In brief: Court dismisses bidding complaint, Scooter Store sued
WASHINGTON - The HME industry's attempt to make the competitive bidding program more transparent has failed in court. The District Court for the District of Columbia ruled Sept. 9 that federal rules governing the creation of Medicare's competitive bidding program give the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary "considerable discretion to design and implement the program, and has shielded that process from judicial review." The ruling was in response to a suit filed in 2010 by the Texas Alliance for Home Care Service and Dallas Oxygen that sought to compel CMS and DHHS to specify the financial standards that providers must meet under the bidding program, and to provide proper notice and opportunity for public comment on those standards. The ruling concludes that "the underlying statute neither permits such review nor requires the increased specification plaintiffs seek."
Attention: Licensure and open enrollment
WASHINGTON - The National Suppliers Clearinghouse launched an updated licensure database to help DMEPOS providers determine licensure required for Medicare enrollment. The new database can be found here. ...Medicare Open Enrollment takes place Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. CMS is asking providers to help get the word out.
Scooter Store sued for disability discrimination
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. - The Scooter Store violated federal law when it allegedly refused to accommodate an employee's request for a temporary leave of absence due to a knee injury and then fired him from its store in Farmingdale, N.Y., according to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Disability discrimination, including the failure to reasonably accommodate an employee's disability, violates the Americans With Disabilities Act, the commission argues. The commission seeks monetary relief for the employee, and the adoption of strong policies and procedures to remedy and prevent disability discrimination and other relief from The Scooter Store. In a statement to HME News, Mark Leita, senior director of government affairs, said: "The Scooter Store operates in full compliance with all state and federal laws including those that protect the rights of the disabled. However, the company will not comment further on this litigation."
HHS releases final Medicaid RAC details
WASHINGTON - The Department of Health and Human Services on Sept. 14 released its final rule on the Medicaid Recovery Audit Program. The program was created under the Affordable Care Act to help identify and recover improper Medicaid payments. Independent recovery audit contractors (RACs) will be paid a fee out of any improper payments they recover. RACs can only go back three years from the date the claim was paid. FMI, go here.
VGM named top workplace
WATERLOO, Iowa - The VGM Group was named one of the top workplaces in Iowa in the mid-sized company category by the Des Moines Register earlier this month. The member services company was highlighted for being employee owned and for coming off a record year of sales and profits. VGM was also highlighted for its diversification strategy: In addition to home medical equipment providers, the company's client base now includes private golf and country clubs and, soon, casinos.
Advocacy award goes to Gerald Dickerson
COLLEGE POINT, N.Y. - NRRTS and NCART has honored Gerald Dickerson with the first-ever David T. Williams Advocacy Award. The award, named for the disability rights activist who passed away earlier this year, honors Dickerson for his efforts on both the state and federal level. Dickerson is vice president for rehab technology at Medstar Surgical and Breathing in College Point, N.Y., and has been active in the industry since the early 1970s. NRRTS and NCART will present Dickerson with the award at Medtrade in October.
Do you know a homecare champion?
WASHINGTON - AAHomecare seeks nominations for a Homecare Champion award it will present at Medtrade in October. Attributes that AAHomecare will consider include, among others, longstanding record of service, embodiment of the spirit of caring and generosity, personal integrity and association membership. The first-ever Homecare Champion will receive the award at the Stand Up for Homecare reception, Oct. 25 at the Georgia World Congress Center. Nominations must be submitted by 5 p.m. Sept. 30. FMI: Contact Sue Mairena at (703) 535-1890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Medtrade rates end Sept. 26
ATLANTA - Early bird rates for Medtrade will expire Sept. 26 at midnight. Rates are: $255 for the pre-show seminars, the Medtrade Educational Conference and the Medtrade Expo; $99 for the educational conference and expo; and $25 for the expo. Medtrade takes place Oct. 24-27 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. FMI: Medtrade.com.
CareCentrix gets infusion
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. and PALO ALTO, Calif. - Summit Partners, a private equity firm, has completed its investment in CareCentrix, it was announced in a Sept. 20 release. The investment will bolster CareCentrix's continued growth and fund new product offerings. CareCentrix serves more than 30 million people nationally though 7,000 providers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.