In brief: CMS considers delay, ResMed sets 'record'

Sunday, February 8, 2009

BALTIMORE - CMS may delay the effective date of the interim final rule on national competitive bidding, according to a notice published Friday by the Obama administration. The notice reads: "CMS is considering a temporary, 60-day delay...for further review of the issues of law and policy raised by this rule." The agency seeks comments on the proposed delay "on or before" Feb. 12. The administration in January told federal agencies to review all pending and recently issued regulations. Industry stakeholders were hoping the review would include the competitive bidding rule. To read the notice, go here:

ResMed sets record

POWAY, Calif. - ResMed last week reported "record" revenue of $223 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2008, a 10% increase over the same quarter for 2007. Net income was $33.9 million for the quarter, an increase of 26%. Revenue was $440.9 million for the six months ended Dec. 31, 2008, an increase of 14% over the same period in 2007. Net income was $61.9 million, an increase of 21%...In other news, ResMed recently rolled out a Platinum Service Program, "a no-hassle replacement program" for CPAP devices. Under the program, if a device fails for any reason while under warranty, ResMed will ship out a new unit--not a refurbished unit--the same day.

AAHomecare rallies

ARLINGTON, Va. - More than 160 homecare advocates from 29 states have registered for next week's AAHomecare Washington, D.C., fly-in. During the Feb. 11 fly-in, advocates will lobby legislators on the 36-month oxygen cap and post-cap payment issues; national competitive bidding; and anti-fraud measures. They'll also discuss efforts to carve out complex rehab from the 9.5% nationwide reimbursement cut...In other news, AAHomecare reported last week that it has already gained 41 new members in 2009. That's "a substantial jump in new membership compared to previous years," the association stated. Additionally, AAHomecare reported that membership renewals are higher this year.

Family sues Invacare

ELYRIA, Ohio - The family of an Oregon woman who died in a fire a year ago has filed an $8.5 million wrongful death and product liability lawsuit against Invacare, according to a Feb. 3 story in The Oregonian. The family's claim: Karlene Willemsen's wheelchair was defective and caught fire. The lawsuit alleges that the wheelchair burned Willemsen, who was unable to move due to multiple sclerosis, while she was in a motorized hospital bed, also manufactured by Invacare. The lawsuit seeks $5 million for her wrongful death; $3 million for her beneficiaries; and $500,000 for damages to her home. In 2002, Invacare settled a lawsuit "for more than $7 million after defective wiring on one of its wheelchairs sparked and caught fire, badly burning a 65-year-old quadriplegic woman," according to news reports in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Industry forecast: Demand for HME to exceed $10 billion

CLEVELAND - A growing elderly population and an increasing prevalence of chronic conditions will drive the U.S. demand for HME to more than $10 billion in 2012, according to a new study. The demand for CPAPs, mobility devices, IV pumps, medical furniture and other cost-saving products that keep patients out of institutions, will increase 5.5% annually, according to The Freedonia Group's Home Medical Equipment study. The biggest driver of the growing demand: mobility assist devices like bathroom safety products.

Cigna posts oxygen FAQ

WASHINGTON - Cigna Government Services, the Jurisdiction C DME MAC, posted an updated FAQ on home oxygen therapy last week, offering advice on whether beneficiaries can obtain new equipment if they move out of a provider's service area before the 36-month cap (yes) and more. Other questions: Does the reasonable useful lifetime of equipment restart based on the initial date of service (yes); can a provider require the patient to pick up their oxygen equipment (no); and after the cap, can a provider deliver a three-month supply of contents (yes)? To read the FAQ in full, go to:

NAIMES: Work small business angle

HALIFAX, Va. - The Obama administration's White House Task Force on Middle Class Working Families presents new advocacy opportunities for the HME industry, according to the National Association of Independent Medical Equipment Suppliers (NAIMES). NAIMES recommends that providers send a message to Vice President Joe Biden, who will lead the task force, and ask him to support the repeal of anti-small business programs, including the 36-month oxygen cap, national competitive bidding and the surety bond requirement. To submit your ideas to the task force, visit