In brief: Lincare stagnates, Respironics studies, Dr. Edwards speaks out

Sunday, February 15, 2009

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Lincare last week reported revenues of $415.1 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2008, compared to $412.3 million for the same period in 2007, a 1% increase. Net income was $58.2 million compared to $57.6 million. The provider reported revenues of $1.665 billion for all of 2008 compared to $1.596 billion for 2007, a 4% increase. Net income was $237.2 million compared to $226.1 million. Lincare added 14 new operating centers in the fourth quarter: 11 from internal expansion and three from acquisitions. For the year, it added 44 centers. In its earnings statement, Lincare predicts a tough 2009. It believes the 9.5% nationwide reimbursement cut and the 36-month oxygen cap will impact revenues by $240 million to $255 million.

Respironics funds sleep study

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Philips Respironics has co-sponsored a study of the "controversial" connection between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and chronic insomnia, according to a release from the Sleep and Human Health Institute last week. Respironics, a manufacturer of sleep therapy devices, has awarded a $50,000 grant to the institute, which hypothesizes that more than half of chronic insomniacs suffer from OSA, not psychological factors like stress. Unlike other studies, this one will examine randomly selected patients seeking care at their primary care clinics. "This approach provides data much closer to what goes on in the general population compared to sleep center cohorts," according to the release.

Former medical director speaks out

LOUDON, Tenn. - Dr. Doran Edwards, former SADMERC medical director, says more must be done to detect Medicare fraud and abuse. In a Feb. 11 release, Edwards, who left his position in August 2008, says the SADMERC found that as much as 40% of payments in some categories went to fraudulent suppliers. Edwards blames manufacturers to a certain extent: "Some DMEPOS manufacturers have contributed to the problem by outsourcing production, reducing standards and lowering quality in order to maximize profits." Edwards recommends closing coding loopholes that allow inferior products to be sold. He also says CMS contractors and law enforcement agencies need greater authority and resources to crack down on fraudulent activities. In other news, Edwards and Dr. Kenneth Nelson, another former SADMERC director, joined the board of OrthoCare Innovations. The Washington, D.C.-based OrthoCare is a medical research, development and commercialization company focused on medical rehabilitation and orthotics and prosthetics.

Teleflex, ResMed partner

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. - Teleflex Medical has signed a distribution agreement with ResMed, it announced last week. The agreement makes Teleflex an exclusive distributor of ResMed's non-invasive ventilation mask portfolio for U.S. acute care hospitals not affiliated with the Veterans Administration.

Noridian clarifies requirement

FARGO, N.D. - Physician-owned pharmacies are not exempt from accreditation requirements, said Noridian Administrative Services, the Jurisdiction D MAC in a bulletin last week. If the pharmacy bills Medicare Part B for durable medical equipment and supplies, it must meet the Sept. 30, 2009, accreditation deadline. Pharmacies that only supply pharmaceuticals do not need to become accredited.

Noridian expands Web site

FARGO, N.D. - Noridian Administrative Services, the DME MAC for Jurisdiction D, announced last week that it has added a new Web page that addresses recent oxygen changes to the Medicare oxygen benefit. Topics include: what happens during and after the 36-month rental period, and change of equipment during the reasonable useful lifetime period. The page also contains a list of resources. Go to and click on the news/publications tab under upcoming changes.