In brief: Bill drops for custom breast forms, study highlights NIV

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Friday, October 5, 2018

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan bill that would require Medicare to cover custom breast prostheses was introduced in the House of Representatives last week.

The Breast Cancer Patient Equity Act, H.R. 6980, is co-sponsored by Rep. Rob Blum, R-Iowa, and Judy Chu, D-Calif.

“I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill with my colleague, Democrat Rep. Chu, to provide women with coverage of more options following a mastectomy,” said Blum in a press release. “As breast cancer rates continue to rise and we work toward finding a cure, it is important to help the women who are fighting this battle and ensure they have options following this life-changing procedure.”

Medicare already has a code and an allowable for custom breast forms, but local coverage determinations (LCDs) down code them as "not medically necessary." That means custom forms get reimbursed the same as off-the-shelf products, even though they cost $2,500 to $3,000 vs. $350 to $400, respectively.

Essentially Women, a division of the VGM Group, spearheaded the #MakeMeWholeAgain campaign, a grassroots effort to advocate for the legislation.

“Women are unique and come in all shapes, sizes and skin tones,” said Nikki Jensen, vice president of Essentially Women in a press release. “Providing Medicare coverage for a segment of this population can give women an option that can meet their needs and make them whole again.”

Similar bills have been introduced in the past, most recently in 2011.

Study highlights cost savings, health benefits of NIV

LAFAYETTE, La. – Non-invasive ventilation helps COPD patients live longer and saves Medicare money, according to a new study from VieMed and KPMG.

For the study, “CRF/COPD 4-year CMS Data Comparison of Mortality & Cost, (2013-2016),” KPMG analyzed four years of data from CMS and VieMed, a provider of post-acute respiratory services, to compare the costs and benefits of commonly prescribed respiratory assist devices. Patients using NIV at home with a high-touch care model have the lowest overall costs and hospitalization rates, it found.

Specifically, the study examined results of untreated patients who used no respiratory device at home, patients using a bi-level positive airway pressure device (BiPAP), and patients using an NIV device.

Only 22% of COPD patients with chronic respiratory failure using NIV died, compared to 38% of untreated patients, the study found.

Other findings:

·      Patients with no ventilation support cost CMS $41,000

·      Patients using a BiPAP cost $39,000

·      Patients using NIV coupled with a high-touch care model cost $29,000

·      25% of untreated patients were admitted to a hospital

·      26% of patients using a BiPAP were admitted to a hospital

·      Less than 20% of patients using NIV and receiving high-touch care model were admitted to the hospital.

“The KPMG study is one of the most important studies of this issue to date,” said Dr. William Frazier, chief medical officer for VieMed, which commissioned the study. “It should help physicians and others make informed decisions about the best approach to treating patients suffering from COPD.”

Invacare launches BluePrint for Success

ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare has launched a program with resources, tools and support to help HME providers succeed. Invacare BluePrint for Success can help providers consider whether to diversify into new channels or fine-tune their business practices, according to a press release. “No two providers are alike, but the most successful have one thing in common: a plan,” said Courtney Sankovich, director for channel marketing at Invacare. “This new program aims to help HME providers develop their own plan for success and give them the support, products and resources they need to achieve it.”

180 Medical honored

OKLAHOMA CITY – 180 Medical, a provider of urological and ostomy supplies, has been recognized for the 9th year as one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma by the Best Companies Group, which surveys nearly 6,000 companies and their 800,000 employees every year. "We are just so proud and pleased to be ranked as one of the best employers in Oklahoma," says Angie Christopher, HR director. "We're dedicated to making 180 Medical a fun and fulfilling place to work for our employees, where they can feel like they're making a difference in our customers' lives, while also being valued and rewarded for their productivity."

QS/1 to honor community pharmacists

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – QS/1 will make a donation to charity in the name of three pharmacists at the 2018 National Community Pharmacists Association Annual Convention, held Oct. 6-9, as a way to honor the work pharmacists do. “QS/1 stands with NCPA in supporting the efforts of community pharmacy,” said Kevin Welch, president, Smith Technologies and chief technology officer for J M Smith Corporation. “We believe pharmacists play a crucial role in their community’s health and are a vital link in health care.” Convention attendees will have the chance to enter three drawings for $1,500 each to be donated to the charity of their choice in their name. QS/1 will randomly select a winner each evening.

Supplier numbers stay steady

WASHINGTON – Supplier numbers held steady for the second quarter of 2018, according to AAHomecare’s latest supplier number analysis. The total decrease since 2010 has remained the same at -34% in unique suppliers and -32% in supplier locations. For 2018, there has been less than a 2% decrease in supplier companies, mostly during the first quarter.

MACs request self-audits for CPAP supplies

WASHINGTON – Certain providers of CPAP supplies have begun receiving letters from Noridian and CGS, requesting them to conduct self-audits of claims within 180 days, according to a bulletin from AAHomecare. The providers targeted: those associated with overpayments as a result of a recent study by the Office of Inspector General. If providers identify overpayments, they then need to contact the MACs within 60 days after the review to either adjust the claim, send a check for the overpayment amount, or negotiate a repayment plan. The self-audits may be conducted by third-party consultants. The OIG report, published in June, found that, of 110 sample claims that Medicare paid in 2014 and 2015, only 24 complied with Medicare requirements.
 

MK Battery taps Merdinger as president

ANAHEIM, Calif. – MK Battery has named Wayne Merdinger as its new president. Merdinger succeeds Mark Wels, who co-founded the company in 1983. “Wayne is the consummate dedicated professional with whom we have all had the pleasure of working since 2006 when he joined us as head of international business development,” said Wels in a press release. Merdinger has served as MK’s executive vice president and general manager since 2013. Wels will continue to serve on the board of directors and as vice president and general manager of MK’s parent company, East Penn Manufacturing Co.

Harmar launches LiftSquad

SARASOTA, Fla. – Harmar Mobility has launched the LiftSquad Installation Support Network. Harmar has long maintained a network of trained and certified installation professionals, and by formalizing that network, the company creates a strong platform to serve nearly 1,000 veterans every month, along with purchases from its dealer network. Every LiftSquad installer is trained and certified by Harmar through a rigorous training program. Founded in 1998, Harmar manufactures stair lifts, vertical platform lifts and a wide range of scooter and wheelchair carriers.

Website launches for discount diabetes supplies

ELMHURST, N.Y. – Affordable OTC, a provider of discount diabetes products, has launched https://affordableotc.com, a website that offers products with savings of more than 70%. Affordable OTC offers an extensive range of brand name products like test strips, meters and lancets from manufacturers like Roche and Abbott. “Affordable OTCs goal is to make the high expense of glucose monitoring available to everyone that needs it,” a press release states. “This is their main purpose, and they are going above and beyond to achieve it.”

RESNA calls for proposals

ARLINGTON, Va. – RESNA still has a call for proposals open for its 2019 annual conference, June 24-28 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto. RESNA will join six other organizations holding events at the Metro that week as part of RehabWeek. The call for proposals for instructional courses closed Oct. 1, but it is open for workshops and symposia until Dec. 21 and for the student design competition until March 15. RESNA will begin selecting proposals for the event in late winter and will send out notifications in early spring. The organization expects to release a schedule for the conference in the spring. Registration for RESNA 2019/RehabWeek 2019 is expected to open Nov. 19. The organization held its 2018 annual conference in the Washington, D.C., area on July 13-15.

HP makes inroads in custom orthotics market

SAN FRANCISCO – HP has formed a strategic alliance with Go 4-D, a provider of 3D printed medical orthotics, to modernize the process used to create custom orthotics. As part of the alliance, Go 4-D will distribute FitStation powered by HP throughout the North American market. HP’s FitStation platform combines 3D foot scanning with gait analysis to create recommendations and 3D printed custom orthotics from a person’s unique biomechanics. This will allow Go 4-D to manufacture comfortable, precise and cost-effective custom orthotics using cutting-edge HP Jet Fusion 3D printing systems. The North American foot orthotic insoles market is expected to grow to more than $1.7 billion by 2022, according to a report from Statista.

FODAC forms charity with Dynarex…

TUCKER, Ga. – Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC), a nonprofit organization providing DME and services to those living with disabilities, has joined forces with Dynarex, a provider of disposable and durable medical supplies, to form a new charitable program. Orangeburg, N.Y.-based Dynarex will formally establish the program at Medtrade, Oct. 15-17 in Atlanta, in conjunction with the launch of its Durable Medical Products line. “Our company has always felt we have more to give to the world than just our products,” said Zalman Tenenbaum, president and CEO of Dynarex. “When we decided to launch our DME line, we wanted to emphasize how this equipment empowers those with disabilities by enabling them to engage more fully in life. This partnership with FODAC syncs well with our core principal of ‘We Care Like Family.’” As part of the program, Dynarex will donate 100 wheelchairs to FODAC and will donate a portion of the proceeds from every DME purchase. FODAC will be responsible for managing the warehousing and distribution of the donated Dynarex products to different groups, including pediatric and veteran initiatives. Dynarex’s new line includes mobility products, rollators, wheelchairs, bathroom safety equipment, beds and rails, mattresses and cushions, and patient room accessories.

…collects equipment for relief efforts

ATLANTA – Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC) will be collecting donated equipment at Medtrade, Oct. 15-17 in Atlanta, for those affected by Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas. “Items most in need are wheelchairs (bariatric and standard), CPAPs, nebulizers, hospital beds, bath safety equipment and transfer tub benches,” Chris Brand, CEO of FODAC, told Medtrade. FODAC has received requests from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pitch in with relief efforts. FODAC has distributed donations of HME to those affected by disasters in 18 states and four territories since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “The 12 months since Hurricane Harvey hit Houston has seen unprecedented levels of disaster relief for communities and displaced survivors in Houston, Florida, Georgia, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the American Samoa Islands,” Brand said. “We give special thanks to generous financial and equipment donations from individuals and companies like Drive Medical, Hospital Overstock and MK Battery.” FODAC will be at Booth #2571.

iLevel passes 20K mark

DURYEA, Pa. – Quantum Rehab says more than 20,000 power wheelchair users have adopted iLevel technology, a power adjustable seat height system. “When we launched iLevel almost four years ago, we sought to give complex rehab power chair users a better experience,” said Jay Brislin, vice president of Quantum Rehab. “We’ve been humbled by the exceptional number of individuals who have shared how iLevel has revolutionized their power chair use.” iLevel offers standing-height seat elevation of 12 inches and a driving speed of 4.5 mph.