In brief: Champions re-double efforts, Methodist Alliance named Provider of the Year

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Friday, September 27, 2019

WASHINGTON – Reps. Cathy McMorris Rogers, R-Wash., and Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, have sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to their peers in the House of Representatives urging them to co-sponsor H.R. 2771, the Protecting Home Oxygen and Medical Equipment Act of 2019.

The letter states that the relief provided by CMS last year was due to the high level of Congressional support for H.R. 4229, similar legislation introduced in 2017 that had 53 original co-sponsors.

“We urge you to co-sponsor important legislation that will continue this effort and will protect Medicare beneficiaries’ access to durable medical equipment,” states the letter.

H.R. 2771, which currently has 40 co-sponsors, would make permanent a 50-50 blended reimbursement rate in rural areas and would introduce a 75-25 rate for non-rural, non-bid areas.

AAHomecare recently issued a challenge to the HME industry, asking them to contact House members who co-sponsored H.R. 4229 in the last Congressional session and ask them to sign onto H.R. 2771.

Methodist Alliance named Provider of the Year

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Methodist Alliance Home Medical Equipment has been named Provider of the Year for the 2019 HME Excellence Awards.

Memphis, Tenn.-based Methodist Alliance, which provides a full range of home medical equipment and supplies for adult and pediatric patients, received the award at a networking reception at the HME News Business Summit in Cleveland on Sept. 23.

“We are honored to be the recipient of the Provider of the Year award,” said Gina Baptiste, CFO of the company. “Our team is over the moon.”

HME News has hosted the HME Excellence Awards since 2002.

Methodist Alliance worked its way through an initial application then a finalist application, providing information on their financials, quality control, staffing and community involvement.

“Winning this award is a tremendous accomplishment on a number of levels,” said Rick Rector, publisher of HME News. “It showcases a provider’s loyalty and commitment to their patients and community, and their ability to make smart and creative business decisions in the face of some of the most difficult times in the HME industry. The winner represents the best in the industry.”

The judges for this year’s HME Excellence Awards were Miriam Lieber, an independent consultant; Jonathan Sadock, the managing partner and CEO of Paragon Ventures; and Lisa Wells, vice president of marketing for Cure Medical.

2019 HME Woman of the Year finalists announced

WATERLOO, Iowa – Four finalists have been selected for the 2019 HME Woman of the Year award.

They are: Donna Cady, managing director, Mercy Health St. Rita’s Medical Center; Deb Kalk, CEO and president, Reliable Medical Supply; Leigh Ann Mathews, ATP, CRTS, Complete Care Stores; and Wendy Russalesi, chief compliance officer, AdaptHealth.

“These women are determined advocates and leaders—serving our industry selflessly for years,” said Clint Geffert, president of VGM & Associates. “They exemplify the dedication and innovation required to have a positive impact not only on their business and coworkers, but also the customers and the communities they serve.”

The 2019 finalists were selected by an honorary selection committee that included 2018 HME Woman of the Year Georgie Blackburn, vice president of government relations and legislative affairs at Blackburn’s; Rob Boeye, executive vice president, HME, at Brightree; Liz Beaulieu, editor of HME News; Colleen Hunter, owner of Browning’s Pharmacy and Health Care; and Todd Walling, senior vice president of sales, Business Region Americas, at Permobil.   

The winner will be announced during a special ceremony at Medtrade next month in Atlanta.

AAHomecare comments on ESRD proposed rule

WASHINGTON – AAHomecare opposes CMS’s proposal to reinforce the flawed gap-filling methodology and expresses concerns with the new payment conditions in comments it has submitted to the ESRD/DMEPOS Proposed Rule (CMS-1713-P). Items in the rule related to the DMEPOS benefit include proposals to: establish a new framework for establishing fee schedules for new DMEPOS items; streamline payment condition by developing a master list that would included items that may be subject to the face-to-face rule, written order prior to delivery requirements and/or prior authorizations; modify the timeline for competitive bidding contracts to notify CMS on change of ownership; and request to review other data sources on sales of diabetes testing strips, other than the Office of Inspector General. Read AAHomecare’s comments here and read its summary of the proposed rule here.

Prior auths for support surfaces to go nationwide

WASHINGTON – A prior authorization requirement for Group 2 pressure reducing support surfaces will expand to all states and territories effective Oct. 1. Prior auths for dates of delivery on or after July 22 were already in effect in California, Indiana, New Jersey and North Carolina for E0193, E0277, E0371, E0372 and E0373. CMS announced the addition of the codes to the national prior authorization program in April, along with seven additional codes for complex rehab power mobility devices. During a Special Open Door Forum in June, the agency said it has implemented a shorter, five-day turnaround time for the prior auths in response to industry concerns.

CareCentrix addresses concerns during meeting

WASHINGTON – CareCentrix has begun a system-wide analysis to determine areas where it can improve its processes, and started working with insurance plans to improve the reconsideration process and timeliness of responses, AAHomecare reports. The developments were the result of a recent meeting between association and CareCentrix officials. “Suppliers and major payer groups have a shared responsibility to support patients, caregivers and clinicians with quality HME products and services,” said Laura Williard, vice president of payer relations for AAHomecare. “Keeping an open line of communication and looking for ways to collaborate to improve processes and practices is essential in meeting that responsibility.” CareCentrix has also requested to work with a sample group of providers to analyze their claims to see where and why authorization and reconsideration problems have been occurring. Additionally, CareCentrix has committed to providing additional education to its staff and providers, and expressed interest in attending AAHomecare’s Payer Relations Council. AAHomecare raised multiple claims processing issues in a July letter.

NSM champions ATPs with new program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – National Seating & Mobility has launched the NSM ATP Apprenticeship Program. The 12-month program, led by NSM’s Training and Development Department, incorporates mentor shadowing, an eight-week online curriculum, monthly assignments and peer-to-peer collaboration calls—all designed to provide a “360-degree learning experience,” the company says. “NSM is proud to invest in the next generation of ATPs,” said Bill Mixon, CEO. “The program is thoughtfully designed to provide a holistic view of the profession, ensuring that participants not only are prepared for the certification exam, but are equipped with experience, knowledge and a network of support that put them well on the way to be successful ATP career.” Possible candidates for the program include NSM technicians, recent college graduates, and physical and occupational therapists. NSM says it is also partnering with universities across the U.S. to bring awareness to the ATP profession.

ResMed named dealmaker…

BOSTON – ResMed has been named Medtech Insight’s 2019 “Dealmaker of the Year,” an award that highlights a company’s ability to advance business through investment deals. During the entry period for the award (June 2018-June 2019), ResMed acquired five companies: HEALTHCAREfirst, MatrixCare, Apacheta, Propeller Health and HB Healthcare. “We’ve grown our business organically and through targeted acquisitions, building out connected device and software ecosystems encompassing 4.5 billion nights of digital health data,” said ResMed CEO Mick Farrell. “Both the cadence and execution of ResMed’s acquisitions drive toward our vision of improving 250 million lives in out-of-hospital care.” The award was presented Sept. 23 by Medtech Insight’s owner, Pharma Intelligence, a global analyst firm serving the pharmaceutical, medical device and clinical research industries. Last year, Pharma Intelligence recognized ResMed’s AirMini as a 2018 finalist for “Best Technological Innovation” in the Consumer Devices category.

... and ready to ring Opening Bell

SAN DIEGO – ResMed CEO Mick Farrell will ring the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 30 to celebrate 20 years of being listed on the NYSE and to commemorate ResMed’s 30th anniversary. Founded in 1989 as ResCare, ResMed today has more than 4.5 billion nights of medical sleep and respiratory care data and more than 10 million 100% cloud connectible devices. “From a single A$1.25 million investment, ResMed has transformed into a A$28 billion (US$19 billion) connected health leader, changing over 100 million lives a year with either a cloud-connected medical device or through software support of an out-of-hospital care agency,” said Farrell. Farrell will ring the bell at 9:30 a.m. ET. The event will be live streamed at https://www.nyse.com/bell.

BOC establishes achievement award

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) has created Certificant of the Year to recognize an individual for outstanding achievements in service, research and outreach. The award will distinguish one individual in good standing in any of BOC’s six certification areas (DME Specialist, Mastectomy Fitter, Orthotic Fitter, Orthotist, Pedorthist, or Prosthetist). Nominees must demonstrate exceptional service to patients, notable achievements in research, commitment to giving back to the community and/or outreach to developing countries or other underserved areas. “There are many certified professionals doing amazing things in their community and professional field with limited recognition,” said Matthew Gruskin, MBA, BOCO, BOCPD, BOC’s credentialing director. “BOC is proud to launch an official avenue to learn more about our credentialees’ great work and showcase certificant excellence.” Submit a nomination at www.bocusa.org/certificant-of-the-year. Nominations will be accepted through Jan. 10, 2020.

Healogics taps new chief marketing officer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. ­– Healogics has named Rob Doll as chief marketing officer. Doll has more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry, most recently with IntegraMed as vice president of marketing and strategic development. In his new role, Doll will be responsible for the expansion of the company’s brand and new solutions furthering its outreach to the healthcare community. Healogics is the largest provider of advanced wound care services in the United States, treating more than 300,000 chronic wound patients annually through 600 wound care centers.

Gateway Home Care re-ups with ACHC

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – Gateway Home Care has received accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC). Gateway Home Care, an affiliate of WVU Medicine, has been ACHC-accredited since 2016, and provides durable medical equipment, respiratory therapy, home medical supplies, pediatric home care services, and rehab and orthopedic products. “Our commitment to our patients and customers is for Gateway Home Care to be the local choice for products and services that help patients live as independently and actively as possible,” Judy Hockman, director, told a local newspaper, The Journal. “I am very proud of our entire team for working together to once again achieve ACHC accreditation.”

SoClean names new global adviser

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. – SoClean has tapped Egbert van Acht as its global business growth adviser to expand its business across Europe and Asia. Van Acht previously served as CEO of the Personal Health business for Philips and was responsible for more than $7 billion in sales. SoClean makes a CPAP cleaner and sanitizing machine. “As global awareness of sleep apnea rises, the sleep apnea devices market is growing rapidly—we’ve certainly seen that as SoClean has quickly risen to become the industry leader in CPAP cleaning, and demand for our product has increased well beyond the United States,” CEO Bob Wilkins said. “We are continuously looking to engage the best people in the industry and could not be more pleased to bring Egbert on board to help guide our ongoing expansion internationally.”