    • Miller’s, a third-generation family owned company, is a full-line provider of HME with a large complex rehab business.
    • Respiratory Services of WNY, locally owned since 1997, is a provider of respiratory and durable medical equipment and services.


    The judges for this year’s HME Excellence Awards were Miriam Lieber, an independent consultant; Jonathan Sadock, the managing partner and CEO of Paragon Ventures; and Anna McDevitt, owner of Laboratory Tactical Consulting.


    0 0

    09/26/2018
    HME News Staff

    WASHINGTON – Forty members of the House of Representatives have so far agreed to add their names to a sign-on letter that makes the case for additional relief from Medicare’s competitive bidding program, AAHomecare reports.

    The letter, spearheaded by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., pushes CMS to increase reimbursement rates in bid areas until the next round of the program is implemented and extend 50/50 blended reimbursement rates to all non-bid areas as part of its forthcoming final rule.

    “Please help build on this great start and get more legislators signed on to the letter,” AAHomecare stated in a bulletin. “This may be one of our last opportunities to significantly influence CMS’s deliberations on the proposed rule.”

    The deadline for adding names to the letter: Friday.

    AAHomecare has identified representatives who have previously supported relief in non-bid areas as “top targets” for adding their names to the letter. They include the 155 representatives who have co-sponsored H.R. 4229.

    CMS is expected to publish a final rule in November.


    0 0

    09/27/2018
    HME News Staff

    WATERLOO, Iowa – Four finalists have been selected for the 2018 HME Woman of the Year, VGM has announced.

    The finalists, chosen from 39 nominations, are:

    Karen Atkins, CEO and president, Mobility First;

    Georgie Blackburn, vice president, government relations and legislative affairs, Blackburn’s;

    Colleen Hunter, CEO and president, Browning’s Pharmacy and Health Care; and

    Deanne Sandvold, vice president and owner, EZ-Access, a division of Homecare Products, Inc.

    “These women are determined advocates and leaders—serving our industry selflessly for years,” said Clint Geffert, president of VGM & Associates. “They exemplify the dedication and innovation required to have a positive impact not only on their business and coworkers, but also the customers and the communities they serve.”        

    The winner will be announced at Medtrade, Oct. 15-17 in Atlanta.

    Now in its third year, the award, sponsored by VGM, recognizes a woman in the industry who has made significant contributions throughout her career to her company, community and the industry.

    Last year’s winner was Barbara Smith, CEO of Healthline Medical Equipment in Wichita Falls, Texas.


    0 0

    09/28/2018
    Theresa Flaherty

    WASHINGTON – The havoc wrought by Hurricane Florence in September highlighted, once again, the need for policy changes in disaster situations, say HME stakeholders.

    “What gets lost (is the need) to get better reimbursement to take care of people in devastated areas,” said Bill Guidetti, executive vice president, East Zone, Apria Healthcare. “There are a lot of hidden costs.”

    Guidetti serves on an AAHomecare work group that was formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which soaked the Houston area with nearly 50 inches of rain and caused massive flooding in August 2017.

    The work group has prioritized a list of issues—and the history and rationale behind those issues—to present to CMS. It hopes the agency will consider the list and determine whether or not it can fix the issues using regulation, says Kim Brummett.

    “We need to have the conversation within different areas of CMS to see if we can move forward,” said Brummett, vice president of regulatory affairs for AAHomecare.

    At the top of the list of issues: the increased costs of delivering equipment and services during a disaster due to challenges like increased gas prices and road closures. Guidetti is working with AAHomecare’s Dobson DaVanzo study to come up with some numbers specific to costs in a disaster to bolster the industry’s case.

    “You’ll have companies like Penske, who do a great job getting into the disaster area and setting up temporary gas fill-ups but the surcharge on that is three times the normal cost,” he said.

     


    0 0

    09/28/2018
    HME News Staff

    WASHINGTON – A Senate sign-on letter supporting additional relief from Medicare’s competitive bidding program was released Sept. 28, a companion letter to one circulating in the House of Representatives, which had garnered 79 signatures at press time Friday.

    The Senate letter, spearheaded by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., urges CMS to increase reimbursement rates in bid areas until the next round of the program is implemented and extend 50/50 blended reimbursement rates to all non-bid areas as part of its forthcoming final rule.

    The Senate letter is only open through Thursday, Oct. 4, and stakeholders urge HME providers to immediately contact their senators and ask them to add their name to the letter.

    The deadline for the House letter, spearheaded by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., has been extended from last Friday’s deadline into this week, according to a bulletin from AAHomecare.

    AAHomecare has identified lawmakers who have previously supported relief in non-bid areas as “top targets” for adding their names to the letter. They include the 49 senators who added their names to a sign-on letter urging bid relief in July 2017, and the 155 representatives who have co-sponsored H.R. 4229.

    CMS is expected to publish a final rule in November.

    Aeratech Medical named top HME provider

    Miller’s and Respiratory Services of Western New York tie for second place

    SAVANNAH, Ga. – Medina, Ohio-based Aeratech Medical has been named the first-place winner of the HME Excellence Awards.

    Akron, Ohio.-based Miller’s Rental and Sales, and Buffalo, N.Y.-based Respiratory Services of Western New York were named second-place winners (tie).

    “Winning this award is a tremendous accomplishment on a number of levels,” said Rick Rector, publisher of HME News, which sponsors the awards. “It showcases a provider’s loyalty and commitment to their patients and community, and their ability to make smart and creative business decisions in the face of some of the most difficult times in the HME industry. The winners represent the best in the industry.”

    All three companies worked their way through an initial application then a finalist application, providing information on their financials, quality control, staffing and community involvement.

    ·      Aeratech Medical, which was started in 1999 by a respiratory therapist, is a provider of home respiratory care and equipment, including portable ventilators, CPAP machines and supplies, and home oxygen equipment.

    ·      Miller’s, a third-generation family owned company, is a full-line provider of HME with a large complex rehab business.

    ·      Respiratory Services of WNY, locally owned since 1997, is a provider of respiratory and durable medical equipment and services.

    The judges for this year’s HME Excellence Awards were Miriam Lieber, an independent consultant; Jonathan Sadock, the managing partner and CEO of Paragon Ventures; and Anna McDevitt, owner of Laboratory Tactical Consulting.

    HME Woman of the year finalists announced

    WATERLOO, Iowa – Four finalists have been selected for the 2018 HME Woman of the Year, VGM has announced.

    The finalists, chosen from 39 nominations, are Karen Atkins, CEO and president, Mobility First; Georgie Blackburn, vice president, government relations and legislative affairs, Blackburn’s; Colleen Hunter, CEO and president, Browning’s Pharmacy and Health Care; and Deanne Sandvold, vice president and owner, EZ-Access, a division of Homecare Products, Inc.

    “These women are determined advocates and leaders—serving our industry selflessly for years,” said Clint Geffert, president of VGM & Associates. “They exemplify the dedication and innovation required to have a positive impact not only on their business and coworkers, but also the customers and the communities they serve.”        

    The winner will be announced at Medtrade, Oct. 15-17 in Atlanta.

    Now in its third year, the award, sponsored by VGM, recognizes a woman in the industry who has made significant contributions throughout her career to her company, community and the industry.

    Last year’s winner was Barbara Smith, CEO of Healthline Medical Equipment in Wichita Falls, Texas.

    AEA Investors will be Numotion’s new owner

    BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Numotion has confirmed that AEA Investors, a New York-based middle market private equity firm, will be its new owner. The complex rehab provider confirmed to HME News last week that it had signed a definitive agreement with a new private equity sponsor, but it did not name the sponsor. Numotion has been backed by Audax Private Equity and LLR Partners for six years. The Numotion deal marks a return to healthcare investment for AEA Investors, according to PE Hub Healthcare. The firm currently has $11 billion under management. “Rather than mere investors, we see ourselves as providers of transformational capital that invest in well-positioned businesses which can benefit and improve operationally, strategically and financially,” AEA states on its website. “By focusing on building businesses, often within niche and complex sectors, we have invested successfully over many economic cycles.”

    Rectangle Health, VGM partner on payment processing

    VALHALLA, N.Y. – Rectangle Health, a provider of payment technology solutions, has formed a strategic relationship with VGM & Associates, it announced Sept. 25. Through the new relationship, Rectangle Health will offer its solutions at a discount to VGM’s membership of HME providers. “Their platform and payment technology is one of the best we’ve seen for the DMEPOS industry, and we’re certain this partnership will enhance our members’ focus on what they do best—helping others,” said Scott Owen, senior vice president of contracting for VGM & Associates. Rectangle Health, formerly Retriever Medical & Dental, began as a credit card processing program for medical and dental offices. It has grown to become a healthcare payment and processing company for more than 50,000 healthcare providers in the U.S., processing more than $5 billion in patient payments each year.

    Aeroflow ‘pitches in’

    ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Aeroflow Healthcare has donated and rented medical equipment and supplies to area shelters in Asheville, N.C., and Greenville, S.C., for Hurricane Florence evacuees. The provider has provided and personally delivered 20 rental hospital beds to facilities near Greenville; extra oxygen tubing and four nebulizers to Heartland Healthcare Center of Greenville; and portable oxygen tanks and eight nebulizers to Myrtle Beach Estates Senior Living. “It’s incredibly important for us to pitch in and assist communities in need,” said Casey Hite, president and CEO. Aeroflow says it will continue assisting shelters and the Red Cross in the areas affected by the hurricane by donating supplies and other medical resources.

    Stealth brings back Ottobock supports

    BURNET, Texas – Stealth Products has become the exclusive distributor in North America for a range of upper extremity supports from Ottobock. The move brings the products back to the North American market. “When we learned about the discontinuation of the Ottobock line of upper extremity supports in our market, we knew these options would fit nicely into the Stealth solutions portfolio,” said Lorenzo Romero, president of Stealth Products. “We didn’t want to just add a similar product into this category, we wanted to offer a recognizable brand that speaks to a long history of reliability. We feel these products will expand the range of solutions we can provide to our customers, while maintaining the quality you’ve come to expect from Stealth.” Ottobock is pleased to once again offer the products with the “right partner.” “As our business changed in early 2018, our customers made clear that this part of our portfolio was important for them to continue delivering effective solutions to their clients,” said Sarah McCarvill, global product manager, seating and kids, Ottobock. “It was important for us to find a partner with an established reputation for delivering high quality postural positioning solutions. With Stealth, we know we found the right partner.”

    Ascensia gets ‘seal of approval’ for Contour Next

    BASEL, Switzerland – The Contour Next BGMS finished top of the list for accuracy, according to the results of a recently published assessment of 18 blood glucose monitoring systems. The system from Ascensia Diabetes Care was the only one to have 100% of data points within protocol limits for accuracy used by the Diabetes Technology Society in their Blood Glucose Monitoring System Surveillance System. Based on the results of the independent assessment, the Contour Next was one of six systems awarded a “seal of approval” by DTS for meeting stringent standards for accuracy. The full results were published in Diabetes Care in August.

    Short takes: Somnoware, CareCentrix

    Somnoware, a provider of digital health software, has joined CMS’s electronic medical documentation program. The program expands the secure electronic exchange of health information in accordance with national standards. The Somnoware integration allows physicians to place an order for a PAP device, send relevant order details and medical information to DME companies, allow these companies to request additional documentation, and provide the ability to sign and date the document…CareCentrix, a post-acute care management provider, announced that several of its technology platforms used in conjunction with electronic personal health information have earned certified status for information security by HITRUST. "The HITRUST CSF is the gold-standard, and we are pleased to demonstrate our commitment to patient data privacy and safety by achieving this certification," said John Driscoll, CEO of CareCentrix.

     

    Miler's,RE


    0 0

    Deadline extended for House letter
    09/28/2018
    HME News Staff

    WASHINGTON – A Senate sign-on letter supporting additional relief from Medicare’s competitive bidding program was released this morning, a companion letter to one circulating in the House of Representatives which has garnered 79 signatures so far.

    The Senate letter, spearheaded by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., urges CMS to increase reimbursement rates in bid areas until the next round of the program is implemented and extend 50/50 blended reimbursement rates to all non-bid areas as part of its forthcoming final rule.

    The Senate letter is only open through Thursday, Oct. 4, and stakeholders urge HME providers to immediately contact their senators and ask them to add their name to the letter.

    The deadline for the House letter, spearheaded by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., has been extended beyond today’s deadline into next week, according to a bulletin from AAHomecare.

    AAHomecare has identified lawmakers who have previously supported relief in non-bid areas as “top targets” for adding their names to the letter. They include the 49 senators who added their names to a sign-on letter urging bid relief in July 2017, and the 155 representatives who have co-sponsored H.R. 4229.

    CMS is expected to publish a final rule in November.


    0 0

    10/02/2018
    HME News Staff

    WASHINGTON – A sign-on letter in the House of Representatives that seeks additional relief from Medicare’s competitive bidding program has nearly 100 signatures, VGM Group reports this week.

    The deadline for collecting signatures for the letter, spearheaded by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., is this Friday, Oct. 5.

    “Great work reaching out to your member of Congress,” VGM stated in a bulletin.

    The letter will be sent to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, HHS Secretary Alex Azar and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney.

    In the letter, representatives push CMS to increase reimbursement rates in bid areas until the next round of the program is implemented and to extend 50/50 blended reimbursement rates to all non-bid areas as part of a forthcoming final rule.

    Stakeholders can look up whether or not their representative has signed on to the letter here.

    A companion sign-on letter in the Senate, spearheaded by Sens. John Thune, R, S.D., and Heidi Heitkamp, D, N.D., has one additional signature from Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo. The deadline for that letter is Thursday, Oct. 4.

    “There have already been several (senators) who are expressing interest in the letter,” VGM states. “Continue reaching out to Senate offices this week to match the outstanding support from the House.”


    0 0

    10/05/2018
    Theresa Flaherty

    WASHINGTON – A groundswell of grassroots support carried a pair of bid-related sign-on letters over the finish line last week, say industry stakeholders.

    The final tally: 127 signatures on the letter in the House of Representatives, spearheaded by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.; and 30 signatures on the letter in the Senate, spearheaded by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

    “Every office we walked into had heard from state leaders and providers,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare, who spent Wednesday on Capitol Hill. “These letters will help to shape the final rule where we need it to be so we are encouraged by that.”

    The letters, which are being sent to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, HHS Secretary Alex Azar and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, ask CMS to increase reimbursement rates in bid areas until the next round of the program is implemented and to extend 50/50 blended reimbursement rates to all non-bid areas as part of a forthcoming final rule.

    Without an increase in reimbursement, access issues could worsen come Jan. 1, when the current bid contracts expire and an any willing provider provision kicks in.

    “You’ve unencumbered the contract suppliers who will make decisions on whether they want to take on unsustainable business,” said Ryan. “The ones on the sidelines who have found other revenue sources should think long and hard about jumping back into what the agency has admitted is a program that’s not sustainable with the current pricing.”

    Stakeholders expect CMS to publish a final rule in November.


    0 0

    10/05/2018
    Liz Beaulieu

    WASHINGTON – Much has been made of CMS’s plans to reduce the paperwork burden for healthcare providers, but what about for HME providers, specifically?

    The agency’s most recent attempt was last month, when it released a proposed rule aimed at removing unnecessary, obsolete or excessively burdensome Medicare compliance requirements. The rule, however, focused on Part A.

    “There was nothing in the rule for us,” said Kim Brummett, vice president of regulatory affairs for AAHomecare. “We have been working with the Provider Compliance Focus Group and have made many suggestions to them for reducing the paperwork burden.”

    CMS has made some concessions, including loosening the proof of delivery requirement and removing the date stamp from the written order prior to delivery, but there’s plenty more that could be done, stakeholders say.

    So what are the top areas where CMS could reduce the paperwork burden for HME providers?

    Kim Brummett, AAHomecare

    “More flexibility on physician orders. As an example: allow multiple PAP accessories to be on the same order when a patient uses different supplies over the course of a year.

    “A fairly new requirement: that the liter flow of an oxygen patient needs to be documented in the medical record. Most times, this is documented on the order, not necessarily the medical record.”

    Kelly Grahovac, the van Halem Group

    “The diabetic shoe policy requires documentation showing that several criterion have been met, in addition to a comprehensive plan of diabetic care being documented by the physician treating the patient for diabetes. (That) is a lot.

    “A walker is such an inexpensive piece of DME; however, if not documented properly, it will deny. The physician must document a mobility limitation that impairs the beneficiary from participating in one or more MRADLs in the home; and document the beneficiary can safely use the walker and the walker will improve the mobility deficit. (All) for a piece of equipment that is often purchased as a cash item.”


older | 1 | .... | 57 | 58 | (Page 59) | 60 | 61 | newer