In brief: New report criticizes device tax, Strike Force conducts record sting

Thursday, September 8, 2011

ARLINGTON, Va. - A sales tax for medical devices that's scheduled to go into effect in 2013 could move 43,000 jobs overseas, according to a new report from the Advanced Medical Technology Association. AAHomecare, which cited the report in a bulletin to members last week, continues to work with the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service to get HME exempted from the 2.3% tax. Eyeglasses, hearing aids and other medical devices purchased by the public at retail for individual use are already exempt. The tax was included in the healthcare reform bill passed in 2010.

Strike Force conducts record sting

WASHINGTON - The Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged 91 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals from around the country for allegedly billing the government for $295 million in false claims, the Department of Justice announced Sept. 7. The charges are based on a variety of alleged fraud schemes involving various medical treatments and services such as home health care, physical and occupational therapy, mental health services, psychotherapy and durable medical equipment. The sting represents the highest amount of false Medicare billings in a single takedown in Strike Force history, the DOJ stated. 

CMS: Majority of providers satisfied with contractors

BALTIMORE - A majority of providers are satisfied with their Medicare contractors, according to the results of CMS's sixth annual Medicare Contractor Provider Satisfaction Survey (MCPSS). The MCPSS was distributed to 30,000 Medicare fee for service provider across the country; they rated contractors on seven key business functions, including provider outreach and education, claims processing, appeals, medical review and reimbursement. Nearly three-fourths of providers (72%) stated they were satisfied or very satisfied with their contractor's overall performance. To see all of the survey results:

Hanover Insurance tries to expand DME presence

WORCESTER, Mass. - The Hanover Insurance Group launched a new program, the Hanover Medical Equipment Advantage, for small to mid-sized durable medical equipment businesses, the company announced Sept. 7. The comprehensive program can be tailored to individual DME providers to cover a broad range of insurance needs, according to a release. Hanover in 2010 acquired the Campania Group, which specialized in providing professional and general liability insurance to HME providers.

Invacare founders invest in future

ELYRIA, Ohio - Invacare founders J.B. Richey and Mal Mixon have made a $5 million donation to Case Western Reserve University to name a Richey-Mixon Building at the Case School of Engineering, according to a statement from the university. The building will house Case Western's "think box" programs--a collection of initiatives that seek to leverage and enhance the university's "culture of innovation." "We want to be part of helping the next generation of young people with vision take some risks and generate some companies and a new birth for Cleveland," Mixon was quoted as saying in an online publication of the university. Richey is an alumnus of Case Western.

Total Health opens retail store

BROOKFIELD, Wis. - Total Health & Wellness opened a retail store here Sept. 6, offering items like braces, walkers, bathing aids, wheelchairs and accessories. New owner Jim Gleason also owns Kinex, a company that distributes Phase 1 post-operative orthopedic devices. The retail store will include private fitting rooms where fitters can assist individuals with post-mastectomy supplies, orthopedic braces and compression garments. Total Health & Wellness is an independent store, not affiliated with a chain or a healthcare system.