HME News

AUG 2017

HME News is the monthly business newspaper for home medical equipment providers. This controlled circulation publication reaches 17,100 home medical equipment services providers, including traditional HME dealers & suppliers, hospital- and pharmacy-o

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Cures payments start to roll in. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Senate letter for bid relief draws 49 signatures . . . . . . . . . 3 Heartland attendees hear from Navy Seal . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Poll: Providers back shorter Medtrade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 ■ Cures adustments require planning, says Andrea Stark. See story page 4. News www.hme N / august 2017 / hme N ews 3 o I g : Bid program did not impede access WASHINGTON – Most Medicare beneficiaries continued to have access to CPAP/RAD devices after Round 2 of the competitive bidding program began, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General. For CPAP/RAD supplies, howev- er, Medicare payments stopped for 46% of beneficiaries in Round 2 CBAs, compared to 33% in non-bid areas. "The decline may or may not indicate disruptions in receiv- ing needed supplies," the OIG stated. "For example, the decline may indicate that the program reduced the provision of unnec- essary supplies, as CMS determined to be the case with Round 1 of the program." o I g : s avings from s enior m edicare Patrols are on the rise WASHINGTON – Senior Medicare Patrol proj- ects achieved $163,904 in cost avoidance on behalf of Medicare and Medicaid in 2016, up from $21,533 in 2015, accord- ing to a study from the Office of Inspec- tor General. Savings to beneficiaries and others totaled $53,559, up from $35,059, the OIG says. In 2016, 53 projects had a total of 6,126 active team members who conducted a total of 26,220 group out- reach and education events, reaching an estimated 1.5 million people. Drive DeVilbiss steps up support for aah WASHINGTON – Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare has become a platinum level partner of AAHomecare, the highest corporate cat- egory. "Providing AAHomecare with addi- tional resources is an investment that I am confident will pay significant dividends for our company, as well as the suppliers we serve," said Harvey Diamond, CEO of Drive DeVilbiss. While AAHomecare's budget is largely derived from membership dues, ad- ditional financial commitments from cor- porate sponsors allow the association to increase its work in areas like payer rela- tions, value-based reimbursement models, and legislative and regulatory affairs. Drive DeVilbiss joins Medtrade at the platinum level. Other companies in leading corpo- rate categories include Apria Healthcare, Brightree, Inogen, Lincare, Pride Mobility Products, ResMed and The VGM Group at the gold level; and Byram Healthcare, Phil- ips Home Healthcare Solutions and Sun- ovion Pharmaceuticals at the silver level. People: Laura w illiard AAHomecare has promoted Laura Williard to vice president of payer relations. In a bul- letin to members, the association credited Williard for "stemming the tide and in some cases reversing further cuts with the help of state associations, utilizing a multi-pronged approach." AAHomecare says Williard will continue to push and reach out to the De- fense Health Agency and contractors to get a CURES fix implemented for Tricare, and will continue to work with state leaders to educate payers like BCBS in a number of states on the impact of using Medicare's competitive bid rates. By T. Flaher T y, Managing e ditor WATERLOO, Iowa – On the battlefield that is Medicare, HME providers can either retreat or fight back— either way there is risk, keynote Kevin Lacz told Heartland Con- ference attendees in June. "There are risks you take everywhere you go," Lacz, a for- mer Navy Seal and best-selling author, who co-starred in the movie, American Sniper. "The reward is on the other side. You By T. Flaher T y, Managing e ditor WASHINGTON – Industry stake- holders say they're primed to build further support for bid relief after a post-July 4th recess surge resulted in a total of 49 signatures for a Senate sign-on letter. The letter, spearhead- ed by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., asks HHS Secretary Tom Price to use his regula- tory authority to provide bid relief in rural areas. A similar letter in the House secured 154 signatures in June and helped to preserve reimbursement for accessories for complex power wheelchairs. "It makes it easier for the administration to make those By l iz Beaulieu, e ditor WASHINGTON – When HHS Secre- tary Tom Price took to Twitter in June to post several videos of small business owners speaking on the negative impact of Obam- acare, one in particular caught the eye of social media-savvy HME providers. Dudley Hoskins Bostic, owner of Hoskins Drug Store in Clin- ton, Tenn., said, "There is an access issue. It's not available— it is actually not available to the residents and the citizens of Ten- nessee. And it's narrowing as we speak." The video, only a few seconds long, had providers wondering whether Bostic was talking about Obamacare—or Medicare's com- petitive bidding program. "My daughter just pulled it up and my mouth fell open," said Bostic, who hadn't seen the video until provider Tyler Riddle called her to tell her it was on Twitter. "I know that (Price) is an advo- cate for us. But it was DME bid- ding and rates that I was talking about. They must have chopped that out." Bostic says she was part of a recent roundtable discussion in Tennessee hosted by Price and CMS Administrator Seema Verma. While she was fully aware that the focus of the meeting was the Affordable Care Act, she went off script because it's competitive By l iz Beaulieu, e ditor ATLANTA – The decision by show organizers to shorten Medtrade from four to three days is spot on, say the large majority of respon- dents to a recent HME Newspoll. Citing Medtrade's shrinking exhibit hall, 85% of respondents said they think it makes sense to shave off a day from the show. "Twenty years ago, it used to take four Steady pressure for bid relief improvements when they know there's significant sup- port for doing it," said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice p re s i d e n t o f g o v e r n m e n t relations for Invacare. There's sig- nificant urgen- cy to get some- thing done. A recent review of the Medi- care Supplier Directory by AAHomecare showed the num- ber of traditional DME suppli- ers is steadily decreasing, with roughly 6,086 unique suppli- ers and 9,810 locations nation- ally as of July of this year—a decrease of 42% since 2013. From the Heartland: Learn to read, react then always reassess Poll respondents back shorter Medtrade show Criticism of bid program mixed in with criticism of Obamacare caught on tape bidding that has had the most sig- nificant impact on her 87-year- old business. During the roundtable discus- sion that preceded the video tap- ing, Bostic says she told Price and Verma that Hoskins Drug's two priorities are getting pharmacists recognized as healthcare provid- ers and securing the reimburse- ment that goes along with that; and repealing and replacing the competitive bidding program. "He pointed his finger at me and said, 'Yes ma'am,'" she said. And therein lies the rub for providers like Riddle. While pro- viders have been assured repeat- edly in private that Price and Verma are working on competi- tive bidding reform, they have yet to acknowledge on the record, since taking office, that there are issues with the program. That acknowledgement came on June 8, however, when, dur- ing a hearing on the fiscal 2018 budget by the Senate Finance Committee, Price said HHS is "looking very seriously" at the access issues created by the bid program, especially in rural areas, according to news reports. "(Bid reform) is very much on (HHS's) radar," agreed Riddle, vice president of MRS Homec- are in Tifton, Ga. "But what that doesn't do is motivate a provider that's barely hanging on. What that doesn't do is put CMS on public notice." hme 'In these decreased reimbursement days, we try to save money any way we can,' says one respondent days to visit all the exhibitors at Medtrade," wrote David Beshoar of MedServe Equip- ment in Palatine and Urbana, Ill. "Now you can likely visit all of them in two days. It's very reflective of how our industry has changed." Show organizers announced in May that this year's Medtrade, Oct. 23-25 at the Georgia World Congress Center, would end on Wednesday night, instead of Thursday afternoon. They also announced an addi- tional hour of exhibit time on Tuesday and Wednesday, extending show floor hours to 5 p.m. Organizers appear to have hit the sweet spot with a three-day show. The largest majority of respondents (41%) said that's how long they have attended Medtrade in past years. Thirty percent and 26% of respondents said they have attended the show for four days and two days, respectively. A shorter Medtrade also helps attendees reduce travel costs and minimize time out of the office, respondents say. "I usually attend the pre-show education on Monday, then head over to the show L E T T E R S s e e pa g e 4 H E A R T L A N d s e e pa g e 2 1 m E d T R A d E s e e pa g e 4 need to learn to read and react, and always reassess." The 16th Annual VGM Heart- land Conference, which was held June 12-15, featured more than 70 exhibitors and a full slate of sessions covering 10 tracks, from billing and reimbursement to big ideas. With providers battling audits, competitive bidding and onerous regulations every day, Lacz's met- aphor resonates. Jay Witter

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