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In brief: PHE protection, Best Buy partnership, AAH support

In brief: PHE protection, Best Buy partnership, AAH support

WASHINGTON – Industry stakeholders have joined major respiratory associations in asking the Department of Health and Human Services to protect access to respiratory products for patients who qualified for care under relaxed guidelines during the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

In a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, the group, which includes AAHomecare, VGM, the American Association for Respiratory Care, the American Lung Association, the American Thoracic Society, the Council for Quality Respiratory Care and the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, writes they believe more than 1 million Medicare beneficiaries were prescribed respiratory products during the PHE. 

“It is not logistically possible given the current stresses in the health care system to expect all of these beneficiaries to visit their physicians and to be tested again by the expected May 11 end-date for the PHE,” they state in the letter. 

The group is asking HHS to:  

  • Grandfather home oxygen, sleep therapy and NIV non-invasive patients in terms of the qualification requirements that were in place during the pandemic.  
  • Confirm CMS’s stipulation that any patient set up during the PHE who ended service during the PHE or within one year of the end of the PHE will not have their claims subject to a medical necessity audit. 
  • Eliminate the medical record review and urge CMS to instead accept the clinician prescription/standard written order as the required documentation for establishing medical necessity, as it does for other prescription medications. 

AAH starts new Legacy 

WASHINGTON – AAHomecare has a new corporate partner level with five inaugural members. 

The companies supporting the association and its public policy work at the Legacy level are Apria and Byram Healthcare, both owned by Owens & Minor; ResMed and Brightree, which is owned by ResMed; and Medline. They are all now paying $125,000 in annual dues. 

“We see great value in AAHomecare and the industry associations,” said Dan Starck, executive vice president at OM, who proposed the new level. “We have accomplished a tremendous amount over the past few years. A strong, healthy industry is good for all constituents, and we want to do our part in supporting AAHomecare.” 

AAHomecare created a Diamond* level in 2021, representing a 25% increase in dues over the Platinum level. The inaugural Diamond members included Apria and Byram, ResMed and Medline, as well as AdaptHealth, Cardinal Health, Lincare, McKesson, Philips and Rotech. 

In 2017, the association created a Platinum level, with Drive DeVilbiss taking the lead. 

AAHomecare says it now has more than 50 corporate partners across various levels. 

“ResMed is united with AAHomecare to improve millions of lives by keeping people healthier and happier at home,” noted Larissa D’Andrea, global vice president of government and clinical affairs, and market access at ResMed. “Their advocacy is critical to protect equitable access to innovative home respiratory therapies and care.” 
“AAHomecare’s success in advancing sustainable reimbursement policies and sensible regulatory approaches at the federal and state level has tangible, bottom-line positive impact for our HME supplier customers,” added Paul Miller, director of business development, Post-Acute Care Division, for Medline. “We’re increasing our support for the association to ensure we keep adding to those wins for the HME community.” 

Atrium, Best Buy Health partner on hospital-at-home 

CHARLOTTE, N.C., and MINNEAPOLIS – Atrium Health, an integrated, nonprofit health system with 40 hospitals and more than 1,400 care locations, and Best Buy Health are combining their strengths to develop new hospital-at-home offerings, they have announced. 

The partnership takes advantage of Atrium Health’s leadership position in telemedicine, including a well-established hospital-at-home program, and Best Buy Health’s existing expertise and abilities, as well as its strengths in innovative omnichannel experience, distinctive in-home service and world class supply chain. 

“Our partnership with Best Buy Health will help change the lives of our patients and consumers, giving them access to the tools and experiences they need to receive care in the comfort of their own home,” said Dr. Rasu Shrestha, chief innovation and commercialization officer at Advocate Health, of which Atrium Health is a part. “Our surveys show high levels of patient satisfaction for our hospital at home experience and the use of virtual care is a valuable tool in our efforts to eradicate both economic and geographic disparities in accessing health care services. Together with Best Buy Health, we will combine our strengths to provide better outcomes and equitable access for patients who will receive their care in the home. This will also allow for a more successful and seamless process for the providers caring for them.”   

Best Buy’s care at home platform, Current Health, was added to the company’s portfolio in 2021. 

The Current Health platform brings together remote patient monitoring, telehealth and patient engagement into a single solution for health care providers. 

“We knew Atrium Health was the right partner to help tackle the unique challenges within the care at home experience,” said Deborah Di Sanzo, president of Best Buy Health. “We’re excited to leverage our expertise in omnichannel, supply chain, Caring Center support and services, in-home support and our ability to connect patients and providers through Current Health’s care at home platform. Those strengths, combined with Atrium Health’s extensive clinical expertise and deep experience leading in virtual care, will help us improve and enable care in the home for everyone.”   

AAH names Homecare Champion nominees 

WASHINGTON – AAHomecare has named the following nominees for the Van Miller Homecare Champion Award: Zach Gantt, president & CEO of Encore Healthcare; Kam Yuricich, executive director of OAMES and the Great Lakes Home Medical Services Association; Rose Schafhauser, executive director of MAMES and SWMESA; and Lynette Morris, president of Direct Medical. The award recognizes an AAHomecare member with a longstanding record of service in the industry. The association’s selection committee includes Bill Guidetti, chairman of its board of directors; Josh Marx, chairman elect of the board; Steve Ackerman, the 2021 Van Miller Homecare Champion; Mike Kloos, a member of the executive committee; and Tom Ryan, president & CEO. The winner will be named at the Stand Up for Homecare reception on March 29 from 5:30 -7 at Medtrade. 

Tennessee advances bill to ease licensure requirements 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State Senate on March 6 unanimously passed Senate Bill 0925, which would allow out-of-state providers of home medical technology to give services without needing a license to conduct business in the state, according to local news outlets. In February, the House Health Subcommittee approved sending companion bill House Bill 1429 to the full Health Committee. The legislation, named “Quinnlee’s Law,” is named after a one-year-old girl who recently died after battling a rare genetic disease. Quinlee Shriner needed a cuirass ventilator, but, due to a state law requiring out-of-state providers to have an office or place of business in the state, her discharge from the hospital was delayed. The state Health Facilities Commission held an emergency meeting to grant the company a license, a process that took about two weeks. The license was contingent upon the company establishing an office in Tennessee within 30 days. 

HME Home Health opens sixth location 

NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. – HME Home Health Ltd. celebrated the grand opening of its sixth location in North Vancouver on March 6. The provider offers a wide variety of home medical equipment, including wheelchairs, power chairs, walkers, hospital beds, mattresses, stairlifts and vertical platform lifts, ramps, and other installed products. “HME has strong roots on the North Shore, where we have been a Palliative Program provider for many years,” said Cameron Fleming, co-founder and CIO. “We are thrilled to provide enhanced access and service for our existing North Shore clients. In addition, we look forward to expanding HME’s community connections across North and West Vancouver, as well as in Lions Bay, Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton and beyond.” The company has six distinct divisions – Rehab Products, Accessibility, Pediatrics, Long-Term Care, Corporate Programs and Contractor. 

  • Read why HME Home Health was included in the Globe and Mail’s “Canada’s Top Growing Companies 2022.” 

NHIA announces new board chair, expands seats 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Option Care CEO John Rademacher has been named chair of the board of directors for The National Home Infusion Association. He takes over from Tim Affeldt, who will transition into past chair. “We welcome John’s leadership and expertise at a critical time as the association continues to grow and diversify,” said Connie Sullivan, NHIA president and CEO. “His industry knowledge and perspective will be key advantages as NHIA advocates for appropriate payment for infusion services and improved access to care for all patients.” NHIA also announced new members to its 2023-2024 board of directors, which has been expanded to 15 board seats. They are: Frank Esposito, RPh, BCSCP, deputy COO, KabaFusion; Drew Walk, BSPharm, CEO, Soleo Health; Bob Calway, president and CEO, New England Life Care; and David Vemeulen, PharmD, MS, Home Infusion Manager. The full 2023-2024 board of directors will be installed at the NHIA Annual Conference held in Washington, D.C., March 25-29. 

TeamCME partners with iSleep for HST 

PENDLETON, Ore. - TeamCME has partnered with iSleep, a provider of home sleep testing, to make Department of Transportation-compliant sleep apnea tests convenient for DOT medical examiners to order and easy for drivers to complete. “For commercial drivers, keeping up to date on their physical exams requires they stay on top of all health conditions that could affect their driving,” stated Dr. Jeffrey Carlson, co-CEO and chief medical officer for TeamCME, which provides online resources for commercial drivers and DOT medical examiners nationwide to stay up-to-date on compliance requirements. “Sleep apnea disturbs a driver’s ability to get the restorative sleep they need and remain alert on the job. Getting tested and diagnosed, however, can mean multiple appointments and a night in a sleep lab, which means time off the job. Our partnership with iSleep will make the testing and diagnosis process easier.” iSleep offers a low-cost at-home (or in the cab) alternative to a traditional sleep lab test. Certified medical examiners can refer drivers for sleep apnea testing by filling out a form on TeamCME’s website. Drivers do not need a prescription to take an iSleep test; iSleep can provide a testing order. iSleep’s home testing kits are FDA-cleared and meet DOT testing requirements, and drivers may receive their results in as little as 24-48 hours after completing the test. 

Parachute earns HITRUST status 

PRINCETON, N.J. – Parachute Health has earned certified status for information security by HITRUST for its Health DME ePrescribing Platform. The HITRUST risk-based, 2-year certified status demonstrates that the Parachute Health platform has met key regulations and industry-defined requirements and is appropriately managing risk. "We are committed to prioritizing security and data protection so the industry can confidently continue to adopt this game-changing technology that helps serve patients quickly and reliably,” said Matt Pestritto, chief technology officer. “Organizations like ours are continually under pressure to meet complex compliance and privacy requirements that include technical and process elements. We are pleased to demonstrate to our customers and partners the highest standards for data protection and information security by achieving HITRUST risk-based, 2-year certification." Parachute Health is used at more than 54,000 clinical facilities across the U.S. 

Cardinal, Signify partner on medication management 

DUBLIN, Ohio – Cardinal Health is collaborating with Signify Health to offer in-home clinical and medication management services through its Outcomes business. The collaboration will help reduce costs and eliminate gaps in care for more than 2.4 million members nationwide, Cardinal says. "At Outcomes, we're working to revolutionize the health care journey by offering a more integrated experience that connects all sites of care," said Brent Stutz, senior vice president and general manager of Outcomes. "As more patients recover and manage their chronic illnesses from home, this collaboration with Signify Health will help drive more powerful connections across transitions of care, enabling pharmacies and payers to reach patients who are often most in need of additional support." The collaboration brings together Signify Health's mobile network of 11,000-plus credentialed clinicians and Outcomes’ clinical care platform and omnichannel network of pharmacies and payers. Using the insights gathered during in-home evaluations, Signify Health is able to use the OutcomesOne platform to identify and resolve medication therapy management needs. The collaboration will initially focus on addressing interventions recommended for Medicare Advantage members of joint clients and may expand into additional services, such as population health programs, and additional clinical interventions. 

CareCloud tapped by KabaFusion for RCM 

SOMERSET, N.J. – CareCloud has announced a partnership to optimize KabaFusion’s financial performance through revenue cycle management. CareCloud will help the home infusion provider streamline processes, reduce denials and increase revenue, according to a press release. "This collaboration with CareCloud marks another milestone in our ongoing mission to revolutionize patient outcomes through technology and innovation," said Dr. Sohail Masood, CEO of KabaFusion. "We are excited about the potential of this strategic opportunity." CareCloud’s suite of tech-based solutions is relied on by more than 40,000 providers to improve care, while reducing administrative burdens and operating costs. Its products and services include RCM, practice management, electronic health records, business intelligence, patient experience management and digital health. KabaFusion serves patients in 40 states through a network of licensed pharmacists, registered nurses and dieticians. 

Sleeplay expands foothold 

MIAMI – Sleeplay, an online sleep provider, has launched a mobile application. The app, available on the App Store and Google Play Store, will give customers access to online CPAP experts, user-friendly upload Rx for fast order placement and visibility into past orders, the company says. “We’re thrilled to announce the launch of the Sleeplay app and expand our foothold in the CPAP and luxury sleep space,” said Aaron Fuhrman, founder and director of Sleeplay. “Adapting to current technology is crucial for meeting customers where they are and increasing their accessibility to innovative products and services that improve quality of life and revolutionize sleep.” The app features hundreds of curated products for those with sleep apnea and other related medical issues, including travel-sized CPAP machines, cleaners, filters, tubing and batteries. 

  • Read about how Sleeplay wants to be the ‘luxury supermarket in the sleep area.’ 

AdvancedMD releases codebook 

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah – AdvancedMD, a software provider, has released its 2023 CPT/HCPCS Codebook. The resource includes the full list of updated CPT/HCPCS codes, identifying which medical codes have been added, revised and deleted by CMS. “Billing errors are an expensive mistake, equating to approximately $125 billion in uncollected money each year,” said Tim Constantino, vice president and head of product at AdvancedMD. “Not only do incorrect codes result in massive bill collection issues but entering incorrect codes can lead to reimbursement delays that negatively impact the patient experience and financial health. As a leading EHR, practice management, and patient engagement solution, our primary job is to stay on top of details like medical code updates. Our technology automatically updates these codes so that our users have access to the most accurate and up-to-date billing information – all of which is continuously updated in the platform. We’ve created this codebook as a helpful resource for all medical practices and their admin staff.” Download the complete codebook at AdvancedMD 2023 CPT/HCPCS Codebook. 

AZ MediQuip continues to build senior leadership team 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – AZ MediQuip has hired Heather Zielinksi as senior digital marketing manager, the latest in a series of strategic senior hires to support the company's continued growth and rapid market expansion. She will be responsible for establishing the company's end-to-end digital marketing capabilities and strategy. “Zielinski joins our business at the perfect time,” said Lane Hamm, CEO. “I am excited to have her leading our drive to improve our customer’s online experience and our ability to reach them. I love the passion she has already shown for our business and most importantly our customer.” Zielinksi will lead the implementation of media planning and buying, local search, conversation rate optimization and data and analytics to support future business growth. She will work closely with senior stakeholders and store management to establish a best-of-breed approach to the use of marketing technology to support the success of eight retail locations. Prior to joining AZ MediQuip, Zielinski served as digital marketing manager at Detoxify, LLC, a leading online supplier of herbal and homeopathic remedies. AZ MediQuip also recently named Evan Conlon director of operations, and Brent Hedges director of merchandising. 

Next Day Access opens two new franchises 

OAK BROOK, Ill., and HAMILTON, Ontario – Next Day Access has announced new locations in Oak Brook, Ill., and Hamilton, Ontario. The Next Day Access Oak Brook franchise is owned by Sakher Almakhamreh and offers residential and commercial accessibility and mobility products. “There are three big reasons why I wanted to join the brand,” said Almakhamreh. “The first is helping my community who need accessibility solutions. The second is it’s a family-based business, which I like. Lastly, the home office staff. They are responsive, considerate and compassionate.” Almakhamreh move to the U.S. from Jordan in 2016. Previously, he launched a consulting company to provide foreign services, practiced law and was a supervisor for a dealer universal vehicle company. He also served in the Jordan military for seven years. The Next Day Access Hamilton franchise is owned by Joel Varghese. “The industry is new and niche, especially in Ontario,” Varghese said. “I want to help my community by helping provide a better living experience for people with limited mobility and disabilities, whether with bathroom modifications or installing a stairlift.” Previously, he operated his own business and was responsible for sales, marketing and operations, including end-to-end management of the supply chain. 

OPGA honors ‘rising leaders’ 

WATERLOO, Iowa – Orthotic Prosthetic Group of America (OPGA) and Össur have announced the recipients of two O&P grants. Kaleigh Neely has been selected as the 2023 recipient of the Russell Walker CP, LP Emerging Leader Grant; and Abbey Senczyszyn, CPO, has been selected as the recipient of the Todd Eagen Advocacy in Action Memorial Grant. “On behalf of Össur and OPGA, we are privileged to announce Kaleigh and Abbey as the recipients of these two grants that will provide professional development opportunities for the future leaders of O&P while memorializing the impact both these individuals left in the O&P profession,” said Adam Miller, president, OPGA. “Both Kaleigh and Abbey are rising leaders in the O&P profession and will be exceptional representatives at the AOPA Policy Forum and the Challenged Athletes Foundation Triathlon Challenge, two non-clinical events that are highly important to the O&P profession and the patients it serves.” Neely is an O&P resident with Geauga Rehabilitation Engineering, Inc. (GRE) in Ohio, and Senczyszyn is with Bremer Prosthetic Design in Michigan. Now in its second year, the Russell Walker CP, LP Emerging Leader Grant is designed to pay tribute to Russell (Rusty) Walker, a practitioner that was passionate about mentoring the next generation of O&P leaders. It’s the first year OPGA and Össur have teamed up to co-sponsor the Todd Eagen Advocacy in Action Memorial Grant, which honors Eagen, the former president of OPGA, who passed away unexpectedly on June 4, 2022. Both grants are designed to provide annual funding to a current O&P resident to attend and participate in two different events that are outside of the clinical setting but are highly important to the O&P profession and the patients it serves.


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