In brief: Round 2 cuts add up, CGS readies transition

Friday, April 1, 2016

WASHINGTON - Reimbursement rates will decrease, on average, 7.1% when the Round 2 re-compete kicks off July 1, according to an analysis from AAHomecare.

On average, providers will see a 6.2% reduction in the Midwest; 8% reduction in the Northeast; 5.9% reduction in the south; and an 8.8% reduction in the West as part of the Round 2 re-compete compared to the original Round 2.

Of the product categories included in the Round 2 re-compete, support surfaces will see the largest cuts, ranging from 22.7% to 31.3%, depending on the region. Close behind: Negative pressure wound therapy pumps, which will see cuts ranging from 17.8% to 21%.

There were a few categories that showed modest increases, including manual hospital beds, walkers, wheelchair accessories and negative pressure wound therapy supplies.

CMS is in the process of offering 12,181 contracts to 637 bidders. Of those, 93% are to bidders who currently furnish items in the area or within the product category.

The agency plans to announce the contract suppliers this spring and intends to go live with the payment amounts and contract suppliers on July 1.

CGS readies transition

NASHVILLE – CGS Administrators will take over the Jurisdiction B DME MAC contract July 5. The myCGS portal registration window for suppliers will open three weeks prior, and the process is expected to be a simplified, express registration to ease the transition, the agency said during a recent call. Jurisdiction B suppliers will receive a written invitation to pre-register. Any unfinished claims processing, appeals and other work will be officially transitioned from the previous contractor, National Government Services, to CGS for completion. CGS was awarded the Jurisdiction B contract in January.

NCART shows and tells for lawmakers

WASHINGTON – NCART is holding a “CRT briefing and Product Expo” on Capitol Hill April 21 to educate lawmakers about complex rehab and get their support for current legislation. The group is hosting the event along with the United Spinal Association and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, in coordination with the offices of Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Joe Crowley, D-N.Y. NCART is asking providers to encourage lawmakers to attend the event, which will comprise 20-minute briefings from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. People with disabilities, clinicians, providers, manufacturers and other advocates will be in attendance to provide demonstrations and answer questions. NCART hopes the event will help stakeholders increase support for bills in the House of Representatives and the Senate that would prevent competitive bidding pricing from being applied to accessories for complex manual and power wheelchairs, and would create a separate benefit for complex rehab products.

Oklahoma Medicaid announces 25% cuts

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which oversees the state’s Medicaid program, is cutting reimbursement rates for more than 46,000 providers by 25%, according to local news reports. Due to a roughly $1.3 billion hole in next year's state budget, state agencies are being directed to prepare for cuts of 15% or more to their budgets. The cuts, which will affect DME providers, hospitals, physicians, pharmacies and nursing facilities, are slated to take effect July 1. "This is a market-changing development in terms of hospitals' and other providers' ability to satisfactorily treat those that are on Medicaid," Craig Jones, president of the Oklahoma Hospital Association told a local news outlet.

Lifeway Mobility taps Medforce Technologies

SUFFERN, N.Y. – Lifeway Mobility has selected Medforce Technologies’ cloud-based CommandCenter business process management platform and ContentCenter document management system to run its operations. “The Medforce system allows us to connect to all of our vital documentation, forms and workflow activities right from the field and have instant data exchange with employees back at the office,” said Paul Bergantino, president of Lifeway Mobility, in a release. “It gives us the tools we need to maximize our productivity, minimize wait time, and ensure the best customer service possible.” Medforce recently revealed a new brand identity complete with logo, tag line, product names and website.

GF Health Products debuts new look

ATLANTA – GF Health Products has a new brand identity, the manufacturer has announced. The re-launch includes a new logo and a new mobile-responsive website featuring educational articles and resources. “Graham-Field’s diverse business mix and ever-growing global reach demanded a fresh look at how the organization supports its markets,” said Lisa Wells, president of Get Social Consulting, who helped Graham-Field develop its new brand strategy. “Their new brand concept and resource community were designed with the guidance of a skilled team of marketers and product managers, as well as business unit leaders. The strategic effort came together from the ground up within the organization.” The Graham Field family of brands includes Basic American Medical Products, Everest & Jennings, Grafco, Hausted, John Bunn, Lahtron, Lumex and Lumiscope.

McKesson joins forces with online provider

NEW YORK – McKesson has partnered with Shoplet to offer medical products online, the companies announced March 29. Shoplet, an online provider of office and cleaning supplies and furniture, entered the medical supplies market three years ago, according to a release. “This partnership is going to go a long way in providing more high-quality supplies to our customers,” said Tony Ellison, founder and CEO of Shoplet. “We are thrilled to work together.” Shoplet will offer DME, wheelchairs, incontinence products, gowns and gloves, among other products.

Convaid ramps up donations

TORRANCE, Calif. – Convaid has expanded its collaboration with United Cerebral Palsy. The company has committed to “a schedule of planned giving” to the organization, with its first donation scheduled for the UCP National Conference, April 4-6. Convaid will donate a lightweight, folding, pediatric wheelchair and a Carrot 3 child restraint system for raffle at the event. Convaid has long-standing relationships with United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Orange counties in California, and United Cerebral Palsy of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

Untreated sleep apnea increases crash risk

MORRIS, Minn. – Commercial truck drivers with untreated obstructive sleep apnea crash five times more often than those without sleep apnea, according to a new study from the University of Minnesota. Drivers with OSA who somewhat or completely complied with their therapy had a crash rate similar to drivers without OSA, the study says. The study included 1,613 truck drivers at a large trucking firm who had OSA and the same number of truck drivers who did not have the condition but who had similar experience and tenure. Drivers with OSA were given positive airway pressure therapy and an auto-adjusting machine for use at home or in their truck. Nearly 700 drivers fully followed treatment requirements, almost 600 partially did, and nearly 400 never adhered. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration recently announced they are considering requiring sleep testing for transportation workers. The FMCSA has been working on guidelines for testing and treating commercial drivers for nearly a decade.

VGM has ‘Big Ideas’ for Heartland Conference

WATERLOO, Iowa – The VGM Group has released the educational lineup for the Heartland Conference, June 13-16. This year’s event, themed “Ignite Ideas and Cultivate Connections,” organizes education into 16 categories, with more than 50 industry experts tackling topics ranging from billing and reimbursement to retail to accessibility to compliance. New this year: an education track to help generate and foster “Big Ideas.” The track, still in development, will include a creative boot camp and a “speed networking” event. VGM also plans to host a special event to honor women in the HME industry. This year will be the event’s 15th and VGM officials expect the usual crowd of more than 1,000.

bflow to host user conference

LOS ANGELES – bflow Solutions will host its first annual industry summit May 17 in Burbank, Calif. The event will bring together billing, compliance, accreditation, exemptee and managed care clients to learn how to optimize their businesses. Speakers will include Harlan Louie, sector chief, California Department of Public Health; Janelle Waynack of Instamed; and Abe Weinberger of WTI Outsourcing. The event is open to current bflow users, as well as those looking to test drive the solution. bflow is a cloud-based HME billing and compliance software solution that hit the market in 2011. The company launched, which provides California Exemptee Certification, accreditation and compliance training, and healthcare continuing education services, in 2012.