In brief: Growth in healthcare spending lower than average, CMS backs unique device identifiers

Friday, July 15, 2016

WASHINGTON – Total healthcare spending growth is expected to average 5.8% annually over 2015-2025, according to a report published July 13 by Health Affairs and authored by CMS’s Office of the Actuary. Projected healthcare spending growth remains lower than the average over previous two decades before 2008 (nearly 8%). “The Affordable Care Act continues to help keep overall health spending growth at a modest level and at a lower growth rate than the previous two decades,” said CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt in a press release. “Per-capita spending and medical inflation also remain at historically very modest levels, demonstrating the importance of continuing to reform our delivery systems.” Overall, national health expenditures are estimated to have reached $3.2 trillion in 2015, according to the report.

CMS backs unique device identifiers

WASHINGTON – CMS has endorsed the use of unique device identifiers in billing records for medical devices, according to the Wall Street Journal. The ID numbers have been advocated by lawmakers and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for years, but never by Medicare. The idea: Because the ID numbers would appear in databases of hospitals and big insurers, including Medicare, they would help the FDA to quickly find malfunctioning devices and order a recall if necessary, the Journal reports. CMS Acting Administrator Andrew Slavitt endorsed the use of ID numbers in a letter this week to a committee of the medical-billing industry, writing they would improve patient safety, according to the Journal.

Power soccer returns to Medtrade

ATLANTA – The United States Power Soccer Association returns to Medtrade this year. The USPSA will play two games on the show floor on Nov. 1, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Exact times are to be determined. “These are skilled individuals, and everyone who watched the power soccer demo back in 2014 can attest to that,” said Kevin Gaffney, group show director of Medtrade. “I encourage Medtrade attendees to check it out this year.” Medtrade exhibitor MK Battery is a main sponsor for the USPSA and has been for many years. In a recent guest blog, Wayne Merdinger, executive vice president and general manager of MK Battery, called on others in the industry to sponsor USPSA, which will host the FIPFA World Cup of Soccer in Kissimmee, Fla., next year. Medtrade takes place Oct. 31-Nov. 3 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Short takes from AAHomecare

Healthcare consulting firm Dobson DaVanzo & Associates will open the DME Industry Cost Analysis Study the week of July 18. The study, sponsored by AAHomecare, will look at the cost of providing HME in multiple product categories under threat by competitive bidding. There is no fee to participate and the data submitted is kept confidential…Providers can submit their second quarter audit data to the HME Audit Key starting July 15. The HME Audit Key requires providers to submit cumulative counts on pre- and post-payment audits and appeal claim outcomes under DME MAC, RAC and SMRC reviews. AAHomecare has two quarters of data collected so far…Noridian has been awarded the Unified Program Integrity Contract, or UPIC. The 10-year contract is part of CMS’s efforts to consolidate existing multiple integrity contracts. The UPIC is intended to integrate the work of the Zone Program Integrity Contractors or ZPICs, Program Safeguard Contractors or PSCs, Medicare-Medicaid Data Match or Medi-Medi, and Medicaid Integrity Contractors or MICs.

GPO contracts with Ossur for orthopedic products

CLEVELAND and FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif. – CHAMPS Group Purchasing has re-launched its custom contract with Ossur Americas for its osteoarthritis and injury solutions bracing and support products. The Ossur contract gives 7,000-plus CHAMPS members nationwide the opportunity to streamline products, according to a press release. “With this contract, our GPO contract price has expanded significantly and now covers Ossur’s entire catalog, including orthopaedic soft goods, braces, cold therapy and casting supplies,” said Jan Elder, director of contracting services for CHAMPS. The contract extends through December 2018.

Infusion foundation launches satisfaction survey

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Home Infusion Foundation will launch a survey to develop a standardized set of patient satisfaction questions for home infusion providers to use in organizational assessment tools. The Patient Satisfaction Survey Study will help pave the way for improved quality of care, NHIF said in a press release. “Patient satisfaction surveys have gained increasing attention as essential sources of information for identifying gaps and developing effective action plans to improve overall quality of care in organizations across the health care continuum,” said NHIF Vice President of Research Connie Sullivan, R.Ph. A panel of home infusion professionals will finalize a set of validated questions. The Patient Satisfaction Survey Study builds on the National Home Infusion Association’s multi-phase Industry-Wide Data Initiative.

NCPA announces seminar lineup

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association has announced its 2016 lineup of seminars aimed at helping community pharmacies hone their merchandising and marketing skills. The one-day Front-end Profit Building Seminars offer CEUs and tackle topics like curb appeal, floor plans, cross-merchandising and inventory management. “In a world of shrinking profit margins and fierce competition from the big boxes, it is more critical than ever for community pharmacies to diversify their business to grow and thrive, and the pharmacy front end provides an excellent starting point,” said NCPA President Bradley Arthur, RPh, co-owner of Black Rock Pharmacy and Brighton-Eggert Pharmacy in Buffalo, N.Y. The seminars are sponsored by Good Neighbor Pharmacy.

Organizers announce ‘world changing’ speaker

WATERLOO, Iowa – Organizers of Essentially Women’s Focus Conference have announced best-selling author, entrepreneur and cancer survivor David Wagner as keynote speaker. Wagner will discuss how one encounter led him to initiate the pay-it-forward global movement “Daymaking.” “Our industry is becoming increasingly more challenging,” said Cindy Ciardo, manager of vendor relations for Essentially Women. “David will put our jobs back into perspective and remind us about what really matters, motivating us to make the world a better place by following his lead.” Wagner’s presentation, “Change the world—one person at a time—through simple acts of kindness,” will take place at 8 a.m. on Sept. 25. The full conference takes place Sept. 24-26 at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel in Myrtle Beach, S.C.