In brief: Bill hits 90 co-sponsors, Dr. Comfort reaches settlement

Thursday, May 5, 2011

WASHINGTON - H.R. 1041, the bill to repeal competitive bidding, picked up seven new co-sponsors last week, bringing the total to 90. The industry, meanwhile, continues to try and find a senate champion willing to sponsor a companion bill. Last week, AAHomecare issued an "action alert" encouraging HME providers and Medicare beneficiaries to contact their senators and describe their problems with the bidding program. Rounds 1 and 2 will affect 43 states.


Gov't, Dr. Comfort reach $27 million settlement

MEQUON, Wis. - A U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Wisconsin announced in April a plea agreement with Rickey Kanter, the former CEO of Rikco International, d/b/a Dr. Comfort, that resolves allegations of Medicare fraud. The government also reached a civil settlement with Kanter and Dr. Comfort for $27 million pursuant to the Federal False Claims Act. The agreement and settlement stem from an investigation into Dr. Comfort selling shoe inserts for diabetic patients that were falsely represented and marketed by the company as meeting Medicare's requirements. Kanter has agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge of mail fraud, and the government has agreed to recommend that he be sentenced to 18 months in prison. Additionally, Kanter has agreed to be excluded from participating in all federal healthcare programs for 15 years. Separately, Dr. Comfort is entering into a five-year corporate integrity agreement with the Office of Inspector General. The civil settlement resolves two whistleblower lawsuits. The whistleblowers, two former employees of Dr. Comfort, will receive more than $4.8 million of the $27 million settlement.


Spett takes charge at GF

ATLANTA - GF Health Products announced May 2 that it has promoted Ken Spett to president and CEO. Spett's background in the healthcare industry involves a variety of senior executive, sales and marketing positions spanning more than 30 years. Most recently, he was Graham-Field's president and COO. Beatrice Scherer, the company's former CEO, will continue to serve on the board of directors.


Nova to consumers: Zoom, groove and cruise

CARSON, Calif. - Nova, a manufacturer of mobility equipment, announced May 2 that it's asking consumers to share their stories to win $6,000 and a mobility makeover with CEO Sue Chen. As part of the "The Zoom, Groove and Cruise Celebration," consumers must share their stories at and get their family, friends and community to vote for their stories. The consumer who writes the story with the most votes wins $5,000 and a mobility makeover, and the loved one, aide or salesperson who helped share his or her story wins $1,000. The deadline for entries: July 31. 


Chart Sequal products: Now part of military supply chain

STAFFORD, Va. - Panakeia, a distributor of healthcare products into the military healthcare system, announced May 2 that it will begin promoting and distributing Chart SeQual Technologies' new portable battlefield oxygen system, Saros, and the flagship Eclipse. "We believe with our portfolio of oxygen products we can save the Department of Defense millions of dollars while providing oxygen alternatives for our soldiers on the battlefield or disaster response teams around the world," stated Chart President Steve Shaw in a release.


Checklist made to help reduce denials

WASHINGTON - CMS released the "Power Mobility Device Face-to-Face Examination Checklist" May 4. The online checklist contains tips for physicians to use when conducting face-to-face exams. CMS said the checklist should improve compliance with documentation requirements and reduce denials of suppliers' power mobility claims.


Alpine Home Medical snags top honor

SALT LAKE CITY - Alpine Home Medical Equipment was named "Best of State" by Utah's Best of State Committee, the provider announced May 5.The provider was recognized for merchandising and consumer services in the medical equipment/supplies category. It's the third year in a row Alpine has earned the honor, which is awarded on several key areas, like customer satisfaction, product quality, financials, innovations and achievements. 


Apria hosts earnings call 

LAKE FOREST, Calif. - Apria Healthcare will review first quarter 2011 results during a conference call at 1 p.m. EST April 9. Access the call by dialing 866-900-5939; the passcode is Apria. A replay of the conference call will also be available starting one hour after the call until May 23. 


AAH sets fundraiser date

ATLANTA - AAHomecare will host its Stand Up for Homecare fundraising reception from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 25 at Medtrade. Contributions will support its public awareness campaign for home care. More information may be found at