In brief: Group wants liquid oxygen out, ASAA pushes for progress in sleep apnea treatment

Friday, September 7, 2018

WASHINGTON – A coalition of 20 patient and physician groups is asking CMS to remove liquid oxygen from its competitive bidding program.

“For too long, patients who require a high-liter flow of oxygen have not been able to leave their homes, jeopardizing their physical and mental health and quality of life,” stated seven organizations leading the coalition. “Everyone deserves the opportunity to live a full and healthy life and, together, we ask CMS to use its existing authority to exclude oxygen from competitive bidding.”

The coalition, which includes the American Association for Respiratory Care and the American Lung Association, made the argument in comments that it submitted to a recent proposed rule. In the rule, CMS proposes creating two separate payment classes for liquid equipment and liquid contents, in an attempt to increase access to the therapy.

The coalition commends CMS for its “recognition of numerous problems associated with access to oxygen, in general, and liquid oxygen systems, specifically.”

“However, our organizations recognize that CMS’s proposal will not, ultimately, solve the problems facing patients—especially those who require liquid oxygen,” the organizations state.

The coalition says it looks forward to working with CMS and Congress to ensure patients receive the oxygen treatments that they need.

Other organizations in the group are: Allergy & Asthma Network, Alliance for Patient Access, Alpha-1 Foundation, American Sleep Apnea Association, American Thoracic Society, CHEST/American College of Chest Physicians, Children’s Interstitial Lung Disease Foundation, COPD Foundation, Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research, Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome Network, LAM Foundation, Lung Transplant Foundation, LUNGevity, National Association for Medical Direction of Respiratory Care, Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, Pulmonary Hypertension Association, Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance and U.S. COPD Coalition.

ASAA details sleep apnea’s impact

WASHINGTON – The American Sleep Apnea Association released a report on Sept. 5 that details the impact of sleep apnea on patients and families.

“Raising Voices for Progress in Treatment and Care” is based on first-person accounts shared at the AWAKE meeting in June, and the results of a patient and caregiver survey that attracted 5,630 responses around the country.

"The powerful testimonies delivered on June 8 and through the survey illustrate the good, the bad, and the ugly of the patient journey with sleep apnea; these testimonies also chart an advocacy agenda to address our community's many and varied unmet needs," said Adam Amdur, ASAA’s chief patient office, in a press release.

The release of the report coincides with ASAA’s annual Sleeptember awareness events.

Key findings from the report include:

·      Patients rated fatigue (80%) and daytime sleepiness (78%) as the two symptoms with the most severe impact.

·      Barriers to diagnosis include low awareness of the condition among the public and medical professionals; lack of access to specialists and sleep testing centers; misperceptions and stigma related to the condition and its treatment; burdensome testing procedures; and financial constraints. Many participants described being symptomatic for years—or decades—before getting diagnosed.

·      Obstacles to effective therapy include problems associated with diagnosis, as well as uncomfortable or inconvenient design of therapeutic devices; side effects and other challenges tolerating treatments; inadequate or punitive insurance coverage policies; and misdiagnosis and/or other medical complications.

·      CPAP was the most-cited therapy in response to the open-ended survey question, "What have you found that helps the most?" However, persistence was required to determine and maintain effective machine settings, find a well-fitting mask and good seal, and properly clean and maintain equipment. More initial instruction, ongoing support, and better customer service were sought by many CPAP-treated individuals. 

For more information about Sleeptember awareness activities and other sleep health resources, visit  

 Medtrade adds bidding track

ATLANTA – Medtrade has added a track called “The New Competitive Bidding” to its educational lineup, in response to a recent proposed rule that would allow any Medicare-enrolled provider to supply DME to beneficiaries starting Jan. 1, 2019. “If you are considering a dive back into Medicare when the gap period starts, Medtrade is the ideal place to learn literally everything about your options,” said Kevin Gaffney, group show director. The track will address: a historical view of CB and how CB so quickly went off the rails; meaningful changes to CB contained in the anticipated final rule; reimbursement under the anticipated final rule; and practical steps to submit a bid. In addition, the track will have an interactive question and answer session with industry experts. The track is sponsored by Brown & Fortunato and speakers include the law firm’s Jeff Baird and Cara Bachenheimer. It is available to all attendees who purchase an educational conference pass.

Numotion helps promote Sing Me a Story

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Numotion has partnered with Sing Me a Story Foundation to help share unique stories of kids served by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Sing Me a Story, a nonprofit organization based in Nashville, Tenn., teams children with songwriters to create wonderful stories and songs. “This is an opportunity to bring together the missions of three organizations in a truly unique and positive way,” said Bret Barczak, chief marketing officer at Numotion. “Allowing kids to be kids by using their creativity, and then having a professional songwriter turn their message into a song that conveys the heart and spirit of these awesome kids was something that we saw as a great opportunity to get involved with and help promote.” Numotion customer and MDA Ambassador Carlee Beam recently met with the Sing Me a Story team to write and illustrate her own story about her family and her journey living with spinal muscular atrophy. Carlee’s personal story was put to music by singer/songwriter Rachael Davis and is called “One Strong Little M’am.”

Company finds stolen HME for sale on eBay

BOLIVAR, Mo. – Citizens Memorial Healthcare has terminated an employee after he allegedly stole home medical equipment from the company and listed it for sale on eBay, according to the Bolivar Herald Free Press. The director of CMH’s HME division contacted the Bolivar Police Department to report that three Trilogy 100 vents, which cost $9,000 each, were allegedly stolen and listed for sale on eBay under an account registered to employee Joseph Gambino. Gambino, who faces a class C felony charge in Polk County Circuit Court, had 401 items related to medical equipment listed on his eBay account, the newspaper reported.

QS/1 tapped for NCPDP program

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – QS/1 will participate in the Surescripts Early Adopter program for the new National Council for Prescription Drug Program’s (NCPDP) SCRIPT standard version 2017071. The NCPDP SCRIPT standard, which CMS is working to implement in early 2020, is used to securely exchange information between prescribers, dispensers, and Medicare prescription drug plans, including the 4.8 million e-prescriptions that Surescripts transmits each day. “Given QS/1’s experience in implementing previous versions of the NCPDP SCRIPT standard, Surescripts is confident QS/1 will again guide community pharmacies as the January 2020 deadline approaches,” said Mike Pritts, chief product officer for Surescripts, in a press release. QS/1 offers an integrated suite of software solutions for pharmacies and HME providers.

PFQC launches consumer newsletter

WATERLOO, Iowa – People for Quality Care has launched a consumer e-newsletter. The monthly newsletter features advocacy and lifestyle articles, and opportunities to self-advocate on legislative initiatives. “The newsletter has been a great tool this summer in keeping HME priorities in top-of-mind awareness for the public and activating them on key calls to action,” said Ashley Plauché, legislative partner for People for Quality Care, a division of VGM Group, and manager of government affairs for AAHomecare. The June edition featured an article about the recently released interim final rule and encouraged readers to reach out to lawmakers. Forty-three percent of those who opened the newsletter, clicked through to send letters to Congress, according to PFQC. To sign up for the newsletter, go here.

Noridian releases error rates

FARGO, N.D. – Parenteral nutrition tops the list of error rates recently released by the Jurisdiction D DME MAC Noridian, AAHomecare reports. Codes B4185, B4193, B4197 and B4199 had a 100% error rate from TPE audits for the second quarter of 2019. Right behind parenteral nutrition was surgical dressings with an 86% error rate; hospital beds with a 72% error rate; and glucose monitors with a 65% error rate. AAHomecare did note that the error rates for enteral nutrition (20%) and manual wheelchairs (32%) did improve from the last quarter. Noridian started publishing error rates last October. AAHomecare has been advocating for Jurisdiction B and C DME MAC CGS to also publish quarterly error rates from TPE audits.

Minnesota backpedals on incontinence program

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota’s Department of Human Services has tabled its plan to implement a preferred provider program for incontinence supplies after MAMES was granted a temporary restraining order on Aug. 24, according to a press release. The program, which was opposed by medical suppliers, disability advocates and the governor, would have awarded a single contract to provide incontinence supplies to Medicaid beneficiaries. “This program posed a mortal risk to dozens of Minnesota small businesses, and the patients they serve,” said Rose Schafhauser, MAMES’s executive director, in a release. “14,000 Minnesotans rely upon the incontinence benefit to maintain their independence. Without high-quality products that fit well, many patients are afraid to leave their homes.”

NSM expands Lone Star presence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – National Seating & Mobility has acquired Seating and Mobility Solutions in Waco, Texas, increasing its presence in the state. “Seating and Mobility Solutions has been a respected Waco-area CRT provider,” said Bill Mixon, NSM CEO. “We look forward to working with their clients and bringing additional services and advanced solutions to the community.” ATPs Robert Morgan and Bill Holt will transition to the NSM team. NSM now has 10 locations in Texas, with branches in Dallas, Austin, Midland, Abilene, Houston, San Antonio, Beaumont and McAllen.

Sports ‘N Spokes announces photo contest

PHOENIX – Sports ‘N Spokes, the sports and recreation magazine of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Cure Medical, a manufacturer of intermittent catheters, have joined forces on the Wheels UP! accessible travel photo contest. The event kicked off Sept. 1, with a photo contest and prize giveaways. The goal of the campaign, now in its eighth year, is to encourage people with disabilities to explore their world through accessible travel and adaptive sports. “For SPORTS `N SPOKES, the Wheels UP! event is much more than a simple photo contest,” said Christopher Di Virgilio, Wheels UP! co-founder and Sports ‘N Spokes web content manager, in a press release. “It’s a way to bring a community together and encourage people to seek out an active, healthy lifestyle while exploring the world around them.” The contest ends Sept. 14. Submit your photos here.

Numotion buys large regional complex rehab provider

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Numotion has acquired the complex rehab and home access division of Total Respiratory & Rehab, extending its reach in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. Total’s 74 complex rehab and home access employees, including 17 ATPs, will join Numotion. “Numotion’s infrastructure and technologies will ensure our customers have the absolute best and most rapid customer service experience the industry has to offer,” said Jon Novak, CEO of Total. Total, which has been in business for more than 12 years, will continue to provide respiratory services.

ResMed renews patent battle with F&P

SAN DIEGO – ResMed has filed a new petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission to stop the alleged infringement of its patented technology by New Zealand-based Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. ResMed seeks an order banning the importation and sale in the U.S. of F&P’s Simplus full-face mask, Eson nasal mask and Eson 2 nasal mask for allegedly infringing five ResMed patents related to mask system and cushion design. ResMed has also filed a new lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California seeking monetary damages, plus an infringement against future sales. F&P, which will contest the allegations, has cut its fiscal year 2019 net profit outlook due to expected legal expenses, according to news reports.

CAIRE launches oneCAIRE

BALL GROUND, Ga. – CAIRE has launched a new global campaign, oneCAIRE, to recognize the individual needs of each business partner. “CAIRE’s consultative-selling style differentiates the CAIRE brand in the marketplace and identifies those programs that are designed to be customizable to fit large, mid-size and small customers,” the company stated in a press release. “Retail Partner Program, Non-Delivery Program, O2 Discharge Program and CAIRE-sponsored training are just some of the things that CAIRE offers to their business partners.” Behind each of these programs is a portfolio of products that includes liquid, stationary, and portable oxygen therapy solutions. Also included: the new telehealth solution, CAIREview powered by SynsorMed.