In brief: OIG sticks to script, Aeroflow accepts chunk of contracts
WASHINGTON – The Office of Inspector General has reiterated its recommendation that CMS match Medicaid reimbursement rates for HME to Medicare rates.
The recommendation, published this week in the OIG’s April 2016 “Compendium of Unimplemented Recommendations,” suggests that CMS seek legislative authority to limit Medicaid reimbursement rates for DMEPOS to Medicare rates and further reduce those rates through competitive bidding or manufacturer rebates.
Lowered reimbursement rates could result in approximately $30.1 million in potential savings for states and the federal government, according to the OIG.
CMS concurred with the OIG’s recommendation. The agency says it has sought legislative authority to make the changes but additional congressional action is needed.
CMS also pointed out that the president’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2016 includes a similar proposal for lowering Medicaid reimbursement rates.
Additionally, “States have the flexibility to administer their Medicaid programs in accordance with a CMS-approved state plan,” the agency says. “CMS communicates frequently…to inform them of all available options, including manufacturer rebates and competitive bidding procedures.”
The OIG believes that, if enacted, the expected savings would be $4.27 billion over a 10-year period.
Aeroflow lands 645 bid contracts, seeks subcontractors
ASHVILLE, N.C. – Aeroflow Healthcare has received 645 contract offers for 108 competitive bidding areas as part of the Round 2 re-compete, the provider has announced. Aeroflow, which already works with more than 100 subcontractors in 39 states as part of previous rounds of the program, plans to add more subcontractors for the Round 2 re-compete. “Aeroflow supports its partners through continued use of technology, increased marketing support, and leverage of its infrastructure that allows partners to continue growing market share,” the company stated in a press release. Aeroflow has a dedicated team that works solely with subcontractors. For the Round 2 re-compete, it received contract offers for enteral, general HME, nebulizers, negative pressure wound therapy pumps, respiratory equipment, standard mobility and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.
Wheel:Life partners with BLVD.com
ATLANTA – Wheel:Life and BLVD.com have joined forces to help more disabled consumers locate and acquire adaptive vehicles for personal use. Wheel:Life readers will have access to a series of informational articles on accessible vehicles and direct links to locate them on BLVD.com, a website that connects individuals with accessible vehicle dealers. They will also have the ability to list their adapted vehicle on the “for sale by owner” section of the website. “One of the most urgent needs within our audience is finding reliable, accessible transportation,” said Lisa Wells, director of Wheel: Life, in a release. “Not everyone has the financial resources to buy a brand new, customized vehicle straight off the lot.”
Court orders PharMerica to pay $48.5M tab
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A circuit court judge has told PharMerica Corp., a national provider with 17 specialty home infusion pharmacies, to honor outstanding invoices from AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp. for about $48.5 million. PharMerica has withheld payment and applied the invoice amounts against rebates and other amounts that it believes AmerisourceBergen owes the provider, which are in excess of $48.5 million. But the Jefferson County Kentucky Circuit Court ruled on April 1 that PharMerica must pay the invoices even if AmerisourceBergen failed to pay the provider for rebates and other amounts owed. PharMerica plans to appeal. It says it is in the process of obtaining a bond that will prevent it from having to pay AmerisourceBergen while an appeal is pending. In addition to the specialty home infusion pharmacies, PharMerica operates 94 institutional pharmacies, and five specialty oncology pharmacies in five states. AmerisourceBergen is the provider’s former wholesale supplier of pharmaceutical products.
ResMed files new claim against 3B Medical
SAN DIEGO – ResMed has filed new legal action with the United States International Trade Commission seeking to stop what it claims is patent infringement by Chinese manufacturer BMC Medical and its U.S. distributor 3B Medical. ResMed claims that two of the manufacturer’s flow generators, the RESmart and Luna, infringe on two claims of ResMed’s patent.In response, 3B issued a press release stating that ResMed’s filing of another patent case is an attempt to “stifle legitimate and fair competition.” 3B also pointed out that, most recently, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a series of judgments declaring certain patent claims by ResMed as invalid.
Universal Software, IMCO partner up
DAVISON, Mich., and TAMPA, Fla. – Universal Software Solutions has partnered with IMCO Home Care to offer Healthcare Data Management System—its fully integrated practice management solution—to HME providers. “This new relationship we have with IMCO Home Care is a winning combination for everyone,” said Christopher Dobiesz, president of Universal Software. “The logical and commonsense approach within HDMS creates an environment that is fast to learn, easy to use, and provides built-in intelligence that all directly create noticeable efficiencies.” IMCO is a member services group for independent medical wholesalers serving the acute care, long term care, primary care and home care markets.
HOMES names award winners
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – The Home Medical Equipment and Services Association of New England has announced its 2016 award recipients. They are: Outstanding Volunteer Award, Jason Morin of Home Care Specialists and Thomas French of Apria Healthcare; Christopher J. Denmark Commitment to Excellence Award, Tamme Dustin of Herron & Smith; and April Mason Homecare Advocacy Award, Rep. Bill Keating, D-Mass. The awards will be presented at the HOMES/NYMEP annual meeting in May.
SpinLife offers scholarship opportunity
COLUMBUS, Ohio – SpinLife, a direct-to-consumer DME retailer, is now accepting applications for its 2016 SpinLife Innovation in Motion Scholarship program. The annual competition is open to manual and power wheelchair users enrolled at an accredited four-year college or university. Applicants must submit an essay or poem, painting, or another medium to expresses what "life in motion"—this year’s theme—means to them. SpinLife will award a $1,000 scholarship to the winner and $500 gift cards to SpinLife.com to two runners-up.
Responsive Respiratory expands offering
ST. LOUIS – Responsive Respiratory has added M6 and E cylinder sizes to their selection of home filling cylinders. The expanded line integrates with the manufacturer’s home filling system, allowing providers a choice in obtaining cylinders and accessories to fill patient needs. “We know providers are feeling the pain of reduced reimbursements and are looking at every avenue available to reduce costs and streamline their business, while continuing to service the needs of their patients,” said Tom Bannon, president, in a release. “The expansion into M6 and E home filling cylinders was driven by customer need—the need to adapt existing equipment to meet the changing service and ambulatory requirements of their patients.”