In brief: OIG tells CMS to collect more overpayments, VGM announces Woman of the Year finalists

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Friday, October 6, 2017

WASHINGTON – The MACs collected only 20% of Medicare overpayments referred by ZPICs and PSCs in 2014, says a new report from the Office of Inspector General.

The ZPICs and PSCs referred $559 million in overpayments in 2014, but the MACs sought $482 million and collected only $96 million, according to the OIG.

The ZPICs and PSCs send the highest number of referrals for Part B (60%) and DME (26%). They sent the highest dollar amount of referrals, however, for home health and hospice (43%), the OIG found.

In its defense, the MACs say collecting overpayments is problematic if: the provider is no longer in business, filed for bankruptcy or was revoked from participating in Medicare.

To increase collections, the OIG says CMS should implement the surety bond requirement for home health providers and consider a similar requirement for other providers based on their level of risk.

The OIG also recommends CMS create a standard report form for all contractors and require them to use a unique identifier for each overpayment.

CMS concurred with all of the OIG’s recommendations, except the surety bond requirement. The agency says it is evaluating how to implement such a requirement without causing undue provider burden.

HME Woman of the Year finalists announced

WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM has announced the four finalists for its second annual HME Woman of the Year award.

The finalists are Lelia Wilkerson, director, Heritage Medical Equipment & Supplies; Rita Stanley, vice president of government relations, Sunrise Medical; Barbara Smith, CEO, Healthline Medical Equipment, Inc.; and Maxine Paul, director of sales and operations, NuMotion, formerly owner of Academy Medical Equipment, Inc.

“These women are trailblazers and are passionate advocates for not only the industry, but for the patients they serve,” said Clint Geffert, president of VGM & Associates. “They exemplify the dedication and innovation required to have a positive impact on their business, co-workers, customers and the communities they serve.”

The finalists, who were selected from a pool of 38 nominees, will travel to Medtrade, where the winner will be announced on Oct. 24 at 8 a.m. in room C101 of the Georgia World Congress Center.

An honorary committee that included last year’s HME Woman of the Year, Dr. Kirsten Davin, chose the finalists using criteria that included implementing new business processes, advocating on behalf of the industry, improving the lives of patients and impacting the community through volunteerism.

Mike Mallaro, CEO of VGM, notified each of the finalists personally.

“There are so many in HME that do a great job, and to be acknowledged for that is amazing,” Wilkerson told him. “I’m around a lot of great people, and it’s very humbling that I was selected as a finalist.”

AAH releases Q2 results for HME Audit Key

WASHINGTON – Seventy-one percent of MAC prepayment audits are paid upon review, and 11% of new patients are subject to MAC audits, according to the latest results of the HME Audit Key. The findings from the second quarter survey results also include: 93% of PMD MAC prepayment audits are paid upon review; 70% of completed appeal determinations for respiratory products were in favor of suppliers; 26% of new patients for hospital beds, support surfaces, and manual wheelchairs were subject to MAC audits; and 94% of SMRC respiratory audits were targeted at large suppliers. Read the complete report here.

ResMed provides update on lawsuits in four countries

SAN DIEGO – ResMed says a German court has stayed infringement proceedings against Fisher & Paykel to allow ResMed to defend the validity of its patents in the European Patent Office. The stay follows an oral hearing in late September, during which the court concluded that F&P’s Simplus, Eson and Eson 2 infringe two ResMed European Patents, ResMed says. ResMed provided additional updates on its ongoing infringement proceedings against F&P: In the U.K., it says it is proceeding to trial to defend one of three of its patents that it says F&P has challenged there, and is agreeing to revoke two other patents; In Australia, it says after it presented evidence defending a key mask patent, F&P withdrew its validity challenge and now must pay its court costs; in New Zealand, it expects to go to trial in late 2018. “ResMed will continue to stand against those we believe have unlawfully violated our patents,” said David Pendarvis, ResMed global counsel and chief administrative officer. ResMed says it has more than 5,000 patents in its portfolio, representing three decades and millions of dollars of sustained investment in R&D.

BOC launches new accreditation

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) is accepting applications for a new compounding accreditation for pharmacies. The new accreditation will focus on non-sterile compounding and is only available in conjunction with BOC retail or retail+ DMEPOS accreditation. “The new Compounding Accreditation program will give pharmacies the opportunity to offer their patients, referral sources and the third-party payer the assurance of safe business practices,” said Wendy Miller, chief credentialing officer for BOC. For more information, www.bocusa.org.

CAIRE adds remote monitoring capabilities

ATLANTA – CAIRE has entered a strategic relationship with SynsorMed, a mobile telehealth and remote patient monitoring company, to help its HME providers better monitor patient conditions. The multi-year agreement combines SynsorMed’s technology with CAIRE’s portable and stationary oxygen therapy devices. Available on Android and iOS platforms, SynsorMed’s technology integrates with FDA-approved devices to provide analysis on a patient’s oxygen concentrators, wherever they are. “In the first phase, our B2B customers will be able to connect and monitor a patient’s oxygen concentrator from a customized dashboard, which can remotely monitor device alarms and general diagnostics thanks to an app on the patient’s phone and Bluetooth technology,” said Dan Van Hise, vice president of marketing for Chart’s BioMedical Group. The new mobile solution will be branded as “CAIREview, powered by SynsorMed.”

NHIA leverages Citus Health to digitize provider workflow

NEW YORK – The National Home Infusion Association and Citus Health, a digital health solution provider for the post-acute care industry, have agreed to collaborate on the use of a web-based technology that will give home infusion providers greater access to clinical resources to enhance patient care. Citus and NHIA say the technology, Call Bell, will help providers transform traditional workflows into efficient digital processes, while enabling interactive communications with remote patients. “Working in the industry as a home infusion nurse for many years, I saw first-hand how the lack of automation and information flow can negatively impact an organization’s ability to deliver a high level of care,” said Melissa Kozak, RN, CRNI, founder and CEO of Citus Health. “Through the application of innovative technologies, we believe we can transform many paper-based and manual-intensive processes that can be found across the post-acute care industry.”

Pride Mobility cuts price on power lift recliners

EXETER, Pa. – Pride Mobility Products has cut the price of its power lift recliners by 10% for the fourth quarter, the manufacturer announced Oct. 2. Pride says the cut, which went into effect on Oct. 1 for all Pride branded, quick-ship power lift recliners, is meant to help HME providers compete with outside industry channels. “From e-commerce to mass merchants to discount stores to furniture stores, everyone wants to leverage a piece of this ever-important category,” Pride states in a press release. “Never has the power lift and recline chair category been more competitive than it is today, making it increasingly difficult for our HME retailers to compete.” Pride says it chose to make the price cut in the fourth quarter because it is the “height of seasonal sales” in the power lift recliner product category. The cut will remain in place through Dec. 31.

Compass Health buys Richmar

CLEVELAND – Compass Health Brands has acquired Richmar, a Chattanooga, Tenn.-based manufacturer of devices and consumables to treat patients with musculoskeletal conditions resulting from degenerative diseases, traumatic events and sports-related injuries. The two companies have complementary products in the rehab and pain management markets and, when combined, will offer a “broader go-to-market approach through multiple sales channels,” according to a press release. “This dynamic combination is expected to provide improved value and service by rapidly utilizing the existing capabilities and product portfolios of both companies.” Richmar’s products include Winner EVO electrical stimulation, combination, and ultrasound; Hivamat deep oscillation therapy; Hydratherm heat therapy products; Ionto+ iontophoresis and Superstim/Multistim stimulation electrodes; LidoFlex lidocaine patches; GelShot ultrasound coupling discs; and several laser and light therapy items. The acquisition of Richmar follows on the heels of Compass Health’s previous acquisitions of the ProBasics and Meridian Medical brands. Terms of this latest deal are not being disclosed.

Permobil makes second buy in New Zealand

LEBANON, Tenn. – Permobil will take over operations of TiLite New Zealand. Earlier this year, Permobil acquired Durable Medical Equipment Ltd, the largest complex rehab company in the country. Permobil has been a partner of TiLite New Zealand for a number of years. The two companies say they share, at their core, the same passion and mission. ““Our approach has always been to provide the highest level of service across the rehabilitation marketplace, backed by clinical expertise,” says Karl Stanisich, owner of TiLite New Zealand. “Permobil shares our values and a strong desire to provide innovative rehabilitation solutions, expanding care and helping to improve quality of life.” In 2014, Permobil bought TiLite in Pasco, Wash. Before the deal, Permobil had been selling TiLite wheelchairs in Canada.

Option Care first to have accredited compounding pharmacies

BANNOCKBURN, Ill. – Option Care Enterprises is the first national home infusion company to achieve accreditation at each of its compounding pharmacies by the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board, it announced Oct. 4. The accreditation verifies all Option Care cleanroom pharmacies – in which sterile compounding of IV medications for specific physician orders is performed – meet the highest level of standards, above and beyond what is required in most states. The PCAB accreditation, offered by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care, is based on more than 40 sterile compounding standards in the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) guidelines, or USP 797. “PCAB accreditation of all of our compounding pharmacies provides an objective, external validation of our commitment to quality,” said Brenda Wright, vice president of clinical services, Option Care.

HIDA launches homecare council

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Health Industry Distributors Association has formed a Home Care Channel Council, a new networking group in the home healthcare market. “The new council recognizes the importance of the home setting in health care,” said Mike Orscheln, 2017 HIDA chairman and CEO of Performance Health. “Our goal is to provide a forum for distributors and manufacturers to build and improve their channel strategies in the home care market.” Members of the council are Jackie Anderson of Key Medical Supply, Jeff Bowman of McKesson Medical-Surgical, Tom Burke of Medical Specialties Distributors, Doug Harper of NDC, Colton Mason of Supreme Medical Fulfillment Services, Pam Wedom of IMCO Health Care, Luke Whitworth of Cardinal Health, and Scott Williams of Grove Medical.

Short takes: BioScrip, Paragon Ventures, Stratice Healthcare, Invacare

BioScrip is now dispensing and administering Radicava, the first treatment option for ALS approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in more than 20 years…Paragon Ventures, a healthcare M&A firm, has launched paragonventures.com. The new website features information on selling, valuing and acquiring a healthcare business…Stratice Healthcare has launched Clinician Order Entry, a portal for post-acute care settings to ensure patient orders are complete and transmitted faster…Invacare has received PDAC coding for its TDX SP2 Power Wheelchair, which launched in August. The codes are K0848, Group 3 rehab seat; K056, Group 3 single power; and K0861 Group 3 multiple power.