In brief: Industry stays busy, Margolis passes away

Friday, July 29, 2016

WASHINGTON – Although lawmakers are on recess, HME industry stakeholders have been holding strategy sessions on efforts to push through relief in non-bid areas.

AAHomecare, VGM and the Council for Quality Respiratory Care, as well as other D.C.-based HME lobbyists met recently with Senate staffers who reaffirmed their commitment to get a delay to the July 1 reimbursement cuts when Congress returns in September, according to a bulletin from AAHomecare.Staffers indicated during the meeting that making the delay retroactive would help the bill’s prospects.

Stakeholders were also pulling out all the stops to gather information to bolster its efforts. AAHomecare extended the deadline for a cost study analysis to Aug. 5.

“By taking the time to share your company’s data, you will be helping AAHomecare and other HME stakeholders make the strongest possible case for fairer reimbursement policy,” said the association. “Consider this effort an investment to help achieve legislative delay.

Another survey from AAHomecare is geared toward medical professionals, discharge planners and care managers. It seeks information on their experience trying to obtain HME for their patients.

Complex rehab leader passes away

MAPLE GROVE, Minn. – The complex rehab community is mourning the loss of Simon Margolis, an industry leader and advocate, who passed away July 25 at the age of 66.

Passionate about preserving access to complex rehab, Margolis was involved in the creation of NCART and NRRTS.

He served on the NCART, RESNA and NRRTS Boards of Directors; as president of RESNA and NRRTS; and ultimately as executive director of NRRTS for seven years before retiring in 2013 due to health concerns.

"As a clinician, provider, manufacturer, inventor, accreditation surveyor, or organizational leader Simon wore many hats and brought diverse perspectives to all his conversations,” said Gary Gilberti, past NCART president, in an NCART newsletter.

Stakeholders say they will continue to fight for access to CRT in his memory.

“Simon can rest in peace knowing his dedicated contributions left the world much better for people with disabilities and for those of us who knew and worked with him, added Don Clayback, executive director of NCART.

Apacheta reports growth

MEDIA, Pa. – Apacheta Corporation has nearly doubled its customer base and increased revenue 75% since June 2015, it announced today. The mobile business solutions provider attributes the growth to its expansion into the HME market, which gained a 120% increase in new customers adopting its cloud-based solution in the past 12 months. "The shift in the mobile logistics market from expensive upfront hardware and software to subscription-based cloud services and low cost BYOD handhelds fueled our rapid growth across the board, but particularly in the HME/DME industry," said Gregg Timmons, CEO of Apacheta. The company partnered with Brightree in 2015 to launch an integrated mobile delivery management solution for HME providers.

VGM rebrands division
WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM has renamed its product and apparel division as part of a rebrand. VGM Apparel and Promotions, formerly VGM Corporate Specialties, originally announced the name change at the VGM Heartland Conference in June. As part of the rebranding campaign, VGM has launched, which features product and apparel collections as well as a “Product of the Day.”VGM rebrands division…

…and issues call for nominations

WATERLOO, Iowa – The deadline to nominate candidates for VGM’S HME Woman of the Year is Sept. 15. The inaugural award is open to all women working in the HME industry—nominees are not required to be VGM members or work in an executive management position. “The purpose of the award is to not only highlight existing leaders, but inspire action and mentorship to grow the HME architects of tomorrow,” said VGM Group’s CEO, Mike Mallaro, in a release. The award was announced at the VGM Heartland Conference in June.

Comfort Medical, Wheel:Life launch peer support program

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. ­– Comfort Medical and Wheel:Life have partnered to introduce Comfort Conversations, a peer support program. Comfort Medical Ambassadors will share thoughts, perspective and advice on a variety of topics including relationships, lifestyle and employment, according to a press release. “We think this engagement will only lead to better service, more opportunities to assist in the marketplace, and a stronger connection with the community we serve,” said Jeff McDaniel, vice president of marketing for Comfort Medical, a mail-order provider of urological and ostomy supplies. Wheel:Life is a digital media publication and social community for wheelchair users.

Ice Bucket Challenge pays off

WASHINGTON – Funding generated from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the 2014 viral video awareness campaign for ALS,has yielded new genetic findings. One million dollars of the $220 million dollars raised went towards Project MinE, a University of Massachusetts Medical School Project that was able to identify the NEK1 gene, providing another potential target for therapy development. NCART Executive Director Don Clayback accepted the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket in honor of National CRT Awareness Week that year. Gary Gilberti of Numotion, Doug Westerdahl of Monroe Wheelchair and Greg Packer of U.S. Rehab were among many HME providers across the country who participated in the challenge, which ultimately raised $220 million, according to the ALS Association.

Deadline nears for Medtrade Spring proposals

LAS VEGAS – Proposals for Medtrade Spring are due Aug. 19. To be considered, programs must be educational in nature; material should be original; otherwise, sources must be referenced. For multiple speakers, each speaker must agree to the submission. Incomplete program submissions will not be considered. Sales presentations will not be accepted. Conference tracks include audits, business operations, competitive bidding, executive leadership, legal, Medicare updates, retail, sales and marketing and strategic planning. Medtrade Spring is slated for Feb. 28-March 1, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. FMI:

Close monitoring of patients ensures outcomes, savings

ORLANDO, Fla. ­–­ Close monitoring of hemophilia patients ensures bleed rate stays low and the patients can be managed with less factor VIII, according to a study by Option Care being presented at the World Federation of Hemophilia 2016 World Congress meeting today. That, in turn creates significant cost savings without affecting patient outcomes. “By working with prescribers to closely monitor bleeds and collaborate on clinically appropriate optimization of treatment dose, Option Care’s utilization of factor VIII is less than the average with excellent outcomes,” said Joan Couden, national program director for Option Care’s Bleeding Disorders Program. “Our findings show we can save payers, including Medicare, Medicaid and managed care insurers, significant costs without negatively impacting annual bleed rates.” The Option Care study included 77 hemophilia A patients receiving home infusion of factor VIII.

SMRC reviews on schedule

WASHINGTON – The Supplemental Medical Review Contractor has completed 14,000 PAP reviews and is on schedule to finish all 30,000 PAP reviews by late September, says AAHomecare. The SMRC is expected to complete a total of 50,000 nebulizer reviews by the end of July and 50,000 oxygen reviews by the end of September. AAHomecare has also learned that Additional Development Requests (ADRs) for all three product categories have been sent out and some suppliers are starting to receive response letters from the SMRC.

CGS changes offset request process

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – CGS Administrators, the Jurisdiction B MAC, will no longer accept offset requests at the time of claim re-openings and adjustments, it said in a July 25 bulletin. Starting Aug. 1,suppliers who wish to have an overpayment withheld from future payments must wait for a demand letter. Upon receipt of the demand letter, the supplier may submit a request for immediate offset with, at minimum, a copy of the first page of the demand letter. Suppliers will have the option to submit a request to have their profile updated to always place any and all overpayments (provider and/or contractor identified) into immediate offset at the time of determination.