A dose of trouble mixed with a dash of opportunity
A relatively small group of vendors dominated the headlines of HME News in 2012.
Four of the most read stories in 2012 had to do with three vendors that found themselves in the crosshairs of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for much of year, each for numerous violations. As 2012 wound to a close, Invacare, GF Health Products and Merits all maintained that they had made significant progress in returning to the FDA’s good graces. Invacare was prepping for a third-party audit early in 2013, followed by an FDA inspection. Merits was hoping to have an FDA inspection under its belt by the end of 2012. And GF was waiting for the agency to approve corrective actions for one last violation.
Another troubled vendor that popped up in three of the most read stories: Agape Medical Management, a consulting and billing firm that helps providers submit their bids for competitive bidding. Agape Medical Management came under fire for not submitting the bids of some providers on time. In July, we reported that some of these providers were trying to take advantage of an arbitration clause in their contracts to resolve their disputes outside the courts.
On a more positive note, two of the most read stories involved vendors helping providers with two of their biggest challenges in 2012: decreasing their dependence on Medicare reimbursement, and documenting CPAP compliance. Vendors like Invacare have ramped up production of retail-only products that providers can sell for cash, and vendors like U-Sleep (now owned by ResMed) have developed software programs that providers can use to obtain and manage compliance data for CPAP patients.
The remaining most read story on the list—“Heard at VGM: ‘The future looks good. It’s just different.’—is the best way to close out 2012 and welcome 2013.
Most read vendors stories for 2012