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Archive: May 2002


News

Update

May 31, 2002HME News Staff

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - CMS failed to take up the Re/hab and Assistive Technology Council's (RATC) recently submitted code applications at its DME Open Meeting last month, but RATC hopes they'll make the agenda at its last meeting of the year on June 17. While the council continues to work on submitting additional code applications, it's waiting for CMS to give the first batch of codes its stamp of approval, according to Mary-Lacey Reuther, executive director of RATC. In April, the council submitted 22...

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Competitive bidding: 'It's not going away'

May 31, 2002HME News Staff

WASHINGTON - Even if industry leaders manage to derail President Bush's call to roll out a national competitive bidding program for Medicare this year, don't think you've seen the last it. "It's not going away," said Tom Connaughton, AAHomecare's CEO. "In the long term, we need to develop a philosophy of what reimbursement makes sense, but I think that will be an effort that takes us a year or two before we come up with a consensus." Such a consensus, while difficult to establish, will be crucial...

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Fla. Medicaid halts downcoding

May 31, 2002HME News Staff

TALLAHASEE, Fla. - Rehab providers have successfully lobbied the state to stop applying standard codes and prices to custom wheelchairs and components, a policy providers say has cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars and kept beneficiaries, mostly children, without appropriate wheelchairs. In January, providers say the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), which administers Medicaid, began "scratching off" the codes and prices they had submitted for prior authorization and placing standard...

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MED Group revamps mobility repair program

May 31, 2002HME News Staff

LUBBOCK, Texas - The MED Group tweaked its Certified Repair Center program to make it more valuable to members and hired a long-time Everest & Jenning employee with years of technical experience to run it. Former E&J and Mulholland Positioning Systems employee, Dick Fuller, brings 18 years of sales, marketing and technical experience to MED. The CRC program offers technical training on mobility products taught by participating manufacturers. To make attendance easier for members and manufacturers,...

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Fraud spotlight: Will licensure kill the weeds?

May 31, 2002HME News Staff

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - While California HMEs retreat from the spotlight of what the FBI is spinning as the largest undercover healthcare fraud investigation in U.S. history, the industry once again finds its reputation tainted by scam artists working from the fringe. And once again, in the turbulent wake of the FBI's revelation of nearly 400 arrests in California since 1999, the questions inevitably turn to what can be done to stifle the abuse and free the industry from its unseemly shadow. Licensure...

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MES dumps company that owns rival

May 31, 2002HME News Staff

SCOTTS BLUFF, Az. - Until six months ago, Medical Equipment Specialties (MES) was buying $10,000 to $15,000 of medical supplies from Cleveland, Ohio-based Independence Medical. Then MES found out that Independence owned Edgepark Surgical, a medical products supplier. That bothered MES. The company didn't like the idea of buying product from a company that owned a potential rival. When MES relayed its concerns to Independence, the wholesaler told them not to worry. They would not sell into MES's...

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Legal

May 31, 2002HME News Staff

Compounding and the FDA With Jeffrey S. Baird Q. On April 29, 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Thompson v. Western States Medical Center ("Western States Case"), holding that the prohibition against advertising compounded drugs found in Section 503A of the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act (FDAMA) is an unconstitutional restriction of commercial speech. From a practical standpoint, what does this mean to a compounding pharmacy? A: Section 503A exempts compounded drugs...

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Paperless offices remain rare

May 31, 2002HME News Staff

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - In theory, the paperless office is where everyone wants to be; In reality, HME providers have been reluctant to embrace the concept. Although Computers Applications Unlimted unveiled a document imaging system one year ago, the company is still trolling a reluctant market for customers. CareCentric found one customer who is happy with the system in Oakwood Village, Ohio-based Medical Service Companies, but then dropped its initiative due to low demand. In March, Fastrack Healthcare...

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Rumor mill: Rotech eyeing AHP

May 31, 2002HME News Staff

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. - The rumor mill is chewing up American Homepatient once again, aided by real concerns that the company may not be able to meet its debt obligation beyond Dec. 31, 2002. This time, industry watchers speculate that Rotech, which just exited bankruptcy with a $75 million line of credit, might be interested in swinging a deal for AHP. In theory, the deal makes sense. By being acquired by Rotech, AHP could slip out from under a mountain of crushing debt and stagnant growth that, according...

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Lawmakers look to reduce AWP to fund cancer drugs

May 31, 2002HME News Staff

WASHINGTON - Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) would like to see the averaged wholesale price of albuterol and other Medicare covered drugs slashed and the savings used to pay for oral cancer drugs. Rockefeller and Sen. Olympia Snow (R-Maine) introduced bills in 2001 that would provide coverage of oral cancer drugs. Rockefeller's legislative assistant, Yvette Shenouda, said last month: "I would give this a 75% chance of happening legislatively this year with some sort of package of a fix of AWP and...

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