In brief: Covidien gets personal, VGM hits the road

Sunday, October 26, 2008

BOULDER, Colo. - Covidien has launched the Sandman Alliance, a program that uses personal coaching to provide education, support and encouragement to obstructive sleep apnea patients, the manufacturer announced last week. The program links each patient with a sleep counselor. The counselor, as well as a sleep physician, tracks the patient's progress using a Web interface. The goal: increase compliance. Fewer than 50% of OSA patients continue their therapy beyond the first week, according to Covidien's release. To offer the Sandman Alliance, Covidien has partnered with Indianapolis-based Assist Management, a sleep therapy management company. The Sandman Alliance is Covidien's latest "Unite to Treat Sleep Apnea" initiative. Over the summer, the manufacturer partnered with Sleep Pointe to station mobile sleep labs in truck stops across the country. Earlier this year, Covidien launched a trio of CPAP devices: the Sandman Intro, the Sandman Info and the Sandman Auto.

VGM schedules NCB seminar series
WATERLOO, Iowa - The VGM Group announced last week that it will embark on national competitive bidding road trip in 2009. "Competitive Bidding Round 1.2: The Rules Have Changed" will hit 11 cities in March through May, including Baltimore on April 22 during the HME Expo & Conference. At the seminars, VGM's Mark Higley, John Gallagher and Jamie Blomme will discuss: lessons learned from Round 1; program rules and regulations; disqualified providers; bidding options and preparation; hard-copy documentation; and the legislative battle. "While VGM remains active in the fight to halt competitive bidding via the judicial system and support of mitigating legislation, we recognize that the industry must be prepared," stated President Ron Bendell in a release. The seminars, which will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., cost $229 for VGM and state association members, and $279 for all others. To learn more, go to

Industry meets-and-greets candidates
ATLANTA - If you're in Atlanta for Medtrade next week, you have the chance to support two HME-friendly candidates: Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who's running for re-election; and Monty Lankford, who's running for U.S. Congress in Tennessee's 4th Congressional District. AAHomecare, Invacare and provider David Petsch are sponsoring and Pride Mobility, provider Todd Tyson and VGM are hosting a luncheon fundraiser on Oct. 28 at 11:30 a.m. in Room B201 at the Georgia World Congress Center. It's $250 per person to attend. Price introduced a bill last year to repeal the 36-month cap on Medicare oxygen reimbursement. VGM is sponsoring an event for Lankford on Oct. 27 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Room A406 at the GWCC.

Denials cost suppliers
FARGO, N.D. - A recent analysis shows a high number of claims denied for Certification of Medical Necessity (CMN) or DME Information Form (DIF) issues, according to a bulletin last week from Noridian Administrative Services, the DME MAC for Jurisdiction D. The denials are for services that include, but are not limited to, parenteral and enteral nutrition, infusion pumps and oxygen equipment. The percentage of claims being appealed for these denials is estimated at 35% of the appeals workload or 18,233 appeals. The average cost of these denials for one year is approximately $1.4 million. NAS estimates that it costs suppliers on average $36.74 to do an appeal
Read the complete bulletin:

Want to check same or similar? Have info handy
BALTIMORE - The process of checking same and similar through the contact center telephone line changes Nov. 3, according to a bulletin from Noridian Administrative Services, the DME MAC for Jurisdiction D. Providers must provide the HCPCS they intend to bill before the contractor will release information on same or similar equipment. In addition to the HCPCS, providers must provide the following information: NPI, supplier's provider transaction access number (PTAN), and patient's Medicare number and date of birth. The change coincides with the transition to the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system.

Altimate Medical offers Webinar on standing equipment
MORTON, Minn. - Altimate Medical, manufacturer of the EasyStand line of standing equipment, has teamed up with Ginny Paleg, a pediatric physical therapist, to offer a Webinar on integrating evidence into practice. The one-hour Webinar, which can be viewed or downloaded at, covers writing letters of medical necessity, choosing standing equipment and identifying protocols that match a client's needs. Paleg works in an early intervention program for Montgomery County Public Schools.

CareCentric offers revenue cycle management solution
ATLANTA - CareCentric will make ZirMed's Web-based revenue cycle management services available to its home medical equipment customers, the software vendors announced last week. ZirMed's system will give CareCentric's HME customers "new flexibility in creating a reimbursement system ideal for their unique needs," according to a release. ZirMed's system covers the payment process from eligibility to online bill payment, check processing and even online bill pay options. The result: improved cash flow, reduced error-based claim rejections and shortened accounts receivable days, according to the release.

Computers Unlimited, Home Care EveryWare join forces
BILLINGS, Mont. - Computers Unlimited and Home Care EveryWare last week announced plans to create a platform that combines TIMS business management software with Home Care EveryWare's order intake workflow and referral management software. Computers Unlimited and Home Care EveryWare will market the platform together. The new platform will offer clients a proprietary product that will help them manage their businesses better by streamlining operations, reducing costs and improving productivity, according to a release.

Ames walks the Web
ASHEBORO, N.C. - Ames Walker, a distributor of support hosiery, socks and accessories, has launched, it announced last week. The new Web site "makes ordering compression products more convenient while helping increase resell revenues," according to a release. It features: 24/7 ordering; wholesale pricing; no minimum orders; shipping within 24 to 48 hours; and Quick Shop, which keeps record of previous orders.