In brief: Oxygen fraud, Apria's strategy

Sunday, June 21, 2009

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida Medicaid has zeroed in on DME fraud connected to oxygen concentrators. Officials with the state's Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) have investigated 12 DME companies suspected of fraud and visited with more than 120 patients, they announced last week. Some cases will be turned over to the state attorney general's office for criminal investigation. Holly Benson, secretary of AHCA, told the Miami Herald that oxygen concentrators are the latest scam ailing Medicaid. Last year, Medicaid reimbursements for oxygen concentrators exceeded $1.4 million in Miami-Dade County, accounting for about 17% of total expenses statewide for the equipment.

Apria taps Kansas as billing hub

LAKE FOREST, Calif. - Apria Healthcare will move 200 billing employees to the Sprint Nextel headquarters in Overland Park, Kan., this summer, the Kansas City Business Journal reported last week. In three to four years, it plans to have 450 to 550 employees working in the fourth and fifth floors of the 101,000-square foot building. The employees will be moved from smaller offices throughout the country, the journal reported.

PMC criticizes CMS's capacity

WASHINGTON - The Power Mobility Coalition (PMC) on June 18 submitted comments on the recently released new forms for national competitive bidding to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In its comments, the PMC detailed its concerns with sections on the forms that relate to "capacity," or the amount of business a bidder can provide for a product category in a competitive bidding area. The PMC believes the forms, as currently written, allow bidders to overestimate their capacity. "Allowing suppliers to project such huge growth rates and awarding contracts based on such projections could lead to unfulfilled capacity and restriction in beneficiary access if a supplier's growth projections become unfounded," the coalition stated.

Beware of Medicare scam

BALTIMORE - CMS sent out an alert last week that perpetrators are sending faxes to physician offices posing as the agency or a Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC). The fax, which may have the CMS logo and/or contractor logo, instructs physician staff to respond to a questionnaire to provide an account information update within 48 hours to prevent a gap in Medicare payments. CMS advises all providers--not just physicians--to be wary of these types of requests. If providers receive these requests, they should check with their contractor before submitting information.

Invacare earns top ranking

ELYRIA, Ohio - Invacare has been named to IndustryWeek Magazine's U.S. 500, a list of the largest publicly held manufacturing companies headquartered in the United States, the company announced last week. Invacare ranked 393, up from 407 in 2008.

Provider to Sebelius: 'Above all else, do no harm'

BOSTON - Provider Gary Sheehan attended a healthcare forum in Boston on June 5 with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Sheehan, CEO of Sandwich, Mass.-based Cape Medical Supply, was able to deliver a statement and ask Sebelius a question. "Secretary Sebelius gave a thoughtful answer about the role she saw home care playing," Sheehan stated in a June 17 release. "One of my central points centered on the Hippocratic Oath, which states 'above all else, do no harm.' The government must be careful in the rush to complete the reform process that they do not dismantle or destroy key programs providing long term value to patients and the system."

Coming up: VGM competitive bidding seminars

WATERLOO, Iowa - The VGM Group has released revised dates for its competitive bidding seminars. VGM will hold the seminars on July 2 (Dallas), July 30 (Cincinnati), Aug. 11 (Cleveland), Aug. 18 (Riverside, Calif.), Aug. 20 (Kansas City, Mo.), Aug. 24 (Pittsburgh), Aug. 27 (Orlando, Fla.), Sept. 1 (Miami) and Sept. 3 (Charlotte, N.C.). For more information, visit