In brief: Stakeholders testify, AAH asks for review, VGM plans expansion
WASHINGTON – A pair of hearings last week shined another light on the HME industry’s issues with audits and competitive bidding.
On April 28, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on Medicare audits and the difficulty that providers face appealing denied claims.
“When any Medicare contractor decides that a claim should not be paid, it has a real effect on beneficiaries and providers, which is why it is so important that the appeals process allow these appeals to be heard in a timely and consistent fashion,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, committee chairman, in his opening remarks.
A massive backlog at the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals means wait times of more than two years before a provider gets assigned an Administrative Law Judge hearing.
Among those who testified at yesterday’s hearing was Chief ALJ Nancy Griswold, who first called attention to the problem in a December 2013 memo.
On April 27, audits were also on the agenda at a hearing of the Small Business Administration. A handful of HME providers testified about the impact of not only audits but also competitive bidding on their businesses.
AAHomecare asks CMS to review prepayment process
WASHINGTON – AAHomecare submitted comments to CMS last week in response to the agency’s request to the Office of Management and Budgetfor information about how its contractors perform prepayment reviewof claims. While AAHomecare acknowledged CMS’s duty to identify fraud, the association took issue with the way CMS has exercised that right and offered recommendations on how to reduce unnecessary burdens on providers. AAHomecare’s recommendations include requiring contractors to: develop, officially publish, and adhere to consistent documentation standards that apply prospectively in the four DME MAC jurisdictions;request only the level and quality of information necessary to perform a review;implement procedures to prevent repeat audits of a beneficiary’s claims for the same piece of equipment; and allow contractors to rely on documentation available in a provider’s records to verify physicians’ signatures or proof of delivery. The association also submitted comments regarding CMS’s request to the OMB for information on the onsite survey tool used by the National Supplier Clearinghouse for onsite inspections. AAHomecare called for CMS to allocate more resources to improve inspector training.
VGM plans $20M expansion
WATERLOO, Iowa – The VGM Group last week secured an incentive package from the town of Waterloo for a $20-million expansion of its national headquarters, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports. City Council members voted 5-0 on Monday to provide up to a $750,000 grant to buy land for the 73,000-square-foot, four-story addition on the south side of the current building. The town has also agreed to provide 75% property tax rebates for 10 years and complete a road extension costing an estimated $185,000, according to the newspaper. The addition is designed to house up to 275 employees, primarily to accommodate growth in VGM’s Homelink division, President Jim Walsh told the newspaper.
Apria heals all wounds—with help from Mölnlycke
LAKE FOREST, Calif. –Apria has agreed to use Mölnlycke Health Care’s Safetac technology and Avance Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) to minimize skin reactions and pain during dressing removal and to limit the spread of wound fluid. “Our partnership with Mölnlycke Health Care is consistent with our focus on providing a positive patient experience throughout the continuum of care, from hospital to home,” stated Dan Starck, CEO of Apria, in a release. Mölnlycke’s products will be available for same-day local delivery.
Repair program launched
PORTLAND, Ore. – DME Repair and Training has launched a repair training and credentialing program. The training offers 110 hours of foundational and hands-on experience with repair for DME, including walkers, wheelchairs, hospital beds, lift chairs, scooters and power chairs. The credential establishes requirements and codes of ethics for technicians servicing DME. “The levels of professionalism are constantly raising in the DME industry, and professionally training and credentialing service technicians is a vital evolution toward serving clients,” said Matthew Macpherson, program developer.
Toronto-based Prism Medical reported revenues of $12.2 million for the first quarter of 2015, an increase of 23% compared to the same quarter the previous year. First quarter net income from continuing operations was $402,000 or $0.08 per common share vs. $179,000 or $0.02 per common share. Adjusted EBITDA was $1.4 million…LifeCare Pharmacyhas acquired Reuss Pharmacies. Reuss is a community pharmacy offering prescriptions, DME and home healthcare products. The San Antonio-based LifeCare offers compounding services and retail goods, according to a press release from Generational Equity, an mergers and acquisition firm that advised Reuss on the deal…Langhorne, Pa.-based Alliqua Medical, a provider of advanced wound care products, has announced pricing of an underwritten public offering of 6.6 million of its common stock at a price to the public of $4.55 per share. It expects to close the offering on May 4. Alliqua will use net proceeds from the offering to fund the expansion of its marketed products, explore additional products platforms and increase working capital, according to a press release.
Medtrade will take place Oct. 26-29 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Registration is scheduled to open June 22 with early-bird rates…DeVilbiss Healthcare was named one of five finalists in the Pennsylvania Governor’s ImPAct Awards in the Jobs That Pay Category. Also a finalist is Golden Technologies CEO Richard Golden in the Entrepreneur ImPAct category. The awards honor companies that have had a substantial impact on growing the economy…WHILL teamed up with Stanford graduate and undergraduate students and Prof. David Jaffe for an engineering course called “Perspectives in Assisted Technology.” As part of the course, students designed, fabricated and tested prototypes for improving the experience for WHILL users traveling at night. The final design uses LED strips on various parts of the device to improve visibility for the user, and for drivers and pedestrians. Using three knobs, users can control color settings and light intensities…BioScrip, a provider of infusion and homecare management services, has named Jeffrey Kreger senior vice president, CFO and treasurer. Kreger joins BioScrip with more than 25 years of experience in financial and executive leadership roles. Most recently, he served as senior vice president of finance with LHC Group, a NASDAQ-listed post-acute healthcare services company…The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association is sponsoring the fourth annual National Mobility Awareness Month contest. As part of the contest, wheelchair users will have the chance to win one of four wheelchair accessible vans by submitting a video detailing how they’ve personally triumphed over mobility challenges. Chairiot Mobility, BraunAbility, VMI and El Dorado Mobility have agreed to provide the vehicles and conversions…Attendance was up 10% at this year’s MAMES Spring Convention and Exhibition, held April 22-24 in Omaha, Neb. During the convention, MAMES member Greg Lord, director of Great Plains Rehabilitation Services in Bismarck, N.D., was named the winner of the 2015 MAMES Above and Beyond award. The award honors those who go the extra mile in the HME industry on a state, regional or national level.