In brief: CMS revamps PMD demo, IRS details tax

Thursday, February 2, 2012

WASHINGTON - CMS will drop the prepayment review phase from its power mobility demonstration, it announced Feb. 3. CMS also said that PMD providers will be allowed to submit prior authorization requests on behalf of physicians. The demo, originally slated to begin Jan. 1, will start on or after June 1. Other changes include: a public comment period of 60 days on reducing paperwork burdens; and a provision that the demo will start at approximately the same time in all seven states. CMS will hold Open Door Forums prior to the launch. CMS also announced that the Recovery Audit Prepay Review demonstration, which was also delayed from its Jan. 1 start date, would begin on or after June 1. The 11-state demo calls for RACs to review claims before they're paid to ensure providers have complied with Medicare payment rules.

IRS releases proposed rule for medical device tax

WASHINGTON - The IRS last week released a proposed rule for a 2.3% excise tax on medical devices. Industry stakeholders on Friday were still trying to analyze the rule, but at first blush, it appears to contain both good and bad news for HME manufacturers. The IRS has exempted purchased DMEPOS from the tax, but not rented items like power wheelchairs, a distinction that could vary from payer to payer. "It doesn't make sense to impose such a tax on a manufacturer, when we have no idea who's going to be paying for the products," said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare. The IRS is allowing 90 days for comments and it's holding a public hearing on May 16. The tax is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2013.

CMS extends licensure deadline

BALTIMORE - CMS will push the licensure deadline for Round 2 of competitive bidding to May 1, it announced last week. Providers are required to meet any and all applicable licensure requirements for all product categories and in all states in a competitive bidding area in which they plan to bid. Other deadlines remain the same: bids must be submitted in DBidS by 8:59:59 p.m., EST, on March 30; all required hardcopy documents must be received by the Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor (CBIC) on or before March 30. For more information go here.

Provider gets his day in court

PHILADELPHIA - A court date has been set in the case of Nichole Medical Equipment & Supply vs. TriCenturion: April 20. Nichole Medical, which fought an audit and won, is now suing the CMS contractor that conducted the audit for $10 million in damages. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia will hear oral arguments from the two parties on that date. Previously, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that TriCenturion, as a government agency, has "official immunity," from Nichole Medical's claims, even though, the administrative law judge and then the Medicare Appeals Council ruled in the provider's favor. "We are on the docket and we will have the ear of the high court," stated Dominic Rotella, owner of Nichole Medical, in an email to supporters.

CBO report points to doc fix increase

WASHINGTON - The cost of a permanent doc fix would be $316 billion, a big increase from the $290 billion the Congressional Budget Office estimated in November, according to the CBO Budget and Outlook report, released Tuesday. Without a doc fix, physicians' Medicare payment rates are scheduled to drop 27% in March. 

Mixon, Brant honored

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - AAHomecare has named Mal Mixon, chairman of the board at Invacare, and Rob Brant, founder of AMEPA, as the recipients of its new Legislative Advocate Award, it announced on Friday. The award recognizes association members who have worked to advance the industry's legislative goals and motivated others. The award will be presented during AAHomecare's Legislative Conference, Feb. 15 and 16.

Home infusion, HME provider partner up

FAIRFIELD, N.J. - Aperture Health plans to form a joint venture between its subsidiary Triad Therapeutics, a home infusion provider and Reliable Medical, a respiratory and home medical equipment provider, it announced Jan. 27. The deal will allow both companies to increase market presence. Triad serves patients throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.