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In brief: Reimbursement relief, home infusion access, additional consolidation

In brief: Reimbursement relief, home infusion access, additional consolidation

WASHINGTON – VGM Government Relations is urging providers to reach out to Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, asking for the DMEPOS Relief Act of 2022 to be included in an end-of-year package.  

Introduced in February, H.R. 6641 would extend a 90/10 blended reimbursement rate for the 13 product categories excluded from Round 2021 of competitive bidding through Dec. 31, 2023. The bill currently has 25 co-sponsors. 

“HME suppliers need help,” VGM stated in a blog update. “They are being affected by supply chain disruptions, shipping costs, staffing issues, and poor reimbursement rates. Providers have been stuck with rates established under the flawed competitive bidding system in 2015.”  

A small group of HME stakeholders met with Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., on Oct. 28 to discuss the importance of passing HME reimbursement relief. Guthrie is on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is one of the top legislators on the Health Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce. 

Reach out to your member of Congress here

Infusion stakeholders continue push  

WASHINGTON – A diverse group of 30 patient and stakeholder groups are calling on Congress to address Medicare beneficiary access to home infusion services.  

In an Oct. 31 letter, the groups urge congressional leaders to advance the Preserving Patient Access to Home Infusion Act (S. 2652/H.R. 5067) to increase access to home infusion therapy for Medicare beneficiaries.  

“Home infusion therapy services have been a lifeline for millions of Americans by delivering lifesaving treatments to patients while reducing costs, infection risks and unnecessary facility visits,” the groups write. “Unfortunately, despite Congress’s efforts to establish a dedicated Medicare home infusion therapy benefit, CMS has implemented it in such a restrictive manner that is it failing to promote patient access.” 

A similar letter representing more than 600 hospitals and 5,000 sites of care was sent in August. 

The new letter goes on to cite a report released by CMS in January 2022 confirming that utilization of the benefit has been low, with less than 1,300 Medicare beneficiaries accessing the benefit each calendar quarter between Q1 2019 and Q1 2021, compared to the estimated 3.2 million patients served annually by home infusion providers. 

“Home-based health care services stand out as high-value resources that can improve patient quality of life and add capacity to the health care system, while keeping vulnerable patients away from the threat of infectious disease,” said Connie Sullivan, BSPharm, president & CEO of the National Home Infusion Association. “Passage of the Preserving Patient Access to Home Infusion Act is critical to ensuring the Medicare program maintains access to home infusion, allowing beneficiaries to safely receive treatment in the setting they overwhelmingly prefer: their homes.”  

Introduced in 2021, the legislation has 20 House co-sponsors and three Senate co-sponsors. 

SageHome buys Midwest Bath 

ATLANTA – SageHome has acquired Moline, Ill.-based Midwest Bath Company in a move that accelerates its goal of becoming a national, full-service home modification solution in the United States. 

Midwest Bath is a remodeling company that specializes in bathroom upgrades for consumers, with a focus on providing seniors and those with access difficulties stylish and safe bathroom upgrades. It has developed a reputation for rapid, “one-day” installations of walk-in baths and low-threshold showers. 

“We are making great progress toward our goal of building a national aging-in-place business,” said Brian Hutto, SageHome’s CEO. “A key element is our bath division, which is growing rapidly and now operates in 11 states. Midwest Bath is a great addition to our company, helping us to respond to the surge in demand for our services.” 

Midwest Bath serves customers across Illinois and Iowa. 

SageHome partnered with Cairngorm Capital Partners earlier this year with an eye toward rapid organic growth and strategic acquisition. Soon after, it bought New Bath Today, an Indianapolis-based bathroom renovation specialist. 

 Indiana providers eligible for ARPA relief 

INDIANAPOLIS – HME providers in Indiana are eligible for relief under the American Rescue Plan Act. As home and community-based services, they can receive a grant equivalent to 8.1% of their qualified Medicaid billings. The Great Lakes Home Medical Services Association, AAHomecare and NCART reached out to Medicaid authorities in Indiana, as well as to Michigan and Illinois, in June 2021 to highlight CMS guidance related to acceptable uses for ARPA funding and asked for significant relief for suppliers based on that guidance. “HME providers across the country deserve the recognition and financial relief for their vital role in keeping patients safe at home during the height of the pandemic,” said Kam Yuricich, executive director of the association. “The strain on staff and operations was difficult and achieving ARPA funding relief has been a high priority for the association in all of our states.” Indiana suppliers with at least $500 in Medicaid billings in 2021 and currently providing services to Medicaid beneficiaries should submit an online attestation here by Nov. 18.  Providers must submit one complete attestation form for each Medicaid Provider ID. According to the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s (FSSA) HCBS Enhanced FMAP Spending Plan page, distribution of funds is expected to take place before the end of January 2023. 

InfuSystem partners with Sanara MedTech on new wound care partnership 

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. – InfuSystem Holdings has partnered with Sanara MedTech to create SI Wound Care, LLC, a partnership to enable InfuSystem to offer products, including Cork Medical’s negative pressure wound therapy devices and supplies and Sanara’s advanced wound care product line to new customers through the jointly controlled entity. “Over the past few years, we have built our NPWT business as a turnkey solution with a focus on offering high quality options to patients and providers,” said Richard Dilorio, CEO, InfuSystem. “We believe the wound care market represents a significant opportunity to drive revenue growth for our Integrated Therapy Services platform by treating both chronic and acute wounds. Partnering with Sanara enables us to better serve patients and care providers nationally by offering a complete line of advanced wound care products.” InfuSystem is a participating in-network provider for more than 770 health insurance networks covering more than 95% of the U.S. population and has seven distribution centers across North America. InfuSystem can leverage this infrastructure to gain acceptance for the new products and services.  

Innovation Lab receives $30K for pediatric device 

LA PALMA, Calif. – Innovation Lab was awarded $30,000 in grant funding to help bring their “Move-D” mechanical elbow brace to market to help improve activities of daily living for pediatric ataxic cerebral palsy patients. The grant was awarded during the “Make Your Medical Device Pitch for Kids!” competition held during the 10th Annual Pediatric Device Innovation Symposium hosted by Children’s National Hospital. “Since 2013, we have been dedicated to improving the lives of patients through innovation, turning inspiring ideas into products,” said Ryan Kelly, general manager of Innovation Lab. “Many of these ideas come from clinicians who are working directly with patients and see where change is needed. I am so proud of this team for their work to advance Move-D toward market so it can make a positive difference in the lives of so many kids and adults.” The competition was sponsored by the National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation, one of five grant programs funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Innovation Lab is a subsidiary of The Innovation Institute, an independent, for-profit limited liability corporation structured to cultivate innovative solutions to transform health care delivery. 

Joy for All hits half-million mark 

PAWTUCKET, R.I. – Ageless Innovation has delivered its 500,000th Joy for All Companion Pet. “We want to thank health care leaders, aging advocates, non-profit and governmental organizations that we have worked with over the last several years,” said the company. “We appreciate your progressive and innovative thinking with respect to addressing social determinants of health, dementia care and supporting caregivers.” Ageless Innovation's Joy for All Companion Pets won the Gold Award in the New Product Pavilion Providers' Choice Awards at Medtrade Spring 2020. As a thank you, the company will offer free shipping for orders placed in the month of November. To get an estimate, including this limited offer for free shipping, please fill out this form or contact [email protected] 

RESNA seeks conference proposals 

ARLINGTON, Va. – RESNA will be accepting conference session proposals via an online submission site through Nov. 29. The organization is looking for innovative, interdisciplinary and informative sessions to share with the RESNA community at its annual conference next year. Prospective speakers can learn more about the type of sessions RESNA is looking for on the 2023 Call for Session Proposals web page. Accepted speakers will receive a discounted conference registration rate this year.  

RRI launches Boost display 

ST. LOUIS – Responsive Respiratory has created a new showroom floor display to broaden its Boost Oxygen portfolio. “The showroom display is a natural extension of our Boost Oxygen portfolio,” said Steve Bannon, president.  “We are pleased to offer providers a new eye‐catching tool to drive cash sales of Boost Oxygen for the holiday season.” The display, which features Boost’s signature green color, assembles quickly and easily. The sturdy corrugated floor stand and 30 large, 10-liter natural scent canisters are sold as a kit and ship in a single carton. The display also holds the 5-liter medium canisters, as well. Boost Oxygen is stocked for immediate shipment from RRI’s central U.S. warehouse. 

Ascensia launches online platform 

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Ascensia Diabetes Care has launched its online diabetes management and analytics platform, GlucoContro.online, in the U.S. Now available in more than 15 countries globally and counting, GlucoContro.online supports diabetes management by enabling data-driven care for people using the Contour BGM portfolio. “GlucoContro.online gives PWDs and HCPs access to essential data wherever they are, providing them with peace of mind when making decisions both on a daily basis and for long-term treatment plans,” said Chester Lu, head of BGM Digital Connected Systems. The platform is intuitive and easy-to-use, with built-in data analytic capabilities. It provides users with color-coded charts and reports covering metrics such as blood glucose measurements, insulin dosing, food consumption and activity levels. This data can be shared seamlessly through a QR code or a simple one-click invitation and is held securely on the cloud, as well as offline. 

Sunrise, LUCI take next step in partnership 

FRESNO, Calif., and NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As part of a new agreement Sunrise Medical will offer patients within Veterans Affairs the option to install LUCI’s safety technology system on its QUICKIE power wheelchairs straight from the factory. It’s the first agreement of its kind for LUCI, which launched in 2020 and which announced its compatibility with the QUICKIE line of wheelchairs in July 2021, after more than a year of collaboration between the two companies. “We’re excited and grateful that Sunrise Medical is so attuned to the needs of their drivers, and particularly to the needs of America’s veterans, to form this innovative partnership and help QUICKIE drivers access LUCI’s life-changing technology,” said Barry Dean, LUCI co-founder and CEO. “We’ve been fortunate to call them our partners for more than a year, and as our teams have continued to collaborate, we’ve continued to find great ways to fulfill our join mission of improving people’s lives. This is an important step forward in what continues to be a strong and successful partnership.” Sunrise Medical opened a production facility in Nashville in late 2021 where LUCI products can be installed on the three most popular QUICKIE models as they are built. VA patients were able to request and receive LUCI on their chairs beginning Nov. 1. 

Dr. Asare awarded grant for CPAP program 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Vivian Asare, MD, the associate medical director of the Yale Centers for Sleep Medicine, has been awarded the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Foundation Community Sleep Health grant to provide funding for the Yale Compassionate CPAP Service. The service will provide uninsured and underinsured patients with equipment and assistance to offset the costs of sleep apnea therapy over the next 12 months. "Unfortunately, the cost of CPAP equipment and supplies remains a barrier to treatment for many uninsured or underinsured patients, a problem that has only worsened in recent years due to the pandemic and the Philips CPAP recall,” Asare said. “The resources provided by this grant will pay for equipment and supplies for patients in need, helping to ensure equitable access to compassionate care regardless of financial circumstances and insurance status.” Asare is also an assistant professor of medicine (pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine) and vice chief, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

Trisha Bailey receives honor 

WASHINGTON – Dr. Trisha Bailey will be honored with the Luminary Award at the 29th Annual Caribbean American Heritage (CARAH) Awards. Among other accomplishments, Bailey, who owns Bailey’s Medical Equipment & Supplies, was a finalist for the HME Woman of the Year in 2021 and her company was a finalist for the HME Excellence Awards in 2022. She migrated to the U.S. from Jamaica. The CARAH Awards is presented by the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS), the leading Caribbean-American advocacy organization responsible for securing the Presidential Proclamation of June as National Caribbean-American Heritage Month. The honors recognize the contributions and accomplishments of Caribbean leaders in various fields, while celebrating Caribbean pride and the great promise of Caribbean immigrants to America and the world. The 29th CARAH Awards will return to its in-person format this year at the JW Marriott in Washington D.C., on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. 

BOC wins award for website 

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) has won a Gold w3 Award for its recent web redesign and improvements to customer navigation. With more than 3,000 annual entries from across the globe, the w3 Awards honor outstanding websites, marketing, video, mobile, social and podcasts created by some of the world’s best digital content creators. BOC’s website was recognized for its user experience (UX) enhancements, including mobile-first design, user-friendly navigation, thoughtful menu categorization and colorful, neatly displayed design elements. “Our website is an important gateway and resource for new and existing customers,” says Judi Knott, MA, MBA, BOC’s chief strategy and marketing officer and incoming president and CEO. “The website redesign focused on our customer experience and helping them find what they need faster. We created a hub of useful resources and then improved our website organization and menus to make everything easy-to-find. We are honored to win this award and look forward to continuing to put our customers first.” The awards are sanctioned and judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts. View BOC’s new website and learn more about DMEPOS certification and accreditation at www.bocusa.org. 

PottyCap nabs top product award 

ATLANTA – Blanor Products won the Gold Award as part of the New Product Pavilion Providers’ Choice Awards at Medtrade East for its PottyCap portable urinal for women. The Motif Aura breast pump from Motif Medical won the Silver Award and the SitnStand standing-assistance system for wheelchairs from Life Assistant won the Bronze Award. All products were featured in the New Product Pavilion at Medtrade East and were voted as favorites by attendees. The awards are sponsored by HomeCare Media. 

Next Day Access opens in Oklahoma City 

OKLAHOMA CITY – Next Day Access has announced the opening of a franchise location in Oklahoma City. Next Day Oklahoma City is owned by husband-and-wife team David and Angelia Goss. The Goss’ became familiar with home accessibility when they became caretakers for Angelia’s father and had to modify their home. David Goss renovated their bathroom himself to make it a safer space for his father-in-law. “Everyone we’ve met at Next Day Access has been great to work with and has made us feel comfortable during this process,” said David Goss. “We’re excited to open and begin helping people by providing mobility solutions.” The Next Day Access Oklahoma City location will provide a wide range of accessibility and mobility solutions for residential and commercial customers. Previously, David Goss started his career as a mechanical engineer working as a government civilian in the U.S. Air Force, managing the plant and equipment at Tinker Air Force Base and then earned his master’s in business administration. He retired from the Air Force with 34 years of service. Angelia Goss retired from full-time nursing three years ago.

 

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