In brief: Feds make record bust, Senate to get bid update

Friday, March 2, 2012

WASHINGTON - A physician and the office manager of his medical practice, along with five owners of home health agencies (HHAs), were arrested last week on charges related to their alleged participation in a nearly $375 million healthcare fraud scheme. According to the indictment, Dr. Jacques Roy, who owned and operated Medistat Group Associates in the Dallas area, allegedly certified or directed the certification of more than 11,000 individual patients from more than 500 HHAs for home health services during the past five years. That's more purported patients than any other medical practice in the country. These certificates allegedly resulted in more than $350 million being fraudulently billed to Medicare and more than $24 million to Medicaid. Joy's scheme allegedly involved operating a "boiler room" to churn out phony claims and recruiting homeless people as fake patients.

Senate to get bid update

WASHINGTON - CMS will give Senate staffers an update on Round 1 and Round 2 of competitive bidding on March 14, AAHomecare reported last week. AAHomecare asks providers to make sure their senators are aware of the hearing and that their health legislative assistances attend. The association recommends they ask CMS officials tough questions and push the agency for additional information about the program. The update will take place at 2 p.m. in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Room SD-430.

Sen. Lugar: Review bid alternative

WASHINGTON - Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., sent a letter to two of his colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee to let them know he supports reviewing and scoring the HME industry's market-pricing program (MPP), an alternative to the competitive bidding program. Lugar also asked Sens. Max Baucus and Orrin Hatch to investigate the contradictory claims between the industry and CMS concerning a reduction in jobs and access as a result of the program.

Contour Products starts pillow fight

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Contour Products is taking an unnamed "Asian company" to court for knocking off its Contour CPAP Pillow, according to a statement released last week. Contour claims the company copied its old packaging, using the same copyrighted photos, text, color and layout, but not its logo. While the packaging may look the same, it claims the company's pillow is smaller and thinner, resulting in poor support, and gives off a chemical odor. Contour has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina to defend its intellectual property rights. 

Diabetes providers settle No-Call allegations

JACKSON, Miss. - Direct Diabetic Source and Med-Care Diabetic & Medical Supplies in February settled allegations that they had violated the state's No-Call Law. According to local news reports, the Mississippi Public Service alleged that the providers did not register as telephone solicitors, did not buy the Mississippi No-Call List and called consumers listed on the No-Call List. The providers paid $5,000 each to settle the claims.

Home Health Depot adds 14th branch

INDIANAPOLIS - Home Health Depot expanded its reach in northeast Indiana, opening a new branch in Fort Wayne, the provider announced Feb. 28. The provider now has 14 branches--seven in the state, along with Illinois, Iowa and Michigan. It's been a busy winter for the provider, which in early February acquired Advanced Rehab Technologies in Iowa. The provider is also eyeing opportunities in several other Midwest states.

Fastrack, CMB Solutions join forces

NEW YORK and INDIANAPOLIS - Fastrack Healthcare Systems and CMB Solutions announced last week that they have entered into a strategic alliance that will allow Fastrack customers to deploy patient contact solutions for replenishment and compliance through their existing system, saving them time and money. As a result of the alliance, Fastrack and CMB will deliver new releases of their respective systems that are "optimized and integrated" for HME providers. The initial focus will be on delivering CPAP and respiratory contact systems.

People: Invacare, AAHomecare 

Invacare announced last week that Doug Harper has joined the company as group vice president, sales and market development, North America. He most recently served as general manager of Invacare Supply Group...AAHomecare announced last week that Julie Driver has joined the association as senior manager of marketing and communications. She most recently served as program manager of the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program at the Peace Corps.