In brief: 'Operation STOP NCB,' Medicare fraud hearing

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WASHINGTON – NAIMES has scheduled a virtual fly-in for Dec. 5 to build support for H.R. 6490, a bill that would replace the current competitive bidding program with a market-pricing program (MPP). In what its calling “Operation STOP NCB,” NAIMES staff and board members will be in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 4 and 5 to visit the offices of key lawmakers. The association asks that providers follow up those visits with calls to their lawmakers on Dec. 5 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. “Let’s make Dec. 5 our DME Day in Washington by ringing the phones and making a difference,” NAIMES stated in a bulletin to members. “It will only take a few minutes and could push H.R. 6490 forward.” Right now, H.R. 6490 has 31 co-sponsors. FMI:

Medicare fraud: ‘Much more needs to be done’

WASHINGTON – Lawmakers in the House of Representatives will hold a hearing Nov. 28 to “assess current anti-fraud measures employed by CMS and explore potential new approaches to address these substantial and ongoing threats.” The Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health will hold the hearing at 10 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building. The witnesses scheduled to testify at the hearing are: Neville Pattinson, senior vice president of government affairs, standards and business development, Gemalto, on behalf of the Secure ID Coalition; Dan Olson, director of fraud prevention, Health Information Designs; Alanna Lavelle, director investigations, East Region/Special Investigations Unit, Wellpoint; Michael Terzich, senior vice president, global sales and marketing, Zebra Technologies; and Louis Saccocccio, CEO, National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association. “Each year, the Medicare program loses tens of billions of dollars to fraud and abuse,” the subcommittee states in an announcement. “With estimates predicting the Medicare program set to go bankrupt as soon as 2017, much more needs to be done to ensure that our seniors’ health care dollars are protected.”

Medicare premiums to rise in 2013

WASHINGTON – The monthly premium for Medicare Part B, which covers home medical equipment, will increase 5% in 2013, from $99.90 to $104.90, CMS announced Nov. 16. For high-income seniors—those with incomes greater than $85,000 for an individual and $170,000 for couples—premiums will increase $42 to $230.80 per month. The increase of $5 is less than the $9 increase predicted by trustees of the Medicare program.

NIH survey: COPD rises, awareness falls

WASHINGTON – Although the number of cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is on the rise, awareness has returned to 2008 levels, according to a survey conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Sixty-five percent of adults reported they had heard of COPD in 2012, compared to 71% in 2011. Among current and former smokers, the two groups most at risk for developing COPD, 2012 awareness levels stood at 74% and 73%, respectively, while 2011 awareness levels were at 78% and 76%, respectively. “Although these current numbers do not indicate a trend, we are concerned that the awareness level has not continued to increase,” stated James Kiley, Ph.D., director of the NHLBI Division of Lung Diseases, in a press release. “We plan to use this as an opportunity to mobilize and re-energize our efforts.” COPD, which includes symptoms such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, surpassed stroke in 2010 to become the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Short takes:

Philips Respironics was one of six companies to receive the American Association for Respiratory Care’s (AARC’s) Zenith Award at the group’s 58th International Respiratory Congress in New Orleans. AARC members selected the winners from more than 400 companies. It’s the 14th time that Philips Respironics has been recognized by the AARC for its contributions to the respiratory community…Michael Kuller’s book “The Next Step—Retail Home Medical Equipment” is now available for purchase. The book, a step-by-step guide to starting up and making a retail HME business successful, provides guidance on everything from writing a business plan to selecting and pricing products…The Audit Team is offering providers in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy free and significantly reduced fees for the next 60 days.

People news:

Joe Kiani, founder, CEO and chairman of the board of Massimo Corp., has been named the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 Life Sciences Award Winner. Kiani was recognized for his efforts to create and commercialize non-invasive patient monitoring devices…Gretchen Schuler, vice president of insurance risk management and technical documentation at Invacare, has been named to the 2012 “Forty Under 40” list compiled by Crain’s Cleveland Business.