In brief: PFQC launches consumer survey, NSM doubles down on Canada

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Friday, April 5, 2019

WATERLOO, Iowa – People for Quality Care has launched a survey for Medicare beneficiaries and family caregivers to measure their experiences getting durable medical equipment and supplies.

The goal of the survey: to gauge the impact of Medicare changes, including national competitive bidding, on access to products and services.

“Ensuring we understand the direct impact the changes being made by Medicare are having on consumers and caregivers is critical in helping us communicate their issues to elected officials,” said Rob Duryea, director for PFQC.

The survey is open through April 26.

PFQC is asking providers to help raise awareness of the survey and to share a link to the survey with their customers and local consumer groups.

“Our No. 1 priority for conducting the survey is to hear people who are struggling to get quality HME and supplies that we can assist in sharing their story,” said Rose Schafhauser, state association partner for PFQC, and executive director of MAMES and SWMESA.

NSM doubles down on Canada

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – National Seating & Mobility has made a second acquisition in Canada.

The national complex rehab provider has acquired Advanced Mobility Products, a Burnaby, British Columbia-based provider that also operates in the Okanagan Valley, with locations in Kelowna and Kamloops, and on Vancouver Island in Nanaimo.

“NSM’s growth both inside the U.S. and internationally propels us to reach more clients, while driving progress for the complex rehabilitation industry worldwide,” said Bill Mixon, CEO of NSM.

NSM made its first acquisition in Canada earlier this year: SelfCare Home Health Products in Vancouver.

Advanced Mobility Products has provided mobility and related adaptive equipment for more than 31 years. The company’s president, Dave Elder, will transition to a leadership role for NSM post-acquisition.

NSM now has eight locations in three regions in British Columbia, with a ninth set to open this year.

MCO bill becomes law in Kentucky
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has signed into law a bill that streamlines DME regulations and reimbursement policy for the managed care organizations managing the state’s Medicaid program.

The bill ensures that MCOs:

  • Reimburse DME suppliers by at least 90% of the rate set by the Kentucky Medicaid program;
  • Requires that specialty items not listed on the current fee schedule be reimbursed at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price minus 18% or at invoice cost plus 20% when there is no MSRP, and eliminates the ability of MCOs to take any discounts; and
  • Requires that MCOs provide coverage for the same codes and the same quantities of medical supplies, equipment or services as established in the fee schedule for Kentucky Medicaid.


The law has its roots in a bill, HB 224, that was first passed by the House of Representatives in February.

“The provisions in HB 224 will go a long way toward helping reduce the cuts providers received last year due to the Cures legislation,” said Laura Williard, vice president of payer relations for AAHomecare. “This bill will put $7 million back into the pockets of Kentucky DME providers so they can continue to provide excellent care and keep patients in their home.”

In March, the Senate passed an amended version of the bill, followed by the House.

“By stabilizing Medicaid reimbursement rates and clarifying regulatory policy, Kentucky lawmakers are providing a more sustainable business environment for DME suppliers who serve Medicaid beneficiaries, many of whom face profound health challenges,” said Teresa Aldridge, executive director of the Kentucky Medical Equipment Suppliers Association.

AARC readies to lobby

WASHINGTON – Members of the American Association for Respiratory Care will meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill on April 9 to seek support for the BREATHE Act.

The act calls for a three-year pilot program to demonstrate the value that telehealth RTs can add to the Medicare program for beneficiaries suffering from COPD.

Members of the association’s Political Advocacy Contact Team are asking members of the House of Representatives to co-sponsor the BREATHE Act when it is introduced, and asking members of the Senate to introduce a companion bill.

The AARC is also asking members of Congress to sign an upcoming letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, directing Medicare to monitor patient access to liquid oxygen during the two-year gap period in its competitive bidding program and to report its findings to Congress.

The association on March 27 also launched a “Virtual Lobby Week” to encourage a “flood” of emails to members of Congress in support of the act and the letter.

To take action, go here.

Family Medical Supply rebrands to Rehab Medical Supply

INDIANAPOLIS – Family Medical Supply in Oklahoma will rebrand to Rehab Medical Supply, following its acquisition by Rehab Medical in 2018. Rehab Medical Supply’s locations in Oklahoma City and Kingston will serve as the anchors to Rehab Medical’s new retail division. “For more than a decade Rehab Medical has developed a reputation as one of the nation’s top complex rehab technology companies, but this type of custom equipment isn’t sold same-day within your typical medical store,” said President Kevin Gearheart. “Our new retail division allows customers to visit our Rehab Medical Supply stores to purchase other quality medical supplies that very day.” Although the name of the Oklahoma locations is changing, all employees will remain on staff through the transition, allowing Rehab Medical Supply to retain a family atmosphere and expert support. Rehab Medical serves more than 15,000 patients per year in 15 states.

HOMES seeks new board members

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – HOMES is accepting applications for its board of directors. The role of board members includes being available to other members to answer questions about the association’s activities and to recruit new members. Members are expected to attend board meetings held three times per year, and to serve on at least one committee and attend committee meetings. Members are also expected to participate in grassroots lobbying efforts.

NSM automates approval process

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – National Seating & Mobility has launched an automated benefits and eligibility process to expedite the funding cycle to obtain complex rehab equipment. The proprietary process, called “ABE,” integrates eligibility information from an external database source with the company’s internal systems. Since launching the system, NSM has seen a 17% increase in productivity and a 10% improvement in time-to-order payer approval. “We are always focused on the client experience,” said Bill Mixon, CEO. “Driving efficiencies in all areas of our business positions our team to provide best-in-class service for those we serve.” 

Orbit shifts operations to Aurora

AURORA, Ill. – Orbit Medical has leased 15,233 square feet of office and industrial space in Aurora, Ill., relocating its operations there from Naperville, Ill., according to local news reports. The Salt Lake City-based provider, which offers home medical equipment, rehab, respiratory and orthotics to 30,000 patients annually, has more than 125 employees and five locations throughout the Midwest.

New products: Brightree, Inogen

Brightree has launched Advanced Analytics to give HME providers a platform for workflow insights, KPI tracking and peer benchmarking. The easy-to-use interface will allow them to track trends, and find opportunities and actionable insights to improve outcomes…Inogen has released the Inogen One G5 portable oxygen concentrator. The G5 weighs 4.7 pounds and has 6 flow settings for ease of use at home and for travel. The POC features a battery life of up to 13 hours, access to Inogen Connect, a large LCD screen and quiet operation.

Travis Medical expands to Northwest

AUSTIN, Texas – Travel Medical has merged with American Seating & Mobility, expanding its reach to the Pacific Northwest. The company will provide complex rehab services from 24 locations in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. “Our No. 1 priority is providing the highest level of expertise and exceptional customer experience to individuals with complex rehabilitation needs,” said Chris Yule, CEO of Travis Medical. “We welcome the entire ASM team and will continue our commitment of treating our employees as part of the family across the organization.” ASM’s owner, Andrew Jeske, will become senior vice president and lead Pacific Northwest operations.

PHS taps new CEO

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Pediatric Home Service has named Cameo Zehnder as its new CEO. She previously served as general counsel and COO for PHS, and has advocated for the medically complex population at the legislative level. "Over the past 25 years, Cameo’s commitment to our vision of ‘taking care of the child’ has been important to our organization,” said Susan Wingert, founder of PHS. “Her dedication to raising the standard of home care and working collaboratively with the community has been an example to our staff.” Zehnder replaces Mark Hamman.

Aeroflow adds maternity garments

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Aeroflow Breastpumps has added maternity compression garments, including support bands, compression socks and postpartum recovery garments, to its product portfolio. “Aeroflow Breastpumps’ commitment to our moms has always been to provide the highest quality equipment, resources and support to aid in her journey,” said Jennifer Jordan, director of Mom & Baby. “We’re excited to build upon that promise by adding a full suite of products that will contribute to healthier mamas, beginning in early pregnancy and carrying through postpartum.”

Philips goes over the nose

AMSTERDAM – Royal Philips has launched the DreamWisp, an over-the-nose nasal mask that allows patients with sleep apnea to sleep in any position. With a robust nasal cushion and top-of-the-head design, DreamWisp delivers a new level of comfort and freedom of movement, providing patients with the therapy option that best suits their needs, the company says. Many patients with sleep apnea have difficulty adhering to their therapy because of the discomfort associated with CPAP masks. For those who need an over-the-nose mask, the front facial tube is often cited as the main reason why patients chose to forgo sleep apnea treatment. Philips says the DreamWisp mask solves this problem by bringing the benefit of the top-of-the-head tube design to users who benefit from the seal of an over-the-nose cushion, yet continue to deal with the challenges of frontal tubing. With the DreamWisp, patients now have the option to apply an over the-nose cushion to their DreamWear masks, providing an extra level of comfort and the opportunity to improve therapy adherence, the company says.

Short takes: Medtrade

Show organizers have opened the call for presentations for Medtrade, Oct. 21-23, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Sessions for the event will cover: audits and compliance, business operations, competitive bidding, executive leadership, “keeping it legal,” sales and marketing, Medicare updates, retail and case sales, and strategic planning. The deadline for submissions is Friday, May 17.