In brief: WellPoint shuns most accrediting agencies, N.C. providers rally, Inogen secures contract
WATERLOO, Iowa - HQAA officials are taking an insurance company to task for telling providers that they can only get accredited by three agencies. WellPoint is a private insurance company that administers Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans in 13 states, including Georgia. It has sent a letter to providers in that state saying, if they want to remain a preferred provider, they must prove they've been accredited by one of three agencies and HQAA isn't one of them, according to agency. "The companies accredited by HQAA are now faced with either losing a contract or they must spend thousands of dollars with a different company," stated Mary Nicholas, executive director of HQAA, in a release. HQAA is one of 10 agencies approved by Medicare to accredit providers. It hopes to resolve the issue before a March 2012 deadline set by WellPoint for providers to be accredited by one of the three agencies.
N.C. providers rally for jobs
APEX, N.C. - HME providers in North Carolina last week held a rally near a local business where President Obama was touting his jobs bill. The rally, organized by the North Carolina Association for Medical Equipment Services (NCAMES), called attention to administration policies like competitive bidding that kill jobs. Multiple regional news outlets interviewed providers and Beth Bowen, executive director of NCAMES. "At the same time the president is touting a bill to create jobs, his own policies are literally killing jobs in the middle of a recession," Bowen stated in a release. "What's worse, the jobs being lost are having a negative impact on quality access to patient care."
VGM offers Round 2 zip code maps
WATERLOO, Iowa - The VGM Group this week offered 100 zip code maps detailing the new competitive bidding areas. The maps are designed to mirror the exact CBA as released by CMS, according to a press release. VGM advised providers not to rely on MSA maps, as the zip code maps show areas both larger and smaller than the original MSAs, making the MSA maps less accurate. CBA zip codes are areas where only contract suppliers may furnish a competitively bid item. To view the maps:
Inogen secures Tricare contract
GOLETA, Calif. - Inogen announced last week that it has won a service contract to provide oxygen therapy to patients in Tricare's 21-state western service region. The contract puts the company's Inogen One portable oxygen concentrators in the hands of active-duty military members, retired personnel and their families. All patients will also receive a backup oxygen supply and will have access to 24-hour emergency support service. Tricare covers 2.7 million patients in the western half of the United States.
Regional provider adds another location
CINCINNATI - Infusion provider CarePoint Partners announced Sept. 15 that it has acquired the Charleston, W.Va.-based Mountain State Infusion Services. It is CarePoint's 14th acquisition, according to a press release. The provider now offers infusion services to more than 5,000 patients daily through 26 locations in nine states
NCART Medicaid Summit registration open
ST. LOUIS - Providers may now register online for NCART's National Medicaid Summit. The Summit, which takes place Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 in St. Louis, offers attendees insight on Medicaid trends and CRT advocacy activities and provides opportunities to network and share strategies. Register at http://ncart.us/announcements/national-medicaid-summit-2011.
Short takes: Invacare, Roscoe Medical
Riders on Invacare Top End Force Series Handcycles won a total of 11 Gold medals and 16 overall medals at the UCI World Championships of Disabled Cycling Sept. 9-11 in Roskilde, Denmark...Roscoe Medical has been named 2011 Trading Partner of the Year by H.D. Smith, a large pharmaceutical wholesaler. Candidates for the award are judged on annual sales volume per product segment and other performance metrics.