In brief: PECOS edits kick in, Harrison speaks out

Friday, January 3, 2014

BALTIMORE – The PECOS edits are scheduled to go into effect today. Noridian Administrative Services, the DME MAC for Jurisdiction D, reminded providers in a Jan. 2 bulletin that Medicare planned to implement Phase 2 denial edits on Jan. 6. With the edits in effect, contractors will verify that the ordering/referring physician or healthcare provider on the claim is in the Physician Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS), and is eligible to order/refer in Medicare. Ordering/referring physicians must be enrolled in PECOS or the billing provider will not be paid for items and services that physicians prescribed. Contractors will continue to process claims for which the ordering/referring physician or healthcare provider is enrolled in PECOS but is not of the correct type or specialty to order/refer. If the physician is not enrolled in PECOS, or if the name on the claim does not match the name in the system, suppliers will receive an N544 alert, according to the bulletin.The N544 alert will say: Although this was paid, you have billed with an ordering/referring provider that does not match our system record. Unless corrected, this will not be paid in the future.Previously, CMS said the PECOS edits would start May 1, 2013, but the rollout was delayed due to technical glitches.

Harrison: ‘I never did anything wrong’

SAN ANTONIO – The former chairman and CEO of The Scooter Store has denied any wrongdoing in an interview with The San Antonio News-Express. “I think I have an extremely high level of confidence that the company never did anything wrong,” Doug Harrison told the newspaper. “I know I never did anything wrong.” Before closing in 2013, The Scooter Store was the subject of an FBI investigation. It had also come under scrutiny by numerous members of Congress. Harrison also told the newspaper: “That doesn’t mean you can’t be investigated and incur legal costs to defend yourself. But at the end of the day, no, I don’t think I’m in any legal trouble at all.” The Scooter Store filed for bankruptcy in April and closed in September.

Supplies companies merge

OKLAHOMA CITY – 180 Medical, a provider of sterile use catheters and urologic and disposable medical supplies, has acquired Symbius Medical. The acquisition extends 180 Medical’s ability to serve customers directly, CEO Todd Brown said in a release. Phoenix-based Symbius Medical is also a provider of medical supplies. 180 Medical is a subsidiary of ConvaTec, a global medical products and technologies company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Nipro initiates voluntary recall

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Nipro Diagnostics has initiated a voluntary recall and replacement of a limited number of TRUEbalance and TRUEtrack blood glucose meters. The company has determined that certain meters distributed in the United States have an incorrect factory-set unit of measure that displays the result in mmol/L rather than mg/dL. If a user didn’t notice the incorrect unit of measure, it is possible that the result could be read as lower than expected. The recall affects 501 TRUEbalance and 105 TRUEtrack meters distributed from September 2008 to May 2013. Nipro advises users to call Stericycle at 1-866-236-4518 to determine whether or not their meter is affected.

Mediware hosts webinar series on ICD-10

CHANDLER, Ariz. – Mediware Information Systems will host a four-part webinar series to help providers prepare for the Oct. 1, 2014, transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes, the company announced Dec. 30. Paula Digby, principal at AQ Consulting, will host the series on Jan. 22, March 26, June 25 and Sept. 10. Registration is limited to the first 500 attendees. The webinars are part of an outreach effort that will also include whitepapers, studies, surveys and testimonials on a variety of topics.

Furniture maker debuts nightstand to conceal CPAP devices

RAPID CITY, S.D. – This nightstand is for sleep apnea patients who want a good night’s sleep—and a neat bedroom. Purdue Woodworks will introduce a bedside cabinet that conceals CPAP and BIPAP devices, even while they’re in use, at the Las Vegas Market on Jan. 26. The machine and its components tuck neatly behind a pair of doors, while the hose that delivers air to the patient’s mask runs through a slot in the cabinet to the patient’s bed, according to a story in Furniture Today. Each nightstand holds two machines and will retail between $100 and $150.

Medicine Shoppe location closes after 20 years

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Medicine Shoppe pharmacy in Santa Barbara, Calif., has closed its doors after almost two decades downtown, according to news reports. Financial woes are probably the cause of the closure, speculated David Thomasco, who owns a separate Medicine Shoppe location in the city, which is not closing. Patients were notified of the closure by signs posted on the doors, according to news reports. The store’s lease was set to end in February, but the owner negotiated out of the space at the end of December, according to Bob Bartlein of the property management firm Bartlein & Company. The store was owned by a franchisee and not the national company.

Study: Stick with CPAP therapy, improve golf game

MORRISTOWN, N.J. – Using a CPAP device helps sleep apnea patients rest, look better, and, according to a recent study, improve their golf games. Twelve golfers treated by Morristown Memorial Hospital doctors for sleep apnea shaved as many as three strokes off their handicap in 20 golf rounds, according to news stories. “More so than many sports, golf has a strong intellectual component, with on-course strategizing, focus and endurance being integral parts to achieving good play,” said study co-author Marc Benton of Atlantic Sleep and Pulmonary Associates, noting that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) causes fatigue and cognitive impairment. Doctors said the golfers stuck with CPAP therapy 90% of the time.

Orthoco offers free shipping on bulk Kinesio Tape

WYNNEWOOD, Pa. – Orders of six or more large boxes or large rolls of Kinesio Tape from Orthoco now qualify for free shipping, the medical supply dealer announced Dec. 31. The elasticized cotton tape is used to treat athletic injuries. “The less a doctor or PT has to worry about their overhead, the more they can focus on the task at hand: helping people,” said Orthoco CEO Anthony Engel in a release. Orthoco now carries Kinesio Tex Gold FP, a new version of the tape made with higher-grade cotton, epidermis micro-stimulation and a new fabric weave, according to the release. The tape is latex free and hypoallergenic.

COPD mortality tied to poverty, study says

LONDON – Mortality rates among COPD patients in low-income countries are linked more to poverty than the prevalence of smoking, according to a new international study published in Thorax. Researchers examined COPD mortality data from 170 countries, finding a strong inverse correlation between mortality and gross national income (GNI). Where the annual GNI was below $15,000, they found COPD mortality rose, but it had no clear link to smoking. Mortality was strongly correlated with spirometric restriction, but not airflow obstruction, which is associated with smoking, according to the study. Authors noted environmental factors also play a role in the mortality rate in low-income countries.