Manufacturers establish sleep alliance

Sunday, July 2, 2006

VIENNA, Va. - Nine HME manufacturers have joined forces to form the Sleep Manufacturers Alliance, which will lobby on reimbursement and other issues related to sleep disordered breathing. The alliance held its first meeting in San Diego on May 23.

Member companies include Embla (formerly MedCare), Fisher & Paykel, Invacare, Pro-Tech, Puritan Bennett, ResMed, Respironics, Sunrise Medical and Viasys.

The alliance plans to key on issues related to education, reimbursement, legislative and clinical. The alliance identified four goals at its inaugural meeting:

- Identify continuum of care models that could be used with both Medicare and commercial payers to improve the overall awareness of sleep disordered breathing;
- Provide conference planners at the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) Sleep Institute with a list of issues that the alliance believes are important for the ACCP Sleep Institute to address at its September 2006 conference;
- Submit formal comments to CMS stating why treatment for sleep disordered breathing should not be part of Medicare's competitive bidding program for DME. Additionally, the alliance will encourage solicitation of comments on this subject from the pulmonary medicine societies: ACCP, American Thoracic Society (ATS) and the National Association of Medical Direction for Respiratory Care (NAMDRC).
- Develop educational materials for alliance customers regarding CMS's proposed rules for competitive bidding and their impact.

The alliance expects to have its own Web site up and running within 30 to 60 days.