In brief: CMS delays F2F rule again, Golden endorses Reverie
BALTIMORE – CMS had no choice but to delay—for the second time—enforcement of its face-to-face rule until sometime in 2014, say industry stakeholders. “We just haven’t seen any further education,” said Kim Brummett, senior director of regulatory affairs for AAHomecare. In its Sept. 9 announcement, CMS said the delay is needed to give providers and healthcare practitioners time to establish necessary protocols to fully comply with the rule. The face-to-face requirement took effect July 1, 2013, and although enforcement of it has been delayed, stakeholders are concerned that providers are at risk. “It is unclear, at this point, whether several years down the line, the auditor may have the ability to go back and enforce it as of July 1, 2013,” said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare. CMS said it will address industry questions and provide updated information at www.cms.gov/medical-review.
Golden Technologies endorses Reverie
OLD FORGE, Pa. – Golden Technologies will introduce Reverie’s luxury adjustable beds and sleep systems to the HME industry at Medtrade in October. Golden exited the bed business last spring to focus on its core competencies of lift chairs and mobility products. “The adjustable bed category is an important and exciting cash opportunity for retail, and I believe Reverie has a great story to tell and dealers need to know about it,” said C.J. Copley, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Golden, in a press release.
Permobil to sell TiLite wheelchairs in Canada
LEBANON, Tenn. – Permobil will now represent the full line of TiLite titanium and aluminum wheelchairs in Canada, the companies announced Sept. 6. “There is one company in the world that matches TiLite’s vision that what matters most in mobility is quality and performance, and that company is Permobil,” said David Lippes, TiLite CEO, in a press release. “The combination of TiLite’s manual mobility with Permobil’s power mobility will provide our Canadian sales team with an advanced mobility product line.” Permobil will represent TiLite, but TiLite will still provide all customer service and support.
Bill seeks formal process for sleep reg
WASHINGTON – A bill was introduced in the House of Representatives today that would require the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to draft a formal regulation governing the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea in commercial drivers. Reps. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., and Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., seek to require the FMCSA to go through a formal rule-making process that includes an evaluation of costs and benefits—rather than simply issuing guidance, which has been its plan. Stakeholders like the American Trucking Association and the National School Transportation support the bill. Without a formal process, stakeholders fear they wouldn’t have a clear understanding of their legal responsibilities, according to an article on truckinginfo.com. That could leave them vulnerable to lawsuits. Stakeholders estimate it could cost more than $1 billion annually to treat sleep apnea among commercial drivers, according to the article. But benefits could include lower medical expenses, reduced turnover and fewer crashes, they say.
Invacare leads growing oxygen market in Europe
VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Europe’s 59 million Euro oxygen therapy market is expected to grow as the continent’s population ages and former smokers develop lung disease, iData Research reported recently. “Among western European countries, France has the largest number of patients on long-term oxygen therapy, and the extensive use of oxygen concentrators is encouraged by some of the highest reimbursement rates in Europe,” said Kamran Zamanian, CEO of iData, in a press release. Conversely, the Italian reimbursement and regulatory system favors liquid oxygen, the report says. Invacare holds more than half the overall market share in Europe, according to the report, followed by Philips Respironics, Devilbiss, AirSep, Inogen One and SeQual.
OIG: Cutting test-strip prices could save N.J. money
WASHINGTON – Reducing reimbursements amounts for blood glucose test strips to retail rates or establishing competitive bidding could have saved New Jersey’s Medicaid program between $1.8 million and $2.7 million in 2011, the OIG said in a Sept. 11 report. During calendar year 2011, New Jersey’s four Medicaid managed-care organizations’ reimbursements were $3.1 million more than retail prices and $4.5 million more than Medicare payment rates, according to the report. Reducing the rate or relying on competitive bids could have saved the agency between 49% and 70%, the OIG said. The OIG recently issued similar reports for New York and Illinois. The oversight organization noted that New Jersey’s Medicaid agency disagreed with its recommendations.
Pride Mobility strengthens retail team
EXETER, Pa. – Stuart Robinson has joined Pride Mobility Products as National Sales Manager for retail mobility, the company announced Sept. 9. Pride Mobility has also promoted Brett Shoemaker to retail mobility sales director and Cy Corgan to strategic accounts director. Robinson, Shoemaker and Corgan will work with Andrew Pyrih, senior vice president of domestic sales, to oversee new sales strategies. “At Pride, we are implementing a retail mobility leadership team that I am confident will take sales effectiveness and efficiency to the next level,” said Pyrih. “Retail mobility at Pride is back and better than ever, and we are working diligently to better support our customers and continuously deliver product innovations that will help them to identify and convert opportunities that increase cash flow in this challenging marketplace.” Pride Mobility designs and manufactures mobility products, including lift chairs, scooters, lifts and ramps.
ASP: Budesonide gets big boost
BALTIMORE – Things are looking up for several respiratory medications in the latest average sales price (ASP) figures. For the fourth quarter of 2013, budesonide (J7626) took the biggest leap, up 85 cents to $5.95 per dose. Also getting an increase: brand name drugs Brovana (J7605) and Perforomist (J7606), which saw increases of 12 cents and nearly 39 cents per dose, respectively. Pricing stayed relatively flat for albuterol (J7613) and ipratropium (J7644)—both hovering around 12 cents per dose.
Integrity director Budetti leaving CMS
BALTIMORE – Peter Budetti, the first director of the CMS Center for Program Integrity (CPI), is retiring. His last day with CMS was Wednesday, Sept. 11. Elizabeth Handley will take over as acting director, Bloomberg reports. Administrator Marilyn Tavenner wrote, in an internal email, “Peter, with the support of a strong team, realigned the structure of program integrity in the agency and CPI took on the challenge of moving beyond pay-and-chase antifraud activities to preventing fraud before it has a chance to start.” Established in 2010, CPI coordinates program integrity for Medicare and Medicaid.
ResMed director sells $1.2M in company stock
SAN DIEGO – Peter Farrell, a director at ResMed, sold 25,000 shares of stock on Sept. 5. At $48 apiece, the stock went for $1.2 million, according to Ticker Report, which says Farrell now directly owns 511,825 shares in ResMed. Shares of ResMed traded up 3.09% on Sept. 9, hitting $50.67. ResMed has a one-year low of $38.08 and a one-year high of $51.40.
Mediware plans $2.8M software upgrade
LENEXA, Kan. – Upgrades are coming to MediLinks’ Rehabilitation and Respiratory Care electronic documentation solutions. In a Sept. 9 announcement, MediServe parent company Mediware Information Systems said it plans to spend $2.8 million to upgrade current MediLinks products to ensure the platform meets market and industry needs. Upgrades include a new management solution, improvements to rehab solutions, revamped scheduling capabilities, and changes to the outpatient and regulatory compliance standards to meet new G-code and therapy cap requirements. The updates are scheduled to be finished in July 2014.
Billing and collections company A/R Allegiance Group and billing company MedBill announced their new partnership in a Sept. 12 press release. “We decided to align with A/R Allegiance because of their unique process, which includes an online payment portal tailored to your organization, making and receiving live and IVR telephone calls, emails, text messaging and enhanced voice statements,” said Keith Kuhn, MedBill CEO, in the release…Recently injured veterans will have the chance to unwind and enjoy some friendly competition at the Invacare-sponsored National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic in San Diego on Sept. 15-20. Featuring daily rehabilitation alongside sailing, surfing, track and field, kayaking, and hand and tandem cycling, the clinic helps participants hone their skills in a variety of adaptive sports…Have a standout client? Tell Maddak why he or she inspires you and you could win that client a set of Morph Foldable Wheelchair Wheels as part of the company’s “Most Inspirational Client Contest.” The contest, free to enter, is open through Oct. 31.