HME News

MAY 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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The track that drew the most attention: retail. "Providers not only want to see new products, they want to learn to create a retail environment," Gaffney said. Fortunately, for those providers inter- ested in retail, many manufactur- ers have upped their game, opting for sleeker designs that fit better into today's lifestyles. "Everything we do from design to packaging comes from the consumer lens," said Jim Dan- iels, CEO of Convexity Scien- tific, which debuted the FLYP, a pocket-sized nebulizer, which won gold in the New Product Pavilion's Providers' Choice Awards. Long-time exhibitor Pride Mobility Products has revamped its design team and was showing several revamped products at the show, including the latest models in its popular Jazzy line. "When they're calling a power wheelchair ■ Exhibitors and attendees had 'good conversations' at this year's Medtrade Spring, says Kevin Gaffney. See story this page. Industry stakeholders 'not going away' . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Newspoll: Smaller DMEs may have to sell . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Q&A: Bachenheimer has new gig . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Oklahoma providers meet with congressman . . . . . . . . . . 4 News www.hme N ews.com / may 2018 / hme N ews 3 Briefs Noridian named new sm R c contractor FARGO, N.D. – Noridian Healthcare Solutions has been awarded a $227 million Supple- mental Medical Review Contractor contract by CMS. The primary role of the SMRC is to conduct nationwide medical review of Part A, Part B and DME providers as directed by CMS. Its responsibility is to review medical records and related documentation to ensure that claims are processed in accordance with CMS guidelines. The SMRC contract was previously held by StrategicHealthSolutions. VG m helps protect sleep contract WATERLOO, Iowa – The VGM Group has helped providers in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia beat back CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield's plans to reduce the number of CPAP providers in its network. The insurer planned to limit its network to a few provid- ers after Feb. 15, 2019. When VGM heard from members about CareFirst's decision, it filed a complaint with the Maryland Insur- ance Administration and after some back and forth CareFirst agreed to allow any contracted provider to continue providing sleep-related equipment at the contracted reimbursement rate, as long as they meet a set of requirements. aah 'embraces' e-prescribing WASHINGTON – AAHomecare's Executive Committee will examine e-prescribing platforms to recommend the best solution for its provider members. "It's time for the HME community to move away from the fax machine and individual paper prescrip- tions, and fully embrace e-prescribing," said Steve Ackerman, AAHomecare chair- man and president of Spectrum Medical, in a bulletin. AAHomecare will study lead- ing e-prescribing platforms in terms of their suitability for the HME sector and recom- mend the best solutions. VG m joins work group on electronic medical documentation WATERLOO, Iowa – The VGM Group and its membership has been invited to par- ticipate in a CMS work group on electronic medical documentation. VGM will repre- sent DMEPOS providers in the work group, which will have representation from several different provider groups. "While the con- cept of electronic medical records is not new, this initiative of utilizing technology to allow providers the opportunity to eas- ily communicate and receive proper pa- tient documentation is something that the DME industry struggles to gain from other provider communities," VGM stated. The work group seeks to, among other things, establish pilot programs with providers to demonstrate secure exchange of health information, and support adoption of real- world use cases to advance secure and standardized electronic data exchange. By Theresa Flaher T y, Managing e ditor LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas may be known as Disneyland for grownups, but at Medtrade Spring, the mood was all business. With competitive bidding's devastating effect on the HME industry, the number of attendees and exhibitors at the show has thinned, but those who were there had their sleeves rolled up, says Show Director Kevin Gaffney. "They had some good conversations," he said. "Everybody would like to see more people on the floor, but the com- panies that are coming here are solid companies." This year's show, which took place March 27-29 at the Mandalay Bay Con- vention Center, featured 200 exhibitors and educational programming across 10 tracks. By l iz Beaulieu, e ditor T HE MAJO ri TY of respon- dents to a recent HME Newspoll (67%) agree that 2018 will be a "hot" year for mergers and a c q u i s i t i o n s i n t h e H M E industry. But the drivers of that activity are representa- tive of an indus- try in distress, especially for smaller providers, respondents say. "With the huge vendor pric- ing difference for mom-and-pop providers vs. nationals and the low reimbursement rates, there will be little choice for 'home- town' DMEs but to sell," wrote one respondent. " i have seen three providers in my area close or sell last year alone. The only competition we have left is the nationals." An even percentage of respon- dents (30%) say they are either in the buyer's or seller's seat. The nationals may be doing the bulk of the buying, but there are other providers that are throwing their hats in the ring, saying they have no choice in the current climate. "Based on survival in this By l iz Beaulieu, e ditor WASHINGTON – Cara Bachenheimer has a new gig that allows her to double-down on her efforts advocating for the HME industry. Bachenheimer is opening a Washington, D.C., office for Amarillo, Texas-based law firm Brown & Fortunato on June 1, a move that will expand her legislative and regulatory work beyond i nvacare, where she has worked for more than 14 years. Here's what Bachenheimer, who will count i nvacare as her first client, had to say about why lobbying is more important than ever before. HME N E ws: What made you pursue an opportunity outside of Invacare, where you have been senior vice president of govern- Medtrade Spring enters new era Buying heats up, but at what cost? crazy industry, it's either you expand and buy companies that make sense, or you will become extinct," wrote Michael McCart- ney, the CEO and owner of an HME company in the Buffalo, r ochester, N.Y., area. While a consolidated indus- try is widely seen as a nega- tive, it improves the odds of the providers who are left, includ- ing the non- nationals. " i purchased a DME and may expand," wrote one respondent. "People ask me, 'Why would you get in that business if 40%-plus of provid- ers have gone out of business?' i say, 'Because there is 40% less competition.'" i ndeed, despite the stag- gering consolidation that has already occurred since 2011, when Medicare kicked off its competitive bidding program in nine cities, the industry may not have hit rock bottom yet, respondents say. "Medicare rate cuts have made it nearly impossible for the smaller and even some of the mid-sized DME providers to stay in business," wrote one respondent. " i fully expect the number of providers to con- tinue to shrink dramatically in 2018." HME hme NEWS POLL By l iz Beaulieu, e ditor B ECA u SE THE response to a recent HME Newspoll was so paltry (See "Goal for 2018: 'Make money, not lose it,' March 2018), i called Miriam Lieber to find out what providers could be doing differently with their businesses this year. w illi NG to take R isks Lieber, president of Lieber Consulting LLC, says the majority of her client base has experienced Bachenheimer on the good fight ment relations for years? Cara Bachenheimer: i see this as a natural next step in my career. The work i 've been doing for i nvacare has also benefitted oth- ers in the industry, so it's natu- ral to now broaden my repre- sentation. i 'm continuing to represent i nva- care, which i 'm really excited about—they're a great compa- ny doing great t h i n g s — b u t i 'm also excit- ed about doing what i do on multiple levels, whether it's for manufacturers, distributors, pro- viders or other entities. HME: Why is the combination of 'There is little choice but to sell,' say providers Miriam Lieber's list Repo R te R 's notebook G O O D f i g h t s e e pa g e 4 L I E b E R s e e pa g e 4 m E D T R A D E s p r i n g s e e pa g e 4 Bachenheimer Miriam Lieber M E dtrad E s pri N g attendees walked a smaller show floor this year in Las Vegas .

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