In brief: ResMed lawsuit, surety bond update
SAN DIEGO – ResMed has sued Taiwanese manufacturer Apex Medical and its U.S. distributor, Medical Depot, doing business as Drive Medical, to stop alleged patent infringement. ResMed has filed parallel legal actions in the International Trade Commission (ITC) and U.S. federal court, alleging its patents are being infringed by several Apex products, including the Wizard 210 and 220 masks; the Freedom 210 and 220 masks made by Apex and sold by Medical Depot; and the iCH and XT Fit flow generators. “We invest over a hundred million dollars in research and development each year to fuel these advances and other companies should not be allowed to infringe ResMed’s intellectual property by using our technology,” stated David Pendarvis, global general counsel and chief administrative officer for ResMed. ResMed is asking the ITC to stop the import and sales of these products in the United States, and it’s asking the U.S. federal court to stop the alleged patent infringement and award damages against the defendants.
OIG to CMS: Increase surety bond amounts
WASHINGTON – The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has made another push for CMS to use surety bonds to recover overpayments from HME providers. In a report this month that updates a similar report from 2011, the OIG stated that, as of July 2012, CMS has collected only $263,000 out of the millions it could have collected using the surety bond requirement. In this month’s report, the OIG also raises the stakes by recommending, among other things, that CMS use its legislative authority under the Affordable Care Act to require increased surety bond amounts for suppliers that receive high overall Medicare payments. “Most overpayments will likely remain uncollected because a number of suppliers had overpayments of more than $50,000 and CMS can recover only up to the amount of the surety bond,” the OIG stated. The OIG also recommended that CMS improve oversight of supplier data to ensure accurate and consistent information, and review guidelines to state that collection of debts through surety bonds is based on dates of service. CMS concurred with the OIG’s recommendations. CMS began requiring providers to obtain surety bonds of at least $50,000 in October 2009. One of the goals of the requirement: Ensure that the agency recovers erroneous payments resulting from fraudulent or abusive billing practices. Industry stakeholders reported last year an uptick in the number of claims filed against surety bonds by Medicare.
ASP figures: Budesonide back down
BALTIMORE – Pricing for budesonide took a plunge in the latest average sales price (ASP) figures for respiratory medications. Budesonide (J7626) decreased 49 cents to $4.76 per dose. In the previous quarter, the drug saw an increase of 38 cents, to $5.26 per dose. The two brand-name long-acting beta agonist (LABA) drugs continue to get favorable pricing. Brovana (J7605) increased 4 cents to $5.37 cents per dose; Perforomist (J7606) increased nearly 27 cents to $5.29 cents per dose. Other pricing stayed flat: albuterol (J7613) and ipratropium (J7644) were both up less than 1 cent to 13 cents and 12 cents, respectively, per dose.
Stand Up for Homecare raises $50K
LAS VEGAS –AAHomecare’s fundraising reception, Stand Up for Homecare, raised more than $50,000 toward awareness and advocacy efforts, according to an association bulletin. The reception, held during Medtrade Spring 2013, drew more than 200 guests. “These activities provide critical support to our efforts to deliver positive public policy outcomes for the homecare sector, including the campaign to replace the current version of the Medicare bidding program with a more sustainable alternative,” said Tyler Wilson, president of AAHomecare, during the reception.
Provider short takes
Apria Healthcarehopes to secure a $750 million loan to refinance debt as borrowing costs remain at historic lows, according to an article from Bloomberg…Joy Comfort, a medical supply company based here, has launched a new e-commerce website, according to a press release…Global Medical Direct (GMD), a medical equipment provider with HME and diabetes supplies branches, signed a consulting contract with Connectyx Technologies.
Vendor short takes
Any provider can now take advantage of HQAA’s Accreditation Maintenance Program Toolkit (AMPT). The online program, which helps providers stay up-to-date with accreditation standards, was previously available only to HQAA customers…CareTouch Communications has launched Adhere, a sleep therapy compliance management service for HME providers, according to a press release. The service communicates with patients and gives HME providers patient status information during the first three months of sleep therapy…ResMed will keep its headquarters in southern California, after its board decided the benefits of staying were greater than that of relocating, according to an article from the San Diego Union-Tribune…Two sleep therapy products from Somnetics International—the Transcend APAP device, and the Transcend EZEX CPAP device—have received the CE Mark, certifying that they meet European health and safety standards, according to a press release…The Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) has launched an online web portal called MyBOC to provide round-the-clock customer service to accredited facilities…Bruno Independent Living Aids has agreed to sponsor the Paralyzed Veterans of American 2013 Bass Tour competition for the fifth year in a row.
Invacare Chairman Mal Mixon has published a book that details his rise from humble beginnings to successful entrepreneur. In “An American Journey,” available on Amazon, Mixon shares not only how he grew Invacare’s sales from $19 million to almost $2 billion but also how he became a dedicated philanthropist and overcame cancer and a stroke…AAHomecare has welcomed two new members to its leadership team for the HME/Respiratory Therapy Council. The association has named Tim Hatt, director of home medical equipment and legislative affairs for Wright & Filippis in Rochester Hills, Mich., and Andrea Stark, owner of Mira Vista in Columbia, S.C., chairman and vice chairwoman, respectively…OxySure, a developer of oxygen solutions, has announced that Jeremy Jones, former chairman and CEO of Apria Healthcare, will join the company as an independent director on April 1…Edward Vishnevetsky has been named a “Legal Leader on the Rise” by Texas Lawyer Magazine. Vishnevetsky is an associate with Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr in Dallas.