In brief: Brightree, ResMed rebrand and more

Friday, March 14, 2014

LAS VEGAS – Brightree unveiled a new brand at Medtrade Spring to reflect its growing investments in technology and services in post-acute care, including home health, home infusion and hospice. The provider of cloud-based billing and management software says its expansion will help HME businesses expand, diversify revenue streams and attract new customers. Brightree estimates spending on the post-acute side of HME, home infusion, home health, hospice and long-term care will double in 10 years to more than $500 billion. “Our goal is to help Brightree customers capture the greatest share of that growth by equipping them with the broadest array of software, services and professional expertise targeted to their specific needs,” said CEO Dave Cormack. In other news, the ICD-10 test claims that Brightree has submitted to CMS were all accepted.

ResMed rebrands to reinforce committment

SAN DIEGO – ResMed has a new tagline, “changing lives with every breath,” and an updated logo. It’s the first re-branding in the company’s 25-year history, according to a March 10 release. “Worldwide shifts in healthcare dynamics have opened up important opportunities to further impact the well being of millions of undiagnosed patients,” said CEO Mick Farrell. ResMed says the updated brand reinforces its commitment to patients, providers and partners. The company’s new brand, including a new website, rolls out with its U.S. operations and globally through the rest of the year.

AAH briefs Finance Committee on audits

WASHINGTON –AAHomecare met with the Senate Finance Committee March 13 to discuss improvements to the audit process, according to a bulletin. Now drafting legislation to overhaul the process (see related story), the association recommends CMS stop new audits until a massive backlog is cleared; stop interest penalties and recoupment/repayment until an audit clears all levels of appeals; issue guidance to DME MACs to allow for a timely filing override on continuous rental or supply claims; and assign greater weight to clinical inference, among other suggestions. The industry’s battle against audits has strengthened ever since a Dec. 31 memo from Chief ALJ Nancy Griswold citing a huge backlog of pending appeals and the suspension of the assignment of new hearings for appeals dating back to July 15, 2013.

ActiveCare program cuts healthcare costs, says study

OREM, Utah – Patients participating in ActiveCare’s diabetes management program saw first-year cost savings of nearly $3,400 each, according to a study published in US Endocrinology. “These findings suggest that even partial improvement of diabetes testing adherence within an employed population may result in substantial attenuation of employee medical expense,” study authors wrote. “The reduction in healthcare costs, even when considering those who did not comply, outweighed the program costs by several-fold.” Study authors looked at allowed claims between 2011 and 2012. They found participating members’ costs fell, while care costs for nonparticipants increased $282. ActiveCare uses real-time data from participants’ cellular glucometers to call those with dangerously high or low levels of glucose. Registered nurses follow up regularly with participants and advise them on eating and exercise habits.

ASP: Brand-name drugs see increase

BALTIMORE – Two nebulizer medications will see payment increases for the second quarter of 2014. In the latest average sales price (ASP) figures, released March 4, brand-name drugs Brovana (J7605) and Perforomist (J7606) increased 37 cents and 55 cents, to $6.14 and $6.91, respectively. That’s in contrast to budesonide (J7626), which decreased 50 cents to $5.10 per dose. Other neb meds saw little change: albuterol (J7613) was up just over a penny to 13 cents per dose, while ipratropium (J7644) stayed at just under 12 cents per dose.

Stand Up for Homecare brings in $50K

LAS VEGAS – AAHomecare’s Stand Up For Homecare reception on March 11 raised an estimated $50,000, the association reported in its weekly bulletin. Held during Medtrade Spring at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center in Las Vegas, the fundraiser supports industry efforts to get positive, accurate DME news in national and local media, and the Mobility Matters and DME Matters newsletters. At the October Stand Up for Homecare event, AAHomecare raised $75,000.

Medtrade names award winners

LAS VEGAS – Five manufacturers took home awards for products and booths at Medtrade Spring. Medela, of McHenry, Ill., earned Best Booth Award and Algona, Wash.-based EZ-Access took home the Creative Concept Award. The iWalk2.0 Hands Free Crutch won the Providers Choice Gold Award; Jordi Airflow’s Jordi-Stick took home silver; and Utah-based Stander’s Endevr StrengthTape took bronze. Nearly 2,000 providers attended the March 10-12 show at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center in Las Vegas, according to a release. Medtrade is scheduled for Oct. 20-23 in Atlanta.

Medicaid fraud units secure thousands of convictions

WASHINGTON –Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCU) in 2013 secured 1,341 criminal convictions and 879 civil settlements and judgments nationwide, according to an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report. Criminal recoveries reached nearly $1 billion, while civil recoveries topped $1.5 billion, the March 7 report says. Both types of cases involved a variety of providers, but the most notable were home health agencies in criminal court and pharmaceutical companies in civil court. “This report represents a new effort by OIG to compile in one document information about MFCU activities and results, and we anticipate issuing annual reports for future years,” wrote the OIG, which conducted 10 onsite reviews of MFCUs and published eight reports. The OIG relied on convictions from MCFU investigations to exclude more than 1,000 providers from federal healthcare programs in 2013, the report says.

The Audit Team, ACU-Serve formalize partnership

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio – The Audit Team has partnered with ACU-Serve to provide billing audits and appeals consulting services, and government compliance help. “It is impossible for dedicated HME/DME companies to both serve patients and adapt procedures every time a law or insurance policy is changed,” said Stephanie Green, general counsel and chief consulting officer for The Audit Team, in a release. In February, ACU-Serve co-founder Jim Knight stepped into the role of CEO and announced plans to have Green head up an auditing and consulting division.

Registration opens for RESNA conference

WASHINGTON – Registration is now open for RESNA’s annual conference, slated for June 11-15 in Indianapolis. “Racing Towards Excellence in AT” will feature the introductory “Fundamental in Assistive Technology” course and nine other full- and half-day instructional courses; more than 40 workshops and research-oriented platform; and poster sessions. The conference will screen the award-winning documentary, “Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement,” and host presentations on pediatric mobility research, AT and safety in agricultural-related workplaces, and improving wheeled mobility for older adults.