In brief: Prof. Cramton, Form C, Apria, Berwick and Mixon

Sunday, March 13, 2011

BALTIMORE - Prof. Peter Cramton, a vocal critic of the competitive bidding program as it's currently designed, has invited stakeholders, including HME providers, to attend a conference and participate in a mock auction on April 1. The mock auction will "demonstrate how an efficient auction works," Cramton, a professor of economics at the University of Maryland, stated in his invitation. The Medicare Auction Conference, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the University of Maryland, will take place at the Inn and Conference Center in College Park, Md. Space at the conference will be limited to about 200 attendees. Registration is $80. To register, go to

Update: Form C is available, sort of

BALTIMORE - CMS on March 6 posted the form that contract suppliers must use to provide details on the items they have provided to beneficiaries in any given quarter as part of the competitive bidding program. CMS posted Form C to the CBIC website,, but it won't allow suppliers to print the form until April 1. On the form, suppliers will provide details on HCPCS codes, manufacturer and model information, and the approximate number of items furnished. The first quarter ended March 31 and suppliers must submit and complete the form by April 11.

Apria, Praxair finalize deal

LAKE FOREST, Calif. - Apria Healthcare has completed its purchase of Praxair's U.S. homecare business, the provider announced March 7. Praxair offered home respiratory services, home medical equipment and enteral nutrition through more than 80 locations nationally. Apria offers home respiratory services, home medical equipment and home infusion through 500 locations nationally. Apria has more than $2 billion in annual revenues.

Will CMS get a new administrator?

WASHINGTON - CMS Administrator Don Berwick's future may be uncertain, according to news reports. President Obama named Berwick, who supports competitive bidding, to the post in a recess appointment last year. That appointment, however, expires this year. Obama has re-nominated Berwick for the post, but since then, 42 Republican senators have urged Obama to withdraw his nomination.

Invacare sells shares to Mixon

ELYRIA, Ohio - Invacare on March 7 bought $350,000 in common shares at $29.94 per share from its co-executive Chairman Mal Mixon. The manufacturer funded the repurchase with borrowings under its senior secured revolving credit facility, according to a release. The shares sold constitute about 14% of the 2,566,099 shares Mixon owned before the transaction, the release stated.

Oxygen call audio, transcript available

BALTIMORE - The four DME MACs have posted a transcript and audio version of an Ask the Contractor held on Feb. 3 to answer provider questions on oxygen policy, said Noridian, the Jurisdiction D MAC in a listserv message on March 11. The call was a joint effort by the four MACs, which have formed a CERT Education Task Force in an effort to reduce CERT errors. These items are available on the Ask the Contractor Teleconference web page: