In brief: HME Excellence winners honored, Invacare earnings up
BALTIMORE - The winners of the 2009 HME Excellence Awards were announced Tuesday at a Camden Yards reception held at the HME Exposition and Conference. RehabTech of Oak Creek, Wis., earned the top prize for rehab. Fairmont Home Medical in Fairmont, W.Va., took first place for HME. Roberts Home Medical in Germantown, Md., placed first in the respiratory category. See future issues of HME News for profiles on the winners and runners-up.
Sebelius nears finish line
WASHINGTON - The Senate is expected to begin debating Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' nomination for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services tomorrow. She will need 60 votes for confirmation. Last Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee endorsed her nomination 15 to 8. The split reflected a divide on abortion issues, rather that a partisan divide over broad health-care reform, according to Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont. Sebelius has stated that reforming health care is a top priority for her.
Invacare earnings up
ELYRIA, Ohio - Invacare on Thursday reported net earnings of $2.4 million for the first quarter of 2009, compared to $2.2 million a year ago. The increase was attributed to organic sales growth, cost reductions and a lower effective tax rate. Net sales for the quarter decreased 4.4% to $398 million, compared to $416.3 million last year. Organic net sales grew 2.1% year-over-year, driven mainly by 7.1% organic growth in North America/Home Medical Equipment. Organic net sales growth is expected to be 4% to 6%, excluding any impact from acquisitions and foreign currency adjustments. European net sales for the quarter decreased 14%.
Grassley sends 11th hour letter
WATERLOO, Iowa - The HME industry continued to rack up support in its effort to rescind national competitive bidding even as CMS announced it would not delay the April 18 implementation date of the program. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, on April 15 sent a letter to Health and Human Services Acting Secretary Charles Johnson, stating his concerns with the agency's plan to "move ahead without engaging in a thoughtful and deliberative process to resolve ongoing concerns about the implementation of the competitive bidding program."
Noridian eyes power chairs
FARGO, N.D. - High error rates for K0823 standard power chairs have caught the attention of Noridian Administrative Services (NAS), the DME MAC for Jurisdiction D. Providers should be prepared to supply additional documentation for power wheelchair, group 2 standard, captain's chair, patient weight capacity up to and including 300 pounds. If you receive a request from NAS for additional documentation on this code, you must submit the information requested within 30 days to avoid a claim denial for failure to respond with the requested information. The six items that will be requested are: valid written order, obtained prior to delivery; detailed product description; face-to-face examination; home assessment; proof of delivery; and beneficiary authorization. For more information, see the local coverage determination for power mobility devices (L23598) at www.noridianmedicare.com/dme/coverage.
MED Group inks deal with ROHO
LUBBOCK, Texas and BELLEVILLE, Ill. - The MED Group and ROHO have teamed up to allow clinicians to prescribe ROHO support surface devices for their patients. Members of MED's Network of HME Providers will fill orders. Through centralized dispatching, the ROHO National Referral Fulfillment Network allows a discharge planner, case manager or other health care provider to order ROHO products for patients as they are discharged. ROHO Executive Vice President of Global Sales Tom Borcherding said in a release: "The winners will ultimately be the end-use clients, who will now have more high quality choices to address their seating and support surfaces needs." ROHO manufactures therapeutic support surfaces and cushions. The MED Group has more than 370 HME provider members representing more than 1,200 locations.
BOC suspends footwear certificate
OWINGS MILLS, M.D. - The Board of Certification/Accreditation, International (BOC), announced Thursday that it would no longer offer its BOC Footwear Specialist certificate program. BOC President Greg Safko said in a release that factors in the decision included BOC's mission as a "'certification'" body to indications of confusion among footwear personnel regarding scope of practice and billing privileges." BOC instead encourages footwear personnel to pursue education, training and certification through its BOC Pedorthist program. For more information: www.bocinternational.org