In brief: CMS releases timeline for Round 2021, Aeroflow locks in BCBS contracts

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Friday, May 10, 2019

WASHINGTON – CMS has updated its timeline for Round 2021, including the opening of the bid window on July 16.

“The bid window was originally schedule to open in June, but in effort to provide bidders with additional time to prepare, CMS will now open the bid window on July 16, 2019,” the agency stated in a bulletin today.

CMS will open the registration window for its bid system, DBidS, and its secure portal, Connexion, on June 10.

Other important dates:

Aug. 16: DBidS registration closes

Aug. 19: Covered document review date for bidders to upload financial documents in Connexion

Sept. 18: Bid window closes

Fall 2019: Preliminary bid evaluation notification

Summer 2020: CMS announces single payment amounts and begins contracting process

Fall 2020: CMS announces contract suppliers

Jan. 1: Round 2021 contracts and prices go into effect

CMS encourages bidders to take advantage of the additional time to prepare, including by participating in three upcoming webcasts on bid surety bonds and lead-item pricing (May 14), preparing and submitting financial documents (May 21), and registering and submitting a bid (May 28).

Aeroflow signs contracts in New York

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Aeroflow Healthcare has partnered with BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York and BlueShield of Northeastern New York to provide breast pumps, catheters, and CPAP devices and supplies to their members. “Aeroflow’s mission is to improve patients’ quality of life, and partnering with two renowned New York State insurers allows us to further that mission with patients in one of America’s largest markets,” said Shana Fox, senior strategic partnerships associate at Aeroflow Healthcare. “We look forward to serving patients in western and northeastern New York with the exceptional medical supplies they need, at little or no cost to them through insurance.”

Agile Medical adds oxygen to brand

WEST BERLIN, N.J. – Agile Medical, parent company of The CPAP Shop, has launched The Oxygen Concentrator Supplies Shop, an online store offering 24/7 access to products to treat respiratory conditions. The company says the oxygen shop is a “natural progression.” “We have increasingly observed that the same shortcomings within the CPAP market were also impacting other lines of respiratory care,” said Tony Zadnik, founder and CEO of Agile Medical. “Because CPAP and respiratory therapy go hand-in-hand, it is a natural progression four our team.” The oxygen shop offers a range of home and portable oxygen concentrators, standard and pocket nebulizers, pulse oximeters and more. Each offering was hand picked by on-staff RT Jose Acosta. In addition to its online presence, The CPAP Shop and The Oxygen Concentrator Supplies Shop have two retail locations in West Berlin, N.J., and Mentor, Ohio. Up next for Agile Medical: Sleep Care Online, an interactive platform delivering sleep telemedicine to patients with sleep disorders in the self-pay market.

Home Oxygen Company earns another reprieve from audits

MODESTO, Calif. – Home Oxygen Company has earned another reprieve from audits for oxygen, due its success ratio of more than 90% in recent audits, the company says. Noridian Healthcare Solutions has notified Home Oxygen Company that it has successfully completed Round 1 of the Targeted Probe & Educate program and will not be required to complete subsequent rounds. As a result, the company says its audit file has been “closed.” “This is a collaborative effort between intake and A/R teams, resulting in compliant files,” said Andrea Ewert. This marks the fourth time Home Oxygen Company has successfully passed oxygen- and sleep-related audits, and earned another 12-month reprieve.

CPAP alternative Bongo Rx hits market

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – AirAvant Medical says its flagship product, Bongo Rx, is now available for patients requiring treatment for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. The Bongo Rx, cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, seals comfortably in the nose and works by creating back pressure when an OSA sufferer exhales. “For compliant CPAP patients, the Bongo Rx may provide a supplemental treatment option to complement their lifestyle,” said Javier Collazo, vice president. “For non-compliant patients, the Bongo Rx may provider a patient friendly, non-cumbersome treatment option to get them refocused and re-engaged on treating their obstructive sleep apnea.” AirAvant previewed the Bongo Rx at Medtrade in October.

Parentgiving launches first product

MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Parentgiving has launched its first private label product, Dry Direct Ultimate Underwear, an incontinence product designed to provide seniors with absorption at a value price. “Premium incontinence products are the fastest growing segment in our caregiving products space,” said CEO David Spain. “As caregivers ourselves, we want to provide family caregivers with a better choice for their loved ones—competitively priced, comfortable and super-absorbent incontinent underwear.” Dry Direct is 10 years in the making, with the past three years spent studying customer surveys, reviews and product rating data, and visiting every major adult diaper factory in the United States. Parentgiving was founded in 2018 to help people provide better care for their aging parents.

NRRTS recognizes Carey Britton

WASHINGTON – Carey Britton was presented with the NRRTS Distinguished Service Award during the 2019 National CRT Leadership and Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. Britton, an ATP/SMS, CRTS, serves on the NRRTS board of directors and its executive committee, and is a member of RESNA and VGM. He also organizes continuing education classes and is a regular speaker at The University of Miami, Department of Physical Therapy DPT Program and University of Miami Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Pediatric Physical Therapy Program.

WellSky launches foundation

LENEXA, Kan. – WellSky has launched WellSky Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving quality of life by removing social barriers to better health outcomes. The foundation will focus on the top socioeconomic factors that impact overall wellbeing: food insecurity, housing, transportation and isolation. “At the heart of the WellSky Foundation is the belief that working together with community partners elevates care and helps people in need find support, kindness, and a better chance at recovery and lasting wellness,” said Andrea Morgan, executive director of the WellSky Foundation. “WellSky understands that caring for the whole person—in the context of their communities, families and social support systems—results in better outcomes, lower costs, and sustainable care. It is the driving force behind the WellSky Foundation.” WellSky Foundation hopes to announce its first round of beneficiaries and grant recipients later this year.

Viemed sees increase

LAFAYETTE, La. – Viemed Healthcare reported revenues of $20.4 million for the first quarter of 2019, a 45% increase compared to the same quarter last year and 11% increase compared to the fourth quarter last year. Ventilator patient count for the quarter grew approximately 36%. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $4.8 million and gross margin was $15.4 million. Viemed expects to generate total revenues of approximately $22.2 million to $22.8 million during the second quarter of 2019. “We have started the year fast with our growth outpacing prior year’s first quarter growth rate as we continue to get our therapy on more patients and expand into more geographic areas,” said Casey Hoyt, Viemed CEO. “We continue to invest in our company as we have expanded our technology and marketing efforts at a rapid pace.” 

Judge issues first sentence in ‘Operation Brace Yourself’

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Roderic Bain, the CEO of several DME companies based here, has been sentenced to more than three years in prison for allegedly defrauding Medicare of millions of dollars. Bain, who pleaded guilty to one count of false statements relating to healthcare matters, was also ordered to pay $1.9 million in fines and restitution. It’s the first sentence handed down in “Operation Brace Yourself,” a nationwide fraud takedown that saw 24 defendants charged for their roles in a $1.2 billion fraud scheme involving illegal kickbacks and bribes in exchange for Medicare referrals.

Brightree integrates with CommonWell Health Alliance

ATLANTA – Brightree’s home health and hospice customers will now have access to more than 50,000 locations and health systems nationwide through an integration with CommonWell Health Alliance, a nonprofit trade association of health IT companies. Brightree customers will be able to quickly obtain documents and data from a patient’s previous hospital and physician visits and share patient updates with providers in the CommonWell network. “What this amounts to is a smoother journey for patients moving from care setting to care setting, which is traditionally difficult to navigate,” said Nick Knowlton, Brightree vice president of business development and CommonWell board vice chairman. “Our customers can now help provide a better experience more efficiently, which can lead to improved outcomes.”

DarioHealth to sponsor ADA walk

ARLINGTON, Va. – DarioHealth has partnered with the American Diabetes Association as a Living Red Sponsor of NYC-Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes. Dario offers a mobile application to engage and educate users on topics ranging from diabetes management to nutrition to exercise, and a platform that allows healthcare professionals to access data and provide recommendations. The company will publish several studies demonstrating the clinical benefits of using its Digital Therapeutics solutions at the ADA’s 2019 Scientific Sessions conference in June. "We are honored and humbled to be recognized by the ADA as an organization that can advance the ADA's cause of preventing and curing diabetes," said Erez Raphael, DarioHealth's CEO. "Dario is striving to use its technology and expertise to engage its users in adopting healthier habits, with scientific-based results."

NSM to distribute eye control technology

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – National Seating & Mobility has signed an agreement with Evergreen Circuits to nationally distribute the Independence Drive eye control wheelchair technology. In addition to distributing this new product, NSM ATPs have been working in collaboration with Evergreen Circuits to conduct hands-on product trials to provide feedback for enhancements. “The inventive work by Evergreen Circuits on the Independence Drive system is indicative of the life-altering mobility solutions on the horizon for those we serve,” said Bill Mixon, CEO of NSM. “Since the system debuted this past fall, many of our ATPs have provided feedback supporting specific-use cases for this technology.” The technology merges a power wheelchair, tablet computer and eye-tracking camera into a virtual joystick that powers wheelchair movement. Evergreen Circuits was founded as a result of a challenge made by former NFL player and ALS patient Steve Gleason. Due to the progression of his disease, Gleason needed technology allowing him to drive his wheelchair using just his eyes. Evergreen Circuits developed the technology in partnership with Gleason’s foundation, Team Gleason, and Jay Smith, CEO of Livid Instruments in Austin, Texas, also an ALS patient. Team Gleason has purchased a number of units for those who have a need for the technology but no funding options. NSM will donate the installation and set up for these units as needed.

People news: Soleo Health, Pediatric Home Service

McKinney, Texas-based Soleo Health has appointed Craig Vollmer to the newly created role of chief commercial officer. Vollmer, who has been with Soleo Health since its founding in 2014, was promoted from executive vice president. In his new position, Vollmer will be responsible for leading execution of the company’s commercial strategy across key constituents, such as providers, health systems, payers and pharmaceutical manufacturers. He will oversee therapeutic programs and marketing, as well as the company’s managed markets department. Under Vollmer’s leadership, Soleo Health has gained access to 11 manufacturer limited drug distribution networks, executed multiple new product launches and oversaw the development of several of the company’s successful programs, including its proprietary clinical outcomes program, SoleMetrics…St. Paul, Minn.-based Pediatric Home Service has announced that its own Sarah Brundidge has been appointed president-elect for the Wisconsin Society for Respiratory Care. Brundidge is a respiratory therapist and clinical educator at the PHS Milwaukee office. WSRC is a professional state society for respiratory therapists that’s part of the American Association for Respiratory Care.

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