HME News

DEC 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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Providers ■ Former CMS Acting Administrator Leslie Norwalk wants to 'demystify' the agency. See story page 14. Providers find it pays to charge service fee . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Stretch into long-term care, say experts . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Q&A: Verus' Olivia Patton . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Amazon offers branded items . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 BRIEFS J & B Medical delivers HME to those in need NICEVILLE, Fla. – J & B Medical has been pitching in to help those in the Florida Pan- handle who have been affected by Hurri- cane Michael, the third-most intense Atlan- tic hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. Kim Wonsick, vice president and compliance officer, told HME News that the company was bringing oxygen concentrators, wheel- chairs, walkers and other general items to area hospitals per their requests. J & B has given out all of its hospital beds and has or- dered more. "Facilities in our local area are desperately needing hospital beds, but with all the cuts from Medicare in the last few years, not many companies carry them any- more, which is now a problem in our area," she said. "The supply is limited." Aeroflow named to top 40 in NC ... ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Aeroflow Healthcare has re- ceived the North Carolina Mid-Market Fast 40 Award. Each year, the award recognizes 40 businesses in the state that demon- strated sustained revenue and employment growth over the previous three years. Honor- ees are headquartered in North Carolina and achieve annual net revenues between $10 million and $500 million. In 2017, Aeroflow Healthcare recorded record sales revenue and 17% job growth, and purchased and renovated a 35,000-square-foot distribution facility in Asheville. ... names RN to lead new division ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Aeroflow Healthcare has tapped Michelle Worley, a registered nurse, to manage its new pulmonary division. For- merly the company's sleep division, Aero- flow Pulmonary incorporates more products and services, such as ventilation and the AffloVest mobile airway clearance therapy. Prior to this role, Worley was Aeroflow's clinical operations manager, responsible for leading the clinician's team. "Michelle's ex- perience with Aeroflow and as a registered nurse makes her ideal to lead the pulmonary unit to new levels of success," said Vaughn Williams, director of business operations. Cooley Medical settles allegations LEXINGTON, Ky. – Cooley Medical Equipment has agreed to pay more than $5.2 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by misrepresenting the ingredi- ents it used in certain compounded medical creams. The Prestonburg, Ky.-based provid- er previously operated a pharmacy that made compounded creams and billed government insurers like Medicare, Kentucky Medicaid, Department of Veterans Affairs and Veterans Health Administration for them. Instead of obtaining the required prior authorizations to use bulk powder forms of Lidocaine and Prilocaine, the company falsely stated the creams were made with cream-based ingre- dients. Cooley Medical self-disclosed this to the U.S. Attorney's Office. WWW.HMENEWS.COM / DECEMBER 2018 / HME NEWS 13 BY T. FLAHERTY, Managing Editor ATLANTA – HME providers are experts in caring for patients in their homes, so offering their services to residential care facilities should be a no- brainer of a business oppor- tunity, a panel of speakers told Medtrade attendees in October. "Providers tell me they lack confidence to match the prod- uct to the resident," said Karen Lerner, regulatory vice presi- dent of pressure prevention for Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare during "Get into the Stretch Zone: Why aren't you renting and selling to your local LTC and SNFs?" But product is actually sec- BY TRACY ORZEL, Contributing Writer BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Olivia Patton, chief com- pliance officer for Verus Healthcare, recently wrote a dissertation analyzing the financial stability of a single Medicare respiratory con- tract supplier. HME News spoke to Patton about her findings and how HME providers can remain in busi- ness despite reimbursement cuts. HME NEWS: Why did you choose to research this topic? Olivia Patton: DME providers are going out of business left and right and what I wanted to know is, how do you actually stay financially sta- ble with these price cuts. Is it possible, yes or BY THERESA FLAHERTY, Managing Editor H ME PROVIDERS have always held the com- petitive edge over online stores when it comes to service, they say. But now, that service may come with a price tag. P ro v i d e r J o s h E c k s t e i n recently assembled a mobility scooter that had been bought online and shipped in pieces. "I told him it would be a $150 charge," said Eckstein, vice president of Complete Home Care in Buffalo, N.Y., "and it would have been cheap- Providers help out—for a fee SERVICE CHARGE er had he bought it from me." The customer paid up. It's a shift in mindset for providers, who in the past may have been reluctant to charge for services. But, with decreased reimbursement and online giant Amazon taking steps into the HME market—it recently announced the launch of a branded blood glucose test- ing system and blood pressure monitor—they simply can't afford to give away their time anymore, they say. "Five or 10 years ago, you could afford to help people that bought something somewhere else—not even just online," said Eric Hagen, president and owner of Bayside Home Medical in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. Arcadia, Amazon launch Choice Arcadia Group has launched an Amazon-exclusive brand of consumer-use medical devices for diabetes and hypertension management. The Choice brand will start with a range of blood glucose and blood pressure monitors, both with supporting mobile apps offering tracking, data mobility and reminders. "The Choice brand is all about accessible wellness," said Bob Guest, CEO of Seattle-based Arcadia Group. "Consumers no longer need to drive to a store to stand in line and purchase their medical devices and supplies. Now, in the privacy of their home, consumers can review, compare and purchase the products of their choice. No insurance is required. Therefore, customers have the freedom of choice. They will no longer be told by their insurance company what brand they can by. Choice is freedom." Arcadia has experience in brand development within the diabe- tes and cardiovascular markets as the original architect of Walmart's ReliOn brand and Abbott's Freestyle brand. Stretch into long-term care, say experts o n d a r y t o the provid- er's ability to help LTCs, which, along with patient care, have other goals l i k e s t a f f r e t e n t i o n and satisfaction, profitability, and compliance, Lerner says. For example: The two big- gest causes of 30-day read- missions at LTCs are pressure sores and falls, she says. "Those are both very fixable with DME," she said. "Edu- cate them on the benefits of fall prevention—you have an opportunity to teach that." Verus' Patton on how to stay stable no? According to the findings, it is, but only if you're already financially stable. HME: What were some of the key recommendations? Patton: The first one is operational efficiency. Using software automation is a key factor (to being) financially stable. The second is analyzing your cost of goods sold, so that you can reduce your cost in order to stay afloat. Identifying any kind of vendor associated with how you make money—it could be your Internet service or your IT provid- er—and working and negotiating with them to get better prices. HME: Did any of your findings surprise you? Patton: Human resource solutions, because there were two different aspects. One was to put the right people in the right places, for example, heavy loading the executive team; and the other portion was finding offshore solutions. HME: Is it possible to stay financially stable and still provide quality patient care? Patton: That was one of those outlier themes that didn't correlate with my study but came up frequently. Patient care is one of the first things to go. There's no more, "Let me hold your hand to the car; let me make sure someone is there in person with you." The cost associated with that is too high. That's where the automation portion comes in. HME 'Five or 10 years ago, you could afford to help people that bought something somewhere else,' says Eric Hagen S E R V I C E C H A R G E S E E PA G E 1 4 L O N G - T E R M C A R E S E E PA G E 1 4 Olivia Patton Karen Lerner

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