In brief: FBI agents raid HME offices, CRE releases bidding analysis

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Friday, May 11, 2012

In brief: FBI agents raid HME offices, CRE releases bidding analysis

VISALIA, Calif. – FBI agents raided the offices of Care Medical on May 4, removing items from two retail locations and a warehouse. "Care Medical has always been committed to following federal and state laws," stated Matt Kneeland, Care Medical founder and CEO, in an email to HME News. "For this reason, Care Medical is confident that an amicable resolution will be reached with the government." The FBI had no comment, according to reports. It's the second time in recent months that a well-established HME provider was the subject of an FBI raid. In February, agents raided several California offices of Pacific Pulmonary Services.

AAHomecare comments on device tax

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – AAHomecare last week submitted comments in response to the Internal Revenue Services' (IRS) proposed rule that would implement amendments to an IRS code that would impose a 2.3% excise tax on certain medical devices. The proposed rule contains a "safe harbor" that specifically includes items classified by the Food and Drug Administration as over the counter. AAHomecare has recommended that the proposed rule include a “bright-line” test that would explicitly include all HME devices and supplies within an expanded safe harbor because they do, in fact, meet each of the tests. Tyler Wilson, AAHomecare president, will testify at an IRS hearing May 16.

NCPA seeks to preserve access

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) last week urged lawmakers to support the Medicare Access to Diabetes Supplies Act, H.R. 1936. In comments to the House Ways and Means Committee, NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey stated: “This bipartisan bill would help ensure that seniors can continue to rely on their independent community pharmacy for these essential diabetes supplies and the expert counseling needed to effectively manage their condition.” The bill was introduced in May 2011. 

Watchdog group releases bidding analysis

WASHINGTON – The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness last week released an analysis showing why the Medicare bidding program is "bound for failure" and pointed to the program's use of non-binding bids as a factor. The analysis comes after U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that HHS plans to "vastly expand competitive bidding." The CRE submitted its analysis to the White House, and stated in a press release that it was seeking its assistance in "stopping the negative effect" the program has on seniors and providers. The analysis is available at www.thecre.com.

High error rates for glucose test strips, support surfaces

WASHINGTON – Glucose testing supplies and support surfaces are under scrutiny in Jurisdiction B. National Government Services, the DME MAC, said it plans to continue with widespread prepay reviews of glucose test strips and pressure reducing mattresses, both of which have high error rate. As of March 31, 2012, glucose testing supplies have an error rates of 99.5%; The top reason for denial was insufficient documentation for medical necessity. For pressure reducing mattresses, a review conducted during August and September 2011, the error rate was 93%: The top reason for denial was insufficient medical documentation.

DME swipe card pilot ends

WASHINGTON - National Government Services (NGS), the Jurisdiction B DME MAC, has completed its swipe card pilot program, it said in a message last week. Under the program, participating Part B physicians and HME providers swiped cards using credit card terminals when home medical equipment was ordered and supplied. NGS will now evaluate the data it accumulated.

VGM partners with BeClose

WATERLOO, Iowa – The VGM Group last week announced a partnership with BeClose, a Web-based home activity monitoring system. The system includes wireless sensors to be placed around the home and an emergency button that can be worn around a user's neck that alert caregivers when something might be wrong. “BeClose is for providers who want to help hospitals reduce re-admissions, generate additional retail revenue and/or add services to their home accessibility offerings,” said Alan Morris, director, VGM Alternate Care Programs.

NRRTS redefines CRTS, RRTS credentials

WALSENBURG, Colo. – Effective May 7, NRRTS has changed the “S” in its CRTS and RRTS credentials to mean “Specialist” instead of “Supplier.” NRRTS registrants who have earned the Certified Complex Rehab Technology Specialist (CRTS) and Registered Complex Rehab Technology Specialist (RRTS) credentials will not need to do anything differently following the change. NRRTS hopes the shift will better reflect a registrant’s role in the complex rehab service delivery process. 

Short takes: Invacare, Sunset Healthcare

SmartBusiness Magazine named Invacare as recipient of its World Class Customer Service Award for the fourth year in a row, the company announced last week. The award recognizes businesses in northeast Ohio based on customer testimonials, service philosophies and processes…Sunset Healthcare Solutions, a manufacturer of CPAP and oxygen products, earned a spot on Fortune Magazine's Inner City 100. The Inner City 100 program recognizes successful inner city companies and their CEO as business role models in urban communities. H. D. Smith has signed a deal with PharmacyGPO, a buying group that serves independent pharmacies. H.D. Smith will supply home medical equipment, prescription drugs and health and wellness products to the group…ACU-Serve announced last week that it has introduced a new audit service program to assist HME companies in the process of responding to prepay audits, development letters, complex medical reviews, RACs and CERTs. The company can deliver the new service through billing software programs.