HME News

FEB 2019

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 h ME NE w S / f E b R u AR y 2019 / www.h MENE w S .co M 15 Clinician Task Force seeks to 'build capacity' By Liz Beau L ieu, e ditor a RLINGTON, Va. – The Clinician Task Force has identified its top priorities for 2019, includ- ing recruiting more clinicians into the seat- ing and wheeled mobility profession. "We use the term building capacity," said Cathy Carver, the new executive director of the CTF. "Most clinicians in this profession are in my shoes and have been doing it for years. We don't want to leave this profession without anyone behind us." The CTF is looking at developing men- toring programs and a webinar series around cultivating the next group of seat- ing and wheeled mobility professionals. Other priorities for the CTF: securing a separate benefit for complex rehab and securing Medicare coverage for power standing and seat elevation technology; and monitoring the increasing number of managed care companies that oversee state Medicaid programs. The CTF aims to stay on top of these priorities by building out its base of mem- bers—right now, it has almost 50 mem- bers in 22 states. "We're working really hard to grow our membership, so that we have resources in every state," Carver said. Carver's story of how she became involved in the CTF is one that she thinks will resonate with other clinicians and one that she hopes will encourage them to get involved. "I got involved 10 years ago because I was interested in advocacy on a nation- al level, but it wasn't something I was comfortable with or fully understood," she said. "The CTF equipped me with resources and guidance. After my first trip to Capitol Hill, I realized that what I'm doing does matter." HME a CCE ss ORIE s c o n t i n u e d f r o m p r e v i o u s pa g e options for reviving the complex rehab provisions early in the year, including introducing a standalone bill or re-intro- ducing a Medicaid bill similar to H.R. 7217, Clayback says. "I think it will all depend on the first couple of weeks of the new session and if they can get the spending (to re-open the government) fixed," he said. Bid pricing has been in effect for com- plex rehab manual wheelchairs since Jan. 1, 2016. CMS, after pressure from Congress and industry and consumer advocacy groups, decided not to apply bid pric- ing to complex rehab power wheelchairs in late June of 2017, just prior to a July 1 implementation date. HME sym PO s IU m c o n t i n u e d f r o m p r e v i o u s pa g e on making sure it works and is prop- erly maintained and repaired." Schmeler acknowledges that repair techs don't have the best rep in the industry and that needs to change. "Right now, we don't treat them well, we don't pay them well, and they're mostly not certified—it's a downward spiral," he said. "I think repair techs are going to become just as impor- tant as ATPs, so the DMERT Group certification is something we want to support." HME base decisions on that. Historically, we haven't had good tools to use to get us that data. HME: There has been a more recent trend in "connected" technology for power wheelchairs to produce addi- tional data points. Schmeler: I think you hit it on the spot—how do we get data from what we do in clinic and in the field, and from a patient's day-to-day routine? How long is a chair being used; where is it going? When you're arguing with an insurance company to get a new wheelchair for a patient, but it's only three years old and hasn't reached its reasonable use, you can point out the patient is 23, goes to college, works full time—he uses that chair a lot. With data, you can demonstrate more of a profile of the patient. The advent of the connected wheelchair is just scratching the surface. HME: What's new at ISS this year? Megan Wander: The size of the exhib- it hall is going to be our largest yet, about 127,000 square feet. Two years ago, in Nashville, it was 90,000 square feet. We expect 140 to 150 exhibitors. We're also doing some- thing new in the exhibit hall, carving out space specifically for accessible transportation. Schmeler: This is part of our larger strategy, too. We've all been work- ing in silos, but from an accountable care and managed care perspective, they want to be able to hand this all off to one organization or company, and they want to pay you $X to take care of them and make sure they don't show up in the hospital. We want to use this an opportunity to get people talking to each other more. HME N sm IN C a N a D a 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 differences between the U.S. and Cana- dian markets. There's a perception that the Canadian market is simpler, with fewer pay- ers, but that's not exactly the case, with each of the country's 10 provinces having unique cultures and administrations, Mixon says. "NSM will rely on the experience that SelfCare brings to that market," he said. That's also why the acquisition, while it allows NSM to put down roots in British Columbia, doesn't necessarily pave the way for expansion in all areas of the country, Mixon says. "We desire to reach more clients and we desire to partner with businesses that share our values, and now that may include more business in Canada," he said. "But it's not as straightforward as in the U.S." On the whole, the U.S. and Canadian markets have more similarities than they have differences, Mixon says. "The demographic trends in Canada are similar to the U.S.," he said, "and the need for mobility services is an absolute trend there, as well." HME C T f's COHEN c o n t i n u e d f r o m pa g e 1 I'm looking to get more into new models of care and how we fit into those. How can we contribute to value-based care and bundled payments?" Cohen founded the CTF in 2004 with Barbara Crane, PhD, ATP/SMS, a profes- sor of physical therapy at the Univer- sity of Hartford in West Hartford, Conn., during the height of CMS's efforts to curb fraud and abuse in the wheelchair benefit. Also new to the CTF: The executive director will become a rotating posi- tion, with a new executive director named from the executive board every two years. "There's enough expertise on the board now, that we can draw on those members," Carver said, "and when you know it's only two years, you can give it your all and know you'll get a break. You're more willing to stretch yourself a little bit." W h e n C o h e n , w h o w i l l re m a i n involved with the CTF as an ex-officio, looks back at the past 14 years, she's most proud of the "dedication and pas- sion" of the task force's almost 50 mem- bers, who all volunteer their time. "We've established a reputation for independence and advocacy," Cohen said, "to a point where policy makers seek us out to help them understand the front-line issues. They know we can pro- vide examples that really illustrate the policy quagmires that stop patients from accessing what they need and we know fixes that can make it better. CMS, the OIG, the GAO—they all call us. That's what I'm most proud of." HME REP a IR TECH s c o n t i n u e d f r o m p r e v i o u s pa g e

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