The year in review: Escalating turmoil, relief efforts dominate headlines

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Friday, December 29, 2017

YARMOUTH, Maine – Moves by managed care organizations to send more Medicaid business to large distributors was the most read story of 2017 at HME News.

Here’s that story, and nine other most read stories for 2017:

#1

States move to single-source more and more DME

‘They’re commoditizing this portion of health care, and it’s scary to think about how far they’ll take it’

YARMOUTH, Maine – Distributors have been picking up Medicaid contracts for incontinence supplies in a number of states for years. Now the stakes have been raised.

#2

Tougher times ahead: Impact of rate cuts pile up

YARMOUTH, Maine – A whopping 65% of respondents to a recent HME Newspoll say they can sustain their businesses for less than a year, if they don’t get reimbursement relief.

#3

All eyes on new bid-related rule

‘It sounds like a good thing, but we just don’t know what’s in it’

WASHINGTON – The website of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and the Office of Management and Budget now shows an interim final rule pending review titled “Durable Medical Equipment Fee Schedule, Adjustments to Resume the Transitional 50/50 Blended Rates to Provider Relief in Non-Competitive Bidding Areas.”

#4

Turmoil continues at Pacific Pulmonary

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Pacific Pulmonary Services will lay off 170 employees in July, according to a local newspaper.

#5

HME infrastructure crumbles

‘I’ve been saying for a while that I think we’ve crossed the tipping point,’ says one provider

YARMOUTH, Maine – CMS set out to reduce the number of HME providers with competitive bidding and, as recent data shows, it has done just that, say providers.

#6

CMS adds teeth to bid program

WASHINGTON – After several rounds of the competitive bidding program now under its belt, CMS has implemented improvements to Round 2019 that could curb the ongoing race to the bottom, say industry stakeholders.

#7

LifeCare Solutions leaves California

Bid rates are ‘unsustainable,’ says company’s CEO

PHOENIX – LifeCare Solutions has begun transitioning patients as it prepares to exit the California market, says company exec Robert Fahlman.

#8

Linde-Praxair: Will merger have impact on HME?

MUNICH and DANBURY, Conn. – Although industrial gas giant Linde continues to dip its toe in the waters of home care, its planned merger with Praxair likely won’t have a noticeable effect on the HME industry, say M&A analysts.

#9

Caught on tape: Criticism of bid program mixed in with criticism of Obamacare

Also, Secretary Price finally goes on record about access issues

WASHINGTON – When HHS Secretary Tom Price took to Twitter last week to post several videos of small business owners speaking on the negative impact of Obamacare, one in particular caught the eye of social media-savvy HME providers.

#10

Pacific Pulmonary settles whistleblower lawsuit

NOVATO, Calif. – Pacific Pulmonary Services has agreed to pay $11.4 million to resolve allegations that it participated in a kickback scheme for home oxygen and sleep therapy equipment.