HME News

SEP 2018

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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Vendors hme news / september 2018 / www.hmenews.com 21 Periodicals postage paid at Yarmouth, ME and additional mailing office. HME News (ISSn 10913823) is published monthly by united Publications, Inc., 106 lafayette St., PO Box 998, Yarmouth, ME 04096; 207-846-0600. Publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material or prices quoted in the magazine. Contributors are responsible for proprietary classified information. ©2018 by united Publications. All rights reserved. Reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission of the publisher is expressly prohibited. Reprints may be obtained from the YGS Group at 717- 505-9701, ext. 100. Back issues, when available, cost $7 each within the past 12 months, $12 each prior to the past 12 months. Back issue orders must be paid in advance either by check or charged to American Express, Visa, or Master Card. HME News is distributed without charge in north America to qualified home medical equipment providers. Paid print subscriptions to those not qualified cost $65 annually to the u.S. and Canada and $150 to all other countries. All payments must be made in u.S. funds drawn on a u.S. bank. For subscriber services, including subscription information, please call 800-869-6882. POStMAStER: Send address changes to HME news, PO Box 1888, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-1888. Buying: Sunrise, Mediware FRESNO, Calif. – Sunrise Medical has acquired Magic Mobility, a manufacturer of all-ter- rain power wheelchairs based in Melbourne, Australia. the deal expands Sunrise's exist- ing product portfolio of wheelchairs, scoot- ers, and seating and positioning products. "the opportunity of offering our custom- ers greater possibilities in terms of power wheelchairs is at the heart of this acquisi- tion," said Jim Barratt, senior vice president of commercial operations for Sunrise. "the inclusion of the Magic Mobility portfolio, which is at the leading edge of outdoor, go- anywhere, all-terrain power wheelchairs, further enables people to enjoy their life and experience an enhanced choice of product capabilities." Magic Mobility, which was formed in 1994 by rehab industry profes- sionals, has 24 employees. meDIwAre AcqUIres blUestrAtA ehr, FAzzI AssocIAtes LENExA, Kan. – Mediware Information Systems has acquired St. louis-based BlueStrata EHR, a cloud-based electronic health record system for long-term post-acute care pro- viders. the deal will allow Medicare to better address the healthcare needs of the aging populations and the business and process needs of the post-acute market… Mediware has also acquired Fazzi Associ- ates, a northampton, Mass.-based provider of coding services to the home health and hospice market. Fazzi also provides consult- ing, training, benchmarking and research to more than 1,400 agencies across all 50 states and Washington, D.C. "the com- bined company will have a greater capacity to help post-acute and community-based providers increase efficiency and improve clinical, financial, and operational perfor- mance to advance patient care," Mediware stated in a press release. Mediware plans to maintain Fazzi's brand and headquarters, and retain the company's leadership team. Dr. Bob Fazzi will serve in a strategic advi- sory role with Mediware. hme ATP SURVEY C o n t I n u e d f r o M pa g e 1 staff to bill for complex rehab, a require- ment that can easily affect access. the survey shows that the average age of an AtP is 51.93, significantly higher than the average age for other occupa- tions nationwide (42.2). the average age of an Ot and Pt are 40.9 and 40.4, respectively. "there are not a lot of AtPs below that 42 age group," nix said. Equally striking: the survey shows there's no real influx of AtPs predicted, either, with only 3.4 respondents per year, on average, taking the test. "More AtPs are needed, we know that," nix said. "Per year, there's a 4.8% demand, 3.4% retiring and only 1.8% incoming." the survey also shows that AtPs are predominantly male (79.1% vs. 20.9% women) and white (92.5%), and most likely to have a bachelor's degree (34.6%). Beyond demographics, the study shows that the majority of AtPs receive a salary and commission (60.1%), with 34.3% receiving only a salary and 5.6% receiv- ing only a commission. the survey opens a Pandora's box of new questions, mainly: Who needs to take responsibility to recruit AtPs into the profession? the government? the industry? Educational institutions? "Speaking from personal experience, two years ago, I didn't know what an AtP was or that it even existed," nix said. "I was recruited into the program at uPitt by Rory Cooper." hme ExPANSION C o n t I n u e d f r o M p r e V I o u s pa g e the expansion was sorely needed, with VGM Fulfillment posting another year of double-digit growth, Stolz says. "We're up more than 40% in volume," he said, "and we project that to continue. We're having a strong year." Adding a resupply program for com- pression stockings, on top of the exist- ing program for CPAP supplies, will only spur additional growth, says Aram Susong, communications manager. "One great thing is, if you already do CPAP with us and you decide to do com- pression stockings, you combine your vol- ume with us and drive your costs down even further," he said. hme VOCSN VENT C o n t I n u e d f r o M p r e V I o u s pa g e rollout, with wider distribution set for late 2018, early 2019. unlike multi-mode vents—devices that provide ventilation and bi-pap therapy— the VOCSn combines separate DME into one device that would, otherwise, fall under separate fee schedules, company officials say. "Concerns have been raised by the manu- facturer of a multi-function ventilator about how the separate payment categories would apply to a new type of ventilator," CMS wrote in the rule. When reached by HME news, company officials at Ventec said they were still teasing apart the 10 pages of the 368-page proposed rule dedicated to multi-function vents. Other stakeholders, however, say they are surprised, with all the work that needs to be done to better define Medicare's policies for vents, that CMS would make this a priority. "the irony is that there have been 'multi- function' vents that provide non-invasive ventilation and bi-pap therapy on the market for six years, and we've been screaming for Medicare to give us clearer medical guidelines for them," said Max Hoyt, vice president of government relations for provider Viemed. "there's a real need for that." the need for a vent that provides more than ventilation and bi-pap therapy is not as great, stakeholders say. "It looks like it's strictly for AlS patients," said tyler Riddle, CEO for provider MRS Homecare. "that would be the only disease state that would qualify a patient for so many different therapies. I do see the benefit of hav- ing one piece of equipment, but it would have to be cost effective to provide." the device can be configured for all thera- pies or a mix of therapies, and is designed to improve care for patients with neuromuscular disease, impaired lung function, spinal cord injury and pediatric development complica- tions, company officials say. the cost effectiveness of a multi-function vent is a big question for some stakeholders, who believe whatever add-on reimbursement CMS provides will not cover the costs of the more-expensive device. "You're not going to put a whole vitals cart in the home because a patient needs to check their blood pressure every day," Hoyt said. "You're going to give them a $30 cuff, not the $1,000 cart, even though some day down the road they might need it." Big picture, stakeholders applaud CMS for proposing new policies that reflect the need for increased integration in health care. "It's a very cool concept—for the right patient," said Chris Rice, CEO of provider Diamond Respiratory. "I'm impressed by their ability to get it included in this rule." hme RESMED MOBI C o n t I n u e d f r o M p r e V I o u s pa g e ResMed will also bring its reputation for connected health into the POC market. On the CPAP side, the company now touts more than 8 million patients on AirView, its cloud- based patient management system, and more than 5 million patients with 100% cloud-con- nected devices. "(the Mobi) won't just be having a device that filters nitrogen," Farrell said. "It's going to be a device that's smart; that moves with the patient and is mobile; that is small, quiet and comfortable, with high-quality oxygen output. But also that'll have connectivity and have all the value that we provide in digital health across the rest of our business." hme VGM FULFILLS C o n t I n u e d f r o M p r e V I o u s pa g e the program allows the Rochester, Minn.- based Mayo Clinic Stores, which has 13 locations, to focus on answering more calls and taking more orders—leaving the pick- ing, packing and shipping to VGM Fulfill- ment, says Gina Owen, assistant director. "When we started out, we would mail supplies," she said. "We'd go to the retail floor, pull it out, put it in a box and send it to the mail room to ship out. We were handling it three or more times. It was inefficient." Because the sky's practically the limit for SKus for compression, Mayo Clinic Stores worked closely with VGM to analyze their data and determine what their "bread-and- butter" products were and only stock those. "But if someone wants a stocking in rutabaga and we don't carry that, VGM will place the order with the manufac- turer," she said. that approach, along with VGM's will- ingness to provide inventory audits to man- ufacturers, has helped ease the minds of those manufacturers, which have needed some convincing that a resupply program was the right fit for the product category, Owen said. "It was a sell, and VGM did a fantastic job," she said. Owen has moved on to coming up with the next product category that's well suited for a resupply program. "Another obvious one would be breast pumps and supplies, and mastectomy prod- ucts like bras," she said. hme PHILIPS C o n t I n u e d f r o M pa g e 1 in place for servicing customers remotely. "there is a package of information, there are videos, and there is certainly a direct com- munication with the customer," he said. "We are accessible to them through a direct phone line for service support." Philips made the changes to the website, Diacopoulos says, in large part due to suc- cessful efforts by another POC manufacturer in marketing directly to consumers. "We want to compete for that brand aware- ness and we want customers to choose Phil- ips," he said. But Philips still prefers that customers buy through HME providers, Diacopoulos says. "We're in this to create awareness and to be the preferred brand," he said, "and to help align our DMEs to thrive." In addition to a revamped www.COP- Dinfo.com, Philips also plans to make the InCourage System from Respirtech, which it acquired last year, available to select HME providers in July and to expand services around its CoughAssist. hme PETER CRAMTON C o n t I n u e d f r o M pa g e 1 clearing price/maximum winning bid meth- odology. hme News: Remind me, how did you get interested in CMS's bid program to begin with? Peter Cramton: nancy Johnson, the six-time congresswoman from Connecticut, called me and asked if I would take a look at the DME auction rules. I did and I was shocked. I told her, "these rules can't work. there are fatal flaws." thus began my multi-year effort to reform DME auction rules. hme: What were you—and the industry—up against? Cramton: CMS acted like its mission was to defend the status quo and had no interest in fixing the mess. I explained that it was actually easier to fix it than to stumble along. Congress was the most supportive, but get- ting legislation passed was a huge ask. hme: Have you been keeping up with how the bid program has been going? Cramton: I have had a few meetings with folks at the top of HHS on this matter, begin- ning in March. I found there was consensus about the flaws and a true desire to address the key problems: non-binding bids, median pricing rule, and zero transparency. I'm hope- ful that the program will be fixed. hme: Since the proposed changes are ones that you and other experts have argued for, do you feel validated? Cramton: Yes, but I get little comfort from knowing I was right. I just want to see the program fixed, which will save lives and money, and improve the care that beneficia- ries receive. hme

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