In brief: CMS doubles up on savings, complex rehab bill lands more co-sponsors

Friday, June 27, 2014

BALTIMORE – CMS’s Fraud Prevention System (FPS) prevented more than $210 million in improper Medicare payments in its second year of operations, more than double the previous year, according to a report sent to Congress last week. The FPS, which uses predictive modeling and other analytics to analyze billing patterns, also resulted in CMS taking action against 938 providers. “CMS is using the best of private sector technology to move beyond the ‘pay-and-chase’ approach to protect the Medicare Trust Funds,” stated CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in a press release. In a report also released last week, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) concurred with most of CMS’s findings. It said, however, that the agency could increase savings further by 1.) providing contractors with written instructions on how to determine when savings from an administrative action should be attributed to the FPS and 2.) requiring contractors to maintain documentation to support how FPS information contributes to an administrative action.

Separate benefit bill lands more co-sponsors

WASHINGTON – Twenty-three additional lawmakers have signed on to co-sponsor bills to create a separate benefit for complex rehab in the past month, according to an email bulletin from NCART Executive Director Don Clayback. There are now 141 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and 16 in the Senate, including Sen. Mike Bennet, D-Colo., a member of the Finance Committee and the HELP Committee. The bills were one of the topics of discussion at the United Spinal Association’s third annual Roll on Capitol Hill last week (see related story), where Clayback; Alex Bennewith, United Spinal vice president-government relations; and Jenn Wolff, director of Users First, hosted a panel discussion on H.R. 942 and S. 948.

Lawmakers extend deadline for letter

WASHINGTON – The deadline has been extended for the “Dear Colleague” letter asking the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to study the impact of competitive bidding before CMS expands the program in 2016. The original June 30 deadline has been extended until after the July 4 congressional recess, according to a bulletin from The VGM Group. The letter, initiated by Reps. Tom Price, R-Ga., Tom Reed, R-N.Y., and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., has 25 co-signers, with a goal of more than 100.

Inogen makes play in stationary market

GOLETA, Calif. – Inogen has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a home oxygen concentrator called Inogen At Home. The company, better known for its portable oxygen concentrators (POCs), plans to start selling the devices later this year. “Inogen’s release of the Inogen At Home, combined with its Inogen One family of products, positions the company with a complete product portfolio to be able to fulfill the clinical requirements of most oxygen therapy patients,” it states in a press release. “While the Inogen One product line is clinically validated for 24/7 use, the Inogen At Home gives Inogen a compelling solution for nocturnal-only oxygen therapy patients that do not yet require a portable solution, which are estimated to represent 30% of total oxygen patients in the United States.” Features of the Inogen At Home include five liter per minute continuous flow, a weight of 18 pounds and low power consumption.

MEDIchair goes private equity

TORONTO – Centric Health has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its MEDIchair and Motion Specialties retail home medical operations to Canadian-based Birch Hill Equity Partners for $50 million. MEDIchair and Motion Specialties specialize in the sale of home accessibility equipment, mobility devices and home medical supplies through a network of 47 franchised and 30 corporate stores. “We believe that working together, with not just management, but also the sales reps, store managers, franchisees and other staff, we can position MEDIchair and Motion to thrive in a fast growing industry,” stated Thecla Sweeney, a partner at Birch Hill, in a press release. Centric Health is selling MEDIchair and Motion Specialties as the first step in a strategic repositioning to focus on healthcare services businesses with low working capital requirements and low reliance on government funding, according to the release. The sale doesn’t include Performance Medical Group, which offers custom orthotics, off-the-shelf orthotics, custom bracing, and laser and shockwave therapy at 50 locations across Canada.

Binson’s provides scholarships to children with diabetes

CENTER LINE, Mich. – Binson’s Home Health Care Centers will cover all or part of the cost for 24 children to attend diabetes camp, according to a release. Scholarship applicants wrote short essays explaining why they wanted to attend a week of the American Diabetes Association Camp Midicha in Fenton, Mich. “There is no better way to give back to the community than providing opportunities to children with diabetes,” said Glen Closurdo, Binson’s director of diabetes services. “Camp is a great place for kids to gain self-confidence, while having fun and meeting other kids with diabetes.” Last July, Binson’s was awarded a contract as part of Medicare’s national mail-order program for diabetes supplies.

Use of home monitoring devices to hit 19.1M, report says

YARMOUTH, Maine – Three million patients used connected home medical monitoring devices worldwide at the end of 2013, according to a new report from Berg Insights. Researchers estimate that number will grow to 19.1 million by 2018. Driving growth: Trends in incorporating more connectivity in medical devices, and using personal mobile devices as health hubs. Connectivity is most common for implantable cardiac rhythm management devices, followed by sleep therapy. Glucose monitoring and air-flow monitoring are gaining momentum. Revenues for monitoring devices were 4.3 billion Euro in 2013 and could reach 19.4 billion Euro by 2018, according to the report.

New Charm website allows online orders

PEMBROKE, Mass. – Charm Medical Supply’s new website enables customers to place orders online. “With this new website, we intend to make our comprehensive selection of home healthcare supplies and medical equipment available to a much wider audience,” said Peter Tallas, CEO. Using the new website, customers may also enroll in the company’s DeliverEase recurring delivery program. Charm offers a range of home healthcare products, including incontinence supplies, mobility products, wound care dressings, pediatric supplies and personal care products.

NSM makes buy in Rhode Island

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – National Seating and Mobility has acquired Providence, R.I.-based Major Medical Supply. “Complex rehab products and home access solutions are our greatest areas of expertise,” said Damon Bradley, CRTS, ATP and branch manager for Major Medical Supply, which has been in business since 2005. “Specifically, we provide custom mobility and seating solutions, combined with home access solutions, lifts and ramps.” Major Medical Supply’s six complex rehab professionals are now part of NSM Providence and offer 25 years of combined experience.

Review finds 63% error rate for CPAP devices

FARGO, N.D. – A pre-payment review by Noridian found potential improper payment rates of 63% for CPAP devices from February to May 2014. The Jurisdiction D DME MAC reviewed 2,873 claims with the KH modifier (first month of billing) and 1,663 claims with the KJ modifier (4th-13th month of billing). It found most denials were due to invalid proof of delivery; no documentation in response to the additional documentation request letter; documentation submitted did not demonstrate that face-to-face clinical re-evaluation criterion were met for continued coverage beyond the first three months for KJ claims; and documentation submitted did not support that face-to-face criterion was met. Noridian says it will continue its prepayment service specific review.

Hasco’s Ride-Away to market BraunAbility vans

ADDISON, Texas and BALTIMORE – Hasco Medical subsidiary Ride-Away, a provider of handicap-accessible vans, parts and services, has secured the rights to market BraunAbility wheelchair accessible vans in the Baltimore area. Hasco expects to announce a new dealership in the Baltimore area in the third quarter of 2014. “When our new Baltimore location opens, we expect its more convenient location to attract both existing and new customers from as far as northern Delaware and southern Pennsylvania,” said Hal Compton, CEO of Hasco Medical. BraunAbility offers minivans from Dodge/Chrysler, Honda and Toyota.

Study: Pharmacists can help reduce hospital readmissions

YARMOUTH, Maine – Hospital readmissions could be reduced by 20% if high-risk patients received counseling and medication management from a community pharmacist, according to a new study from the University of Cincinnati’s James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy. The ongoing study seeks to pair 1,000 high-risk patients with community pharmacists. Researchers will focus on patients with heart failure, COPD, pneumonia, myocardial infarction or diabetes.

CareTouch offers billing system integration

WESTMINSTER, Colo. – CareTouch Communications has enhanced its CareTouch360 platform to communicate with most billing systems. The platform now supports one-way billing integration, allowing the HME provider to pull patient order reports and manually enter them; and two-way billing integration, allowing the provider to upload patient orders directly into its billing system. “CareTouch is always looking for ways to make it easier for our customers to keep their patients healthy,” commented Matthew Dolph, CEO of CareTouch. “Adding the integration element takes our solution to the next level, resulting in happy patients and increased revenues.”