In brief: Senate bill: Still no oxygen cut, change for wheelchairs

Sunday, September 27, 2009

WASHINGTON - When it comes to healthcare reform, it's so far, so good for oxygen. That's because Senate Finance Committee members working on a healthcare reform bill still have not targeted oxygen for reimbursement cuts. "We hear oxygen cuts are still a possibility, but it is very unclear," said Cara Bachenheimer, Invacare's senior vice president of government relations. "It's not in there at this point." Other positive news: The committee has corrected an error in the bill that states the elimination of the first-month purchase option for standard power wheelchairs will take effect next year. It will take effect in 2011, according to Seth Johnson, vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility Products. "That essentially buys us 12 more months," he said. "Clearly, we're still working to advance an alternative, but it's a positive development."


MED, Masimo partner

LUBBOCK, Texas - The MED Group and Masimo, a manufacturer of pulse oximeters, have signed a preferred supplier agreement, they announced last week. The agreement will give MED members preferred contract pricing on Masimo's SET pulse oximeters and sensors. "Ensuring the continued success of our members is a top priority, and two of the best ways we accomplish this include providing access and preferred pricing on the high-quality products that help them take better care of their patients and reducing unnecessary costs in the home care environment," stated Wayne Grau, MED's vice president of supplier relations, in a press release.


Sleep growth slows

NEW YORK - Sleep market growth is expected to slow in the next 12 months, according to a recent Wells Fargo survey. HMEs expect sleep revenue to grow by 6%, down from 9% previously. The continued growth is attributed to an increase in mask replacements and use of compliance tracking. HMEs indicated that patients used an average of 2.1 masks per year in the past 12 months and expect this to increase to 2.2 masks per year in the next 12 months. HMEs indicated that they used compliance tracking in 67% of their sleep patients in the past 12 months and expect this to increase to 74% in the next 12 months. HMEs expect national competitive bidding to drive Medicare CPAP reimbursement down by 18%, and most expect private insurers to cut their reimbursement based on Medicare's cut.