In brief: CMS proposes changes, Mediware expands

Friday, April 1, 2011

ARLINGTON, Va. – CMS announced Friday that it would issue a proposed rule to clarify new supplier standards on subcontracting and direct solicitation, AAHomecare said in a bulletin. The proposal seeks to amend and modify the definition of “direct solicitation” under the current rule. In its comments, CMS states that the current prohibition on the “direct solicitation” of beneficiaries by suppliers is unfeasible as written. CMS plans to monitor suppliers' marketing activities and will address this issue again in the future. The proposal would also modify subcontracting rules under the supplier standards to allow suppliers to subcontract for licensed services if subcontracting is not “expressly prohibited by State law”; and eliminate any distinction between contract and non-contract suppliers in their ability to subcontract for licensed services, according to AAHomecare. The association has has been working with CMS on the changes. The rule will be published in the April 4 Federal Register.

Mediware expands HME presence

LENEXA, Kan. - Mediware plans to acquire the assets of CareCentric’s home medical equipment, home health and home infusion software businesses, it announced March 31. As a result of the deal, Mediware, which has more of a presence in the software market for acute care, will pick up more than 300 new customers and related products, services and contracts. “With the additional customers, Mediware software will now support more than 700 sites delivering home infusion, home medical equipment, specialty pharmacy and home care services for patients with chronic illnesses throughout the United States,” stated Thomas Mann, Mediware’s president and CEO, in a release. Mediware and CareCentric plan to close the deal in 30 days. Mediware will add CareCentric’s latest product, Caretinuum, and its legacy products, MestaMed and PharMed, to its existing Alternate Care Solutions product portfolio, which includes HomecareNet. HomecareNet is a business solution used by alternative care providers, including HME, home health and home infusion, to maximize efficiency and safety. Mediware formed its Alternative Care Solutions product portfolio in March 2010 after acquiring Healthcare Automation and Advantage Reimbursement in December 2009 and Hann’s On Software in November 2008.

New standards for NPWT?

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The AAHomecare Medical Supplies Council has recommended that new standards for negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) be included in accreditation requirements for HME providers, the association said last week. CMS and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) have been looking into payments for the product category, and last year, the FDA expressed concerns about the safety of NPWT and other medical devices used in the home. “The additional standards will help ensure that only those providers qualified to provide the full range of services associated with NPWT are eligible to provide this service,” stated AAHomecare.

New owner for Jurisdiction C DME MAC 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Cigna Government Services, the Jurisdiction C DME MAC, has been acquired by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, according to a March 28 announcement. CGS’s name will change, but all current employees will remain in place. CGS processes and pays Medicare claims for more than 14 million beneficiaries and more than 100,000 providers for Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia and West Virginia. The transaction is expected to take several weeks to complete.

Video helps fight against competitive bidding 

WATERLOO, Iowa - People for Quality Care (PFQC), an advocacy group that educates people with disabilities, their families and Medicare beneficiaries about the competitive bidding program, released a new video on March 28. “9 Powerful Minutes” is an anthology of videotaped interviews with users of home medical equipment. A copy of the video was personally delivered to Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, during AAHomecare¹s Washington Legislative Conference in 
March. View the video.

Pride re-brands lift line 

EXETER, Pa. - Pride Mobility Products announced March 25 that it has 
re-branded Pride Silver Star Lifts and Ramps to Pride Lifts and Ramps. Pride acquired Silver Star in 2005 and since then it has been testing, improving and redesigning the lift and ramp line. Product innovations include the Outlander Exterior Lift, Backpacker AVP and new modular rubber threshold ramps. “Providers and consumers trust the Pride name,” stated Kirsten DeLay, executive vice president, sales management and operational planning, in a release. “Bringing vehicle lifts and ramps under that umbrella was the next natural progression in the brand’s advancement.”

Ingen OK with the VA 

YUCAIPA, Calif. - Ingen Technologies announced March 29 that it has received a Department of Veterans Affairs Federal Supply Scheduled Contract Award that will allow the manufacturer to sell its respiratory products to VA hospitals and other government related medical facilities. The contract is good from April 1, 2011, to March 31, 2016. Ingen’s products include the Smart Nasal Cannula, which was introduced to VA hospitals last year through a strategic partnership with KGMA Business Solutions.

Medtrade Spring will feature ‘command center’ to repeal competitive bidding

LAS VEGAS - Attendees and exhibitors at Medtrade Spring will be able to search for their U.S. representatives in Congress on a list located in the registration lobby and determine whether they have signed on to support H.R. 1041. If the representative has not signed on, attendees and exhibitors can then go to the H.R. 1041 “Command Center” at AAHomecare’s booth (2419) to send an e-mail request on the spot. Medtrade Spring takes place April 12-14 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas.