In brief: AAH finds big decreases in 2017 fee schedule, Quantum sponsors seat elevation study

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Friday, December 23, 2016

WASHINGTON – There will be an average decrease in reimbursement of 36.8% in 2017 for the top 25 HCPCS codes for HME, according to a new analysis by AAHomecare of the new reimbursement compared to 2016 and 2015 reimbursement. Low-air loss mattresses (E0277) will see the biggest hit: about a 58% decrease in reimbursement, on average, in 2017 vs. 2016. To perform the analysis of the recently released 2017 fee schedule, AAH segmented eight geographical regions and averaged the reimbursement for all the states within each region. At the high end, the “regional rate” in New England, will decrease 60.2% in 2017 vs. 2016; at the low end, the rate will decrease 53.6% in the Southeast.

Quantum Rehab sponsors seat elevation study

EXETER, Pa. – Quantum Rehab is sponsoring a Georgia Tech study examining how power adjustable seat height can affect the everyday lives of wheelchair users.

“Some users still face funding barriers to this clinically-necessary mobility technology, so this research study will ideally clarify through data as to why funding sources should cover it for those in need,” said Jeannie Sayre, vice president of clinical development for Quantum Rehab. “Based on Quantum’s consumer base widely using power seat elevation, we see our sponsorship of this study as an advocacy role toward those we serve.”

The Rehabilitation Engineering and Applied Research Lab at Georgia Tech has already conducted a pilot study on seat elevation. Ninety percent of those who participated in the study used the technology as a tool for increased safety and independence during activities of daily living. They also used it for transferring, reaching and preparing meals.

The upcoming study seeks to expand the scope of the research by using a larger participant group and data-logging technology. It will also feature real-time feedback to create a real-world portrayal of how seat elevation is used daily and its clinical benefits to users, Quantum says.

The study kicks off in the spring of 2017.

ResMed taps Nunez as new chief medical officer

SAN DIEGO – ResMed has named Dr. Carlos Nunez chief medical officer effective Jan. 3. Nunez most recently served as senior vice president of medical affairs for Becton, Dickinson and Company. He will be based in ResMed’s San Diego headquarters and will report to CEO Mick Farrell and President/COO Rob Douglas. Nunez has more than two decades of leadership experience in the medical field, with a focus on aligning the clinical realities of modern healthcare with the business strategies of global enterprises. At BD, he drove business strategy, innovation and public policy efforts across a business with $12 billion in revenue, while advising on safety, quality and regulatory matters. He has also held senior leadership positions at United HealthCare Group’s Optum division, CareFusion and Picis, a healthcare informatics company. ResMed’s current chief medical officer, Dr. Glenn Richards, will transition to the role of medical director for the company’s product development teams.

Mediware managers named to nat’l claims committee

LENEXA, Kan. – Two DME software product managers at Mediware Information Systems have been appointed to represent AAHomecare on the National Uniform Claims Committee for 2017. Rebecca Bowden and Kimberly Commito will participate in industry discussions related to maintaining the healthcare provider taxonomy code set, managing 1500 claims forms and monitoring legislative and regulatory changes that impact claims. NUCC comprises a diverse group of healthcare industry stakeholders representing providers, payers, designated standards maintenance organizations, public health organizations and vendors. The underlying goal of the committee is to help standardize data to transmit claims and encounter information to and from all third-party payers.

H.D. Smith launches VentureRx to support community pharmacists

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – H.D. Smith has launched a new program to initiate and fullly support the start up, purchase, sale and related transition strategies of an independent or regional chair pharmacy. VentureRx empowers pharmacy owners to shape the future of their businesses, the pharmaceutical wholesale distributor said in a press release. “Recognizing the amount of pharmacies closing or selling to large chains, H.D. Smith developed VentureRx to support its largest customer base—community pharmacies,” said Chris Smith, president and CEO, in the release. The program is targeted at independents, small chains, long-term care facilities, and specialty or compounding pharmacies. In addition to financial services, VentureRx also offers expertise in store branding, marketing, merchandising, managed care, and full front-of-store designs and programs.

TiLite goes metric

PASCO, Wash. – Starting Jan. 16, TiLite wheelchairs will have metric nuts, bolts and fasteners. The change will affect lead times: 10 days for X Series and Twist, and 20 days for T Series and Z Series. Custom chairs will be scheduled based on complexity. Parts orders will be shipped within 48 hours. Imperial parts will be kept on hand for five years. The change will not affect measurements, tires, casters, armrests, hangers, bearings or upholstery. There will be a revised warranty for metric chairs: complete replacement within the first year, and metric frame kit, including all parts needed to make chair complete, after the first year. TiLite will also offer free metric tool kits with every order until March 1, 2017.

Bill-Ray Mobility wins with Friendly Beds

KIMBERLY, Wis. – The Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging presented its 6th Annual Innovation in Caregiving Award to Bill-Ray Home Mobility at its annual conference in November. Bill-Ray Home Mobility was selected for the award for its Friendly Beds, a device that allows people with disabilities or older adults with limited mobility to get in and out of bed more easily. The award recognizes individuals who, in the course of caring for an older adult or person with disability, solve a challenge that eases the burden on caregivers. Friendly Beds was developed by engineer Joe Vosters based on his experiences as a caregiver for his aging father and a brother in law who suffered a stroke. “I thought there was a need for a heavy duty system where the components work together for unique benefits,” he said. Friendly Beds comprises a 36-inch long trapeze that allows someone with limited mobility to move across a wide bed; a stable balance pole that helps them stand and maintain balance; pivoting assist rails that help them reposition and provide support for getting in and out of bed; and a transfer bar option that allows safe/independent bed transfers for individuals with no leg strength.

Brightree donates to three organizations

ATLANTA – Brightree has given monetary donations to three national nonprofit organizations that support the HME, and home health and hospice communities. The donations to Portlight Strategies, Hospice Foundation of America and Caregiver Action Network will help improve access to medical equipment and supplies, and provide educational materials and resources for patients, people with disabilities, caregivers and other health professionals. “These organizations provide great services to the HME, and home health and hospice, communities, and Brightree is proud to contribute to their efforts and help make a difference with the people they support,” said Matt Mellott, CEO. Each year, Brightree donates to charitable organizations on behalf of its customers, partners and employees in lieu of sending traditional holiday cards.

POWER Symposium partners with Medtrade Spring

LAS VEGAS – Juzo and Amoena are once again hosting their POWER Symposium ahead of Medtrade Spring. The symposium is Feb. 23-25 at Paris Las Vegas Hotel, while Medtrade Spring is Feb. 27-March 1 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The symposium brings together industry leaders, specialty retailers and medical professionals to exchange ideas on ways to re-energize their businesses, gain new perspectives on wellness and better connect with customers. It’s targeted toward specialty retailers catering to women’s wellness needs, including DME companies, women’s and hospital boutiques, O&P providers and medical centers. The symposium and Medtrade Spring have partnered to offer all attendees access to the Medtrade Spring Expo Hall at no cost. The symposium is in its seventh year.