HME News

AUG 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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News BRIEFS South Carolina spares some HME from cuts COLUMBIA, S.C. – Medicaid officials in South Carolina announced in June that the state would exempt certain product categories from reimbursement cuts when it adjusts rates to mirror Medicare's non-rural rates, according to AAHomecare. Those catego- ries are: oxygen, PAP and supplies, venti- lators, nebulizers, enteral, hospital beds, wheelchairs and certain wheelchair acces- sories. Medicaid officials, the South Carolina Medical Equipment Services Association and AAHomecare have worked together in recent months to minimize the impact of the proposed changes. "SCMESA is most ap- preciative of the work of Laura Williard and David Chandler of AAHomecare with the South Carolina Medicaid program relating to reimbursement rates for DME," said Bobby Horton, executive director of SCMESA. "Laura's efforts on behalf of South Caro- lina DME providers, working alongside our Medicaid Relations Committee, have been very effective in minimizing rate decreases, while a majority of codes will realize increas- ing reimbursement rates." Of the 989 DME HCPCS codes on the South Carolina Med- icaid fee schedule, 568 will increase, 188 will decrease and 233 codes will stay the same. C2C loses protest WASHINGTON – C2C Innovative Solutions has lost its bid to remain CMS's Qualified Inde- pendent Contractor for HME, according to AAHomecare. Jacksonville, Fla.-based C2C has popularized a demonstration project that allows HME providers to speak with recon- sideration professionals by phone to try and resolve their cases. Last year, when CMS awarded the new QIC contract to Reston, Va.-based Maximus, C2C protested. C2C will offer its last phone discussion on Sept. 15 and will complete all decisions by Dec. 31, AAHomecare reports. Industry stake- holders have expressed concerns with Maxi- mus' lack of experience with DME. CMS drops two codes from Round 2021 WASHINGTON – CMS has removed HCPCS codes E0992 and K0056 from the product category for standard power mobility de- vices for Round 2021 of competitive bid- ding. The reason: The two codes are only applicable to the standard manual wheel- chairs product category. CMS was unable to remove the two codes from DMEPOS Bidding System (DBidS) before the bid window opened on July 16, but it has re- moved them from the product categories files and utilization report and will remove them from the lead-item pricing calculator and HCPCS Lookup Tool on the Competi- tive Bidding Implementation Contractor website before the bid window opens. E0992 is a manual wheelchair accesso- ry, solid seat insert; and K0056 is a seat height less than 17 inches or equal to or greater than 21 inches for a high strength, lightweight or ultra-lightweight wheelchair. ■ Sen. John Thune, R-S.D, is a possible sponsor of legislation in the Senate, says John Gallagher. See story page 1. Heartland Conference offers peek at future . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Newspoll: CBD beckons, but will providers follow? . . . . . 2 Industry loses passionate leader in Karyn Estrella . . . . . . 4 Q&A: Barb Stockert, 2019 Legislative Advocate . . . . . . . . 6 2 HME NEWS / AUGUST 2019 / WWW.HMENEWS.COM BY T. FLAHERTY, Managing Editor WATERLOO, Iowa – The healthcare industry has gotten smarter about what patients actually want, and HME providers are in the right place at the right time to benefit, said opening keynote speaker Jeff Cribbs at the Heartland Conference in June. "We've always just assumed that they want to live," said Cribbs, vice president of research for Gartner Indus- tries Research Group. "(But) they want quality of life. BY LIZ BEAULIEU, Editor WA S H I N G TO N – The HME industry's competitive bid- ding website, www.dmecb-, has had 10,762 unique visitors year to date. I n t h e f i r s t 1 0 d a y s o f June alone, w i t h t h e o p e n i n g of the bid w i n d o w l o o m i n g on July 16, there were 1,629 unique visitors. "I think we always want BY LIZ BEAULIEU, Editor F IFTY ONE percent of respondents to a recent HME Newspoll say they're considering adding CBD products to their offerings, but they're worried about the possible ramifications to their businesses. Of those considering CBD, 47% say they need more legal information. "My concerns are in state and federal regulations," wrote one respon- dent. "This affects licensing, purchasing, inventory, distribu- tion and exposure to regulatory audits." A provision in last year's Farm Bill made CBD oils, which are processed from the hemp plant, legal to possess as long as they contain no more than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive compo- nent of marijuana. Most states, however, aren't in lock step with the new fed- eral law, keeping CBD prod- ucts too much of a gray area for some respondents. "It seems like it would be too much of a headache with the possible liability," wrote Mickey Whittle of United Medical Partners in New Orleans on what's keeping him from considering adding BY LIZ BEAULIEU, Editor WASHINGTON – Industry stakehold- ers have a new ally in their bid to convince CMS to drop non- invasive vents from Round 2021 of competitive bidding. Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, on July 1 sent a letter signed by 38 sena- tors asking HHS and CMS to drop non-invasive vents from Round 2021 of competitive bid- ding, according to AAHomecare. "These letters do have a sig- nificant impact," said Jay Witter, senior vice president of public policy for AAHomecare. "They're not a silver bullet, but they're an important part of the tool chest that's needed to get things done." A similar letter in the House of Representatives closed with 180 signatures representing a nearly 50/50 split of Democrats and Republicans, and a wide range of political spectrums, Witter says. "I don't think it's one issue that's been reso- nating, but it's having every- one touched by this issue being involved that's having the most impact," he said. Indeed, con- sumer organi- zations like the ITEM Coalition and the ALS A s s o c i a t i o n , and respiratory physicians have a l s o a r g u e d for dropping n o n - i n v a s i v e vents from the program. "This is a great example of where having all of the allied organizations and interests come together can make a big differ- ence," said Cara Bachenheimer, head of the Government Affairs Practice at Brown & Fortunato. Stakeholders acknowledge that the Senate is smaller and "tougher," but it, too, will add "political pressure." "We're working with great material and with great allies," Witter said. "We have a shot." While stakeholders are push- ing CMS to drop non-invasive vents from the program, they're also advising providers to pro- ceed as normal, with the bid window set to open July 16. "We're doing everything pos- sible to stop it," Witter said. "The contracts don't go into effect until Jan. 1, 2021, so we have some time, but once the bid win- dow opens, it will become more difficult, not impossible, to get them to pull back." HME Senate backs vents issue 'Positive' traffic on website Conference offers peek at the future HEARTLAND That's why the work you do in the home, as the deliverers of that last mile of service, (is so important)." With digital health increas- ingly permeating health care, especially when it comes to managing chronic conditions, providers need to protect their data like the asset that it is, said Cribbs. "We like assets generating revenue and delivering value," he said. "Protect your assets and you will have what makes your company special in a dig- ital format." This year's Heartland Con- ference, held June 10-12, fea- tured more than 70 exhibitors and 90 educational sessions across 10 tracks. Although a final tally was not available by press time, 1,000 attendees were expected—with approxi- mately 60 first-timers. WORKFORCE OF THE FUTURE CBD calls, but will providers answer? HME NEWS POLL Savvier patients, digital health and millennials B I D W E B S I T E S E E PA G E 6 H E A R T L A N D S E E PA G E 6 C B D C A L L I N G S E E PA G E 6 Kim Brummett Jay Witter Bachenheimer MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER, ENTERTAINER AND AUTHOR MORRIS MORRISON, delivered the closing keynote presentation at the Heartland Conference.

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