The past six months in headlines


We always have a special report in our show issue, the one that you can find being passed around at Medtrade. They're usually fun (top providers under 40), important (Internet marketing strategies) or both (if you had $1 million, what kind of HME company would you create).

Earlier this week, I was poking around for ideas, and I decided to find out the most-read stories for the first half of this year, January through June. My thinking: If there were numerous stories about the same topic, it might be good fodder for a special report.

No such luck, really, as six of the 10 most-read stories in the past six months all have to do with competitive bidding. And I'm as tired of that subject as all of you.

But what we've settled on for a special report does have something to do with competitive bidding. The driving factor behind the program is saving money, right? And I'm pretty sure those in the industry wish lawmakers would look elsewhere for that. So I think we'll ask five industry leaders to answer this question: "How can Medicare save money?" or "Why isn't Medicare cheaper?" It should be very interesting. Keep an eye out for it in the October issue.

If you're curious, here are the top 10 stories for January through June:

Competitive bidding: 'CMS has turned this industry into a nightmare'
WASHINGTON - HME providers are feeling a mixture of resignation, anxiety and anger now that competitive bidding is the law of the land.

Praxair wants to ditch home care
'They were just treading water'
DANBURY, Conn. - Once there were three industrial gas giants in the homecare market. Soon there could be none.

Competitive bidding's impact spreads
'This is the first indication of a rate reduction based on the bid'
FRANKLIN, Tenn. – If you still think competitive bidding doesn’t affect you because you’re not in a Round 1 or Round 2 CBA, here’s a wakeup call.

Competitive bidding: Who's on the hook for wheelchair repairs?
WASHINGTON - Wheelchair providers in competitive bidding areas (CBAs) are passing the buck on repairs because it's unclear who should be doing them.

Round 2 of competitive bidding: CMS is working on it
WASHINGTON - There are more questions than answers about Round 2 of competitive bidding, but that may be a good thing, HME industry stakeholders say.

A look at competitive bidding after four months
'We're all working harder to make near the same as last year'
WASHINGTON - When CMS implemented competitive bidding four months ago, some HME providers expected to see an upswing in business. For most, though, that hasn't been the case.

CMS admits RAC got it wrong
FARGO, N.D. - CMS plans to halt automated CPAP audits in Jurisdiction D after learning that its contractor has misinterpreted Medicare policy, AAHomecare reported last week.

CareCentrix deals are signs of the times
'That sends shivers down my back,' provider says
HARTFORD, Conn. - CareCentrix, a national home health benefits manager for private insurers, signed contracts in two states in May--a move that could signal the future of HME, providers worry.

CMS has delayed Round 2. What does that mean?
BALTIMORE - CMS announced April 5 that it would delay the start of Round 2 of competitive bidding to allow time for "potential structural changes" to the program, said industry stakeholders.

Medical Mart shuts down: 'We have mixed emotions'
ROCK HILL, S.C. - This isn't how Bob Luftin wanted to leave the HME industry.

Liz Beaulieu