Talking audits over cocktails

Friday, January 22, 2016

If there are any two words that are incompatible in the HME industry, it’s “audit” and “happy.” Except when they are combined for the Audit Happy Hour at Medtrade Spring in Las Vegas.

From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 29, show attendees are invited to stop by and sip cocktails courtesy of ACU-Serve and Mediware, while discussing audit experiences with their peers and industry experts in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

“It’s a nice excuse to imbibe some beverages and catch up with old friends,” said Kevin Gaffney, group show director. “And you don’t have to head out to a bar since it’s all right there on site and packed full with colleagues and experts who speak your language and can help with fresh ideas.”

Far from being just a “gripe session,” the happy hour format enables providers to commiserate in a relaxed setting that is designed to be informative and constructive, said Wayne van Halem, president of the van Halem Group, a division of VGM.

“People like this environment because they have easier access to experts,” he said. “Instead of being rushed after a seminar, people have more time and have multiple experts available.”

The proliferation of Medicare audits in recent years has been a prime source of anxiety and exasperation within the HME community and providers need an outlet to vent their frustration, as well as to learn about how to better handle them, van Halem said.

“The volume and intensity of audits are the main complaints I hear,” he said. “We have SMRCs auditing 106,000 respiratory claims,  and the ZPICs are rebidding their contracts so they are identifying large extrapolated overpayments to show CMS a return on their investment. Consequently, the auditors are still very particular in looking for ‘T’s’ that are not crossed and ‘I’s’ that are not dotted and that is frustrating for providers.”