In brief: Fingerprint checks under way, HME companies make Inc. list

Friday, August 22, 2014

WASHINGTON – CMS began requiring fingerprint-based background checks for certain providers on Aug. 6, according to an MLN Matters article. The checks will first impact individuals with a 5% or greater ownership interest in a provider that falls into the high-risk category and is currently enrolled in Medicare or has submitted an initial enrollment application. The checks will be implemented in phases—not all providers in the high-risk category will be part of the first phase. Providers will receive notification that they must meet the requirement from their MAC. Those that do receive a notification have 30 days from the date of the letter to be fingerprinted. Previously, CMS had stated that it would start requiring the checks some time this year.

NCART’s Don Clayback answers Ice Bucket Challenge

BUFFALO, N.Y. – NCART Executive Director Don Clayback answered the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge last week. Clayback tied the challenge with National CRT Awareness Week, Aug. 18-24. “Things that go naturally together: salt and pepper, Abbott and Costello, peanut butter and jelly, ALS Association Ice Bucket Challenge and National CRT Awareness Week,” he wrote to members in an email with a link to a video of him performing the challenge. Before he poured a bucket of ice water over his head, Clayback said, “I just want to say to my friends, Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake and Bill Gates, stop with the emails, stop with the phone calls. I’m here. I’m going to do it.” In turn, Clayback challenged Gary Gilberti of Numotion, Doug Westerdahl of Monroe Wheelchair and Greg Packer of U.S. Rehab, all members of the NCART board of directors. “The ball, or I should say, the bucket, is in your court,” he said in the video.

Jurisdiction B releases review results for support surfaces, CPAP devices

YARMOUTH, Maine – Group 2 pressure reducing support surfaces had a claims error rate of 73.7% from April 1, 2014, to June 30, 2014, the Jurisdiction B DME MAC has reported. Top denial reasons included insufficient documentation of larger or multiple stage III or stage IV pressure ulcers on trunk or pelvis that have not improved over the last month, and insufficient documentation due to a missing signature. CPAP devices had a claims error rate of 67% for the same timeframe, the MAC reported. Top denial reasons included no documentation that the beneficiary continues to use and benefit from the device for replacement following a five-year reasonable useful lifetime, and no documentation of a face-to-face evaluation by the treating physician for replacement.

NST patients use app to ‘master’ sleep therapy

BOSTON – National Sleep Therapy (NST) has developed a proprietary iPad app to train new sleep therapy patients on how to use their CPAP devices, the provider announced this month. “Educators have shown that people retain new information better when: (1) they’re able to proceed at their own pace; (2) they learn and retain better with visuals; (3) they feel they’re in control; (4) they’re engaged and feel special; and (5) they can hold the teaching device in their own hands,” stated Eric Cohen, co-founder and president of NST, in a release. Cohen, a trained engineer, developed the app. Respiratory therapists (RTs) will oversee patient use of the app. “Our RTs methodically guide patients through the training,” Cohen said. “As the patient becomes comfortable with each section, they check off the boxes. Items left unchecked are revisited, so the clinician can explain, answer questions, and visually demonstrate. The RT asks the patient to show they’ve mastered their CPAP.” The app will be instrumental in ensuring patients are trained consistently, thoroughly and correctly in the use, care and maintenance of their CPAP machines, Cohen says. “Doctors are often on a tight schedule so they can’t always spend 60-90 minutes with a patient,” he said. “We have carefully orchestrated every minute of the setup process to maximize engagement and retention.” NST believes this approach is applicable to other types of chronic conditions, such as diabetes.

HME companies make annual list

NEW YORK – A quick scroll through Inc. Magazine’s annual 500|5000 list, published yesterday, contains several names familiar in the HME industry. In the overall list, HME providers include Charlotte, N.C.-based Carolina’s Home Medical Equipment (4,561); Charlotte, N.C.-based BlueDot Medical (4051); and Sandwich, Mass.-based Cape Medical Supply (4039). All three providers have made the list previously. Also on the list were two Atlanta-based billing systems and services companies: Brightree (2237) and Patientco (405).

Liberator declares dividend

STUART, Fla. – Liberator Medical on Aug. 18 declared a cash dividend of $.0325 per common share to its shareholders, an 8.3% increase from the last dividend paid on July 10. The new dividend will be paid Oct. 10. Last week, Liberator reported $11.75 million in gross profits for the third quarter of 2014, a 7.6% increase over the same period in 2013.

ActiveForever acquired by investment firm

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – ActiveForever has been acquired by an East Coast investment firm specializing in direct marketing of health products, according to a press release. Larry Fugleberg and Erika Feinberg purchased Independent Living Products in 2003, and rebranded it ActiveForever. It provides medical, fitness and assistive technology equipment and devices. The firm is keeping the current management team in place, with Feinberg as CEO and chief outcomes officer, and Fugleberg as director of programming and IT infrastructure.

CMS clarifies payments for wheelchair accessories

WASHINGTON – CMS has published a change request (8864) that instructs contractors to update systems allowing payment for wheelchair accessories when provided for use with non-competitively bid wheelchair base units after the end date of the certificate of medical necessity and when the modifier “KY” is present. The change applies to payments for wheelchair accessories furnished for use with Group 2 and Group 3 power wheelchairs by contractors in a competitive bid area (CBA); for competitively bid wheelchair accessories furnished for use with wheelchair base units not bid in Round 1 or Round 2 by contract and non-contract suppliers for beneficiaries living in a CBA; for competitively-bid wheelchair accessories not bid in Round 1 but furnished for use with any wheelchair base to beneficiaries living outside a CBA; and for competitively bid wheelchair accessories not bid in Round 1 and that were furnished for use with wheelchair base units not competitively bid in Round 2 to beneficiaries living in a CBA. The changes take effect for claims processed starting Jan. 5, 2015.

‘Local Hero’ drives off in new accessible van

PHOENIX – Vantage Mobility International (VMI), Toyota and the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) this week handed the keys to a 2014 Sienna with VMI Northstar conversion to Courtney Boyll. The Alabama teacher, coach, wife and mother of three was paralyzed in a car accident 20 years ago. She won the national Local Hero Contest that was part of National Mobility Awareness Month, an annual campaign to educate people with disabilities and caregivers about adaptive mobility solutions. “I think anything is possible when you put your mind to it,” said Boyll. “I take it one day at a time and make it the best I can. And, I am thankful for the van that VMI, Toyota and NMEDA are providing to make my life easier.”

Bay Pharmacy sticks with HME

STURGEON BAY, Wis. – Bay Pharmacy has sold its pharmacy business to CVS, but CEO Tom Voegele will continue to run the company’s HME business, according to local news reports. “We will be coming up with a new name,” he said. The HME business will remain in the company’s current location in the Cherry Point Mall. Thirty employees will be affected by the move; 14 will continue to work in the HME business. The pharmacy business will move to a new location that CVS is building a few blocks away.

Big Sky adds Wyoming

ANACONDA, Mont. – The Big Sky Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers (Big Sky AMES) has added Wyoming to the fold, according to a bulletin from The VGM Group. The state association, which made the announcement at its annual convention here last week, covers Montana and Idaho. “The addition of Wyoming seemed like a natural fit,” said Dedra Haworth of Harrington Surgical in Montana. Big Sky AMES has unveiled a new logo that includes a picture of that state of Wyoming, along with Montana and Idaho.

Qualcomm Life collaborates with ResMed

SAN DIEGO – Qualcomm Life, a subsidiary of Qualcomm, has announced a collaboration with ResMed to develop connected health solutions. ResMed is using Qualcomm Life’s technology to streamline transitions of care from the hospital into the home. It is integrating Qualcomm Life’s 2net Hub and Platform with its Astral vents to capture and transfer near real-time biometric data to the HealthyCircles Care coordination platform. It’s also using HealthyCircles with its CPAP devices to enable hospitals and care providers to closely monitor patients to prevent hospital readmissions. “Working with Qualcomm Life extends our data solutions in the next-generation of remote patient monitoring solutions,” stated Jeremy Malecha, senior director, product management for ResMed Americas, in a release. “The 2net and HealthyCircles Platforms infrastructure streamlines data collection and transmission, enabling continuous, quality respiratory care for patients beyond the hospital.”

Home Care Medical ramps up online services

NEW BERLIN, Wis. – Home Care Medical has launched a Shop Online Store that allows customers to easily shop for HME and other products online. The new site,, offers detailed product descriptions with informational videos and brochures; new, featured and sale products; and free shipping on most orders over $50. The site also allows customers to pay their bills online—full or partial payments or set up recurring payments. “Our company is always looking for new and innovative ways to meet the needs of our clients,” said Kandy Raether, vice president of sales and marketing for Home Care Medical, in a release. “With our website’s new features, we are pleased to offer the most advanced technologies and products available—24/7.”