In brief: Association forms, CMS prioritizes and more

Sunday, April 6, 2008

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - In response to hundreds of disqualified bids, some providers have formed the Accredited Medical Equipment Providers of America (AMEPA). "Most of these companies have never belonged to an association," said Rob Brant, AMEPA president and CEO of City Medical Services in North Miami Beach, Fla. "They don't go to Medtrade, they don't read the trade magazines, but they went to the cost and expense of getting accredited." One of the new association's board members had his bid reopened by the CBIC and received his response last week. The letter said they had found his missing financial documents but stated the information wasn't compiled correctly, so his bid was still disqualified. "Our feeling is that is going to be the answer for all of us," said Brant. Membership dues for AMEPA are $300.

Invacare offers a Bonafide software solution
ELYRIA, Ohio - In what looks like a match made in heaven, Invacare announced a sales and marketing agreement April 1 with Bonafide Management Systems, an HME software company based in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Bonafide, which has successfully developed products for other markets in the past (music video stores and hospital Part A claims filing), has exhibited at Medtrade for several years but had grown its HME client base only modestly and needed help with sales and marketing. Invacare, on the other hand, has a large sales and marketing team that "touches the entire national customer base, and we wanted to offer something like this," said David Kazan, vice president of sales and marketing for Invacare's Service Business Group.

Buy, sell, trade with Fastrack
PLAINVIEW, N.Y. - Fastrack Healthcare Systems at Medtrade Spring in May will unveil an Internet-based buy/sell exchange with auction and classified ad sections. Providers can find the exchange on Fastrack's Web site, While there is no fee for buyers using the exchange, there's a small fee for sellers listing products and placing ads on the exchange. "We see providers using the exchange to buy and sell used or excess inventory to each other and the classified ads for services including help-wanted listings," stated President Spencer Kay in a release.

CMS prioritizes homecare services
BALTIMORE - CMS set its sights on making it easier for thousands of Medicaid beneficiaries to receive home- and community-based services (HCBS) in a proposed rule published March 31. The Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) of 2005 paved the way for the change by including a provision that allows states to provide HCBS without applying for demonstration waivers. CMS's proposed rule provides guidance to states on how to implement the provision, including how to set their own eligibility or needs-based criteria. Previously, to qualify for assistance with personal care, home health care or other services in the home or community setting, beneficiaries had to be at imminent risk of institutionalization. The DRA provision eliminates that requirement and allows states to cover beneficiaries who have incomes no greater than 150% of the federal poverty level--$15,6000 per individual in 2008--and who satisfy the needs-based criteria. Per the DRA, states need only an approved state plan amendment (SPA) to provide HCBS to Medicaid beneficiaries. Already, CMS has granted Iowa an HCBS SPA. It has requests pending for Colorado, Nevada and Georgia.

Rehab provider pleads guilty
DENVER - A rehab provider accused of stealing more than $1 million from Colorado Medicaid has agreed to a plea agreement, the Associated Press reported March 31. Daniel Arnold, owner of D&D Medical of Aurora, Colo., pleaded guilty to racketeering, two theft counts and forgery (Initially, a jury handed up an indictment with 49 counts). Arnold must pay more than $1 million in restitution. He was accused of inflating time spent on repairs and billing for services never completed between 2000 and 2005. Prosecutors alleged that Arnold falsified manufacturer invoices to inflate the company's reimbursement for wheelchairs, parts and accessories.

Healthnostics invests in diabetes supplies market
NEW YORK - Healthnostics, a medical and biotech information and technology company, has acquired a significant interest in GMD, a nationwide durable medical equipment provider that specializes in direct-to-consumer diabetes supplies, the companies announced April 1. GMD is currently forecasted to generate $10 million in revenue by the end of the fiscal year in June 2008.