In brief: GAO weighs in on audits, Liberator’s investments pay off

Friday, August 15, 2014

WASHINGTON – The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is calling on CMS to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its post-payment review efforts by providing contractors with additional guidance and oversight.

The GAO reviewed MACs, ZPICs, RAs and CERT contractors because “questions have been raised about their effectiveness and efficiency, and the burden on providers.”

While CMS has taken steps to prevent contractors from conducting duplicative post-payment claims reviews, the GAO found, “CMS neither has reliable data nor provides sufficient oversight and guidance to measure and fully prevent duplication.”

Specifically, the GAO called on CMS to:

·      monitor the Recovery Audit Data Warehouse to ensure contractors are submitting required data and that the data in the database are accurate and complete;

·      develop complete guidance defining contractors’ responsibilities regarding duplicative claims reviews, including specifying whether and when MACs and ZPICs can duplicate other contractors’ reviews;

·      regularly assess whether contractors are complying with CMS requirements for the content of correspondence sent to providers; and

·      clarify current requirements for content of additional documentation requests and results letters, and standardize the requirements as much as possible for greater consistency.

The Department of Health and Human Services agreed with the GAO’s recommendations and noted plans to improve CMS guidance and oversight.

Investments pay off at Liberator Medical

STUART, Fla. – Liberator Medical has reported $11.75 million in gross profits for the third quarter of 2014 compared to $10.89 million for the same period last year, a 7.6% increase.  Net sales increased 6.2% to $18.58 million as a result of a direct response advertising campaign to new customers and an emphasis on customer service to maximize reorders. “During our fiscal third quarter, we made key investments in our organizational infrastructure to improve the efficiency and performance of our customer-facing staff,” said Mark Libratore, president and CEO, in a press release. “We are investing in acquiring and serving our customers, which is central to our mission as a healthcare products provider and to achieving the maximum return on our advertising expenditures.” Net income, however, dropped 1.5% to $1.98 million. For the nine months ended June 30, 2014, Liberator reported gross profits of $34.42 million, a 5.9% increase over the same period last year; net sales of $54.83 million, a 5.9% increase; and net income of $5.72 million, a 19.4% increase.

ResMed launches comprehensive platform for sleep therapy

SAN DIEGO – ResMed announced last week the launch of Air Solutions, a connected care platform for treating sleep disordered breathing from diagnosis to treatment to compliance management to patient engagement. Two components of the solution: The AirSense 10 series of flow generators and the AirFit family of masks. The AirSense 10 CPAP and APAP devices will be available in the U.S. on Aug. 18. The AirFit masks were launched earlier this year. Other components include ApneaLink Air, a home sleep testing device, and AirView, a monitoring and compliance management system that provides data on demand.

MED schedules fly-in

LUBBOCK, Texas – The MED Group, in conjunction with AAHomecare, will host a legislative fly-in at the W Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 10. The focus of the fly-in in will be to promote H.R. 4920 and H.R. 5083, bills to reform the competitive bidding and audit programs, respectively. The fly-in will kick off with a pre-meeting on Sept. 9 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for attendees to pick up lists of appointments and leave-behind information. “This legislative fly-in is open to all DME providers so that industry stakeholders can show solidarity on these issues,” stated Jeff Woodham, senior vice president and general manager of The MED Group, in a press release. To register, call MED at 800-825-5633 and ask to speak to a customer support representative.

PHS offers homecare education to students

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Pediatric Home Service (PHS) has launched partnerships with area colleges and universities to educate students about homecare services. The provider believes educating students about home care is just as important as hospital care. “Through these opportunities, students can see the benefits and complexity of home care firsthand,” stated Judy Giel, senior vice president of clinical service, in a press release. “We’re dedicated to expanding students’ knowledge base and their understanding of how these services are provided at home.” Fields of study include respiratory therapy, infusion nursing, homecare nursing, nutrition service and social work.

The road to Medtrade: Audit sessions and call for presentations

LAS VEGAS – Medtrade has no fewer than 10 audit-related sessions planned for the Oct. 20-23 event in Atlanta. “Our surveys revealed that attendees wanted more educational sessions dealing with audits,” stated Group Show Director Kevin Gaffney in a press release. “We responded in a big way.” See a complete schedule of these and other sessions at… Show organizers are already gearing up for Medtrade Spring: They’ve put out a call for presentations for the March 31-April 1 event in Las Vegas. Interested speakers must submit their ideas by Aug. 22; show organizers will notify selected speakers by Dec. 1. Go here to submit:

Dr. Comfort steps out for diabetes

MILWAUKEE – Dr. Comfort, a manufacturer of therapeutic footwear, has committed to raising $100,000 in 2014 as a National Team for the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes. Dr. Comfort’s employees, friends, family members, customers and vendors are invited to join the company’s corporate team in participating in any of the 110 Step Out events nationwide. Every mile walked and dollar raised supports the ADA’s research and advocacy efforts to improve the lives of those affected by diabetes. In addition to participating in the walks, Dr. Comfort is donating to the ADA $10 from the sale of every pair of shoes from its athletic shoe line.

Diabetes risk increases sharply

NEW YORK — The risk of diabetes has doubled, with 40% of Americans born between 2001 and 2011 at risk of developing the disease, according to a new study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. For minorities, the risk is higher: More than half of all Hispanics and non-Hispanic black women will develop diabetes. For black men, the risk is 5%. “That’s a very real statistic not only for the public but also for the people treating and trying to prevent diabetes,” said Edward Gregg, the lead study author and an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “I hope this will be a stimulus really to find ways to prevent diabetes in the first place and reduce incidence.”

IntelliWheels receives grant

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — IntelliWheels has secured a $1.5 million grant to further its development of ultra-lightweight, multi-geared wheels for manual wheelchairs. “By using simple gearing we can create a more dynamic method of mobility, providing wheelchair users greater ability to interact in their environment,” said Marissa Siero, co-founder of IntelliWheels, in the release. The grant was awarded by the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development.

Good works: Invacare, CareTouch

Invacareserved as a national host sponsor for the 34th National Veterans Wheelchair Games, Aug. 12-17 in Philadelphia. Invacare has been a supporter of the Games since 1981 and has also supported similar events. In addition to financial support, the manufacturer provided assistance with transporting veterans and their luggage from the airport and performing maintenance throughout the games…CareTouch has raised $1,000 to support the Butterfly Program of Porter Hospice Hike for Hospice event and is now aiming to double that by the Sept. 14 event. A team of CareTouch employees will participate in the hike.

Short take: Invacare

The board of directors of Elyria, Ohio-based Invacare has declared a cash dividend of $.0125 per share on its common shares and $.011364 per share on its Class B common shares payable Oct. 10, 2014, to shareholders on record on Oct. 2, 2014. Invacare recently reported a net loss in earnings of $13.6 million for the second quarter compared to a loss of $12.5 million for the same period last year. It also announced recently that Rob Gudbranson would become its interim president and CEO.

People in the news

AAHomecare has added Mina Uehara as a regulatory affairs associate. Uehara recently received a Master of Public Policy from American University. Her graduate work there focused on Medicaid. Uehara will work closely with Kim Brummett, vice president of regulatory affairs, on the association’s regulatory initiatives.