In brief: Affordable Care Act breathes new life into Medicare, CMS pats itself on the back for DME savings

Thursday, May 12, 2011

WASHINGTON - Medicare's Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund is projected to remain solvent until 2024, according to an annual report released last week by the Medicare Trustees. Without reforms in the Affordable Care Act, the fund would have expired in 2016. Actual Part B expenditure growth in 2010 was lower than expected, according to the report. Part B outlays were 1.5% of GDP in 2010 and are projected to grow to about 2.4% by 2085. While the trustees believe Medicare remains viable, challenges remain. "The financial outlook for the Medicare program is substantially improved as a result of the changes in the Affordable Care Act," they wrote. "In the long range, however, much of this improvement depends on the feasibility of the act's downward adjustments to future increases in Medicare prices for most categories of healthcare providers." To read the report.


CMS: 'Getting best value' for DME saves $17B over 10 years

WASHINGTON - Changes to Medicare through the Affordable Care Act will save nearly $120 billion over the next five years, according to an analysis released by CMS last week. The agency lists "getting the best value for Medicare beneficiaries and taxpayers for durable medical equipment" as saving $2.9 billion through 2015 and $17 billion over 10 years. CMS lists the biggest savings, at $55 billion, for reforming provider payments to reward quality of care. Read the full analysis here.


Provider continues on growth track

CLINTON, N.Y. - Upstate HomeCare has acquired Rochester, N.Y.-based American HomePatient Infusion Pharmacy, it was announced May 9. The deal will allow Upstate to expand its existing pharmacies in Rochester and increase its workforce by about 15%, the company stated in a release. Upstate plans to continue its plan of strategic growth, stated Greg LoPresti, vice president and COO of Upstate. Last September, the provider acquired the assets of Mohawk Valley Home Care in Utica, N.Y. The transition will be completed in the next 30 days.


Mail order provider reports earnings increase

STUART, Fla. - Liberator Medical reported a 31% increase in earnings for the quarter ended March 31, 2011, the provider stated in a release May 13. Sales for the quarter were $12.6 million compared to $9.65 million during the same period a year ago. Gross profit increased by 27.3% to  $7.97 million compared with gross profit of $6.26 million for the same period in 2010. Liberator attributed its growth, in part, to a direct response campaign. The mail-order provider's advertising expenses were $2 million for the quarter.


CMS releases agenda for DME public hearing

BALTIMORE - CMS last week released a 10-item agenda for a public meeting regarding Healthcare Common Procedure Coding. The meeting, set to begin at 9 a.m. on June 8 at the CMS Auditorium in Baltimore, will cover coding for HME products and accessories. Final decisions will be announced in November. View the agenda here.


Invacare donates to storm victims

ELYRIA, Ohio - Invacare donated equipment and supplies to the Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC) to assist in relief efforts for those affected by recent severe storms and tornadoes. The total donation will top $65,000 worth of wheelchairs, crutches, incontinence supplies and mattresses, among other items, for people in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee.


Fastrack unveils ownership program

PLAINVIEW, N.Y. - Fastrack Healthcare Systems last week unveiled a new ownership program for clients of its hosted model. The program allows clients to apply a large portion of their hosting fees to the purchase price of a software license. Most clients can own the software in 42 months, according to the company.


Bruno sells power tilt cap

OCONOMOWOC, Wis. - Bruno Independent Living Aids, a manufacturer of vehicle lifts, announced last week that it has sold its power tilt cap product line to Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Clock Conversions. Bruno's trademarked name for the product, Pow'r Topper, was not part of the transaction. It's retiring the name. Clock acquired all existing inventory, names of key suppliers, demo equipment stands, manufacturing and assembly fixtures, and engineering and application drawings. "Bruno is continuing to streamline our product mix to focus on our core product offerings," stated Andrew Bayer, automotive product manager, in a release. Clock expects to be up and running by mid-June.