In brief: Surety bond stays, AAH pushes anti-fraud, health spending rises

Sunday, March 1, 2009

WASHINGTON - CMS may have delayed national competitive bidding, but it has no plans to delay its $50,000 surety bond requirement. Despite a recent memo from the Obama administration recommending that federal agencies delay regulations passed during the final days of the previous administration, CMS plans to move forward with the surety bond requirement, according to an update from AAHomecare on Friday. CMS plans to follow through with the May 4 and Oct. 2 deadlines for new and existing providers, respectively, to secure bonds. Providers must have bonds for each of their national provider identifiers (NPIs). The Surety and Fidelity Association of America has submitted a bond form to CMS that's under review for approval or modification, according to the update.

AAH continues anti-fraud push

ARLINGTON, Va. -AAHomecare last week stayed in step with the new administration's calls for healthcare reform, launching, an information portal that provides policy-makers, consumers and the media with access to information about the HME industry's efforts to end Medicare fraud. The site includes AAHomecare's 13-point Anti-Fraud Legislative Action Plan, which calls for mandated site inspections of new providers, an anti-fraud office at Medicare and real-time claims analysis. The association introduced the plan to lawmakers in February and has continued to urge Congress to adopt the plan. In a Congressional address Tuesday, President Barack Obama called for efforts to end Medicare fraud and abuse.

U.S. healthcare spending continues to grow

WASHINGTON - The nation's vicious recession may have put the breaks on economic activity, but it's not doing much to slow down healthcare spending. For 2009, health spending is projected to increase 5.5% while GDP is expected to decrease 0.2%, according to projections issued last week by the Office of the Actuary at CMS. Between 2008 and 2018, average annual health spending growth (6.2%) is anticipated to outpace average annual growth in the overall economy (4.1%).  By 2018, national health spending is expected to reach $4.4 trillion and comprise just over one-fifth (20.3%) of GDP. More data can be found at:

MED details rehab event

LUBBOCK, Texas - The MED Group will hold its National Rehab Network Summit June 9-11 in Denver, it announced last week. The summit, intended for owners/managers and assistive technology practitioners (ATPs), is an educational and networking event that focuses on implementing best practices and improving operational efficiencies. MED will offer continuing education units (CEUs) at the event.

U.S. Rehab offers ATP study group

WATERLOO, Iowa - U.S. Rehab, a division of The VGM Group, offers a review course that examines the topics covered on the RESNA assistive technology practitioner (ATP) exam. U.S. Rehab will offer "Assistive Technology for the ATP" April 28-29 in Sacramento and Sept. 15-16 in Richmond, Va. Elizabeth Cole, U.S. Rehab's clinical director, will present. Topics include anatomy, biomechanics and disability, service and delivery, seating and wheeled mobility, and computer technologies.

Respironics delivers

MURRYSVILLE, Pa. - Philips/Respironics has agreed to sponsor HME News subscriptions for all 535 members of Congress, NAIMES announced last week. NAIMES has arranged to have the industry publication delivered to legislative aides for the past two years, thanks to sponsorships from The VGM Group and HME News. The publication provides legislative aides with ongoing information about the HME industry and providers, so that, hopefully, they can better address their needs.