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Archive: January 2005


News

Tim Pontius: HME’s unifying force

January 31, 2005HME News Staff

The HME industry hasn't had it this tough since 1997 when the Balanced Budget Act cut oxygen reimbursement by 30%. Today, the industry's strongest bulwark against a perfect storm of changes (FEHPB cuts, ASP cuts for respiratory meds, competitive bidding) is AAHomecare. Standing at the helm through these first two gusts is Tim Pontius, chairman of AAHomecare and president of Young Medical Equipment in Toledo, Ohio. Pontius's influence is more sublime than Larry Higby's at Apria or Paul Gabos' at...

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Crafting competitive bidding: The process appears broken

January 31, 2005HME News Staff

Dennis Trach Often, what you do not hear at a meeting is as important as what you do hear. After attending three days of meetings of the Program Advisory and Oversight Committee (PAOC) for competitive bidding in December, I came away with that very thought. Mandated by the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), the PAOC consists of representatives from our industry to provide advisory and oversight to the competitive bidding process. The intent of Congress was to get advice from the industry on how...

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Convenience drives OTC diagnostics

January 31, 2005HME News Staff

NEW YORK - Sales of over-the-counter diagnostic products sold at retail outlets grew 9.8% in 2003 and topped $1.5 billion, according to a report released in December by Kalorama Information. Glucose testing kits and pregnancy test kits accounted for more than 80% of all diagnostic test kits sold. Together, ovulation testing kits, urine test kits, lancets, blood pressure kits and other home testing kits accounted for almost 20% of all diagnostic sales. “The $122 million growth in sales during...

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Financial

January 31, 2005HME News Staff

Your monthly report card with Bruce Burns Q. How can I use my financial statements to maximize my 2005 profits? A. Financial statements are the monthly report card for how your business is performing. If you use them properly, they will provide you with operating information to initiate changes to enhance profits and decrease costs. The layout and timing of the financial statement is critical to maximize the impact it can have on your business. The general manager/owner needs to have their financial...

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CMS contractors made billions in payment errors

January 31, 2005HME News Staff

WASHINGTON - Private companies that process health care claims from Medicare beneficiaries made almost $20 billion in erroneous or questionable payments in fiscal year 2004, according to a CMS report. The $19.9 billion in questionable payments includes $900 million in underpayments to providers because of errors and $20.8 billion in overpayments to providers, according to the report, “2004 Improper Medicare Fee-For-Service Payments Report.” The report is based on a survey of 160,000...

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Briefs

January 31, 2005HME News Staff

Jury indicts three in giant fraud scheme DALLAS - A federal grand jury issued a 43-count indictment last week against the owners of three DME companies, charging they billed Medicare for more than $27 million in phony power wheelchair claims, according to the Associated Press. The grand jury indicted Aniekeme B. Akpabot, owner of Mina Medical Equipment and Supplies in Mesquite; Okon Eyo Idiong, owner of OK Medical Equipment and Supplies and OK Medical Equipment and Supplies of Southfield, Mich.;...

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CMS delays release of revised CMN

January 31, 2005HME News Staff

WASHINGTON - CMS started 2005 by breaking a 2004 resolution to issue a revised CMN for power wheelchairs by year's end. Despite pressure from the HME industry and its allies on Capitol Hill to complete the work in 2004, CMS announced Dec. 30 that it intends to have the updated document out by mid January, said Seth Johnson, director of government affairs for Pride Mobility Products. In its effort to clarify or craft new coverage criteria for wheelchairs, CMS apparently has had to put other projects...

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OSA linked to death of NFL veteran

January 31, 2005HME News Staff

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. - Legendary NFL football player Reggie White died Dec. 26 possibly from a respiratory disease and other health problems, including obstructive sleep apnea, according to a preliminary autopsy. Chris Bober, an offensive lineman in the NFL, gets tested for OSA. Despite a high prevalence among football players, his results came out negative. The 43-year-old White most likely had a condition that affected the amount of air his lungs could hold, resulting in “fatal cardiac arrhythmia,”...

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Briefs

January 31, 2005HME News Staff

PolyMedica signs OIG integrity agreement WOBURN, Mass. - PolyMedica Corporation, the parent company of diabetes supplier Liberty Medical, in December signed a corporate integrity agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the OIG. Under the five-year agreement, the company must, among other things, maintain a compliance program, and all those associated with the company must read and sign a code of conduct. The company will also be subject to claim reviews, and the OIG will...

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Poll: Rural HMEs outscore suburbanites

January 31, 2005HME News Staff

YARMOUTH, Maine - When it comes to maximizing the number of oxygen patients per service technician, rural HME providers serve a higher number than their counterparts in the suburbs, a recent HME News Poll found. As oxygen margins continue to erode with no end in sight, respiratory providers are searching for innovative ways to recover lost revenues. Achieving the highest patient-per-service tech ratio is considered to be a potential solution and is being closely tracked by the provider community....

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