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Archive: 2004


News

Providers vent respiratory frustrations

December 31, 2004HME News Staff

YARMOUTH, Maine - While 66% of HME News Poll respondents in December said they would continue to provide albuterol and ipratropium to Medicare beneficiaries, only 44% called CMS's new $57-per-month dispensing fee “reasonable.” Many providers denouncing the average sales price reimbursement formula in its entirety. “What's the point of throwing us a few crumbs by way of a dispensing fee while cutting the product's reimbursement by 89%,” said respiratory provider Stephen Fitch....

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Doug Harrison: The Sam Walton of Rehab

December 31, 2004HME News Staff

As much as anyone in the HME industry, Scooter Store founder Doug Harrison may be a victim of his own success. By employing mass-marketing techniques and TV advertising to aggressively reach out to seniors, Harrison's share of the Medicare K0011 market reached an astonishing 57% in 2003. Like Wal-Mart's founder Sam Walton, Harrison figured out a new way to deliver a product to the public. He realized that the power wheelchair market, like most retail markets, was shifting. Consumers can think for...

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Judge: Making breast forms is no trade secret

December 31, 2004HME News Staff

ATLANTA - A district court judge dismissed claims by Coloplast that American Breast Care had misappropriated trade secrets to launch a competing breast form business. In a summary judgment filed Nov. 18, Judge Willis B. Hunt agreed with ABC's contention that Coloplast's Amoena division did not have trade secrets. The judge examined seven purported trade secrets claimed by Coloplast, including the entire breast form production process and oven heating and curing protocols, and found that none of...

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Shoprider’s Wu runs afoul in Britain

December 31, 2004HME News Staff

LONDON - After failing to pay $24.4 million in damages to the former European distributor of Shoprider scooters, the London High Court has held Donald Wu, chairman of Pihsiang Machinery Manufacturing Company, in contempt of court and ordered him to prison for 28 days. In January 2004, the High Court held Wu and Pihsiang liable for damages after deciding that Pihsiang had broken its supply agreement with DCC, its U.K.-based distributor of Shoprider scooters since 1996. Pihsiang's U.S. distributor,...

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Cushion fees still plague providers; beneficiary access hangs in doubt

December 31, 2004HME News Staff

WASHINGTON - The updated Medicare allowables for wheelchair back and seat cushions are still inadequate and threaten patient access, say rehab officials. On top of that, ICD-9 diagnose codes required for some of the products are too limited. That means patients who need the products but fall outside the approved diagnoses could be denied access. Or, providers will have to appeal the denials and wait months to get their money, said Matthew Burke, chair of AAHomecare's Rehab and Assistive Technology...

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Tim Hill: A CFO with a mission

December 31, 2004HME News Staff

Some people believe CMS's chief financial officer, Tim Hill, has an ax to grind with the HME industry. If that's the case, watch out. In the good old days before Wheeler Dealer, Medicare's senior financial management executive kept a low profile, working behind the scenes, coordinating CMS's financial management and overseeing programs that protect Medicare from fraud and abuse. In August 2003, Wheeler Dealer erupted, exposing a crooked clan of DME dealers that drove K0011 utilization in Harris...

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Adrian Oleck: Leader of the pack

December 31, 2004HME News Staff

As the DMERC's senior and arguably its most respected medical director, chances are you'll find Dr. Adrian Oleck's fingerprints all over most medical policies for durable medical equipment. That kind of influence can't be under estimated. When it comes to deciding what a beneficiary is eligible for and what Medicare will and will not pay for, Oleck's the key gatekeeper. DMERC medical directors all have their areas of interest and take the lead on certain issues, but in most instances, he's the...

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Mary Benhardus comes in Handi for PAOC

December 31, 2004HME News Staff

Will the Program Advisory and Over sight Committee be able to shape national competitive bidding for Medicare into a process that is fair and reasonable for all concerned? Based on what she's seen so far, Mary Benhardus thinks it can - with a little prodding. The newest PAOC member has spent the better part of two meetings this fall observing the proceedings and gathering information she feels will be useful in helping to plot the committee's future course. “When I heard about the committee...

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Pilot program

December 31, 2004HME News Staff

ATLANTA - Mobility Designs is making the skies friendlier - for power wheelchair users. The company this fall teamed up with Delta Airlines to provide training to airport gate and ramp agents on how to protect expensive pieces of power mobility equipment from being damaged in flight. Mobility Designs has seen it all when it comes to these broken wheelchairs. Located it Atlanta, a major Delta hub, Mobility Designs has become the go-to supplier for Delta and other carriers when they need something...

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Book review

December 31, 2004HME News Staff

As an angry young man, David T. Williams used to harangue the paratransit bus operator when his wheelchair-accessible bus was late. Visiting friends, he smoldered over the placement of furniture that hindered his wheelchair. He took offense with strangers who held the door for a young father of two. “My anger knew no bounds and the targets of my anger included family, friends and strangers. I was not a fun guy to be around,” Williams writes in his affecting first book, Battling the Beast:...

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