In brief: CMS responds to AAH, complex rehab bill adds sponsors

Friday, September 12, 2014

WASHINGTON – Contractors conducting pre-pay audits and prior authorizations are required to load that information into the RAC Data Warehouse, CMS has said in response to an AAHomecare inquiry. “Contractors conducting pre-pay audits are required to load that information into the RAC Data warehouse,” CMS said. “Claims that are paid through one of the prior authorization programs have a unique tracking number that follows the claim and is included in all data shared with the Recovery Auditors. Claims with a unique tracking number are excluded from Recovery Auditor review.” AAHomecare said in a bulletin that it was pleased with CMS’s statement and plans to work with DME MACs provider outreach and education groups to ensure such processes are in place.

Twelve lawmakers sign on to separate benefit bill

WASHINGTON – Twelve more lawmakers have lent their support to H.R. 942 and S. 948, bills that would create a separate benefit for complex rehab. With the 11 representatives who signed on in August, there are now 159 co-sponsors in the House, NCART Executive Director Don Clayback wrote in a bulletin. There are 21 co-sponsors in the Senate. “It shows that the ongoing communication between CRT stakeholders and their members of Congress is paying off,” Clayback wrote. “The additions maintain solid bipartisan support and include members of the key congressional committees that have jurisdiction over the Medicare program.”

Dick’s Homecare buys assets from Walnut Medical Services

ALTOONA, Pa. – Dick’s Homecare has purchased certain assets of the Lewistown, Pa., facility of Walnut Medical Services. The deal provides operational efficiencies to both companies in the central Pennsylvania market, according to a press release from Duckridge Advisors, which served as the M&A adviser for Walnut Medical Services. Dick’s Homecare is one of the largest providers of HME and related products and services in the rural Pennsylvania market with eight locations. It will consolidate Walnut Medical’s facility into its own facility there. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Active Controls, Quantum Rehab expand strategic alliance

SEWELL, N.J. – Active Controls alternate drive controls are now available pre-assembled on Quantum Rehab power wheelchairs as part of an expanded strategic alliance between the two companies. The line of midline specialty controls includes head arrays, chin controls and mini-proportional joysticks. “All of them are fully compatible with our Q-Logic line of electronics, so the expansion of our alliance makes applications even more seamless for our providers,” stated Jay Brislin, vice president of Quantum Rehab, in a press release. Active Controls and Quantum Rehab first formed an alliance earlier this year. To order, providers must request a quote for the desired control using the quote generator on the Active Controls website. Once approved, the company will convert the quote to an order. Providers must then place an order for the power wheelchair with Quantum Rehab and request shipment to Active Controls. The turnaround, once there, is 48 hours.

Lawmakers: Medicare should cover infusion at home

WASHINGTON – Reps. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, have introduced a bill that would allow patients fighting severe infections, cancer or chronic diseases to receive infusion treatments in their homes instead of in a site of care. The Medicare Home Infusion Site of Care Act, H.R. 5435, would pave the way for Medicare Part B to cover infusion-related care and services, including equipment and supplies, provided in a patient’s home. The lawmakers, citing research by Avalere, a non-partisan healthcare policy firm, say the move would save an estimated $80 million over a 10-year period.

AAH comments highlight NWPT code confusion    

WASHINGTON – Commenting on code changes in CMS’s proposed CY 2015 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System, AAHomecare says there is significant confusion among providers about the use of G0456 and G0457 with mechanical and electrical disposable NWPT devices. Confusion also surrounds the variance in components billed with distinct products, according to the association. Three manufacturers, through the Alliance of Wound Care Stakeholders, are working to provide CMS with detailed information on the costs of devices so the agency can establish non-facility practice expense relative value units for the new CPT codes for disposable NPWT, the association says. “AAHomecare recommended that CMS review those paid invoices and consider the costs of these devices when setting APC assignment of disposable NPWT and that any APC reassignment would be premature at this time and CMS should continue to place disposable NPWT APC 0016,” the association stated in a bulletin to members.

Disposable Medical Express adds auto ship

SPRING LAKE PARK, Minn. – Online retailer Disposable Medical Express, which specializes in incontinence products, now offers automatic shipment. Customers can sign up for the program during checkout. “This program will make it easier than ever for our customers to get the supplies they need to manage their incontinence,” the company stated in a release. “Now, instead of having to remember to place their order, we’ll do the work for them and their shipment will show up at the front door every month.” Customers receive a $2 discount on every case in their first order, and can alter or cancel at any time. Autoship is available for almost every product in the online store.

Shield HealthCare announces caregiver contest

VALENCIA, Calif. – Shield HealthCare has announced its 14th annual caregiver story contest. The contest recognizes the role of both family and professional caregivers, and the rewards and challenges they face, the company announced in a press release. The top three story winners and the five runners-up of the “What Makes Caregiving Rewarding?” story contest will each receive a monetary prize and a one-year subscription to Today’s Caregiver Magazine. All entries must be one page and submitted or postmarked by Nov. 30. Full contest details and official rules are available on Shield HealthCare's website at

Inogen cleared for reimbursement in France

GOLETA, Calif. – The Inogen One G3 portable oxygen concentrator has received coverage for reimbursement in France, the company announced Sept. 9. The Department of Social Affairs and Health has added the concentrator to its list of reimbursable oxygen therapy products and services as published in the Official Journal of the French Republic. The Inogen One G2 received similar coverage in 2013. France is estimated to be the third largest market in Europe, according to Global Industry Analysts.

Breathe device approved for European sales

IRVINE, Calif. – Breathe Technologies has received CE Certification for its Non-Invasive Open Ventilation System (NIOV), paving the way for the company to sell the device in the European Union. "We are now exploring potential commercialization partners for the EU and developing a European advisory board," said Larry Mastrovich, president and CEO, Breathe Technologies, in a press release. NIOV has also been recognized by the European Respiratory Society with a Product of Outstanding Interest (POINT) Award for 2014.

ResMed exec sells stock

SAN DIEGO – ResMed CFO Brett Sandercock on Sept. 3 sold 10,000 shares of stock at an average price of $53.23 for a total value of $532,3000. Sandercock now owns 70,913 shares valued at about $3.7 million. ResMed on July 31 reported revenues of $1.56 billion for fiscal year 2014, an increase of 3% over fiscal 2013.

Do-gooders: DeVilbiss, Med-Care, Ottobock, Convaid

Somerset, Pa.-based DeVilbiss Healthcare has announced a partnership with Team Fisher House, a program benefitting the Fisher House Foundation. The foundation is best known for its network of comfort homes where military and veteran families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receive medical treatment. As part of the partnership, DeVilbiss will champion the finish line tent for the Army Ten-Miler Oct. 12 in Washington, D.C…Boca Raton, Fla.-based Med-Care Diabetic & Medical Supplies has donated $100,000 to support Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for friendship, employment and leadership training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Med-Care has also signed on to raise additional funds through vendors and partners, and to participate in the Best Buddies jobs program in Palm Beach...Ottobock Healthcare will provide technical service for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, it announced Sept. 8. The manufacturer has played this role for 13 games. As the Official Prosthetic, Orthotic and Wheelchair Technical Services Provider, Ottobock, which has offices in Brazil, will provide a team of prosthetists, orthotists, wheelchair technicians and welders from across the region and from its network worldwide…Torrance, Calif.-based Convaid recently donated a Cruiser wheelchair to Environmental Travelling Companions (ETC), a national pioneer in the field of accessible outdoor adventures for people with disabilities. The ETC will use the Cruiser at its camp location at the South Fork of the American River to assist people with disabilities to and from the river’s edge for an adaptive whitewater rafting program.

People in the news

Ottobock has hired Chris Wintenburg to fill the newly created position of director of e-commerce and inside sales for North America. Wintenburg will be responsible for managing the company’s e-business relationship; driving the overall success of North America online sales; increasing throughput and online sales for all business units and product categories; and managing inside sales efforts. He comes to Ottobock after a 13-year career at Dell.