In brief: MPP adds supporters, Aeroflow seeks subcontractors

Friday, May 10, 2013

WASHINGTON – A bill in the House of Representatives to replace competitive bidding with a market-pricing program (MPP) picked up 19 co-sponsors last week. There are now 44 co-sponsors for H.R. 1717 and industry stakeholders urge providers to keep talking it up. “We need everybody and their cousins to hear about it,” said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare. Reps. Tom Price, R-Ga., and John Larson, D-Conn., introduced the bill April 24. Also last week, on May 9, CMS in a bulletin urged providers to make Medicare beneficiaries in Round 2 areas aware of competitive bidding and the national mail-order program, which are both scheduled to kick off July 1. CMS will start mailing information to approximately 5.7 million beneficiaries on May 13, according to the bulletin.

Aeroflow lands hundreds of contracts, seeks subcontractors

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Aeroflow Healthcare, which won 456 contracts as part of Round 2 of competitive bidding, seeks to subcontract with providers that did not win bids to help it serve customers, according to a press release. Aeroflow, a provider of sleep testing and treatment services, says the subcontracting agreements will allow providers who did not win bids to maintain their relationships with their referral sources and patient base. The company is also encouraging family members in areas where the local provider did not win bids to contact Aeroflow Healthcare “to ensure that these patients continue to have access to all of their necessary health care equipment,” according to the release.

Lincare headlines Linde’s strong growth

FRANKFURT, Germany – Boosted in part by its 2012 acquisition of Lincare, Linde AG has reported a better-than-expected 12.6% increase in operating profit for the first quarter, according to multiple reports. Clearwater-Fla.-based Lincare contributed 397 million euros of Linde’s 3.99 billion euros in sales for the first quarter, helping to increase revenues in the gases division by 15%. “Despite less than favorable conditions, especially in the mature markets, we have continued to achieve profitable growth,” stated CEO Wolfgang Reitzle. “Our newly acquired operations in the health-care product area made the most significant contribution here.” For all of 2013, Linde is targeting at least 4 billion euros in operating profit, thanks to expected earnings contributions from Lincare, according to reports. Linde bought Lincare for $3.8 billion in August. It also bought the former homecare business of Air Products in January of 2012.

Study: Bedtime regularity predicts CPAP compliance

DARIEN, Ill. – Having a routine bedtime prior to CPAP therapy plays an important role in compliance, suggests a new study published in the journal SLEEP. Conducted by researchers at Penn State University, the study found that bedtime variability was a significant predictor in CPAP adherence, which researchers defined as four or more hours of treatment per night. The odds of not being adherent to CPAP therapy after one month were 3.7 times greater for every one unit increase in pre-treatment bedtime variability, the study found. “Long-term use of CPAP, such as after the first month or longer, requires regular routines that are conducive to establishing a new health behavior,” stated principal investigator Amy Sawyer, PhD, RN, assistant professor at the Penn State School of Nursing. Researchers will present the findings of the study, which comprised 97 adults with newly diagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), at the SLEEP 2013 professional conference June 5 in Baltimore.

NEMED members ‘right there to help’ bombing victims

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – In the wake of the bombings in Boston, the New England Medical Equipment Dealers Association (NEMED) called on its members to provide assistance to victims injured in the attacks. Its members answered that call. “By the second day, BMC (Boston Medical Center) was calling NEMED to ask us to help coordinate because they had received so many offers of help from our members,” said Karyn Estrella, NEMED executive director, in a bulletin from The VGM Group. Invacare Corporation and Baystate Home Infusion & Respiratory Services were instrumental in getting equipment delivered quickly to BMC, according to the bulletin. National Seating & Mobility, along with Invacare, delivered several wheelchairs to the hospital within 48 hours. “As with other tragedies, NEMED members are always right there to help,” Estrella added. “It is an honor to work with these amazing people.”

New season of HME Voice set to kick off

ATLANTA – The second season of HME Voice is slated to begin May 16, according to a Medtrade press release. Hosted by Kevin Gaffney, group show director of Medtrade, and Mike Sperduti, founder of Emerge Sales, the show is a forum for experts to discuss innovation in the industry. Topics of discussion will include the latest legislative updates from Washington, new technologies in the industry and stories from providers. The first show on May 16 features Ron Bendell, president of VGM & Associates. Shows on June 20 and July 16 feature Jeff Baird of Brown & Fortunato and Bryan Anderson of Pride Mobility products, respectively.

Vendor short takes

Members of The MED Group will soon have access to CareCentrix managed care patients. A new partnership allows MED members to provide home medical equipment and services to CareCentrix’s patients at pre-negotiated rates for the next three years, effective May 1…Maddak, Inc., can now add another award to its trophy case to go along with the Medtrade Spring Innovation Award it won in March. In recognition of Morph Wheels, the company’s foldable wheelchair wheel, Maddak received the 2013 Design of the Year Award in the transportation category from London’s Design Museum…For the fifth straight year, Invacare will be honored for its customer service by Smart Business, a regional business management journal. Through case studies and customer testimonials, the lengthy application process sought to gain an in-depth understanding of the company’s customer service philosophy, service systems and training methods…This year marks the 125th anniversary of DeVilbiss Healthcare, which was founded in 1888 by Dr. Allen DeVilbiss, who invented the first atomizer. Originally founded in Toledo, Ohio, the company’s atomizer came to replace the use of cotton swabs to apply medication to the throats of patients…The Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) has announced an agreement with Essentially Women (EW), a group purchasing organization for providers of women’s healthcare products and services, whereby EW members receive discounts on BOC products and services. EW members will get a 50% discount off of BOC’s three-year facility accreditation fee, which helps providers manage finances, business processes, and human resources, the release noted…Sunrise Medical has announced the first recipients of its Propel Donation Program: Suheil Aghabi has received a power wheelchair from Numotion; and Wallace Choy has received a folding manual wheelchair from National Seating & Mobility.

Provider short takes

Numotion, formerly ATG Rehab and United Seating & Mobility, has acquired Mobility Designs, an Atlanta-based complex rehab provider. This is the second acquisition for Numotion since the merger. The company announced in April that it acquired Ultimate Mobility in Worcester, Mass…The owners of Broadway Home Medical in Wichita, Kan., plan to open a cash-only store on the other side of town, according to the Wichita Eagle. The new 4,000-square-foot store, Lindsey Medical Supply, will carry similar supplies to Broadway Medical—walkers, wheelchairs, hospital beds and respiratory supplies, among other items—but won’t bill Medicare and other payers…Pinnacle Medical Solutions has unveiled a new website featuring a new range of services, including “ask a diabetes educator” and “ask an insurance specialist” functions. Pinnacle home delivers medical supplies to people in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

People news

AAHomecare has hired Heather Boyd to be its new manager of regulatory affairs. Boyd has six years of experience with healthcare policy, focusing specifically on Medicare regulations. She will officially join AAHomecare on May 20, working closely with Kim Brummett, senior director of regulatory affairs, on the association’s policy initiatives.