In brief: CMS seeks to exclude certified orthotic fitters, DeRoyal receives patent

Friday, August 29, 2014

WASHINGTON – CMS would like to limit the provision of custom fitted prefabricated orthotics to “individuals with specialized training” like physicians. In addition to physicians, the agency defines those individuals as orthotists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and advanced-practical nurses. Not included on the list: certified orthotic fitters. CMS is accepting comments on the change, published in a recent proposed rule, until Sept. 2.

DeRoyal receives patent for automated system

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – DeRoyal Industries has received a patent for Continuum, an automated system for medical item dispensing, billing and inventory management. “Our Continuum system automatically reorders durable medical equipment when the product is removed from its storage bin and correctly associates the product with the fitter, the patient and the billing codes, while automatically replenishing inventory,” stated President and COO Bill Pittman in a release. The patent was issued Aug. 26. The inventors named in the patent are Pittman; Angie Sewell, vice president of information technology; Greg Hodge, vice president of marketing; Kevin Lynch, manager of advanced technologies; and John Jacobs, director of technical services.

Sunrise Medical, VGM renew relationship

FRESNO, Calif. – Sunrise Medical has signed a new multi-year agreement with The VGM Group and U.S. Rehab, the companies announced in Aug. 25 press releases. The agreement, which is effective Sept. 1, re-establishes a past relationship between the companies. Sunrise and VGM believe the agreement will better position providers to stay in business and succeed. “We share a common goal of helping our valued providers achieve profitable top-line revenue growth through product solutions and operational efficiencies,” stated Pete Coburn, president of U.S. commercial operations at Sunrise Medical, in the release.

RESNA announces board members, seating course

ARLINGTON, Va. – Incoming RESNA President Ray Grott has nominated five new members to the association’s board: Patricia Bahr of St. Paul, Minn.-based Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, treasurer; Meghan Donahue of Menomonie, Wis.-based Stout Vocational Rehabilitation Institute, board member; Patricia Karg of the University of Pittsburgh, board member; Jamie Arasz Prioli of the Pennsylvania Initiative on Assistive Technology, board member; and Maria Luisa Toro Hernandez of the University of Pittsburgh, board member. They join newly elected board members Roger Smith, president-elect; Maureen Linden, secretary; Barbara Crane, board member; Rajesh Pagadala, board member; and Julie Piriano, board member. In separate news, RESNA will offer its “Advanced Seating & Mobility” workshop in conjunction with Medtrade at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. In the Oct. 23-24 course, instructor Michelle Lange will address advanced seating and power wheelchair issues. Attendees will receive a complimentary Medtrade Expo pass with registration.

State association welcomes new leaders

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Home Medical Equipment Dealers (UTMED) has reorganized its leadership, the association announced Aug. 14. Leaders now include Jay Broadbent of Alpine Home Medical Equipment as president; Shane Mecham of Cache Valley Oxygen as vice president; and Kurt Walker of Cache Valley Oxygen as secretary. Tom Bradley of Peterson Medical has been leading UTMED for the past five years.

Convaid partners with Dream Foundation

TORRANCE, Calif. – Convaid recently donated a new wheelchair to the Dream Foundation, helping a 24-year-old woman with Rett syndrome more safely and comfortably engage with her community. Cherlynn has been making due with an adult wheelchair, but due to severe scoliosis, she can’t sit upright in the wheelchair without padding. The Dream Foundation is a national nonprofit that grants dreams to adults who are facing life-threatening illnesses and who are in their last year of life. Rett syndrome is a rare genetic postnatal neurological disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls and leads to severe impairments, affecting their ability to speak, walk, eat and even breathe easily.

Advocates sue over ‘broken’ appeals system

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – The Center for Medicare Advocacy has filed a nationwide class action lawsuit over lengthy Medicare appeals. Five named plaintiffs from Connecticut, New York and Ohio have all waited longer than the statutory 90-day limit to receive decisions on their Medicare appeals. The current average wait time is more than five times the limit mandated by Congress, according to a release. The group says the ALJ, the third level of appeal, is the first chance for a meaningful review of an appeal. “This lawsuit is necessary because of a broken Medicare appeals system,” said Gill Deford, director of litigation. “We’re suing to fix it for the plaintiffs and the thousands of beneficiaries in similar circumstances who are struggling to pay health care bills or going without needed care while stuck in bureaucratic limbo.”

CPAP: It’s for older people, too

LONDON – CPAP should be offered routinely to older patients to reduce daytime sleepiness, according to a study published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine. Previous studies have established the benefits of CPAP in middle-aged people, but until now, there has been no research on the benefits in older people, according to a press release. The study, led by researchers at Imperial College London and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, involved 278 patients aged 65 or over. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is thought to be more common in older people, but the true prevalence of the condition is unknown, in part because patients and their relatives may attribute their sleepiness to old age or patients can compensate for their sleepiness by napping, according to the release.

Short takes

Joseph Lewarskihas joined GRQ, a Vienna, Va.-based consulting firm, as a principal. Lewarski, a registered respiratory therapist, has been with Invacare for seven years, most recently as vice president of clinical affairs and vice president/general manager of the company’s global respiratory business. Lewarski has been working in health care for more than 30 years and has held numerous senior management and executive leadership positions in a variety of organizations and environments, including acute care, home care, pharmacy, group purchasing, consulting and medical device companies…Two HME companies completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge last week: Bridgeport, Mich.-based Amigo Mobility, which made a donation to ALS of Michigan, and Sandwich, Mass.-based Cape Medical Supply,which made a donation to Compassionate Care ALS and challenged The VGM Group, AAHomecare and DeRoyal IndustriesLake Wales, Fla.-based 3B Medical has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its new auto bi-level (BPAP) device. The BPAP 25A comes standard with features like RESlex Exhalation Relief and integrates with iCodeConnect, a software program that allows users to retrieve compliance data. 3B Medical plans to make BPAP 25A available Oct. 1…A/R Allegiance Group is ranked 4,890 on this year’s Inc. 500|5000 list. The Overland Park, Kan.-based billing and collections company also ranked among the Top 100 Kansas companies.