In brief: AAHomecare fights back

Sunday, August 30, 2009

BALTIMORE - After Bruce Vladeck, a former administrator of Medicare and Medicaid during the Clinton administration, trash-talked DME on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" on Thursday, AAHomecare was able to provide a rebuttal on the program. Vladeck commented that every administration since the 1980s has tried "to change the system to eliminate those ridiculous overpayments." AAHomecare pointed out that DME payments have been cut numerous times since Vladeck left his post: "It was cut in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, and in the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008. Moreover, Congress has approved competitive bidding for DME in two separate pieces of legislation that were signed into law. This legislation, in combination, has resulted in reductions in oxygen therapy payments of over 50% since Mr. Vladeck left public office." Vladeck also commented that home oxygen therapy is "$3 billion for air--because that's all it really is." AAHomecare pointed out that oxygen therapy comprises products and services. Watch the program at:

States reverse Medicaid changes

SACRAMENTO, Calif., and SALEM, Ore. - It looks like providers in California and Oregon have dodged bullets. AAHomecare reported last week that California's Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, no longer plans to contract out DME, starting with adult manual wheelchairs. The state planned to contract with manufacturers to determine a fair acquisition price for manual wheelchairs and then offer that price to providers, plus a to-be-determined markup. The association also reported last week that Oregon's Medicaid program no longer plans to mirror Medicare and implement a 36-month cap on oxygen reimbursement. The cap still applies to dual-eligible patients.

Next Open Door Forum: Sept. 9

BALTIMORE - CMS will hold its next Open Door Forum on Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. EST. To participate, dial 800-837-1935 and use the ID 22139267. This forum is not to be confused with the Special Open Door Forum on Sept. 2 at 2 p.m. EST on competitive bidding. To participate in that forum, dial 800-837-1935 and use the ID 23044340.

Pride, MED: Let's stay together

EXETER, Pa., and LUBBOCK, Texas - Pride Mobility Products and Quantum Rehab have signed on with The MED Group for three more years. The partnership means MED's network of 1,100 provider locations will continue to have access to Pride's and Quantum's products and their educational and marketing support services "in the most cost-effective manner," according to a release. "Our members appreciate supply partners like Pride and Quantum that help them with their margins while offering top-quality products that consumers want," stated Bill Elliott, MED's president and CEO. The compliments flew both ways: "The MED Group continues to deliver on overall value and savings for MED members and provides the direction to help its members maintain and grow their successful businesses," stated Ted Raquet, Pride's vice president of domestic sales.

Invacare declares dividend

ELYRIA, Ohio - Invacare's board of directors declared a cash dividend of $0.0125 per share on its common shares and $0.011364 per share on its Class B common shares. The cash dividends are payable Oct. 13, 2009, to shareholders on record on Oct. 5, 2009.

Graymark makes regional buy

OKLAHOMA CITY - Graymark Healthcare has acquired somniCare and somniTech, the company announced Tuesday. The Overland Park, Kan.-based somni companies have sleep disorder centers in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota and Minnesota. Dr. Steven Hull will continue as president of somni and the companies will continue to operate under their own names. Graymark CEO Stanton Nelson stated in a release: "somni's regional presence complements our Sleep Disorder Centers' existing geographic markets, expanding our growing national footprint of best-in-class sleep centers." Graymark is a diversified medical holding company that includes diagnostic sleep centers, independent pharmacies and a DME.