In brief: Lawmaker seeks bid answers, AAH adds voice to deficit talks

Thursday, October 13, 2011

WASHINGTON - Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, called on CMS officials to investigate complaints from physicians and beneficiaries who had problems obtaining diabetes supplies in Round 1 of competitive bidding. In a letter to CMS Administrator Donald Berwick and Michael Keane, director of the Chronic Care Policy Group, Fudge expressed her concerns about problems in the Cleveland competitive bidding area, including: confusion about the program; patients being pressured to switch brands; and contract suppliers not carrying brands they list as covered. "My greatest priority is ensuring that beneficiary testing not be disrupted, and that beneficiaries will continue to have access to the diabetes testing supplies they need to prevent costly complications from the disease," stated Fudge in a release. "If there are revisions, or improvements, that need to be made to the (program), it is important that they are avoid more confusion and frustration."

AAHomecare adds voice to deficit talks

WASHINGTON - AAHomecare has asked the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction not to include spending cuts to home medical equipment and services in its recommendations to Congress. HME accounts for less than 1.5% of total Medicare spending. Any additional cuts to the benefit will restrict patient access and increase costs across the healthcare system, stated AAHomecare in a release. "While we support the committee's efforts to reduce the deficit and contain rising healthcare costs, home care is part of the solution, it's not the problem," stated Tyler Wilson, AAHomecare president.

Mabis gets new name

WAUKEGAN, Ill. - Mabis DMI has changed its name to Briggs Healthcare, it announced Oct. 13. The name change is part of a three-year brand transition that builds on the 65-year-old Briggs name and reputation. "Our new name will help strengthen recognition in the healthcare marketplace and help eliminate customer confusion that, in the past, stemmed from dealing with multiple company names," stated Alan Yefsky, executive senior vice president of sales & marketing. Briggs Medical Service Company in 2004 acquired DMS Holdings, which included Mabis.

CMS upgrades PECOS

BALTIMORE - CMS is implementing improvements to the Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System (PECOS) that will make it easier for providers to update their enrollment information and submit applications. The improvements include a streamlined application process and the ability to pay applicable fees during the online submission process. Other changes in the works: easily manage and search enrollment applications; eliminate separate mailing of most documents; and view all application data on a single screen. To access Internet-based PECOS:

VGM offers calendars

WATERLOO, Iowa - VGM is offering a 2012 "Faces of Advocacy" calendar featuring real users of home medical equipment. The full-color, 13-month calendar pairs photos with inspiring quotes and stories, and can be branded with a company's name, logo and contact information. Calendar orders must be placed by the end of Medtrade. For more information,