In brief: Lincare settles, DME MAC highlights top errors

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Friday, May 18, 2018

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Lincare will pay $875,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by employees whose information may have been exposed in a “phishing attack.”

The lawsuit stems from an incident on Feb. 3, 2017, when a cyber-criminal posing as a high-level Lincare executive emailed a Lincare human resources employee and requested W-2 information for all employees. The HR employee responded with attached W-2 data for a certain number of employees of Lincare and its affiliates.

On Feb. 10, 2017, Lincare sent notice of the “phishing attack” to all impacted current and former Lincare employees, notifying them that their personally identifiable information may have been compromised. The company offered two years of complimentary credit monitoring, remediation services and identity theft insurance.

On Oct. 16, 2017, however, Andrew Giancola, Raymond Scott and Patricia Smith filed the lawsuit, alleging negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of implied contract and violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Per the settlement, $550,000 will be used to compensate class action members who suffered an out-of-pocket loss and $325,000 will be reserved for members who experienced an “eligible incident,” like a fraudulent tax return.

Lincare has also implemented, or has agreed to implement, additional security measures, including an external HIPAA risk assessment every two years; an annual risk assessment of employees’ data; updated spam filter; and employee education.

As part of the agreement, Lincare admits to no wrongdoing.

Enteral nutrition, surgical dressings top error list

WASHINGTON – Enteral nutrition had the highest error rate (87%) from Targeted Probe and Educate audits in Jurisdiction D.

Noridian Healthcare Services, the DME MAC for Jurisdiction D, posted the error rates from TPE audits (see below) from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2017.

AAHomecare has requested that all the DME MACs publish the error rates.

The error rates in Jurisdiction D are:

19%, ankle-foot/knee-ankle-foot orthosis

87%, enteral nutrition

35%, external infusion pumps

76%, glucose monitors

14%, hospital beds

9%, immunosuppressive drugs

77%, knee orthosis

57%, manual wheelchairs

3%, nebulizers

34%, spinal orthoses

80%, surgical dressings

13% therapeutic shoes

21%, urological supplies

VGM crafts comment template

WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM has created a template for suppliers to use when drafting their comments on the interim final rule. Providers are encouraged to hit on a few key points, including that future policy decisions must include providers in all non-bid areas that serve patients in “non-rural” areas; that the adjusted fee schedule is unsustainable; that the oxygen “double-dip” has pushed reimbursement rates below the single payment amount; and that CMS’s complaint and access monitoring is not capturing patient complaints. Comments are due to CMS by 5 p.m. EST on July 9. The downloadable template can be found here.

Study: Home infusion therapy can improve survival rates

BANNOCKBURN, Ill. – Inotropic home infusion therapy can help improve survival for patients with advanced heart failure, according to a new study from Option Care and the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Patients prescribed the therapy, which enables the patient’s heart to pump more efficiently, may experience a better quality of life, according to a press release. Option Care’s data suggest an average survival rate of more than two years for these patients. “Receiving this life-changing therapy in the comfort of home helps patients more fully enjoy their lives,” said Tess Artig-Brown, BSN, MN, co-author of the study and director of Option Care’s Heart Failure Program. “Home infusion is also much more cost effective than care provided in the hospital or long-term care centers and research has shown that with education and support, these patients are less likely to be readmitted to the hospital.”

Deadline extended for complex rehab sign-on letter

WASHINGTON – The deadline for collecting signatures for a congressional sign-on letter that asks CMS not to apply a provision in the 21st Century Cures Act to complex rehab technology has been extended to May 25. The original deadline for the letter, spearheaded by Reps. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, and Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, was May 17. A provision in the Cures Act requires CMS to limit federal contributions to Medicaid reimbursement to competitive bidding-influenced Medicare reimbursement. Stakeholders argue that, because complex rehab has been exempted from the bid program, the provision should not apply to that technology.

Medline launches online store

NORTHFIELD, Ill. – Medline has launched PersonalCareDirect.com, its first online consumer store offering products to residents of assisted living communities. PersonalCareDirect.com includes essential personal care products, such as incontinence supplies, skin health products, mobility aids, oral care necessities and nutritional supplements. The website also features education to help families select the correct products. “Families spend a great deal of time trying to find quality, reliable supplies for their loved ones,” said Shawn Scott, senior vice president of Post-Acute National Sales at Medline, in a release. “Any resident of a community offering PersonalCareDirect.com will have access to Medline's high quality, professional-grade personal care supplies through one online portal."

InfuSystem debuts mobile app

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. – InfuSystem Holdings has launched InfuSystem Mobile, a patient safety app that connects patients with the infusion provider’s products, expertise and registered nurses. Features include automated infusion safety alerts, patient education videos, secure two-way communications and paperless form submission. “InfuSystem Mobile will allow us to engage our patients directly,” said Richard Dilorio, CEO, in a release. “We believe this app represents an important step forward that will enable patients to more effectively manage their treatment.”

AABCP seeks achievers

HOUSTON – The American Association of Breast Care Professionals is seeking nominations for its 1st Annual Life Achievement Award to be presented at the AABCP Global Breast Care Summit & Expo July 12. The award committee will consider individuals who have demonstrated care, compassion and advocacy for the post-mastectomy care profession. The Summit takes place July 10-12 at Harrah’s New Orleans. Submit nominations here.

Golden’s contract renewed by VA

OLD FORGE, Pa. – Golden Technologies has been awarded its third consecutive five-year contract by the Department of Veterans Affairs to supply power scooters to veterans nationwide. “The Golden Companion GC230 and GC340 power scooters allow them to access medical care and to accomplish necessary tasks in home and community environments that are so important as they gain more independence in their daily lives,” said Rich Golden, CEO of Golden Technologies. This most recent contract ends April 2023. Golden was first awarded a national contract by the VA in 2003 for mid-size three-wheel and full-size three-wheel scooters. “For the past 15 years, the continuous effort and determination of the entire Golden team—from our VA Customer Service, VA Technical Service, Production, Research & Development, and Shipping departments—have demonstrated our dedication and commitment to the Department of Veterans Affairs and our nation’s veterans,” said Donna Payer, VA national account director for Golden.

AAH surveys providers on PMD demo

WASHINGTON – AAHomecare’s Complex Rehab & Mobility Council is collecting feedback from providers about the prior authorization demonstration project for power mobility devices currently taking place in 19 states. Responses to the council’s brief online survey are due by May 25. “The PMD prior authorization program has been a win-win for the HME industry and for CMS, and information from this survey will bolster our efforts in working toward a nationwide, permanent prior authorization program for PMDs,” said Nancy Froslie of Sanford Healthcare Accessories, who serves as chairwoman of the council. The demo is set to expire Aug. 31. The council is also preparing a white paper that articulates the positive results of the demo and outlines regulatory opportunities to expand prior authorization for PMDs beyond Aug. 31.

Coleman to receive advocate award

WASHINGTON – Doug Coleman, owner of Major Medical in Loveland, Colo., and president of the Colorado Association for Medical Equipment Services, will receive the AAHomecare/Mal Mixon Legislative Advocate Award at the Washington Legislative Conference on May 23. “Doug exemplifies the characteristics of this award, which honors AAHomecare members who inspire and motivate others to join the fight for better federal policy for the home medical equipment sector,” the association stated. “Serving as a catalyst for change at both the state and federal level for three decades, Coleman has tirelessly pursued policy change that will protect the integrity of the HME community.” Among Coleman’s accomplishments: working with AAHomecare to create the Grassroots Accountability Project, an effort to establish HME advocates to cover all 535 federal legislative offices. Coleman is the ninth recipient of the award, preceded most recently by George Kucka, president of Fairmeadows Home Health Center, in 2017.

MAMES wraps up successful conference

DES MOINES, Iowa – The Midwest Association for Medical Equipment & Supplies drew its largest crowd for its most recent spring conference since 2011. The conference, held April 25-27, also drew rave reviews from attendees (a perfect 4.0 rating) and exhibitors (100% rated it the best state or regional show), according to the association. At the conference, Frannie Green of Total Respiratory & Rehab in Nebraska, and Patrick Naeger of Healthcare Equipment & Supplies in Missouri won Provider of the Year Awards. Rose Schafhauser, executive director of MAMES, received the Excellence in Leadership Award. MAMES has now opened sponsor registration for the 2018 Fall Excellence in HME Conference, Oct. 3-5, in Welch, Minn.

Medtrade sign-ups heat up

ATLANTA ­– Several exhibitors have signed up for Medtrade, Oct. 15-17 at the Georgia World Congress Center, after successful appearances at Medtrade Spring, show organizers say. “We feel that being at Medtrade Spring in Las Vegas and Medtrade in Atlanta is a great way to capture as much coverage as possible and have conversations with providers across the United States,” said Kolby Wegener, marketing specialist with Mediware. Joining Mediware are Golden Technologies, Pride Mobility, VGM, Brightree, Philips Respironics, ResMed, Broda Seating, Fisher & Paykel, First Quality Products, Medforce Technologies, MK Battery, Precision Medical, Stander and more. Medtrade expects to open early registration for the show in mid-June.

Invacare appoints former Pfizer exec to board

ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare has appointed Petra Danielson-Weil to its board of directors. From 2014 until her retirement in August 2017, Danielson-Weil was the regional president for Pfizer Essential Health-Europe, a maker of non-viral anti-infectives, biosimilars and sterile injectable medicines, and a unit of Pfizer, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company. Invacare says with more than 30 years of experience in the medical and pharmaceutical fields in Europe, Danielson-Weil offers deep industry and international expertise. The company now has eight directors, seven of whom are considered independent.