Setting the record straight

Friday, January 31, 2003

In the January issue of HME News, I feel your article “Nasal Cannulas Gain Traction,” misrepresented me and InnoMed Technologies. In the article, you wrote: “No definitive clinical trials have substantiated Nasal Aire’s traction, but Karem says five studies are underway, the most substantial a 200-patient study whose results will be published in Sleep.” This was a misleading and inaccurate statement. InnoMed Technologies has done a number of clinical studies regarding the Nasal Aire, and we currently have an additional five studies underway. If you recall, in a previous issue HME News quoted one of the Nasal Aire clinical testing sites.

- R. Patrick Karem, CEO, InnoMed Technologies.
Easy on the accolades
I wanted to thank you for your cartoon in the December 15th issue regarding “Carter the Magnificent.” I am just a simple businessman, but it was and is pretty easy to turn around an organization by cutting nonproducing lines, moving to a “core” business and by not resigning lousy managed-care contracts. I am sure that Phil Carter has far more business intelligence and knowledge than me, but it is hard to swallow when industry pundits fall all over themselves at his abilities.

- Sam Martinez is general manager of an HME in California.
Scoping out competitive bidding
I do not want to see any type of competitive bidding passed that would heap more work and lower profits on dealers. More importantly, it’s bad for Medicare beneficiaries. Nevertheless, it will happen. The following is the scenario I see: Bigger dealers and conglomerates who have the ability to subsidize their operations will win the bids. As prices are driven down, there will be manufacturers off-shore, south of the border and others who will bring their costs to the dealer down to the very bottom of the barrel. The products will look similar but won’t be.The one thing missing here is a set of standards. If standards are compiled for grade of metal used, weight, strength, etc., then there will be no need for competitive bidding. CMS can work with AAHomecare and state DME associations to structure an equitable pricing schedule. The beneficiary will once again have a free choice of dealers and competition would be based on the ability to provide better services. It’s a win-win for everyone.

- Shelly Prial, consultant
On CPAP compliance ...
Regarding your coverage of factors affecting CPAP compliance in the last issue: The most significant factor affecting compliance in sleep therapy that I have observed in the last 10 years is the drastic reduction in the minimum number of hours and days of use that define CPAP compliance.

- Joseph Lewarski, BS, RRT, is president of Hytech Homecare.