In brief: OIG rehashes HME recommendations, ResMed mulls move

Friday, December 7, 2012

In brief: OIG rehashes HME recommendations, ResMed mulls move

WASHINGTON – The Office of Inspector General (OIG) won’t let go of the idea of reducing the rental period for home oxygen. In a “2012 Compendium of Unimplemented Recommendations,” the OIG rehashes a recommendation that Medicare reduce the rental period for home oxygen from 36 months to 13 months. Based on a previous report in 2006, it estimates that such a move would save $3.2 billion over five years. The OIG disagrees with CMS’s stance that reducing the rental period for home oxygen may not be necessary due to competitive bidding. Other OIG recommendations:

• CMS should adjust reimbursement for standard and complex power wheelchairs. An OIG report in 2009 that compared acquisition costs to payments in 2007 found that Medicare and beneficiaries paid nearly four times the average of what providers paid to acquire standard power wheelchairs and two times the average for complex rehab wheelchairs. The OIG believes savings are probable, but it does not provide an estimate.

• CMS should continue to monitor growth in the negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) market. It should also follow up on potentially inappropriate claims. An OIG report in 2009 found that Medicare’s purchase price for original pump models were more than four times the average price paid by suppliers for new models. Although CMS included pumps in Round 2 of competitive bidding and is implementing adjustments to payments, the OIG believes additional monitoring is needed to ensure that Medicare reimbursements are appropriately aligned going forward. The OIG believes savings are probable, but it does provide an estimate.

To read the full report:

ResMed mulls move

SAN DIEGO – ResMed is evaluating whether it should move its headquarters out of California, according to news reports. Peter Farrell, ResMed CEO, cited tax increases, stronger unions, stricter regulations and a Democratic majority in the state legislature as reasons why the company is looking elsewhere. A board-appointed task force is considering Texas, South Carolina, Singapore and Ireland as potential future bases for the company. “We’re trying to evaluate whether or not it’s the best thing for our shareholders—and for our future—to remain headquartered in California,” Farrell told the San Diego Business Journal. “California just doesn’t have a business-friendly environment, and my gut says it will get worse. Do we want to sit around on the deck of the Titanic?” Regarding ResMed employees, Farrell added, “Of course, it would be very disruptive to employees to move everything. We’re not going to pull the trigger without properly thinking it through.” The task force will present its findings at ResMed’s next board meeting in February.

MAMES conducts survey on audits

NORTH STILLWATER, Minn. – The Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services (MAMES) is conducting a survey on Medicare audits in light of reports from several members that audits are being denied for technical reasons, not due to Medicare policy. The survey’s purpose is to gain a better understanding of why technical issues have resulted in audits and to share that information with members of Congress. The technical errors, MAMES stated, are “not only costing HME supplier’s valuable time and money,” but also costing “resources for the Medicare system.” 

To take the survey, click here.

ATG Rehab buys Medical Specialty Supply

ROCKY HILL, Conn., and OKLAHOMA CITY – ATG Rehab recently acquired the complex rehab business segment of Medical Specialty Supply, an Oklahoma City-based provider of specialized and custom designed power and manual wheelchairs, seating equipment and more, according to a press release. ATG Rehab plans to relocate and expand its Oklahoma City office to a larger, 5,000 square-foot facility that will maintain and control all operations for the state. “ATG Rehab’s purchase of Medical Specialty Supply adds tremendous depth to our Oklahoma City operation while strengthening our services in Tulsa, Lawton and other parts of the state,” stated Michele Longo, president of ATG Rehab’s Mountain Region, in the release.

Gallup poll: Confidence high in pharmacists

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Seventy-five percent of respondents to a Gallup poll categorized pharmacists as either “high” or “very high” in honesty and ethics, according to a statement from the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA). “Since the audience is the American people, this ranking is a testimony to the good will generated by the patient-friendly approach of pharmacists who are accessible, responsive and take tremendous pride helping patients achieve the best health outcomes at the lowest costs,” stated NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, in the statement.

Fisher & Paykel reels in two awards

LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. – Two Fisher & Paykel products won design awards at the iF (International Forum) Design Awards in Germany in late November: the Optiflow Junior nasal cannula and the Pilairo nasal pillow mask. “These awards are recognition of our commitment to patient and clinician-centric design principles, and our substantial resource and financial commitment to research and development,” stated Michael Daniell, CEO, in a press release. iF has been recognizing product design excellence since 1953. Also, Fisher & Paykel has been named a recipient of the 2012 AARC Zenith Award. The award, given out by the American Association for Respiratory Care, recognizes manufacturers and service organizations that have done outstanding work, according to a release.

Bruno supports campaign for paralyzed veterans

PHOENIX – For Veterans Day, Bruno Independent Living Aids, along with three other mobility companies, teamed up to support Pennzoil’s “Long Love Cars” campaign, an initiative in which three paralyzed veterans received specially adapted vehicles, according to a press release. As part of the initiative, which is a partnership with the Paralyzed Veterans of America for the Mission: ABLE program, three winning submissions were selected based on entries from veterans recalling their favorite memory in a vehicle, explaining why they need the vehicle, and describing the first trip they would take to reestablish their love of cars. “I can’t believe the places I will be able to go, and the things I will be able to do with my boys,” stated Jason Morgan, an Air Force veteran and father of three, who won one of the vehicles. “This is truly unbelievable.” Morgan’s new Dodge Ram was equipped with a Bruno Out-Rider Lift, which lifts and stores a wheelchair in the truck bed, and a Bruno Stow-Away powered transfer seat, which raises the seat to the desired transfer height.

Hanger buys two O&P companies

AUSTIN, Texas ­– Hanger, Inc., a provider and distributor of orthotics and prosthetics products, recently acquired Faith Prosthetic-Orthotic Services and SCOPe Orthotics & Prosthetics, according to a press release. The two patient care companies have 22 clinics in California and North Carolina, respectively, and generate combined annual revenue of $24.6 million. That brings Hanger’s total revenue from acquisitions in 2012 to $60.2 million.