In brief: RAC program delayed, Tavenner steps down

Friday, January 16, 2015

WASHINGTON – Performant Recovery has filed a Government Accountability Office (GAO) bid protest against CMS. The protest, filed Jan. 6, comes on the heels of the agency’s announcement that it had selected Connolly as the recovery audit contractor (RAC) to oversee the national program for DME, home health and hospice. Wilton, Conn.-based Connolly is the current RAC for Jurisdiction C, while Performant Recovery in Livermore, Calif., is the contractor for Jurisdiction A. The national program is on hold until the GAO announces its decision on the protest, which it must make by April 16. Until a decision is made, the four current RACs will continue auditing DME claims in their respective jurisdictions.

Have questions? PFQC will get them answered

WATERLOO, Iowa – People for Quality Care (PFQC), an advocacy group and division of The VGM Group, has launched a Q&A series to address questions about home care and HME.

PFQC encourages users to post questions on Twitter using the hashtag #PFQCQNA. The group will take the questions it receives and set out to get them answered. The first question in the series: Is homecare reform a priority for Congress? So far, the question has received responses from Sens. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and John Thune, R-S.D., and Reps. Diane Black, R-Tenn., and Tom Price, R-Ga. The second question will address issues that Medicare beneficiaries are experiencing with wheelchair repairs. “We want readers and stakeholders to really drive this series,” said Lalaina Rabary, communications and marketing specialist for PFQC.

Medicare official resigns

WASHINGTON –CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, announced she will be stepping down from her post next month in an email to CMS staff. “It is with sadness and mixed emotions that I write to tell you that February will be my last month serving as the administrator for CMS,” she wrote. During her five-year tenure at the agency, Tavenner oversaw the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the expansion of Medicaid.

M&A activity: Midwest Respiratory and Prism Medical

OMAHA, Neb. – Midwest Respiratory & Rehab has acquired Community HME, a diversified HME provider with locations in Baraboo and Richland Center, Wis. The deal allows Midwest Respiratory, which has 10 locations in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and South Dakota, to crack the Wisconsin market. “The acquisition of Community HME has further expanded our regional capability to provide exceptional service to our patients and referral sources,” stated President Edward Delashmutt in a press release. “We have been constantly dedicated to serving rural communities with the same high standard of care that our metropolitan customers have come to expect.” Community HME will retain its name and continue to operate its locations.

Prism bulks up on accessibility

TORONTO – Prism Medical has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Angel Accessibility has acquired substantially all of the assets and business of Angel Accessibility Solutions, a British Columbia-based provider of safe patient handling and elevating products and services. Angel Accessibility paid $3.675 million for Angel Accessibility Solutions, according to a press release. As part of the deal, Prism acquired the exclusive rights to distribute and service bathing, transfer and transport devices and hygiene products on behalf of Beka-Hospitec in Canada, except for Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces.

Healthcare technology company meets managed care

MINNEAPOLIS and HARTFORD, Conn. – Minneapolis-based Ability Network and Hartford, Conn.-based CareCentrix have partnered to enhance communication during as patients transition from the hospital to the home. “Ability and CareCentrix share a common vision: improving the healthcare experience in this country,” said Mark Briggs, Ability CEO, in a release. The two companies will integrate their software systems to automatically inform discharge planners when a patient’s DME and home infusion therapy needs to be managed by CareCentrix.

Last week on Access Health: Guests from Hollister 

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. – Guests from Hollister were featured on the Jan. 14 episode of Access Health, a health and wellness series on Lifetime, to discuss catheters. Dale Spencer, a spinal cord injured author/speaker and consultant for Hollister, and Mary Wisner, a clinical education manager at the company, planned to speak with host Ereka Vetrini and medical expert Dr. Dennis Holmes about the different types of intermittent catheters available, and who may need to use catheters and why. Dale will also share his personal story. The episode will also be viewable at

Socks for sleep?

NEW YORK – Wearing compression stockings during the day may slightly improve sleep apnea at night, according to a Reuters Health story on a new small study. In the study, 22 patients with obstructive sleep apnea who wore compression stockings during the day for two weeks saw their frequency of apneas decrease by 27% compared to 23 patients who didn’t wear the stockings, Dr. T. Douglas Bradley and colleagues have reported in Sleep Medicine. Bradley and his colleagues say the socks reduced sleep apnea in patients from the severe to moderate range. They believe fluid can move from the legs into the neck, restricting the flow of oxygen and causing obstructive sleep apnea. “Getting rid of excess fluid is one approach of treating sleep apnea,” Bradley told Reuters Health.

ResMed shares near 52-week high

SAN DIEGO – ResMed shares were recently traded at $59.83, falling just short of the stock’s 52-week high of $60.16. Volume was also up: 1,778,001 shares, compared to the average volume for the last 30 days: 942,838.

People and places: Pride Mobility, 101 Mobility, Drive Medical

Pride Mobilityhas named Randy Walsh vice president of Jazzy and Retail Mobility Sales. An industry veteran, Walsh has a decade of experience in the retail mobility industry…101 Mobilityof Little Rock, Ark., has appointed Phillip Jacuzzi as its new sales and service manager. Jacuzzi comes to 101 Mobility with 15 years of experience in the bus transportation industry…Drive Medical will exhibit its range of wheelchairs, bathing aids and pediatric equipment at Arab Health 2015. The manufacturer will showcase, specifically, its Expedition Plus Wheelchair, part of its range of travel wheelchairs. It’s the seventh year that Drive has exhibited at the event, which takes place Jan. 26-29 at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre.