In brief: Lawmaker wants Medicare data public, provider spices up marketing efforts

Thursday, April 21, 2011

WASHINGTON – A new bill seeks to reduce Medicare fraud by making certain claims data public. The Medicare Spending Transparency Act, introduced April 14 by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., would require CMS to publish information each year about what Medicare is paying to individual providers, including amount paid, number of unique patients seen, total number of patient visits and a summary of the services provided. The bill would also lift the restriction on releasing a fraudulent provider's name. Patient information would be protected.

Reliable Respiratory spices up marketing efforts

NORWOOD, Mass. – Provider Reliable Respiratory has launched a marketing campaign to emphasize its focus on patient compliance and healthcare cost containment. As part of the campaign, Reliable Respiratory is sending cards to healthcare professionals that features a picture of bottles of Tabasco sauce and the words “We’re HOT on Compliance & Cost Containment.”

VGM creates audit resource

WATERLOO, Iowa – The VGM Group has launched as a resource for providers on audits, including the latest news and "road maps" that guide providers though different audit processes. VGM partnered with industry consultants James Herren and Wayne van Halem, as well as attorney Edward Vishnevetsky, on the site.

Brightree, McKesson streamline purchasing

ATLANTA – Brightree and McKesson announced this month an agreement that allows customers to place orders through McKesson’s online ordering platform from the Brightree system. With the integrated interface, providers can reduce inventory-related costs, eliminate duplicate data entry and minimize human errors in the purchasing process, according to a release.

LAS VEGAS – The VPOD Freedom from Virtuox of Coral Springs, Fla., took home the Innovation Award as the new product that best exemplified top design/high tech/state of the art at Medtrade Spring. Attendees voted at the New Product Pavilion for three awards. The Merit Award, for the new product that best exemplifies improvements in quality of life, went to Sneaker Walker Glides from Drive Medical of Port Washington, N.Y. The Sami the Seal nebulizer from Philips Respironics of Murrysville, Pa., took home the Providers Choice Award as the new product that best exemplified optimal use of technology.

New healthcare fugitives named to ‘Most Wanted’ list

HOUSTON and BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Two more fugitives have been added to the Office of Inspector General's "Ten Most Wanted" for healthcare fraud: Ezechukwu Ohaka and Oleg Kheyson. Ohaka, through his company, Houston-based Luant & Odera, allegedly billed Medicare more than $3.1 million for wheelchairs and scooters for Gulf Coast residents after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Kheyson, co-owner of Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Best Equipment, is charged with allegedly submitting $1.28 million in fraudulent claims from September 2006 through July 2010. The list can be viewed at

Covidien reports profit increase

MANSFIELD, Mass. – Covidien's profits increased 10% during its second fiscal quarter which ended March 25, the company announced April 21. Covidien reported net income of $455 million compared to $413 million during the same time period last year. Revenue grew to $2.8 million. Covidien attributed some of the growth to acquisitions, which boosted medical device sales.

UpLift plans boost for research

DARTMOUTH, Nova Scotia – Uplift Technologies will donate a portion of its seat lift sales during May 2011 to arthritis research, it announced April 20. The Arthritis Foundation recently awarded "Ease-of-Use" commendations to several Uplift products. The company manufactures manual and electric lifting seats and light therapy systems.