In brief: CMS flaunts fraud savings, GF makes buy
WASHINGTON – CMS says its anti-fraud efforts in 2011 and 2012 have recovered more than $14.9 billion in healthcare fraud judgments, settlements and administrative impositions, according to a press release. A big reason for the agency’s success: new fraud-fighting powers and tools in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since March 2011, when the ACA was signed into law, the agency has revoked the ability of 14,663 providers to bill the Medicare program, compared with 6,307 revocations in the two years prior. Revocations have doubled in 35 states. Those removed from the program had felony convictions, were not operational at the filed address, or were not in compliance with rules, according to the release. As part of its ongoing efforts to enlist seniors in the fight against fraud, CMS also says it’s redesigning its Medicare Summary Notices, which Administrator Marilyn Tavenner describes as an easier way for seniors to understand the services they’re receiving.
Graham-Field buys Hausted
ATLANTA – Graham-Field (GF) Health Products, a manufacturer of home health products, has completed the acquisition of Hausted, a manufacturer of patient handling equipment, including stretchers and chairs, according to a press release. GF is currently a supply partner to Hausted for steel components. Upon completion of the transaction, GF will relocate the Hausted manufacturing and processing facilities to its expanded Fond du Lac, Wis.-based steel fabrication facility, and its Doraville, Ga.-based mattress facilities, the release noted. “Our investment in automated, lean manufacturing technology and engineering in our Fond du Lac facility will allow Graham-Field to build on the great heritage of Hausted,” stated Ken Spett, president and CEO of GF. The transaction is scheduled to close June 30.
Law firms file class action lawsuits against Invacare
ELYRIA, Ohio – Two law firms have filed class action lawsuits against Invacare on behalf of investors who bought stock between July 22, 2010, and Dec. 7, 2011, according to press releases. The lawsuits accuse Invacare of issuing false and misleading statements during that time regarding its operations and compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines and Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) provisions. They allege that Invacare “misrepresented or failed to disclose widespread operational, quality, and regulatory deficiencies” at the company’s corporate headquarters and Taylor Street wheelchair manufacturing facility in Elyria, Ohio. Glancy, Binkow & Goldberg in Los Angeles and Bernstein Liebhard in New York encourage investors who incurred losses of $100,000 or more to contact the firms.
3B Medical will fight lawsuit
SAN DIEGO – 3B Medical/BMC Medical, a manufacturer of sleep diagnostics and therapy devices, says it will fight a lawsuit filed by ResMed for alleged patent infringement, according to a press release. ResMed claims 3B Medical infringed on three patents involving the elbow swivel of a nasal pillow mask and the water flow-back valve of a humidifier. 3B disputes the allegations, claiming the lawsuit is just a ploy for reducing competition. “In 3B/BMC’s estimation the lawsuit is intended to do little more than erect huge hurdles to market entry by forcing crippling litigation costs,” stated Alex Lucio, vice president. 3B Medical says it will defend any intellectual property challenges in court, according to the release. ResMed has also sued Drive Medical to stop alleged patient infringement. In light of the lawsuit, Drive has suspended the sale and marketing of several of its CPAP masks.
Providers make case against bid program at hearing
SEATTLE – Several providers testified about the potentially damaging consequences of Medicare’s competitive bidding program at a recent regulatory fairness hearing hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration, according to a press release from VGM & Associates. Those who testified voiced concerns that the program’s lack of accountability encourages a “race to the bottom” regarding service and quality, and that beneficiaries are the ones who stand to suffer most, the release noted. Providers also argued that nearly half of small providers will go out of business, creating joblessness and patients “without their trusted caretakers and suppliers,” according to the release. “These hearings are great a great opportunity for independent providers to voice our frustrations and concerns to a federal agency and to educate the public that they will likely lose their small, local provider in favor of a national company that is hundreds of miles away,” stated Ryan Ball, director of state policy at VGM & Associates.
Medtrade opens early bird registration
ATLANTA – Early bird registration is now open for Medtrade, scheduled for Oct. 7-10 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, according to a press release. “Whatever happens in the next few months from a legislative standpoint, Medicare will be the ideal place to regroup, plan and get inspired for the work ahead,” stated Kevin Gaffney, group show director. “Our educational advisory board is working to ensure that all facets of Medtrade will be highly relevant to the realities faced by today’s providers.” Those who register in the next two months will receive significant savings with the early bird rates.
CareTouch tailors sleep therapy product to truck drivers
DENVER – CareTouch Communications has launched a sleep therapy compliance program designed specifically for commercial trucking companies, according to a press release. The CareTouch 360 platform tracks drivers diagnosed with sleep apnea and manages their compliance. By communicating with drivers at certain intervals, the system automatically retrieves objective data to document compliance. Proposed Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidelines state that drivers should be disqualified if they are found to be non-compliant with their CPAP treatment, the release noted. “Our goal is to ensure drivers are compliant, which we know helps keep them safe on the road,” stated Matthew Dolph, vice president of CareTouch.
101 Mobility opens in Atlanta
ATLANTA – A trio of experienced entrepreneurs have opened a 101 Mobility franchise in Atlanta, according to a press release. Wayne Offenhauer, Garol Orr and Bill Orr, all veterans of the residential home construction industry, are making the transition to HME. 101 Mobility offers a range of products: power wheelchairs and motorized scooters, along with mobility installation options for the home, such as wheelchair ramps, stair lifts and porch lifts. “We want to become the most recognized name in mobility products in the North Georgia marketplace,” stated Garol Orr. The franchise plans to celebrate its grand opening when it successfully serves its 100th customer, the release noted.
Binson’s celebrates 60 years with expansion
CENTER LINE, Mich. – On the strength of its success in the competitive bidding program, Binson’s Home Health Care is celebrating its 60th anniversary by hiring up to 100 new employees, according to a press release. Binson’s, which was awarded Round 2 contracts for walkers, oxygen supplies, CPAP devices, enteral therapy, and negative pressure wound therapy, has upgraded and enlarged its departments to make room for the new employees. “The Medicare contracts awarded to Binson’s for durable medical equipment will enable our organization to expand its presence in Michigan and Florida,” stated Kenneth Fasse, executive vice president and COO. The 100 new positions will be added in the metro Detroit area, and include customer service and warehouse jobs, the release noted.
Vent market poised to expand, report says
SAN JOSE, Calif. – An increasing prevalence of respiratory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is among several factors expected to fuel a rise in demand for mechanical ventilators, according to a study conducted by Global Industry Analysts, a market research firm. Other factors contributing to growth in the global market, which is expected to reach $3.9 billion by 2013, include technological advancements, a spike in popularity with homecare ventilation, and an aging global population, the firm noted. Among the technological advancements, the move from invasive to non-invasive ventilation is one of the most significant, as it reduces the risk of infection and the need for sedation. North America and Western Europe remain relatively mature markets for vents, leaving manufacturers there angling to improve pricing and innovation to increase share. Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America represent relatively untapped markets.
Report: home healthcare market to reach $130.4B by 2017
DALLAS – The North American home healthcare market is poised to reach $130.4 billion by 2017, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5%, according to a new study from Markets and Markets, a global research and consulting firm. In 2012, the North American home healthcare market was valued at $90 billion. Higher incidences of chronic diseases, in conjunction with increasing healthcare costs, are expected to fuel demand for more affordable treatment options at home. Cuts in Medicare payments to home health companies figure to limit the growth, the report noted. Authors of the report anticipate that the U.S. will maintain its eminent position in the North American market, a prediction supported by the country’s aging population, increasing incidence of chronic diseases, and various technological advancements for home use applications, among other factors.
CPAP may also improve diabetes, AASM says
BALTIMORE – Citing a study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago, physicians at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) say CPAP treatment may also relieve symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, according to a press release. As a result, the group is urging diabetes patients to get evaluated for sleep apnea. “Diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea from a board-certified sleep medicine physician will promote improvement in these conditions—including improved insulin sensitivity, blood pressure and cholesterol,” stated M. Safwan Badr, MD, president of AASM. The one-week study also found that CPAP treatment may have as much of a positive effect on glucose levels for diabetes patients as prescribed oral medications. “The dawn phenomenon, an early-morning increase in blood sugar in people who have Type 2 diabetes, was reduced by 45% as a result of CPAP therapy,” stated Esra Tasali, MD, lead author of the study, assistant professor of medicine, pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Chicago Department of Medicine.
Report: COPD on the rise among women
WASHINGTON – Women are 37% more likely to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than men and now account for more than half of all deaths attributed to the disease in the United States, according to a report from the American Lung Association. Once considered a disease that primarily affected men, incidence of COPD in women has increased substantially in recent years, largely due to an increase in smoking by women, the report said. “What we now know is that more women than men in this country are dying from COPD—and nearly half of women currently living with COPD don’t even know they have it,” stated MeiLan Han, M.D., medical director, Women’s Respiratory Health Program at the University of Michigan Health System. The report identifies a constellation of factors responsible for the disproportionate impact of COPD on women, including exposure to tobacco and air pollution, biological susceptibility, and sociocultural factors.
Vendor short takes
Harrington Management Grouphas launched Prepaid Audit Services, a program that allows providers to pay a monthly fee and make a minimum one-year commitment in exchange for a bucket of audit and appeal services…Somnetics International has received the CE Mark for the Transcend Heated Humidifier, a water-based humidifier unit that integrates with the Transcend CPAP system to provide warm, most air comfort during therapy…The Corridor Group, which provides consulting and other services to the homecare industry, including HME, has launched TCG Compliance Solutions to meet the growing state and federal regulatory and compliance challenges providers are facing…DeVilbiss Healthcare is one five finalists for the Pennsylvania Governor’s Impact Awards in the export impact category for the Southern Alleghenies Region. The awards program honors Pennsylvania companies that have a positive impact on growing the economy and contributing to job growth and retention.
Ali Bauerlein, co-founder and CFO of Inogen, has been honored with the “Champions in Health Care Award” in the research category from the Pacific Coast Business Times and the annual entrepreneurship award in the medical category from the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Foundation…As part of its move to Lubbock, Texas, NRRTS has promoted Amy Odom to director of marketing and operations and hired Amy Stripling as association affairs coordinator. Odom will oversee operations, and Stripling will be responsible for webinar activities and registrant services. The phone number for the new office: 800-976-7787…The van Halem Group, an audit and compliance consulting firm, has hired Kelly Grahovac to serve as a senior consultant. Grahovac has ten years of experience in Medicare, including stints with a DME Contractor, a Qualified Independent Contractor (QIC), and an A/B Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC)
Provider short takes
J&B Medical Supply Companyhas a new website, www.jandbmedicalinsurance.com, that offers patients information on diabetic and incontinence supplies, as well as catheters.