In brief: Congresswoman slams bid program, Rice makes buy

Friday, October 5, 2012

ORLANDO, Fla. – The competitive bidding program "needs to be stopped," Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., told more than 120 attendees at the 2012 Florida Alliance of Home Care Services (FAHCS) Conference on Sept. 27. Castor is one of 13 initial co-sponsors of H.R. 6490, a bill to replace competitive bidding with the industry's market-pricing program (MPP). Florida, which has several cities included in Round 1, has been hit hard by the program. "Serving on the Energy & Commerce Committee, I learned a lot about this program and was appalled when I found out that bids were offered to bankrupt companies and the number of Florida companies that closed because of the program," Castor told attendees.

ConvaTec acquires 180 Medical

SKILLMAN, N.J. – ConvaTec, a developer of ostomy care, wound therapeutics, continence, and critical care and infusion devices, completed its acquisition of 180 Medical, a provider of catheters and urologic medical supplies, according to a Sept. 28 press release. “180 Medical significantly strengthens ConvaTec’s position in the fast-growing U.S. self-catheterization market, with a proven and successful home-delivery model,” Ken Berger, CEO of ConvaTec, stated. The U.S. market for disposable catheters is estimated at $1 billion, according to the release, and there has been a rise in catheter customers opting for home delivery.

Drive Medical to feature new line of respiratory products

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. – Drive Medical announced it will begin manufacturing and distributing Evo/Global Medical respiratory and SmartDose product lines effective Oct. 1, 2012, according to a press release. Evo/Global is a manufacturer of suction canisters, nebulizers, 50 PSI compressors, aerosol products and SmartDose oxygen conserving devices, which, along with certain Evo/Global products, will continue to be manufactured in its facilities in Naples, Fla. “We are pleased to broaden our capabilities and product line in the respiratory product category,” Harvey Diamond, chairman and CEO of Drive Medical, stated in the release. “By manufacturing these products, we continue our aggressive respiratory growth strategy, which we began last year with the acquisition of Inovo/CHAD Therapeutics.”

Rice Home Medical acquires Marvelle’s Apparel

WILLMAR, Minn. – Rice Home Medical, a durable medical equipment company based here, has announced the acquisition of Marvelle’s Apparel. Originally a home-based business that expanded to a retail store in Alexandria, Minn., Marvelle’s Apparel offers women’s health products, including mastectomy bras and nurse bras. “What I’m most excited about is the opportunity to be of service to women throughout central Minnesota and having a professional team to work together with,” stated Marvelle Weispfennig, who has owned and operated the store for over 20 years.  Weispfennig added that new locations might be in the offing. Bill Fenske, CFO of Rice Memorial Hospital, stated that the move will jump-start Rice Home Medical in the retail direction.

CBO: Social security spending will outpace tax revenues

WASHINGTON – Spending for Social Security totaled $773 billion in fiscal year 2012, about 5% of gross domestic product (GDP) and one-fifth of federal spending, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stated in an updated report released Oct. 2. Over the next 10 years, outlays will exceed dedicated tax revenues by, on average, about 10%. That gap will grow larger in the 2020s. “As more members of the baby-boom generation retire and the U.S. population grows older in the coming decades, Social Security outlays are projected to grow more rapidly than the economy and more rapidly than the program’s dedicated tax revenues,” the CBO stated. The report, available at, expands on a previous report that the CBO released in June. By 2030, Social Security outlays will be about 6% of the GDP and will exceed dedicated tax revenues by about 20%, according to the CBO. “As a result, under current law, resources available to the Social Security program will become insufficient to pay full benefits in about 20 years, CBO projects,” it stated.

DME MAC reports latest denial rate for K0823

HINGHAM, Mass. – Seventy-four percent of the claims for K0823 submitted in Jurisdiction A between April 2012 and June 2012 were denied, according to a widespread prepayment review by NHIC. The review examined 514 claims submitted by 188 suppliers. The most common reasons for denial had to do with issues with documentation (56%), the seven-element order (30%), detailed product description (18%) and the delivery ticket (9%).

AARC hosts home oxygen survey

IRVING, Texas – The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) is hosting a patient survey for oxygen patients regarding home services. The survey is posted at and will be posted on several other patient advocacy web sites. Printable versions of the survey can be accessed on the web site. Results of the survey will be published on the AARC’s web site. Preliminary results will be shared at this year’s AARC Congress, Nov. 10-13 in New Orleans.

Several arrested in strike force sweep

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Individuals at four DME companies were among those charged with Medicare fraud in a $65 million crackdown by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force last week, according to multiple reports. The Los Angeles-area companies: Bonfee Medical Supplies, Ibon, Fendih Medical Supplies, and Las Tunas Medical Equipment submitted claims for power wheelchairs deemed medically unnecessary. Together, the DME companies billed about $14.7 million in fraudulent charges to Medicare. The arrests in Los Angeles, which now number 18, are part of 91 nationwide fraud arrests resulting from the strike force takedown. The $65 million in fraudulent billing in the Los Angeles area is believed to be the highest amount of false Medicare billing for the city in strike force history.

Vendor short takes

Convaid, a manufacturer of pediatric wheelchairs, has launched a community outreach program, it announced Oct. 2. As part of the program, Convaid will collect charitable donations and reach out to end-users without adequate insurance coverage, non-profits and schools with special education programs, according to a press release…Bryan Anderson, the national spokesman for Quantum Rehab and a recipient of a Purple Heart, was the guest of honor at the Gary Sinise Foundation’s “Inspiration to Action” dinner. The dinner, held Sept. 20 in Woodhills, Calif., celebrated the foundation’s one-year anniversary…Willis Triplett, PharmD, has accepted a contract to be the pharmacy specialist for HQAA. He will oversee the accrediting organization’s infusion home IV compounding and pharmacy programs…Medline Industries has been named the 2012 Illinois Family Business of the Year in the large company category by the Family Business Center at Loyola University…Knit-Rite, a manufacturer of orthotics and prosthetics, compression hosiery and general medical textiles, recently received certification for its manufacturing facilities in Kansas City and Ellerbe, NC…VBOX has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Trooper portable oxygen concentrator for prescription therapy. The Trooper will be available in the second quarter of 2013…The Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) unveiled its new website, which was launched in late September, and features information specific for each of ACHC’s accreditation programs.

Provider short takes

Jim Greatorex has joined the Medtrade Educational Advisory Board. Greatreox is president of Black Bear Medical in Portland, Maine…Weesie Walker is the newest NRRTS Fellow, the registry announced Oct. 2. Walker is a branch manager for National Seating and Mobility, a past president of NRRTS and a member of the RESNA professional standards board. Walker is the second person to be named a NRRTS fellow, after former NRRTS president Adrienne Bergen in 2001…Home Care Medical has accepted the award for HME Provider of the Year from the Wisconsin Association of Medical Equipment Services (WAMES). Home Care Medical employees also received the Distinguished Service Award and Exceptional Service Award (Donna Smith, director of respiratory care, for her work on the WAMES Respiratory Committee) and the Industry Excellence Award (Jim Spellman, director of operations, for his work on the WAMES Legislative Committee)…Four Leaf Clover Diabetic Supplies has launched a new website that offers customers fast, low-cost shipping of high quality products at wholesale prices.