In brief: CMS touts prevention, Respironics connects vents

Friday, July 22, 2016

WASHINGTON – CMS’s efforts to reduce improper payments have saved nearly $42 billion, according to a new report.

The savings, from Oct. 1, 2012, to Sept. 30, 2014, equate to an average savings of $12.40 for every dollar spent, according to a new report form the Center for Program Integrity.

The CPI’s efforts include making sure enrolled healthcare providers are properly screened; using predictive analytics to prevent fraud, waste and abuse; and coordinating anti-fraud efforts with federal and external partners, including state Medicaid and agencies and law enforcement agencies.

“CMS’s efforts to proactively prevent potentially fraudulent and improper payments from being made have been increasingly effective, moving our efforts away from the ‘pay-and-chase’ method of recovering payments after they had already been made,” the agency stated in a press release.

In fiscal year 2013, savings from prevention activities represented 68% of total savings; that rose to nearly 74% in fiscal year 2014.

“CMS is dedicated to promoting better care, protecting patient safety, reducing healthcare costs, and providing people with access to the right care, when and where they need it,” the agency stated. “This includes continually strengthening and improving Medicare and Medicaid programs that provide vital services to millions of Americans.”  

CMS will release fiscal year 2015 numbers later this year.

Respironics connects vents to care management app

MURRYSVILLE, Pa. – Philips Respironics announced July 21 that its Trilogy family of portable ventilators will be activated to connect to its Care Orchestrator care management application later this year. Care Orchestrator is an application that connects clinical management workflow, informatics and intelligence for providers, payers and patients within a single cloud-based platform. Philips Respironics has distributed connectivity-ready Trilogy vents in North America since 2015, in preparation for the launch of Care Orchestrator. Homecare providers will be able to connect thousands of Trilogy vents already in the market through a simple update once Care Orchestrator is launched later in 2016. In addition to vents, Philips Respironics will also connect its EverFlo and SimplyGo oxygen concentrators, as well as its iNeb respiratory drug delivery device, to Care Orchestrator.

Cost study now open: AAH calls for all hands on deck

WASHINGTON – AAHomecare is asking all HME providers to submit data for the DME Industry Cost Analysis Study to help support legislation. Conducted by Dobson DaVanzo & Associates, the study focuses on oxygen therapy equipment, sleep therapy devices, manual wheelchairs, hospital beds and walkers. “The more surveys completed, the stronger the data will be when presented to members of Congress this fall,” AAHomecare stated in an update. “The results will also be available for companies to compare their costs of doing business to the average costs of the industry.” The survey takes three to four hours to complete. To participate, providers can download the survey at and e-mail it to Steven Heath at Dobson DaVanzo & Associates at

Kroger expands specialty services

CINCINNATI and ORLANDO, Fla. – Axium Pharmacy Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kroger, has agreed to acquire the outstanding shares of Modern HC Holdings, a specialty pharmacy, to create a combined specialty pharmacy that will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kroger. "Expanding our specialty pharmacy services will provide our customers with greater access to medications we don't currently dispense and access to additional services without going to another pharmacy," said Robert Clark, Kroger's senior vice president of merchandising, in a release. Orlando, Fla.-based ModernHEALTH has 500 employees and provides comprehensive specialty pharmacy services, including IVIG for patients who require IV-based therapies and comprehensive medication management for HIV, cystic fibrosis, transplant, hepatitis C, rheumatoid arthritis and dermatology. Kroger operates 2,230 pharmacy locations and 195 The Little Clinic locations. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals, including from the Federal Trade Commission. Financial terms were not disclosed.

LabStyle opens business model to HME providers

BURLINGTON, Mass. – LabStyle Innovations has tapped Gemco Medical to become the first authorized U.S. distributor of its Dario Blood Glucose Monitoring System. The partnership will complement LabStyle’s direct-to-consumer model to further expand and strengthen the company’s presence in the U.S. “The Gemco Medical partnership will allow LabStyle to expand its reach to thousands of pharmacies and durable medical equipment dealers across the country,” said Erez Raphael, CEO and chairman, in a press release. “This expansion will also allow Dario access on commercial health plans that cover blood glucose monitoring supplies as a medical benefit.” LabStyle’s flagship product, the Dario Smart Diabetes Management Solution, is a platform for diabetes management that combines the all-in-one Dario Blood Glucose Monitoring System meter, test strips and controls with a real-time native smartphone app that includes a variety of tools to support and engage users, doctors and healthcare systems.

NCPA establishes new Innovation Center

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has announced the creation of a new Innovation Center to speed up the evolution of independent community pharmacies. “Working together with NCPA staff, the Innovation Center will help better position independent community pharmacies to be part of and benefit from broader healthcare changes,” said Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO, in a release. “Its driving mission is to help independent community pharmacies continue to prosper in step with healthcare changes rather than being left behind them.” The Innovation Center will develop programs to educate community pharmacists about the opportunities in an evolving healthcare market. It will also demonstrate, research and support new and expanded roles for community pharmacists through peer-to-peer exchanges of best practices. Hoey will serve as chairman of the board and Kurt Proctor, NCPA senior vice president of strategic initiatives, will serve as president.

Sunrise Medical introduces ‘One Team’

FRESNO, Calif. – Sunrise Medical has formed a new team of ambassadors comprised of 39 elite athletes representing 15 countries and competing in 14 sports. As part of “One Team One Will,” the athletes use manual and sport wheelchairs manufactured by Sunrise Medical under its Quickie, RGK and Sopur brands. “The One Team One Will program brings ambassadors together from around the world to share their experience and provide inspiration to others,” the company stated in a press release. “This program includes profiles of each of the athletes, their training and experience so that others can be encouraged to participate in sports and maintain a healthy lifestyle.” Find out more about the team by going to cheer them on by visiting Sunrise Medical’s social media channels.

Respironics passes FAA test

MURRYSVILLE, Pa. – Philips Respironics announced July 21 that its SimplyGo Mini portable oxygen concentrator conforms to all applicable Federal Aviation Administration requirements for carriage and in-flight use onboard aircraft. SimplyGo Mini is now a new option for HME providers to offer active respiratory patients, following the legacy of its predecessor, the SimplyGo. “With its lightweight design and reliable therapy delivery system, SimplyGo Mini empowers patients who struggle with respiratory disorders to continue living full, engaged lives,” the company stated in a press release. SimplyGo Mini is the latest addition to Philips Respironics' “Right Fit” portfolio of oxygen products and programs.

Convaid, R82 combine brands

TORRANCE, Calif. – Convaid and R82 have taken another step to integrate their pediatric businesses. The companies have combined their brands under a new toll-free phone number: 844-US MOBILITY. “We now have one integrated team and toll-free phone number to handle all your pediatric needs, be it for products from the R82 or Convaid brands,” the companies stated in a bulletin. Convaid sold to Etac AB, which offers pediatric products under the R82 brand, last year.

AOPA recognizes outstanding achievement

WASHINGTON – The American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association has named Thomas Watson as its 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner. Watson, along with his wife Barbara, owns Tom Watson’s Prosthetic & Orthotic Lab, with locations in Owensboro and Evansville, Ky. He is a past president of AOPA and has served on the association’s government relations committee. An above-knee amputee since his teens, Watson has long supported programs for people with physical disabilities and is affiliated with several organizations, including Veterans Affairs and the Easter Seal Rehabilitation Center. AOPA will present Watson with the award at its National Assembly in Boston in September.

PHS nurses rank among best

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Two nurses at Pediatric Home Service were recognized by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine as part of its 2016 Outstanding Nurses awards. Kate Joseph, RN, BSN, won in the children’s health category; and Jessica Riemenschnedier, RN, BSN, won in the rising star category. Two other PHS nurses, Steve Moehrle, RN, BAN, and Kate Joseph, RN, BSN, were also named as finalists. “These nurses are impacting patients across the metro by using the full extent of their skills to help patients stay happy, healthy and at home with their families,” said Michelle Curley, infusion nurse manager.

NCPA videos promote indie pharmacies

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association has posted a second online video that illustrates the personal care that people receive at independent community pharmacies, the contributions of their pharmacists to better coordinating care, and the role of these pharmacies in supporting their local communities. The video features Theresa Tolle, RPh, owner of Bay Street Pharmacy, which serves the Sebastian, Fla., area with the motto “Where caring people care for you.” “Patients often say they choose to rely on independent community pharmacies because they are treated like family and that they want to support their local community and economy,” said NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey, RPh. “Theresa’s story and the care provided by her pharmacy perfectly illustrate that dynamic.” The NCPA’s first video featured Danny Cottrell, RPh, and the civic, philanthropic and economic contributions of independent community pharmacies. The association represents 22,000 independent community pharmacies.