In brief: Bill gains momentum, deadline for sleep rule extended

Friday, June 10, 2016

WASHINGTON – A bill in the House of Representatives that would delay a second round of Medicare reimbursement cuts slated for July 1 has gained 18 additional co-sponsors in the wake of the AAHomecare Washington Legislative Conference, May 25-26. The total for H.R. 5210 now stands at 97. Additionally, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., testified June 8 at a House Ways & Means Health Subcommittee hearing on “Legislation to Improve and Sustain the Medicare Program.”“Patients' lives are literally at risk,” he told the committee of the bid program’s impact. A Senate companion bill, S. 2736, has 29 co-sponsors.

FMCSA extends comment deadline on sleep rule

WASHINGTON – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration have extended the public comment period on the potential impact of requiring sleep-apnea tests for commercial drivers and rail workers. The comment period has been extended from June 8 to July 8, 2016. The two groups announced in March that they were seeking input on the proposal and have hosted comment sessions in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles.

OIG issues mid-year update

WASHINGTON – Power mobility devices and orthotic braces are among the product categories under review by the Office of Inspector General, according to a Mid-Year Update for 2016 released by the Office of Inspector General on June 7. The OIG will perform several reviews to determine whether claims were medically necessary and compliant for orthotic braces, nebulizers and related drugs, and power mobility devices. The OIG will also conduct a review to determine the effectiveness of system edits to prevent inappropriate payments for diabetes test strips and lancets to multiple suppliers. The OIG will also conduct a review to determine whether potential savings can be achieved if certain power mobility devices are rented over 13 months rather than acquired as a lump-sum purchase (The Affordable Care Act eliminated the lump-sum purchase option on Jan. 1, 2011, but only for standard power wheelchairs). Additionally, the OIG will describe billing trends for vents, respiratory assist devices and CPAP machines from 2011 to 2014, and examine factors associated with the increase in billing for vents. Also on the OIG’s docket:It willperform a mandatory review of CMS’s competitive bidding process.

Metamason draws $3M in funding

LOS ANGELES – Metamason, the company behind a 3-D scanned and printed customized CPAP mask, has closed on a $3 million Series Seed financing round. The investment was led by 3P Equity Partners, a manufacturing-focused private equity firm in San Jose, Calif., and Tsing Capital, a leading “cleantech” venture capital firm in China. “We are thrilled to reach this important milestone for the company,” said CEO Leslie Oliver Karpas. “Our investors are confident that Metamason will be a disruptive, positive force in the $4 billion global sleep apnea market.” Metamason plans to use the investment to complete regulatory clearance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and to run initial clinical trials for its patent-pending flagship product, Respere. Also on the horizon: a crowdfunding campaign later in 2016 and marketing activities in early 2017. Metamason expects to make Respere publicly available in the second quarter of 2017.

Senior Medicare Patrol projects see mixed results

WASHINGTON – Senior Medicare Patrol projects report $2.5 million in expected recoveries for Medicare in 2015, compared to $660,829 in 2014, a 282% increase, according to a June 3 report from the Office of Inspector General. These projects did not report any expected recoveries for Medicaid in 2015, compared to $504 in 2014. The Senior Medicare Patrol projects also reported $35,059 in savings to Medicare beneficiaries and others in 2015, compared to $80,228 in 2014, a 56% decrease. These projects also reported $21,533 in cost avoidance for Medicare, Medicaid, beneficiaries and others in 2015, compared to $200,598 in 2014, an 89% decrease. While the Senior Medicare Patrol seemed to be less successful in certain areas, the OIG believes the projects may not be receiving full credit for savings attributable to their work. “It is not always possible to track referrals to Medicare contractors or law enforcement from beneficiaries who have learned to detect fraud, waste and abuse from the projects,” the report states. “In addition, the projects are unable to track the potentially substantial savings derived from a sentinel effect, whereby Medicare beneficiaries’ scrutiny of their bills reduce fraud and errors.”

VirtuOx launches DocViaWeb

WASHINGTON – VirtuOx, a national sleep and respiratory testing provider, has launched a sister company, DocViaWeb, to provide HIPAA-compliant and cost-effective telemonitoring solutions for healthcare organizations and professionals to diagnose and treat at home. DocViaWeb specializes in two healthcare verticals: sleep disorders and home health care. The sleep disorders program provides the ability to test for sleep apnea in real time, using advanced diagnostic sleep medicine tools, and to schedule online consultations with board-certified sleep specialists. It also provides the ability to coordinate APAP or oral appliances through DME providers. The home health care program provides outsourced transitional care management and chronic care management using VirtuOx’s proprietary software, CareCentered.

Contour: 25 years, 20 million sold

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Contour Products is marking two milestones: 25 years in business and 20 million units sold. The company is ramping up outreach to doctors and respiratory therapists to further promote its CPAP pillow line, including a “Contour Referral Program” offering helpful information, samples and promotional opportunities. “The importance of respiratory therapists and other medical professionals can’t be overstated,” said Scott Davis, president.

Convaid supports SMA events

TORRANCE, Calif. ­– The Pediatric Group of Etac NA will attend the Cure SMA National Conference, June 16-19 in Anaheim, Calif., as a platinum exhibitor and will donate a Convaid Trekker to kick off the event. The Pediatric Group—Convaid and R82—will also participate at Cure SMA Walk-n-Rolls throughout the United States over the course of this year. “We are steadfast advocates for families living with special needs,” said Nanneke Dinklo, marketing director for Etac NA. “We embrace opportunities to help families enjoy their freedom and live full, active lives.”