In brief: CGS begins payment adjustments, Praxair-Linde deal back on

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Friday, May 12, 2017

WASHINGTON – CGS will begin adjusting tens of thousands of claims from non-competitive bidding areas each day for about the next 24 weeks, the DME MAC for Jurisdictions B and C announced May 8.

The adjustments come in response to a provision in the 21st Century Cures Act that requires CMS to retroactively delay a second round of reimbursement cuts in non-bid areas from July 1, 2016, to Jan. 1, 2017, allowing HME providers to recoup six months of payments.

CGS says it will begin adjusting about 40,000 claims each day in Jurisdiction C and about 20,000 claims each day in Jurisdiction B. The claims will be “mass adjusted.”

The full implementation date for the adjustments is not until July 3.

While plans for the “mass adjustment” come as a relief, industry stakeholders take issue with what The VGM Group calls the “long delay in payment.”

Stakeholders also take issue with the adjusted amounts, which are based on the July 1, 2016, fee schedule instead of the Jan. 1, 2016, fee schedule. The latter, they say, is what Congress intended.

Praxair, Linde deal back on

DANBURY, Conn., and MUNICH – Praxair has agreed to buy Linde for about $35.2 billion, creating the largest supplier of industrial gases, according to Bloomberg. The news comes three months after a previous attempt failed due to concerns over job losses in Germany. Praxair won over Linde’s board by agreeing to keep operations in Munich and preserve jobs, according to the news agency. Shares of Praxair will be converted one for one into stock in a new company that will begin an offer to buy Linde, in what the companies call a “merger of equals.” By combining the two companies, Praxair and Linde expect to save about $1 billion, Bloomberg reported. A big question for HME providers: What impact the deal will have, if any, on the industry. In August 2012, Linde made a big splash in HME when it acquired Lincare for $4.6 billion. In December 2015, Lincare announced it would acquire American HomePatient, consolidating two of the four national HME providers.

It’s official: Georgia gov signs licensure law

ATLANTA – Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has signed into a law a bill that requires licensure and a physical location in the state for HME providers. “Our licensure law is pro-business and pro-patient,” said Teresa Tatum, executive director for the Georgia Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers (GAMES). The association will work with the Georgia Board of Pharmacy on the rulemaking process for implementing the bill, which was passed in April.

Companies to debut at Medtrade

ATLANTA – Medtrade will see several new exhibitors at this year’s show. They include Softies CareWear, which makes customizable patient garments; JST Concepts, which offers a documentation solution; Web Talent Marketing, which offers marketing and design services; and Suzhou Sweetrich Vehicle Industry Technology Company, which will introduce a scooter line. “We view Medtrade as a new opportunity to bring our apparel expertise, patented fabrics and innovative designs direct to the medical industry and their patients,” said Tim Murphy, president of Softies, in a press release. This year’s event takes place Oct. 23-26 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

NCPA, Union Springs Healthcare support indie pharmacists

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association and Union Springs Healthcare have formed a strategic partnership to bolster pharmacy-patient relationships and grow pharmacy revenue. Through the initiative, NCPA will bring to independent community pharmacy owners and staff the Companion Care Counseling program developed by Union Springs Healthcare. The program features a suite of online resources to support community pharmacists, and foster proactive and effective patient counseling and, where appropriate, recommendations of non-prescription solutions. The program also gives independent community pharmacies exclusive access to the Union Spring Healthcare line of clinically validated, pharmaceutical-grade supplements that give patients more treatment options to common health problems. Union Spring Healthcare manufactures the NoctoPlex and NoctoPlex for KIDS sleep formulas, as well as LuciPlex for improved mood, memory, and mental acuity. NCPA members receive special pricing on these non-prescription products.