In brief: Pharmacies seek exemption, Responsive Respiratory expands

Sunday, April 12, 2009

WASHINGTON - First it was the accreditation requirement; now it's the surety bond requirement. U.S. Reps. Zack Space, D-Ohio, and Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., introduced a bill last week that seeks to exempt pharmacies from having to obtain $50,000 surety bonds if they want to continue doing business with Medicare. The requirement goes into effect in May for new providers and October for existing providers. H.R. 1970, the Preserve Patients Access to Reputable DMEPOS Providers Act of 2009, joins bills in the House of Representatives and Senate that seek to exempt pharmacies from having to meet a September accreditation deadline. The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) points out that if pharmacies have to meet the surety bond and accreditation requirements, some may choose to drop DME like diabetes testing strips. That will cause access problems, especially for patients in rural areas. Additionally, the NCPA points out that 14 other similarly licensed medical providers have already been exempted from the surety bond requirement.

Next CMS administrator?

WASHINGTON - Nicholas Wolter, a physician and CEO of the Billings Clinic in Montana, is the top candidate for CMS administrator, according to various reports. Wolter sits on the board of directors for the American Hospital Association and, for six years, served as a commissioner on the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC). The "underdog" for the position: Kenneth Thorpe, who runs the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease.

Responsive Respiratory expands

ST. LOUIS - Responsive Respiratory, a manufacturer of high pressure

oxygen products, has expanded its warehouse and manufacturing facilities for the second time in two years, the company announced April 1. By expanding the facility by one-third, Responsive made room to manufacture an expanded line of industrial carts and racks and customize products through its private logo program. The expansion also allows the company to maintain a 99.5% same day, ship rate under its Service Plus Guarantee, the company stated in a release.

Association wraps up one year

MIAMI - The Accredited Medical Equipment Providers of America (AMEPA) celebrated its one-year anniversary on Friday. The association formed in response to the dozens of providers who lost in Round 1 of national competitive bidding due to wrongly disqualified bids. The association comprises providers from Florida and Texas, as well as manufacturers and industry stakeholders. "A year later, as the interim final rule of competitive bidding is upon us, we know that we can overcome whatever challenges the state and federal government throws at us because, we are not acting alone," the association stated a release. "Together we have and will continue to achieve great things."

NRRTS offers pre-CELA seminars

TRINIDAD, Colo. - NRRTS will hold two, Web-based conferences for registrants of CELA '09, it announced last week. The first conference will prepare consumers and their families for their Capitol Hill visits. The second conference will prep providers and other stakeholders. "NRRTS want to establish a sense of unity and community among these attendees even before they arrive in Baltimore," it stated in a release. CELA takes place April 20-23 in Baltimore.