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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Mobility 16 WWW.HMENEWS.COM / DECEMBER 2018 / HME NEWS U.S. Rehab releases latest FMA data Numotion adds Safety Sleeper The Safety Sleeper from Abram's Nation has been added to Numotion's lineup. The Safety Sleeper is a fully enclosed bed system for children with special needs. "This product can help prevent unattended wandering, reduce visual stimulation and provide peace of mind for caregivers and customers," said John Pryles, senior vice president of sales at Numotion. Abram's Nation's expanding product line also includes the Fidget Folder, a sensory therapy product, and Weight Mate, a weighted lap pad. Functional Mobility Assessment tool measures, compares patient's ability to perform daily activities SEPARATE C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 1 5 ACCESSORY C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 1 Stakeholders have been in regular communication with the bill's sponsors, Reps. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., and John Lar- son, D-Conn., but until after the elections, the hands of law- makers are tied. "The path forward will, in some ways, be dictated by how the elections go," Clay- back said. The good news: Congress will likely take up at least one large bill before they close up shop for the year, making the timing of the call-in perfect. "It's a simple message: Con- gress needs to complete the circle," Clayback said. "It's an issue they've recognized—and for power, have resolved. Now it's time for manual." Like Clayback, Seth John- son likes the industry's chanc- BLACKBURN C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 1 5 realized the company was a place where she could marry her knowledge of insurance (her father owned an insurance company growing up) and her interest in the medical field. "In the first few weeks that I was there, I helped to make some significant changes," she said. "They had 50 rentals and the money was going to patients and then they were try- ing to collect it from them. We made some changes that helped their bottom line immediately." And the rest is history as they say, with Blackburn going on to drive sales and marketing, then build a complex rehab division, then create a compliance pro- gram and, finally, lead govern- ment relations and legislative affairs for the company. "While I was helping to grow the company, I realized that we needed to speak up about what we know is wrong for our patients and our businesses," said Blackburn, who has been involved in AAHomecare's Complex Rehab and Mobility Council and NCART. "Then competitive bidding came along and there was really a need for (advocacy)." Blackburn credits the two executives running the com- pany—Chuck Blackburn (who became her husband in 2001) and Ron Rukas—for respecting her and supporting her ideas. "I had opportunities, over the years, to go elsewhere," she said. "But I felt like the advantage of working at Blackburn's was I always had two men who were listening to my ideas as if I were their counterpart. I never felt like there was a glass ceiling. I know that's not always the case." Blackburn hopes, like her mother before her, she leads other women by example. Her mother worked at the Penta- gon during World War II and helped with the family busi- ness, and instilled in Blackburn the need to help people. "Even in high school, when people asked what I wanted to do, I would say, 'I want to make a difference in people's lives,'" Blackburn said. "That's how I was raised." Blackburn believes the indus- try has come a long way from the days of various industry organi- zations stacking their boards and committees with men. "When VGM came out with the Woman of the Year award, at first I thought, 'How odd; it should be the Person of the Year award,'" she said. "But there's a need to raise up women who have contributed but who haven't been noticed, much less recognized." HME Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., who with Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., introduced previous ver- sions of the bill, lost his bid for re-election this year. "We will likely be looking for a Democratic lead to replace him," Clayback said. "We'll meet with Rep. Sensenbrenner to get his thoughts." S t a k e h o l d - ers also plan to ramp up efforts to get a compan- ion bill intro- duced in the Senate. They've had bills to cre- ate a separate benefit introduced there before, but not in the most recent Con- gress, due to the focus on the accessories issue. "We'd like to drop a House and Senate bill, ideally at the same time," Clayback said. "And very early (in the ses- sion,)" added Seth Johnson, senior vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility Products. A new bill to create a separate benefit might have some new wording, too. "There have been some changes in the environment since we origi- nally introduced a bill," Clayback said. "Every year, we've made minor edits, but I think we'll really step back and go through it, and decide what improvements could be made." HME At a glance: separate benefit THE CURRENT VERSION OF THE BILL HAS 116 CO-SPONSORS. It seeks to create a sepa- rate benefit for complex rehab technology items that: 4 are designed or con- figured to meet an indi- vidual's unique needs and capacities; 4 are primarily used to serve a medical or func- tional purpose; and 3.) require certain services to ensure appropriate design, configuration and use. It also requires CMS to establish: 4 a payment system applicable to CRT items, subject to clinical condi- tions and other specified requirements; 4 quality standards for suppliers of CRT items; and 3.) a formal process for the submission of certain CRT code-set modification requests by stakeholder groups. es of getting H.R. 3730 across the finish line, in large part because its 119 co-sponsors are "pretty evenly divided" among Republicans and Democrats. "The normal criteria for get- ting included in any year-end package is, it doesn't cost too much money and it's bi-parti- san," said Johnson, senior vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility Products. "We're in a good position from both of those perspectives." But if stakeholders don't suc- ceed, NCART will make the issue a top priority again in 2019. "The question from a strategy and mechanics perspective is, do we keep it a standalone bill, or do we make it part of a sepa- rate benefit bill so there is just one bill," Clayback said. "That will really depend on the advice and direction of (Zeldin and Larson)." HME MILLER'S C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 1 5 that's important," he said. "We want our clients and referrals to see us as an educational resource on disease states and equipment, so to that extent, that will help us develop trust and relationships with those folks." Besides informational purpos- es, Miller's also uses social media sites like Facebook for product promotion. Yet the products fea- tured are not commodities, but "products that make sense, such as complex rehab, home accessi- bility and CPAP," he said. Despite the intense focus on Facebook and Twitter, Miller admits, "We're still newbies at it, with only about 500 followers on those sites…so it's not a lot yet." Even so, efforts to improve Miller's online footprint using Google reviews "has helped set our brand for the public who is searching for a provider, but is new to the area and doesn't know us," he said. HME Seth Johnson BY LIZ BEAULIEU, Editor WATERLOO, Iowa – The best equip- ment provided by the best pro- fessionals results in the best care, according to the latest quality assurance data from U.S. Rehab members participating in its Functional Mobility Assessment tool. Almost 76% percent of patients report that they haven't fallen after receiving new equipment, compared to 48% who report they haven't fallen with their existing equipment, the FMA tool shows. "It shows that falls are affected dramatically by the right equip- ment," said Greg Packer, presi- dent of U.S. Rehab, which has been developing the tool in part- nership with its parent company, VGM Group, and the University of Pittsburgh. "Falls are associ- ated with $15 billion in costs and 75% of that is borne by Medicare. People in our wheelhouse are falling, because we stick them in a (facility) when they should be in a scooter, or in a scooter when they should be in a wheelchair." U.S. Rehab in late August released a flyer with the latest data from the FMA tool, which measures and compares patient satisfaction to perform mobility related activities to daily living in existing and new equipment. The data is based on input from about 50 U.S. Rehab members that use the tool on a consistent basis, says Kayla Mahler, opera- tions manager at U.S. Rehab. Also statistically significant in the latest data: When an ATP was involved in providing existing or new equipment, a patient's ability to perform any of 10 MRADLs is higher than when an ATP is not involved. A patient's comfort, for example, scores a 3.26 out of 6 when an ATP is involved and 1.95 when they're not. "This shows that even with old equipment, patients are more highly satisfied when an ATP is involved," Mahler said. Last year, U.S. Rehab used the FMA tool to help it secure a Humana contract at higher reim- bursement rates for its members. That contract is still in play, but Packer knows that winning over Medicare will be the ultimate test for the tool. "I think CMS is starting to listen to the industry more," he said. "There need to be dramatic changes in reimbursement and in accessibility to the equipment patients need." HME Greg Packer

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