The year in review: Bidding, bundling and a buyout

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

YARMOUTH, Maine – Although it’s nothing new by now, competitive bidding remains the biggest issue to stupefy and stymie HME providers, according to a list of the most read stories in HME News in 2014.

A big reason why: CMS continued to tweak the program this year—the agency laid the groundwork to roll out the program nationwide and to change the pricing methodology for certain products (“In shock: CMS seeks to not only spread bid rates but also bundle payments”).

Additionally, CMS changed the name of the game for the Round 2 recompete this year (“CMS changes up areas, products in Round 2 recompete”).

Other issues dominating the headlines in 2014: the upcoming face-to-face requirement (“Face-to-face rule: Clarifications provide ‘breathing room’”) and ongoing audits (“Memo could be catalyst in audit battle”).

Of course, a list of the most read stories in HME News wouldn’t be complete without a mergers and acquisitions story, and this year it came courtesy of Lincare, which bought the HME and respiratory business lines of Wright & Filippis (“Wright & Filippis sells to Lincare”). Wright & Filippis now focuses on its orthotics and prosthetics, complex rehab and accessibility business lines.

Speaking of O&P, perhaps in a nod to the increasing popularity of the product line, a story about the confusion over what constitutes custom vs. off-the-shelf orthotics made the list of most read stories this year (“Orthotics codes become trickier to bill”).

Rounding out the list of most read stories: a clash between a big-box retailer and sleep providers (“Walmart brochure ‘disparages’ providers”), a change to capped-rental status for certain complex rehab equipment (“CMS didn’t think through capped rental change, providers say”), a look inside a beleaguered national’s turnaround plans (“New Rotech CEO talks strategy”) and the industry’s plea to fix a broken audit system (“Audits: ‘We are in crisis,’ stakeholders say”).

Most read stories of 2014

#1 In shock: CMS seeks to not only spread bid rates but also bundle payments

#2 Wright & Filippis sells to Lincare

#3 CMS changes up areas, products in Round 2 recompete

#4 Face-to-face rule: Clarifications provide ‘breathing room’

#5 Memo could be catalyst in audit battle

#6 Orthotics codes become trickier to bill

#7 Walmart brochure ‘disparages’ providers

#8 CMS didn’t think through capped rental change, providers say

#9 New Rotech CEO talks strategy

#10 Audits: ‘We are in crisis,’ stakeholders say