In brief: AAHomecare comments on IFR, NSM buys CRT-supplies combo

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Friday, May 29, 2020

WASHINGTON – AAHomecare has submitted its comments on an Interim Final Rule that provides relief for suppliers treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The association thanked CMS for its efforts and recommended further clarification and additional regulatory relief, including clarifying when an initial sleep study is not required, suspending the enforcement of clinical conditions for coverage of hospital beds, and postponing the implementation of Round 2021 of the competitive bidding program.

HHS releases Provider Relief Fund updates

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has reminded eligible providers that they have until June 3, 2020, to accept the terms and conditions, and submit their revenue information to support receiving an additional payment from the Provider Relief Fund’s $50 billion general distribution. Additionally, a related FAQ includes new or modified guidance, including: How did HHS determine the additional payments under the general distribution (page 7), how can I estimate 2% patient revenue to determine my approximate general distribution payment (7), and how can I estimate the total payment amount I can anticipate through the general distribution (16)? By AAHomecare’s count, HHS has added 17 new FAQs and modified three others since mid-May. “These numerous additions/changes underscore the need to regularly check these pages for updates,” the association stated in a bulletin.

Groups collaborate to prevent diabetes

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association is partnering with the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists and OmniSYS to prevent Type 2 diabetes. The initiative, funded by the Centers for Disease Control, will allow small independent pharmacies to offer the National Diabetes Prevention Program to people with pre-diabetes. “The National DPP will enable neighborhood pharmacies—the most accessible health care providers—to better identify those at risk of developing diabetes, engage them in a lifestyle change program, and improve health outcomes,” said Brian Caswell, NCPA president and owner of Wolkar Drug in Baxter Springs, Kan.  Program support for the pharmacies will feature CDC-approved lifestyle coach training provided by ADCES for pharmacy staff who will deliver the National DPP lifestyle change program, as well as access to an OmniSYS platform that will facilitate intervention, documentation and education. NCPA has recruited an initial group of 18 pharmacies to participate in the program.

Masimo, Royal Philips re-up partnership

AMSTERDAM & IRVINE, Calif. – Masimo and Royal Philips have reinforced their partnership whereby Philips integrates additional Masimo measurement technologies into select IntelliVue MX-series multi-parameter monitors to help clinicians assess cerebral oximetry and ventilation status. “As a global leader in health technology, we are delighted to reinforce our partnership with Masimo, bringing their advanced measurements to our innovative IntelliVue patient monitors, thereby making them even more versatile,” said Frans van Houten, CEO of Royal Philips. The two companies entered into the partnership in 2016.

NCPA joins organizations seeking protection

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association signed on to a letter urging Congress to pass Good Samaritan legislation that would shield businesses from COVID-19 lawsuits. The coalition of organizations represents health care providers, industry groups and educational institutions who are at risk of being taken to court despite taking precautions to protect employees, patients and customers. Such lawsuits would wipe out many businesses and impede economic recovery, says the NCPA. “The wave of lawsuits is already building, and it’s important for Congress to protect front-line health care providers who are operating in good faith to serve their communities,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey.

eSolutions launches MBI lookup tool

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – eSolutions has created a free lookup tool to help health care providers more easily transition to Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers for claim reimbursement. CMS on Jan. 1 implemented the MBI system to prevent fraud, identity theft and abuse. eSolutions’ MBI Lookup tool is a secure portal that allows its clients to look up MBIs with only a patient's first name, last name, date of birth and SSN. “Today’s uncertainties mean timely reimbursement and cash flow are absolutely necessary, and we consider it our social responsibility to use our expertise for the greater good,” said Gerry McCarthy, CEO. “It is our passion to apply technology to solving tough challenges. The MBI Lookup tool is an example of how we care for providers the way they care for their patients.”

Naturally Able adds N-Able guides

LAS VEGAS – Naturally Able, an online community for people with disabilities, has expanded its advisory team to include N-Able guides who contribute lifestyle advice, resources and news with the goal of helping readers lead healthier lives. The website, www.naturallyable.com, also offers a free magazine via email subscription and an online discussion group. “I initially began Naturally Able as a charitable outreach program two years ago,” said Lisa Wells, founder. “The emotional paralysis caused by COVID-19 across our communities has sparked an immediate need for more ways to support and care for people who have disabilities while they are home-bound and feeling isolated and vulnerable, more now than ever before.” N-Able guides include: Sarah Best of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation; Richard Corbett of Wheels2Walking; Julienne Dallara of the Abilities Expo; Andrea Dalzell of the Seated Nurse; Sylvia Longmire of Spin the Globe; Caitlin Patrick, a disability community support consultant; Kristina Rhoades, Mrs. Wheelchair California; Christopher Salas of Rolling Inspirations; Nick Skov, a marketing operations consultant; Matt Tilford, an adaptive sports guide; and Jenn Wolff, OT, a disability justice advocate. Naturally Able also offers its strategic partners consulting services, including digital advertising, content development, brand advocacy, public speaking, product development, video creation and community outreach programming.

NSM buys complex rehab-supplies combo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – National Seating & Mobility has acquired Albuquerque, N.M.-based Sandia Wheelchairs and Sandia Surgical Supply. “Services supporting independence often go beyond the chair, and we are committed to serve as a trusted resource to meet our clients’ needs,” said Bill Mixon, NSM CEO. “We look forward to bringing a full suite of mobility and accessibility solutions to those who need them in Albuquerque.” Sandia Wheelchair and Sandia Surgical Supply offer both complex rehab technology services and disposable medical supplies, and their ATP Jason Lovato will join the NSM team following the acquisition. NSM says it will expand local service offerings in the Albuquerque area to include incontinence, urological and other disposable supplies.

Plans buy into insulin savings model

WASHINGTON – More than 1,750 standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage have applied to offer lower insulin costs through the Part D Senior Savings Model for 2021. Across the nation, participating enhanced Part D prescription drug plans will provide Medicare beneficiaries access to a broad set of insulins at a maximum $35 co-pay for a month’s supply from the beginning of the year through the Part D coverage gap. Based on CMS’s estimates, beneficiaries who use insulin and join a plan participating in the model could see average out-of-pocket savings of $446, or 66%, for their insulins, funded in part by manufacturers paying an estimated additional $250 million of discounts over the five years of the model. CMS anticipates beneficiaries will have Part D plan options in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, through either a standalone prescription drug plan (PDP) or a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage. Beneficiaries will be able to enroll during Medicare open enrollment, which is from Oct. 15, 2020, through Dec. 7, 2020, for Part D coverage that begins on Jan. 1, 2021.The Part D Senior Savings Model—which was announced on March 11, 2020—is a voluntary model that tests the impact on insulin access and care by participating Part D enhanced alternative plans offering lower out-of-pocket costs.

NCPA lauds new pilot program for COVID testing

ALEXANDRIA, N.Y. – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a new pilot program that involves independent pharmacies conducting up to 7,000 COVID-19 tests per week. The National Community Pharmacists Association, which represents more than 21,000 independent pharmacies across the country, applauded the program, which is being coordinated with the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York and with the state’s network of CPESN clinically integrated pharmacies. “Ramping up COVID-19 testing is an economic and public health imperative,” said Douglas Hoey, CEO of the association. “We’re grateful to Gov. Cuomo for expanding patient access to testing by enlisting independent community pharmacies in this pilot program. We urge other states and the federal government to look at integrating independent community pharmacy or implementing a similar model as the country works to increase testing and take steps to fully reopen.”

Oventus and Aeroflow get first distribution agreement

BRISBANE, Australia – Oventus Medical announced May 25 that Aeroflow Healthcare has executed its first subcontract to provide patients of Regional Health Diagnostics with theO2Vent Optima oral treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.

“We have been working with Aeroflow for 15 years as the primary CPAP provider for our OSA patients,” said Jeff Ragan, president and CEO of Regional Health Diagnostics, which operates 12 sleep labs across Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and North and South Carolina. “There was no hesitation in broadening our offering to include the O2Vent Optima within a lab model across our sleep centers. Many patients need an alternative and now we can make sure they get that choice.”

Oventus, Aeroflow and Regional Health Diagnostics will first launch the lab-in-lab model at two sleep labs in Tennessee, which is in the process of lifting sheltering-in-place orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Per their agreement, Aeroflow and Regional Health Diagnostics will have to treat a minimum of 20 patients with the Optima per site, per month, once fully operational. The agreement has a term of three years, with an automatic three-year renewal.

“This is only the beginning of my vision for Aeroflow,” said Eric Mongeau, national sales director of Aeroflow. “I plan to expand sleep services and the lab-in-lab model across the U.S.”

Oventus announced in February an agreement with Aeroflow to provide the Optima through the provider’s locations and direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform, and through agreements with referring sleep clinics across the Southeastern U.S.

Brown & Fortunato offers guidance on written protocols

AMARILLO, Texas – Brown & Fortunato has released a new white paper to help HME providers develop written guidance on protecting patients and employees under the challenging conditions of the current public health emergency. “Structuring COVID-19 Protocols for DME Suppliers” emphasizes the need to use reliable sources for structuring protocols and outlines major subject areas that should be covered. It joins other papers published by Brown & Fortunato, including “COVID-19 Personnel and Safety Issues,” “Renting Equipment to Hospitals During the COVID-19 Crisis,” “DME Suppliers and ‘Essential Services’” and “The CARES Act.”

Award winner examines pharmacist recommendations in home infusion

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Home Infusion Foundation has named Rachel Dellevar, PharmD, the winner of the 2020 Outstanding Abstract Achievement Award. Dellevar was given the award for her presentation on “Prescribing Acceptance Rates of Pharmacist Recommendations in the Home Infusion Setting.” Her abstract discussed how pharmacist recommendations made within a home infusion pharmacy setting were either accepted with or without medication or rejected, and analyzed the potential reasons for the recommendations and time involved in provider response. Dellevar, currently a PHY1 resident for Coram/CVS Specialty Infusion Services, will receive a $1,000 scholarship, as well as support in developing a manuscripts for publication based on her presentation topic, and an opportunity to publish her findings in the National Home Infusion Association’s INFUSION Magazine. NHIF has also acknowledged this year’s honorable mention: Janet Slugget of CPIE Pharmacy Services for her presentation on “Flow Rate Accuracy of Ambulatory Elastomeric and Electronic Pumps used to Deliver Continuous Infusions at Home.”

Short takes: 3B Medical, Amoena, Sunrise Medical

3B Medical has completed independent lab testing of the use of its Lumin device to decontaminate an N95 respirator. 3B is in the process of obtaining approval from the Food and Drug Administration so that the device can be used to sanitize PPE…Amoena’s Adapt Air line of breast prostheses has been awarded a Red Dot Award for product design. The Adapt Air can be individually adapted to the chest wall and the natural silhouette of the user, shortening the fitting process in mastectomy supply stores. It can even be adjusted by the user herself, if necessary. The Red Dot Award originated in 1955 to determine the best new products each year. Manufacturers and designers from all over the world submit designs to the competition in 49 categories…Fresno, Calif.-based Sunrise Medical will launch a new website with an improved mobile-friendly design next week. The revamped site also features a smart search option, and enhanced product pages to offer 360-degree product views and clear product feature callouts. Product filters make it easy to narrow searches.