In brief: Numotion launches repair program, senators seek more transparent Medicare program
ROCKY HILL, Conn. – Numotion will provide repairs to all former customers of Alliance Seating and Mobility who own their wheelchairs, the provider announced June 18. Those customers have had difficulty accessing repairs since Alliance Seating and Mobility’s parent company, The Scooter Store, laid off most of its employees in March and filed for bankruptcy in April. “Our concern is with these clients, and we will do what we can to see that they remain safe and independent,” stated Numotion CEO Paul Bergantino. Providers have been leery of repairing equipment provided by The Scooter Store and Alliance Seating and Mobility because payment hinges on whether they can access documentation from them—and whether that documentation is up to snuff. Bergantino says Numotion will take that chance. "While we recognize the payment risk, we feel that the customer's wellbeing is paramount and we will work hard to fill the void left by Alliance,” he stated. Alliance Seating and Mobility customers may contact Numotion’s customer care center or any of its 120 locations across the country.
Senators introduce bill to improve Medicare transparency
WASHINGTON – Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., are reintroducing a bill to make Medicare claims and billing data more transparent, according to a press release. “The Medicare Data Access for Transparency and Accountability Act,” which Grassley originally introduced in 2011, includes two chief provisions. The first would require the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue regulations to make Medicare claims available to the public. “Taxpayers have a right to see how their hard-earned dollars are being spent,” the release stated. “There should not be a special exemption for hard-earned dollars that happen to be spent through Medicare.” The second provision would clarify the rules surrounding third-party access to Medicare claims data through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, with the intent of improving public access.
VGM testifies at small business hearing
DAVENPORT, Iowa – Ryan Ball, director of state policy at VGM & Associates, voiced concerns about Medicare’s competitive bidding program and its negative impact on small providers at a Small Business Administration (SBA) regulatory fairness hearing today (June 21). In the testimony, Ball zeroed in on how the program favors larger providers that can submit lower bids and pinches smaller businesses out of the market. “Small, independent providers cannot sustain a 45% cut to reimbursement levels, nor can they remain in business without access to the largest demographic utilizing DME, seniors,” Ball testified. He also pointed to some of the broader economic ramifications of consolidation, citing a report that predicts the loss of 100,000 jobs if the current program is implemented nationwide. The latter half of Ball’s testimony focused on an analysis conducted by VGM that found two-thirds of contract suppliers are located outside of states where they won bids and many suppliers have been awarded contracts even though they don’t meet certain state licensure requirements.
House Disability Caucus sponsors complex rehab briefing
WASHINGTON – A congressional briefing on complex rehab technology (CRT) is slated for July 15, according to a message to members from NCART. Sponsored by the House Bipartisan Disability Caucus, the briefing is an opportunity for congressional legislative staff to learn about CRT, and to view products and demonstrations, the message noted. The briefing, titled “Enabling Independence for People with Disabilities: the Importance of Complex Rehab Technology,” is designed to drum up support for two bills that would create a separate benefit for CRT: H.R. 942, which has 51 co-sponsors; and S.948, which has 2 co-sponsors.
Eight pre-show workshops on tap for Medtrade
ORLANDO – Those attending Medtrade can arrive Oct. 7, a day before the Expo opens, to take advantage of eight pre-show workshops, according to a press release. Among the workshops: “HME Sales Management Revenue Growth Summit,” with Mike Sperduti, president and CEO of Emerge Sales; “Operational Efficiencies in Today’s Marketplace,” with Miriam Lieber, president of Lieber Consulting; and “Keep Your Hard-Earned Money: Surviving Medicare Part B DME Audits” with, among others, Wayne van Halem, president of The van Halem Group, and Mary Ellen Conway, president of Capital Healthcare Group. To register, go to www.medtrade.com.
Vendor short takes
Another class action lawsuit has been filed against Invacare for allegedly issuing false statements to its investors, this time by the Lifshitz Law Firm, based in New York. The lawsuit alleges that Invacare failed to disclose their noncompliance with Food and Drug Administration guidelines to investors, among other alleged violations…Nonin Medical, a manufacturer of noninvasive medical monitoring products, was named a Prime Platinum Partner by Tri-anim Health Services for the second consecutive year. Selection is based on several parameters, including financial, operational and product innovation strength…ResMed is using Numera Social, a telehealth platform, to power its online patient engagement tool called SleepSeeker. Numera Social allows patients to upload readings, track progress, set goals and share updates with friends and family…The VGM Group has signed an agreement with Benefits365, a company that helps HME providers convert beneficiaries to Medicare Advantage plans. Ron Bendell, president of VGM and Associates, says the agreement will expand the options for his members…Brightree debuted at No. 79 on the Healthcare Informatics 100 list, a ranking of the top healthcare IT companies in the U.S. based on revenue during the past fiscal year. Since 2005, Brightree’s revenue has climbed at an average annual rate of 85%...Össur Americas, a manufacturer of prosthetics and braces, signed a deal with Canton, Ohio-based Harrington Management Group (HMG) to provide reimbursement support for prosthetists who supply Össur’s bionic prostheses…The DeVilbiss clinical education team has created a lineup of live webinars in which providers can earn continuing education credits (CEUs). The webinars have been pre-approved through the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) and the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists (CSRT) so sleep technologists and respiratory therapists can earn the professional credits.