In brief: Stakeholders explore new models of respiratory care, House passes bill to create standards for auto adaptive equipment

Friday, September 30, 2016

WASHINGTON – Respiratory stakeholders have begun work to develop outcomes-based care models. Earlier this year, AAHomecare distributed a survey to respiratory stakeholders, exploring the possibility of developing a new payment methodology focusing on chronic respiratory management. After obtaining results, AAHomecare HME/Respiratory Therapy Council members and American Association for Respiratory Care executives met to begin to develop basic tenets for a chronic respiratory care model that is patient-focused, built on clinically validated standardized tools, and ultimately focused on improved outcomes. “A significant amount of progress was made developing the model framework, and I’m excited to broaden the input circle,” said Nick Macmillan, chairman of the Chronic Respiratory Home Care Models Subcommittee, in an AAHomecare bulletin. 

Veterans Safety Mobility Act moves forward

WASHINGTON – The Paralyzed Veterans of America has urged the Senate to follow the House of Representatives in passing a bill that would create standards for the provision of automobile adaptive equipment for veterans. "The independence that driving a vehicle gives back to paralyzed and disabled veterans is something none of us take for granted," said Sherman Gillums, Jr., executive director of Paralyzed Veterans of America, in a release. "We applaud the House for passing this legislation and making the safety of these adapted vehicles and those veterans who drive them a priority. We now urge the Senate to take immediate action and follow suit." Originally introduced by Reps. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., and Julia Brownley, D-Calif., the Veterans Mobility Safety Act, would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to set comprehensive standards for providers of automobile adaptive equipment, such as wheelchair lifts and reduced-effort steering and braking systems.

CMS provides Medicare Advantage updates for 2017

WASHINGTON – Medicare Advantage premiums will remain stable and for the seventh straight year enrollment is projected to increase to a new all-time high, CMS announced Sept. 22. The average monthly premium will decrease by $1.19, from $32.59 in 2016 to $31.40 in 2017, about 4%. The majority of Medicare Advantage enrollees (67%) will experience no increase in premiums. Enrollment will increase to 18.5 million in 2017, a 60% increase from 2010. Thirty-two percent of all Medicare enrollees will be in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2017 compared to 24% in 2010.

Masimo Foundation co-founds oxygen initiative

IRVINE, Calif. – The Masimo Foundation has co-founded the United for Oxygen Alliance as part of a Clinton Global Initiative. The alliance seeks to expand access to medical oxygen and pulse oximetry for women and children in Ethiopia, where 60,000 babies die in their first month and 30,000 children die of pneumonia due to lack of access to medical oxygen. “This cannot be overstated: regardless of where you live or where you were born, you deserve access to quality healthcare—including the life-saving benefits of reliable pulse oximetry and oxygen therapy,” said Joe Kiani, founder and CEO of Masimo. Other members in the partnership include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations, UNICEF and USAID. 

FDA approves artificial pancreas system

NEW YORK – The Food and Drug Administration has approved a commercial version of the Medtronic MiniMed 670G hybrid closed-loop system, an artificial pancreas system. "This announcement is a historic achievement for JDRF,” said Derek Rapp, CEO of the nonprofit dedicated to funding type 1 diabetes research. “After years of laying the ground work, this breakthrough is a testament to the reason JDRF exists—to help people with Type 1 diabetes lead better, safer, healthier lives while we continue on the path to cure and prevent the disease altogether.” Artificial pancreas systems are composed of insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors and smart software to automate the delivery of the right amount of insulin at the right time. JDRF has supported the research and development of multiple systems across the globe.

Study: Aging plays role in COPD

BRITISH COLUMBIA – The number of patients with COPD could increase by more than 150% by 2030, despite a decrease in the number of smokers, says a new study from the University of British Columbia. The study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, predicts the greatest increase in COPD—220%—will be among those age 75 years and older. “Many people think that COPD will soon be a problem of the past, because smoking is declining in the industrialized world,” said senior author Dr. Mohsen Sadatsafavi, assistant professor in the faculties of pharmaceutical sciences and medicine. “But aging is playing a much bigger role, and this is often ignored. We expect these B.C.-based predictions to be applicable to Canada and many other industrialized countries.”

O2 Concepts named top place to work

NEWTOWN, Conn. – O2 Concepts has been named one of the top 50 places to work in southern Connecticut. Employees ranked the company’s workplace extremely high in all areas of satisfaction as part of a survey by Hearst Connecticut Newspapers. “We are small enough to be nimble and responsive to customer needs, and everyone else is trying to catch up,” said one employee. O2 Concepts makes the Oxlife Independence Portable Oxygen Concentrator. In response to the award, the company stated, “We aim to not only improve and extend the quality of life of our customers, but of our employees, as well.”

NHIA honors Reps. Engel, Tiberi

WASHINGTON – The National Home Infusion Association has named Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., as the recipient of its Congressional Leadership Award. Engel is the lead sponsor of the Medicare Home Infusion Site of Care Act, H.R. 605, a bill that would require Medicare to pay for home infusion services and related supplies under Part B. “I have long been committed to closing the Medicare gap for home-based infusion care,” Engel said. “There is no reason to force patients battling cancer or serious infection to leave their homes for treatment when there is a safer, more comfortable and more cost-effective alternative available.” NHIA also gave the award to Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, another supporter of the bill. Currently, Medicare only covers infusion treatments fully if they’re administered in doctors’ offices, skilled nursing facilities and hospitals.

People news: Elaine Stewart, Craig McCook

NRRTS has announced its 2017-2018 board members. Elaine Stewart is president elect, Mike Nadeau is vice president, Gerry Dickerson is secretary, Mike Osborne is treasurer, Jim Douglas is review chair DMAC A, Toby Bergantino is review chair DMAC B, Luke Moore is review chair DMAC C and Katie Roberts is review chair DMAC D. At-large directors are Carey Britton, Michelle Gunn, Keith Jolicouer, Andrea Madsen, David Mancini, Joe McKnight, Dave Murray and Bob HarryCraig McCook was voted onto the board of directors of the Georgia Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers at the association’s annual meeting Sept. 12. McCook has several decades of experience in the HME industry, and is currently regional manager for Georgia at AeroCare.