In brief: AAH debuts audit survey tool, CMS denies request

Thursday, September 2, 2010

ARLINGTON, Va. - AAHomecare has developed a new tool to make it easier for providers to share their audit experiences. The tool allows providers to check boxes to identify the type of auditor, the type of product being audited and specific issues of concern related to the audit request. The association is collecting examples where CMS and/or its contractors have exceeded their authority in conducting these audits. It's focusing on the CERT, RAC, DME MAC, ZPIC and PSC audits for oxygen, power wheelchairs, CPAP, NPWT, diabetic supplies and hospital beds. AAHomecare would like providers to submit examples by Sept. 24. To use the new tool, go to and click on "Medicare Audit Survey" under "What's new."

CMS: 'Interim list of suppliers' would create confusion, CMS says

WASHINGTON - CMS has denied a request by 136 members of Congress that it release the names of the competitive bidding winners, AAHomecare reported last week. CMS announced the winning bid amounts in July, but it doesn't plan to release the names of the bidding winners until some time in September. That spurred Reps. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., and Ralph Hall, R-Texas, and their co-signers to send CMS a letter on Aug. 11 asking for greater transparency in the process. But in an Aug. 30 letter to Altmire, Hall and their co-signers, the agency states: "First and foremost, we believe that providing a series of interim lists of suppliers would result in beneficiary confusion, undermining the orderly and effective implementation of the program. In addition, we have not yet notified the suppliers whose bids were not among the winning bids and we believe that these suppliers should be notified before the names of the suppliers with winning bids are released to the public. Further, announcing a subset of suppliers before the contracting process is complete could be viewed as giving those suppliers an unfair competitive advantage. To read the letter in full, go to and click on "CMS Response to Transparency Letter" under "What's New."

Medtrade keynote speaker offers 'roadmap to success'

ATLANTA - The keynote speaker at Medtrade Nov. 15-18 at the Georgia World Congress Center will be Clifford Schorer, entrepreneur in residence at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. His presentation, sponsored by ResMed Corp., will address "The Power of Innovation and Creativity in Today's Turbulent Business Environment: A Roadmap to Success in the HME Industry." It will take place Nov. 16 at 9 a.m. in Marcus Auditorium and will be open to all attendees and exhibitors.

AHP one step closer to being 100% owned by Highland

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. - AmericanHome Patient (AHP) announced last week that 6.9 million shares of the company have been tendered for 67 cents per share pursuant to the self-tender offer made July 7. AHP has accepted the shares for payment. The shares, when added the shares owned by Highland Capital Management and its affiliates represent 87% of the outstanding shares of the company. AHP has also completed restructuring its senior debt into two, four-year secured term loans. "The successful completion of the offer and the debt restructuring are each steps in a series of transactions that are expected to result in the company becoming 100% owned by Highland," AHP stated in a release.

GF promotes Ken Spett to president, COO

ATLANTA - Graham-Field has promoted Ken Spett to president and COO. Spett began his career with GF in 1983 as vice president of operations for Labtron Scientific Corp., then corporate vice president of marketing when Labtron and GF merged. He later served as GF's vice president and senior vice president of its Medical/Surgical Division, and most recently, executive vice president. Spett will focus on operations and sales, while Beatrice Scherer will continue, in her role as CEO, to oversee administration and strategic planning.

DME provider charged in $87 million fraud scheme

NEWARK, N.J. - The founder and president of Allied Health Care Services, an Orange, N.J.-based DME provider, was arrested last week for fraudulently obtaining more than $87 million from banks based on phony lease agreements. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Charles Schwartz, 56, of Sparta, N.J., obtained the money by telling banks that it would be used to lease valuable medical equipment, but in reality, he never leased the equipment. Schwartz used the money to, among other things, repay earlier bank loans that were part of the scheme. By August 2010, several banks that had loaned him money filed lawsuits against him, claiming that he owed them at least $20 million. If convicted, Schmartz faces a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.