In brief: AAH points finger, ActiveCare outsources

Sunday, September 14, 2008

ARLINGTON, Va. - AAHomecare opposes the exemption of physicians and other medical professionals from CMS's accreditation requirement, the association stated last week. HME providers must become accredited by Sept. 20, 2009. The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 states that "eligible professionals" are exempt from the accreditation requirement and, at the Aug. 18 Open Door Forum, CMS officials defined those professionals as physicians, PTs, OTs and qualified speech language pathologists and practitioners. The list also includes physician assistants, certified registered nurse anesthetists and clinical social workers. "Accreditation helps to ensure that patients receive high-quality homecare, and it is also an important tool in preventing fraud in the Medicare program," stated Tyler Wilson, AAHomecare's president and CEO.

ActiveCare outsources service
COLUMBIA, S.C. - ActiveCare Medical has contracted with Wheelchair and Scooter Repair to provide repair services for all of its power mobility products, the manufacturer announced last week. "With the growth in our industry of Internet sales and drop shipping, repair service for the consumer can be a big issue," stated Steve Neese, president and CEO of ActiveCare, in a release. "WSR is a much-needed service outlet for those who buy our products online and also for people who do not have easy access to our other authorized repair centers." The California-based Wheelchair and Scooter Repair has licensed service technicians in all 50 states. Under the contract, ActiveCare dealers will now have access to Wheelchair and Scooter Repair's Premium Service Program. The one-year program includes labor for warranty service calls, phone support and assistance, and competitive rates on non-warranty repairs. The services are covered by most insurance. The new relationship between ActiveCare and Wheelchair and Scooter Repair allows providers to concentrate on promoting growth, Neese stated. "We are providing our dealers another way to control costs and improve their bottom line," he stated.

AMEPA seeks to 'change face of industry'
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - The Accredited Medical Equipment Providers of America (AMEPA) last week asked providers of home oxygen therapy to collect information and photographs of patients to share with legislators and their staffs. "We hope to create demonstration tools of actual patients, combined with their stories of how you, their provider, have helped them at crucial times, in off hours, with unique problems, putting their health before your company's bottom line," AMEPA adviser Sean Schwinghammer wrote in an e-mail to providers. "You are a provider of equipment, but more importantly, you are a provider of services and care." With the info and photos, AMEPA plans to create a database and media kits that it will use to "change the face of our industry."

Active Medical chases cash sales
TAMPA, Fla. - Active Medical Supply has retooled its Web site,, to include an online store for incontinence, wound care, diabetes and other supplies, it announced Sept. 10. The only way to pay for the supplies: cash. Active wants to diversify its payer mix so that no more than 2% of its income comes from any one entity, whether it's Medicare or an HMO. It plans to use the site to market directly to hospitals, nursing homes and the elderly. "It's there; people want it," owner Nelson Stone stated in a release. "I'm not stuck on billing the government." The site, which is being developed in stages, also includes news articles, a blog and links to helpful resources. "Many of these people feel alone," Stone stated in the release. "I want to provide education and community, along with all the material things you just have to have in these situations."

NAIMES seeks input from providers
SOUTH BOSTON, Va. - The National Association of Independent Medical Equipment Suppliers (NAIMES) will poll providers on the presidential election and more at Medtrade, Oct. 28-30 in Atlanta. The association will ask visitors to its booth to vote for John McCain or Barack Obama and will report the results the following week to see if "the provider vote reflects the mood of the nation." NAIMES will also ask visitors the following questions: Do you think the DME industry will fare better under a Democratic administration? Do you think having a Democratic Congress and a Republican administration will work best for the DME industry? Do you feel that the Republicans have a tarnished image after the last eight years? Do you feel that the next Congress will repeal competitive bidding? Do you feel that the oxygen cap should be repealed in light of recent cuts?

DME MACs issue wheelchair reminders
National Government Services, the DME MAC for Jurisdiction B, reminded providers last week not to bill separately for anti-tipping devices at the time of initial purchase of a power mobility device. The LCD for wheelchair options and accessories indicates that anti-tipping devices are included in the allowance for power wheelchairs. E0971 is a manual wheelchair accessory, anti-tipping device, and therefore, it shouldn't be used with a power mobility device, the MAC stated...Noridian Administrative Services, the DME MAC for Jurisdiction D, reviewed the coverage criteria for wheelchair leg rests after a high error rate. Criteria include: The patient has a musculoskeletal condition or the presence of a cast or brace which prevents 90 degree flexion at the knee; or the patient has significant edema of the lower extremities that requires an elevating leg rest; or the patient meets the criteria for and has a reclining back on the wheelchair. For more information, go to

In the May 5, 2008, HME NewsWire, we reported on a lawsuit filed by Diagnostic Devices against Pharma Supply. Pharma Supply disputes Diagnostic Devices’ claims that it doesn’t have an agreement to sell Advocate glucometers and strips in the United States.