In brief: Little known about bid briefings, Rotech hurt by bad debt

Friday, March 16, 2012

WASHINGTON - So far, there has been a tight lid on any details from the two briefings CMS held last week to update lawmakers on competitive bidding. Neither briefing was open to the public. Industry stakeholders at press time on Friday afternoon were still trying to get details about what was said during the briefings. "We're still digging around a bit," said Walt Gorski, vice president of government affairs for AAHomecare. "The couple of things that I have heard was that (CMS said) everything is still going well and that binding bids would save money." In separate briefings, CMS officials updated staff members of the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees staff members, and the Senate.

Rotech hurt by bad debt, cuts

ORLANDO - Rotech Healthcare's bad debt weighed down its financial results for the fourth quarter, the provider reported last week. "Our fourth quarter 2011 financial results were negatively impacted by contractual and bad debt adjustment levels of $6 million higher than planned," stated President and CEO Phil Carter in a release. "We are making efforts to reduce these higher than normal adjustment levels but such efforts may not result in any material reductions until the second quarter of 2012." Rotech also reported that decreases in nebulizer medication reimbursement and decreases due to competitive bidding and other Medicare changes reduced net revenues by $12.2 million and $5.6 million, respectively for the year ended Dec. 31, 2011. It reported $22 million adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to $31.4 million for the same period in 2010; and $107.5 million for 2011 compared to $113.9 million for 2010. Rotech also reported revenue-generating patients in its core product lines of oxygen and CPAP grew 8.8% in 2011 vs. 2010.

Bid deadline nears

WASHINGTON - In a bulletin last week, CMS reminded providers that the deadline for submitting bids for Round 2 of competitive bidding is March 30. All bids must be submitted by 8:59:59 p.m. EST. All hardcopy documents that must be included as part of the bid package must be received by the CBIC on or before March 30. Go to for more info.

OIG warns against diabetes scam

WASHINGTON - The Office of Inspector General (OIG) last week published a fraud alert for people with diabetes, warning them of phone call offers of "free" diabetic supplies. The OIG also warned them of receiving items in the mail that they did not order. The OIG recommends that people who receive such calls protect their Medicare and other personal information, report the call to law enforcement, check their summary notice and bills, and don't accept items they did not order. To read the bulletin.

OIG to CMS: Keep an eye on IDTFs

WASHINGTON - The Office of Inspector General (OIG) recommends that CMS scrutinize independent diagnostic testing facilities (IDTFs) more closely. In a new report, the OIG details the findings of an investigation: that 20 high-utilization areas accounted for 10.5% of Medicare Part B payments for IDTF services despite having only 2.2% of the total population of beneficiaries; that almost four times more beneficiaries in high-utilization areas received IDTF services than beneficiaries in all other areas; that 9% of the IDTFs that served beneficiaries in the high-utilization areas provided 90.1% of IDTF services; and that high-utilization areas had twice as many claims with at least two questionable characteristic as all other areas. The OIG says CMS may want to consider, among other things, a temporary moratorium on new IDTF enrollments in areas with high concentrations of IDTFs. To read the report.

Lifegas creates bidding website

MURRAY HILL, N.J. - Lifegas has created a new website to provide subcontracting solutions for oxygen providers involved in competitive bidding. The solutions range from standard oxygen concentrators to liquid oxygen to home tank filling systems. The site also has an area dedicated to answering questions about the makes and model numbers required to complete bids in the oxygen product category. View the website here.

NRRTS: Everyone call the Hill

WALSENBURG, Colo. - NRRTS announced last week that the national call-in day for complex rehab technology is set for April 18. The event is a chance for callers to let their lawmakers know that complex rehab is important to them before CELA attendees conduct visits on the Hill on April 19. Among topics for discussion: the benefits of proper mobility equipment, and legislation for a separate benefit for complex rehab. Providers should enlist patients, family, friends, colleagues and workmates to participate. The Capitol switchboard number is 202-225-3121. 

Meridian buys Air Lift, CareForce Medical

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Meridian Medical, a maker and supplier of gel overlays, seating/positioning cushions, lymphedema treatment and specialty support surfaces, has acquired Air Lift and CareForce Medical, it announced last week. Air Lift and CareForce Medical make respiratory accessories, oxygen and medical carriers. Meridian Medical says the acquisition strengthens its product portfolio; enhances its distribution capabilities; shortens lead times for customers; and promotes quality, customer service and value, according to a press release. Meridian Medical products go by the brand names Gel Lite, Ultra-Care, Medi-Press, Core Comfort and others.

Somnetics has 'game plan' for providers

MINNEAPOLIS - Somnetics International, maker of the Transcend portable CPAP, has released a marketing support program for HME providers called "Transcend Game Plan." The program includes tools, incentives and personalized marketing coaching at no cost to retail partners. Tools include point of purchase display, box and envelope stuffers, and newsletter and web assets. It's designed to promote cash sales.

CMS releases neb med pricing

BALTIMORE - CMS last week released average sales price figures nebulizer medications. Albuterol (J7613) and ipratropium (J7644) were relatively flat at just over 15 cents and 13 per dose respectively. Continuing its upward trend, budesonide (J7626) climbed another 32 cents to $4.96 cents per dose. Also up: levalbuterol (J7614) up 8 cents to 72 cents per dose and Peforomist (J7606) up 18 cents to $5.02 per dose. Brovana (J7605) decreased 24 cents to $5.11 per dose.

People: Pride Mobility, H.D. Smith

Pride Mobility Products and Quantum Rehab has promoted Jay Brislin to vice president of Quantum Rehab. Brislin, who has a degree in physical therapy, began his career at Pride Mobility in 2000. Most recently, he was director of Quantum Product and Clinical Development...H.D. Smith has appointed Bill Williams company-wide CFO. Most recently, Williams server as the company's interim CFO. He will be part of the executive leadership committee and will report to chairman and chief executive Dale Smith.