In brief: Utilization drops in Round 2 bid areas, retail finalists named

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Friday, October 21, 2016

WASHINGTON – The number of Medicare beneficiaries receiving DMEPOS in Round 2 areas decreased more than twice as much from 2012 to 2014 than in non-bid areas, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

The number of beneficiaries receiving DMEPOS in Round 2 areas decreased 17% from 2012, the year before bid pricing went into effect, to 2014, the year after. The number of beneficiaries in non-bid areas decreased 6% during the same time period.

“CMS officials stated that competitive bidding pricing has helped limit fraud and abuse and may have curbed unnecessary utilization of some covered items in competitive bidding areas,” the report stated.

For a corresponding national mail-order program for diabetes supplies, the number of Medicare beneficiaries receiving covered items decreased 39% from 2012 to 2014. There was also a 13% increase in the number of beneficiaries receiving these items through retail outlets.

Despite the decreases in utilization, the GAO cited reports from CMS that indicate Round 2 of competitive bidding and the national mail-order program have had no widespread effects on beneficiary access.

“CMS officials told GAO that CMS took measures to ensure that contract suppliers met their contract obligations, such as investigating complaints using secret shopping calls, and terminating contractors of suppliers that remained noncompliant after receiving targeted education,” the report states.

The GAO did acknowledge that some beneficiary advocacy groups and state hospital associations have reported specific access issues, such as difficulty locating contract suppliers that will furnish certain items, and delays in delivery of certain items.

The GAO also found that 11% of bid areas had three or fewer active contract suppliers and 1% had just one active contract supplier. Additionally, it found that while multiple suppliers had substantial shares of the market for most areas, a single supplier had the majority in some areas.

For example, the GAO found in 6% of bid areas, one contract supplier had a at least 90% of the market, and 11% of contract suppliers did not furnish any bid items for any areas in their contract.

“CMS officials told GAO that CMS monitors these suppliers to help ensure that they are meeting their contractual obligations, such as being willing to service all beneficiaries in their areas and to furnish the same items to Medicare beneficiaries that they make available to other customers,” the report stated.

Apria joins military employment partnership

LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Apria Healthcare joined the Department of Defense Military Spouse Employment Partnership program on Oct. 17 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. The MSEP is an employment and career partnership that connects military spouses with more than 335 partner employers that have committed to hire, promote and retain military spouses in portable careers. “We actively extend our recruiting efforts to veteran spouses because we recognize their strong sense of character, loyalty, commitment and perseverance,” said Bill Guidetti, Apria’s executive vice president for the East Zone, who accepted the induction on behalf of the company. “These qualities resonate strongly with Apria, and we are excited to join this humbling community.” The MSEP program was launched in 2011 by Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of vice president and veteran Joe Biden, as part of the DOD Spouse Education and Career Opportunities Program, which seeks to reduce the 23% unemployment rate experienced by military spouses, and close the 25% wage gap experienced by military wives. To date, the MSEP has hired 98,000 spouses and has helped create 5 million jobs across the country.

ResMed, Dr. Oz determine America’s ‘sleep score’

SAN DIEGO – ResMed is teaming up with “The Dr. Oz Show” to launch a campaign to foster better public understanding of sleep health. As part of the campaign, which kicked off on the Oct. 20 show, viewers will have the opportunity to enroll in a national sleep survey and be eligible to receive a free S+ sleep monitoring device. ResMed will give away 1,000 of the devices, which help people track, better understand and improve their sleep. ResMed and Dr. Oz will use the data collected from the survey to determine America’s overall “sleep score.” “Sleep is the most underappreciated health crisis in America,” said Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show.” “In our surveys, 42% of respondents sleep less than six hours a night. This partnership with ResMed is a great way for us to assess the sleep habits of our nation.” To demonstrate how the S+ determines sleep scores, several viewers have been provided with the device and asked to log their sleep scores. Dr. Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist, diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine, fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and member of “The Dr. Oz Show’s” clinical advisory board, planned to reveal the sleep scores of each of these views on the Oct. 20 show.

Binson’s doubles retail presence in Michigan

CENTER LINE, Mich. – Binson’s Home Health Care Centers has expanded its retail medical equipment and supplies outlets with the acquisition of two H-Care stores in Flint and Saginaw, Mich. Both stores will now operate as Binson’s Home Medical Equipment & Supplies. Binson’s kicked off “grand opening” celebrations this week in Saginaw, and it has two additional events planned in Flint on Oct. 26 and in Sterling Heights on Nov. 4. H-Care serves the Genesee, Shiawassee, Lapeer, Saginaw, Bay and Midland counties. Since 2011, Binson’s has doubled in size in Michigan, growing from six retail stores to 12. Binson’s also has locations in Longwood, Fla.

Judges name retail finalists

ATLANTA – Judges for the biannual Innovative HME Retail Product Awards have named eight finalists that will advance to an onsite judging round at Medtrade.

The finalists are (in alphabetical order):

1) Freedom CPAP Battery from Battery Power Solutions (Booth #1600 at Medtrade)

2) Handy Cane from Handy Cane by Most Corporation (Booth #2166)

3) KT Flex Reinforced Adhesive Strips by KT Tape (Booth #2153)

4) Motivo Tour (Walker) by Motivo (Booth #1952)

5) Go-Chair from Pride Mobility (Booth #1911)

6) PrimeMedic from PostureMedic (Booth #1671)

7) SoClean from SoClean Inc (Booth #2057)

8) MyPainAway Fibro Cream from Topical Biomedics (Booth #1767)

“We had a lot of excellent entrants this year,” said Kevin Gaffney, group show director, Medtrade.

The manufacturers of these products will each give presentations during a session at Medtrade hosted by Jim Greatorex of The VGM Group at 9 a.m. on Nov. 1 in Room C102 of the Georgia World Congress Center. Following the presentations, judges and audience members will select first, second and third place winners.

Last year, Pride Mobility Products took first place with its Go Go Folding Scooter, followed by KT Tape in second place with its KT Recovery + Patches, and Golden Technologies in third place with its DayDreamer Lift Chair.

University rolls out adaptive trike program

BILLINGS, Mont. – The University of Montana has launched a new statewide program aimed at encouraging those with paralysis, other disabilities and chronic diseases to engage in more physical activity. The program, called “Wheels Across Montana,” loans adaptive tricycles to disabled Montanans, such as 4-year-old Libby Certain, who was born with cerebral palsy. The program received a $75,000 grant from the Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation, helping it to form a fleet of about 20 tricycles, which are low to the ground, easy to mount and pedal, and come with handles for parents or caregivers. "This grant will offer greater independence to individuals with paralysis and provide our community with services that truly enhance all our lives," said Mindy Renfro, principal investigator with MonTECH, which is running the program, in a release.

NCPA installs officers, adopts resolutions

NEW ORLEANS – The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has installed a new president and a fifth vice president. The association has also adopted resolutions reaffirming its opposition to retroactive reimbursement cuts and its support of enhanced services networks of community pharmacies. The proceedings were part of the House of Delegates session held in conjunction with the NCPA Annual Convention. DeAnn Mullins, owner of Mullins Pharmacy, WeCare Wellness, and the WeCare Diabetes Education Program, is president; and Michael Kim, who owns multiple independent community pharmacies in the District of Columbia and Maryland, including Grubbs Care Pharmacy, is fifth vice president.

Essentially Women holds annual conference

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Nearly 250 members, vendor partner representatives, speakers and consultants attended Essentially Women’s education conference here Sept. 25-26. The two-day conference offered 19 sessions, and the opportunity to earn and maintain CEUs. Topics included everything from billing and reimbursement to succession planning to the future of women’s health care. Attendees also helped Essentially Women celebrate its 20th year in business with a beach-themed party that included a professional dance troupe that taught everyone the Carolina Shag. The organization, which has 500 members in 1,000 locations, is finalizing dates and a location for its next conference in the fall of 2017. It became a division of the VGM Group in December 2015.

Short takes: HME Audit Key Survey, Medtrade Spring

AAHomecare began accepting information on third quarter audit activity for its HME Audit Key Survey on Oct. 17. HME providers can submit their data using a free, web-based survey at www.hmeauditkey.org. Results from second quarter audit activity include a 6% average DME MAC prepayment audit denial rate…Early registration for Medtrade Spring is open. The event takes place Feb. 28 to March 1 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.