In brief: Linde seals deal, AAHomecare submits comments

Friday, August 17, 2012

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Linde AG has completed its $4.6 billion acquisition of Lincare, it was announced Aug. 14. The industrial gas giant paid $41.50 per share for Lincare through a tender offer that it completed Aug. 8, and a short-form merger, in which Linde used its "top-up" option to purchase additional shares of Lincare common stock directly from the company, according to a press release. Lincare is now a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Linde. 

AAH: Re-supply rule 'unworkable' …

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – CMS's new rule requiring providers to determine whether non-consumable supplies are non-functional before they can replace them is "arbitrary, vague and unworkable," AAHomecare stated in comments submitted to CMS Aug. 10. The association also pointed out that the rule is also inconsistent with existing Medicare guidelines for supply refills and that CMS already has rules that prohibit auto-shipments of refills. Finally, the association stated the rule should not be applied retroactively to August 2011. "We request that CMS instruct the DME MACs to withdraw the bulletin and to refrain from enforcing it retroactively," stated AAHomecare.

… and IR needs transparency

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Using low reimbursement rates created by competitive bidding as a basis to lower rates for retail diabetes supplies is a bad idea, AAHomecare told CMS in comments submitted last week. CMS held a public hearing July 23 to discuss using inherent reasonableness (IR) to bring the pricing for supplies obtained through retail locations and mail order more in line with one another. AAHomecare stated that competitive bidding leads to artificially low rates; that CMS risks hurting beneficiary access to the supplies; and that providing items to beneficiaries has a regulatory burden. The association asks CMS to ensure transparency for using IR.

Study: CMS’s communication style needs work

WASHINGTON – Callers have to wait at least five minutes to talk to a human being at CMS, according to a study released Aug. 13. Hogan-Hansen PC, an independent accounting firm, placed 100 random calls to CMS over a two-month period. The study also found that CMS told callers incorrect information: When callers asked if their Round 2 zip code would be affected by competitive bidding, 96% of the time, they were told it wouldn't be. “The survey results indicated a shocking lack of accessibility to CMS and explain(s) why CMS alleges to have not received many complaints,” stated Mike Mallaro, president of Last Chance for Patient Choice, which commissioned the study.

“Power for Funding” event draws a crowd

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Several consumer groups have signed on to participate in the Consumer Advocacy Pavilion at Medtrade Oct. 16-18 in Atlanta, MK Battery announced last week. Those organizations include American Sleep Apnea Association, COPD Foundation, Paralyzed Veterans of America, United Cerebral Palsy and UsersFirst. MK Battery, which is hosting the pavilion with Medtrade, has raised $150,000 for industry and trade organizations at its two prior “Power for Funding” events. It is contributing $50,000 this year, most of which will be donated equally to the participating consumer groups.

Medtrade offers “HME 101”

ATLANTA – Medtrade is offering a four-part webinar series on the basics of running an HME company. The “HME 101” series, which will end in a live event at Medtrade in Atlanta on Oct. 16, will cover topics like operations, accreditation and policy and procedures; sales, marketing and service; and billing and compliance. The speakers are Mary Ellen Conway, Louis Feuer and Wayne van Halem. The series costs $225 and includes a conference pass to Medtrade. The dates: Sept. 5, Sept. 19, Oct. 3 and Oct. 16 (or for those who can’t attend Medtrade, Oct. 31). FMI:

Know a Homecare Champ?

ARLINGTON, Va. – AAHomecare seeks nominations for its annual Homecare Champion award. The award recognizes AAHomecare members who have made “exceptional contributions to the homecare sector,” according to the association. Attributes to be considered include longstanding record of service, embodiment of the spirit of care and generosity and high personal integrity. The award will be given out at the Stand Up for Homecare reception at Medtrade Oct. 16-18 in Atlanta. All nominations must be received by 5 p.m. EST on Sept. 14. Go here to download a nomination form:

Invacare connects

ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare has launched a new website to house information on its sponsorships, events and community efforts. The site,, will also feature real-life stories about how its equipment is “Making Life’s Experiences Possible,” according to a press release. “Invacare is more than just a company that makes products; we are what those products allow people to do every day,” said Lou Slangen, executive vice president of marketing and chief product officer. “Making Life’s Experiences Possible connects our associates, our customers and our industry. We are all ambassadors of the corporate promise and is a place where we can unite all of Invacare’s efforts in one place.”

NRRTS board to hit the Hill

WALSENBURG, Colo. – The NRRTS board of directors will move its annual retreat to Washington, D.C., this fall and spend part of the Sept. 11-13 event lobbying for the industry. "The board felt like we spent a lot of money on the retreat, which is a great activity for planning for the year, but we felt that a trip to Capitol Hill would be a much better use of the money," said Simon Margolis, NRRTS executive director. Board members will talk up H.R. 4378, a bill that would create a separate benefit for complex rehab, as well as other industry issues.

Short takes: Drive, Convaid

Drive Medical has partnered with Northwood, a specialized network of DMEPOS providers, to help its members “re-engineer their businesses in the face of competitive bidding,” according to a press release…Convaid has partnered with International Telethons Organization (ORITEL) to donate 27 wheelchairs worth $43,755 to the Children of Nicaragua “ORITEL Teleton.”