In brief: Clock ticks on MPP, MAC outlines responsibilities

Friday, October 25, 2013

WASHINGTON – All eyes in Washington, D.C., last week may have been on the Affordable Care Act and the website that couldn’t, but that didn’t stop stakeholders from meeting with legislative staffers to get a sense of what the industry might accomplish before the end of the year. “We are hearing that they will be doing a fix to take care of doctors before the holidays and that’s the vehicle we’ve been looking for to include the market pricing program (MPP),” said Seth Johnson, vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility Products. AAHomecare and state associations plan to build the case for MPP with a survey of providers in Round 2 areas. They plan to share the results of the survey with lawmakers.

DME MAC outlines provider responsibilities

WASHINGTON – CMS has yet to issue official guidance concerning abandoned oxygen patients, other than to say the new providers who pick them up can bill for new 36-month rental periods. But during an educational session at Medtrade earlier this month, the Jurisdiction C DME MAC outlined several responsibilities, according to AAHomecare. They include: proving the oxygen therapy is medically necessary; obtaining proof that the former provider is leaving the business; and treating the first month rental as a replacement claim (using an RA modifier and claim narrative that includes the reason for the replacement). The association is working with CMS and the DME MACs to ensure providers receive complete guidance on the documentation they must provide when they pick up abandoned oxygen patients.

Rotech opens customer support center in N.C.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Rotech Healthcare has opened a new customer support center in Charlotte, N.C., creating 200 new jobs. The employees at the 24,174-square-foot center will be an essential part of the caregiving team delivering products, medications and care to patients, according to an article by Area Development Online. Rotech announced its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Sept. 30, saying its debt reduction and financial restructuring efforts have set the company up to aggressively compete in the market.

OSA could lead to more heart disease in women, study says

LOS ANGELES – Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) disrupts body functions controlling blood pressure, heart rate and sweating, more so in women than in men, according to a new study from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Nursing. The study, published in the Oct. 23 edition of PLOS ONE, may indicate women with OSA are more likely to develop heart disease and other health problems, according to its authors. Researchers challenged OSA patients to exhale with their mouths closed, make a firm grip with a hand, and hold their feet in cold water for a minute. During the tests, they found heart rate changes in OSA patients were lower and delayed, and more noticeably so in women. “We now know that sleep apnea is a precursor to bigger health issues,” Paul Macy, lead researcher, told MedicalXpress. “And for women in particular, the results could be deadly.”

Home Care Medical wins Network Health contract

NEW BERLIN, Wisc. – Home Care Medical has become an in-network provider for Network Health, the company announced Oct. 24. Beginning Nov. 1, Home Care Medical will provide home infusion, enteral nutrition and hospice care; rehab technology; respiratory care; home medical equipment and supplies; and bracing and compression garments to insurance members, according to the release. “Home Care Medical allows us to continue to offer local choices for our health insurance members for years to come,” stated Sheila Jenkins, Network Health president, in the release. Network Health serves more than 135,000 Wisconsin residents.

ACHC, DNV offer ‘total accreditation solution’

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Accreditation Commission for Heath Care (ACHC) has teamed up with Norway-based DNV Healthcare to offer a “total accreditation solution” for hospitals seeking alternative accreditation, ACHC has announced. “We will leverage our individual strengths to provide hospitals with a superior total solution,” said Jose Domingos, CEO of ACHC, in a press release. ACHC provides accreditation for ancillary health services, including home health, DMEPOS, pharmacy and hospice. DNV has offered accreditation to hospitals since 2008.

Sunrise’s Quickie IRIS celebrates 10 years

FRESNO, Calif. – It’s been a decade since Sunrise Medical introduced a wheelchair that rotates in space around the user’s center of gravity without the use of gas springs, the company recently announced. “The (Quickie) IRIS has been a leader in tilt technology since its introduction in 2003,” said Brent Hatch, Sunrise director of product management, in a press release. “It continues to evolve and improve as we identify better ways to address user and caregiver needs, and as wheelchair technology becomes more advanced.” Since its introduction, the IRIS has gotten lighter and now features cable-free tilting, lower seats, a different back, new push handles and swinging hangers, according to the release.

DME operations consolidate under Hart Medical

DETROIT – Two Michigan hospital-based systems and an affiliate of Center Line, Mich.-based Binson’s Home Health Centers have agreed to merge, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. Genesys Health Equipment and McLaren Home Medical are merging their DME operations into Hart Medical. Mike Damstra co-owns Hart Medical with Binson’s. Hart now employs 85 employees, and expects to double that by the end of the year. Henry Ford Health System is also negotiating to merge its DME business into Hart Medical, according to Crain’s. The moves come in the wake of Round 2 of competitive bidding, which kicked off July 1. While Binson’s won several contracts, most health systems did not. The merger allows participants to combine purchasing power, consolidate departments, streamline deliveries and build economies of scale to help lower expenses.

Reviews underway for oxygen, neb meds

FARGO, N.D. – Noridian, the Jurisdiction D DME MAC, is conducting prepayment reviews of oxygen and oxygen equipment claims, and compliance reviews of neb-med claims. For the period July 2013 through October 2013, Noridian found a potential improper payment rate of 65% on E0439 claims, and a rate of 69% on E0434 claims. In both cases, most denials were because physician signatures were dated after the date of service, or a verbal/dispensing order was not provided. Noridian examined nebulizer medication claims filed between July 1, 2013, and Sept. 31, 2013, finding an overall error rate of 28%, mostly because documentation was not received in time.

Short takes

Look for the Medtrade 2013 attendee survey to hit email inboxes soon. Those who complete the survey are entered to win a package of one hotel room and two conference passes for Medtrade Spring or Medtrade 2014. The spring show will be held March 10-12, 2014, in Las Vegas, and Medtrade 2014 will return to Atlanta, Oct. 21-23, 2014…Erik Kolacinski is the new area vice president of Home Health Depot’s Complex Rehab Division, the company announced Oct. 21. Based in Atlanta, Kolacinski will oversee growth initiatives in the southern U.S. and improve customer service…101 Mobility has received Special Employer Recognition during the 2013 Disability Employment Awareness Month Awards. Kelly Mercer, a web developer and graphic designer for 101 Mobility who is hearing impaired, received an Outstanding Employee plaque during the event… Vantage Mobility Internationalsponsored the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) annual barbecue at the Miracle League of Arizona, which hosts and facilitates adaptive baseball games, on Oct. 25.

Of interest

Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine will use a $7.7 million grant to create the National Sleep Research Resource, Sleep Review reported Oct. 20. The five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will allow the institutions to provide data from more than 50,000 studies to researchers.