In brief: McMorris Rodgers circulates letter, AAHomecare releases white paper

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Friday, November 10, 2017

WASHINGTON – A “Dear Colleague” letter asking representatives to sign on to H.R. 4229 is being circulated by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa.

The pair introduced the bill with 53 original co-sponsors Nov. 2. It currently has 58 co-sponsors.

H.R. 4229 would extend a retroactive delay of a second round of reimbursement cuts from Jan. 1, 2017, to Jan. 1, 2019, as well as address a “double-dip” reimbursement cut to oxygen therapy. The delay was passed per a provision in the 21st Century Cures Act.

The letter states: This equipment cannot save lives if it isn’t made available to those who need it most, especially in rural communities where we know barriers to access healthcare already exist.

A recent survey by Dobson DaVanzo & Associates and commissioned by AAHomecare, found that more than 60% of case managers saw an increase in the number of Medicare beneficiaries who have developed medical complications, received emergency care or were readmitted to a hospital due to issues related to obtaining proper and/or timely access to DME.

AAHomecare releases rehab white paper

WASHINGTON – AAHomecare’s Complex Rehab and Mobility Council has created a new white paper that clearly explains the difference between complex rehab technology and standard mobility products. The three-page paper describes the products, including photos of products and their accessories, as well as the clinical/personnel involvement required in each category. ‘Many outside the industry don’t understand the fundamental differences between the two categories,” said Nancy Froslie, CMR chair and manager of district store operations for Sanford HealthCare Accessories.

CMS offers appeals settlement

WASHINGTON – CMS recently announced a low volume appeals settlement for Part A and Part B appeals at the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeal and the Medical appeals Council. The option is limited to appellants with less than 500 appeals and each individual appeal must total $9,000 or less. The settlement is for 62% of the allowed amount minus the copay, according to a bulletin from AAHomecare. As of August 2017, the Office of Medicare Hearings & Appeals had 591,962 total appeals pending—an increase of 300% since 2016. The number of DMEPOS appeals as of Oct. 12 is 291,047.

CMS to update definitions for shoe inserts

WASHINGTON – CMS has proposed revising the definitions of custom fabricated and therapeutic inserts in Appendix C of the DMEPOS Quality Standards to account for new technology. Historically, the best way to fit an individual with diabetes for inserts was to create a physical model of their foot using negative impression. CMS now acknowledges, however, that advancements in computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing technology eliminate the need to create an actual model of the patient’s foot. Instead, CAD/CAM technology now allows the direct milling of an insert without molding or negative impression. CMS has scheduled a Special Open Door Forum on Nov. 28 at 2 p.m. EST to discuss the changes. Stakeholders may email comments on the changes to ReducingProviderBurden@cms.hhs.gov through Dec. 11. CMS plans to finalize the revisions prior to Jan. 1, 2018. The American Orthotics and Prosthetics Association was among the groups pressuring CMS to make the changes.

Sommetrics enters Canadian market

SAN DIEGO – Sommetrics has partnered with AvantSleep to distribute its sleep apnea therapy system, aerSleep, to Canadians diagnosed with OSA. AvantSleep will distribute aerSleep, which uses negative external air pressure to maintain an open airway during sleep, in select markets to start, with a full launch planned in 2018. Sommetrics recently received a Health Canada Medical Device License for aerSleep, paving the way for it to be marketed there. The services of AvantSleep, a network of sleep therapy clinics across Canada, include home sleep testing and treatments.

Munson Healthcare moves, expands

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – Munson Healthcare Home Medical Equipment has a new location and more space, according to a local newspaper. The new, 5,252-square-foot space will allow the provider to expand its product offerings, which include scooters, lift chairs, urologicals and compression garment. Munson will offer more breast pumps, nebulizers and respiratory supplies in its expanded “Kid’s Corner,” and has added therapeutic shoes in response to customer demand.

Aeroflow consolidates inventory under one roof

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Aeroflow Healthcare has purchased a new building and fulfillment facility in Asheville, N.C., in a move that the company says is a reflection of its continued growth and increased productivity. The new 35,000-square-foot facility will consolidate product inventories currently housed in two separate locations in Asheville, resulting in increased efficiency and improved rates of delivery, according to a press release. Aeroflow will employ about 30 procurement, distribution and clinical services employees at the facility when it opens this fall, with plans to add about 50 employees by the end of 2018. The facility is less than four miles from Aeroflow’s corporate headquarters on Sweeten Creek Road.

Sports ‘N Spokes names winners

PHOENIX – Sports ‘N Spokes, the sports and recreation magazine of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, has announced the winners of its “Get Out & Enjoy Life” photo contest. First place goes to Ashlee Lundvall of Wyoming for her photo of fly-fishing. Lundvall will receive a custom-built Razorback wheelchair courtesy of Colours Wheelchairs, a GOEL T-shirt and the cover spot on the November issue of S’NS magazine. Second place goes to Seth Conroy of Nevada for his photo of Horseshoe Bend in Arizona; and third place goes to Ismael Arena of New York for his photo of “Columbia off-roading.” It’s the seventh year that S’NS, along with the Spina Bifida Association and Cure Medical, have sponsored the contest.

ResMed adds remote patient monitoring to AirMini

SAN DIEGO – ResMed’s AirMini, a travel CPAP device, is now connected to its AirView remote patient monitoring platform. The connectivity between AirMini and AirView allows HME providers to see a patient’s nightly data, verify adherence and spot any issues. ResMed sees monitoring as a key factor in proper therapy, citing a recent study that found 87% of patients were adherent when remote and self-monitoring tools were used. Once patients download or update the latest "AirMini by ResMed 1.2" app and opt in to upload data to the cloud, providers can view the same reports, charts, notes and therapy thresholds in AirView just like they can for ResMed's bedside Air10 devices. Providers can register their patients' AirMini devices through the AirView, Brightree or U-Sleep patient management platforms. ResMed launched the AirMini earlier this year.

NSM completes expanded ops center

NASHVILLE – National Seating & Mobility has completed the expansion and remodeling of its operations center in Chattanooga, Tenn. To commemorate the occasion, NSM hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting on Nov. 3, with guests of honor that included NSM CEO Bill Mixon and Republican state Sen. Bo Watson. The operations center now has more than 20,000 square feet of additional space to accommodate the company’s continued growth. The center, which now features an open design and break rooms, houses NSM’s payer relations, accounting, billing and collection departments, employing more than 200.

NJ train operators screened for sleep disorders

HOBOKEN N.J. – NJ Transit has taken 44 train engineers out of service until they meet treatment requirements for sleep apnea, according to NJ.com. NJ Transit screened 373 engineers for sleep disorders. Out of those engineers, 57 were taken out of service until a full sleep study could be conducted: 13 were found not to have a sleep disorder. The National Transportation Safety Board has confirmed that an engineer operating the train that crashed Sept. 29, 2016, suffered from severe sleep apnea. One woman was killed and 108 people were injured.

Short takes: Universal Software, Metamason

Metamason has been named a CES 2018 Innovation Awards Honoree for its Miia nasal hybrid mask. The mask leverages 3D scans of each patient’s face to ensure a custom mask. The awards are evaluated on aesthetic and design qualities, intended use/function and user value, unique/novel features present and how the design and innovation of the product directly compares to other products in the marketplace…Universal Software Solutions has released HDMS Scheduler, a tool to increase interoperability between different departments. The HDMS Schedulers allows providers to define appointment location, room types, professionals conducting the appointment, and the appointment types themselves.