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Beyond an injury

HME News - Fri, 04/08/2016 - 12:55
Invacare leverages virtual reality to put providers and patients in driver’s seat04/08/2016Liz Beaulieu

ELYRIA, Ohio – Maegen Hurtado says the look on their faces said it all.

At the recent International Seating Symposium, Invacare had on hand a pair of Samsung virtual reality goggles loaded with videos, allowing users to sit in the driver’s seat for a 360-degree view of Team Invacare athlete and paralympian Paul Schulte navigating a Top End Force Rx Handcycle through Clearwater Beach, Fla.

“I don’t think one person walked away not excited,” said Hurtado, digital marketing manager at Invacare. “To see their expressions, to see them using their arms like they were hand cycling, to see them look right at the beautiful water and up at the sun—it was such a rewarding experience for everyone involved.”

Two other VR videos feature Charlie Mosbrook, a para-triathlete, in a ROVI X3 power wheelchair with Motion Concepts power positioning at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens and in an Invacare TDX SP2 power wheelchair at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Hurtado says she knew she wanted to experiment with VR when it kept popping up in her Facebook feed. The stars aligned when Think Media Studios, a creative video and event production company in Mayfield Heights that she worked with on other digital marketing projects, was featured in a story about VR on a local news website.

“It’s definitely creating a buzz,” she said. “We hadn’t seen VR being used anywhere else in the industry, and we wanted to jump on it and take advantage of it.”
But Hurtado says it’s potentially far more than buzz for HME providers who work with patients who need wheelchairs.

“There are so many different opportunities that can be leveraged with VR,” she said. “It’s a great tool, for example, for in-service and training.”

Maybe most importantly, however, the technology helps Invacare and its HME provider customers send a strong message about what it’s like to be in a wheelchair, Hurtado says.

“I think No. 1, it’s definitely an inspirational, feel-good technology,” she said. “We had the opportunity to visit Craig Hospital in Colorado and when we sat down with patients, we really got to see the challenges of a newly injured person. They’re thinking, ‘What else is there for me?’ This gives them hope that there is something beyond their injury.”

In brief: Two senators back bid bill, groups seek vent changes

HME News - Fri, 04/08/2016 - 12:53
04/08/2016HME News Staff

WASHINGTON – HME stakeholders have added two co-sponsors to a bill in the Senate that would delay a second round of Medicare reimbursement cuts slated for July 1.

Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and James Lankford, R-Okla., signed on to S. 2736 on April 6. They join 15 other senators, a mix of Democrats and Republicans.

The bill, introduced by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.C., on March 17, would delay the cuts slated for non-competitive bidding areas from July 1, 2016, to Oct. 1, 2017. A first round of cuts went into effect in these areas on Jan. 1.

A companion bill in the House of Representatives is still a work in progress, stakeholders say.

The bill also states: The ceiling for a bid submitted for applicable covered items may not be less than the fee schedule amount that would otherwise be determined for such items on Jan. 2, 2015.”

As a “pay for,” the Senate bill seeks to speed up plans to limit federal Medicaid reimbursement for DME to the Medicare payment rates from Jan. 1, 2019, to Oct. 1, 2018.

Respiratory groups seek changes to ventilator NCD

WASHINGTON – The American Association of Respiratory Care, the American College of Chest Physicians and the National Association for Medical Direction of Respiratory Care have submitted a request for a reconsideration of the current Medicare National Coverage Determination for home ventilators, including bi-level devices. The groups would like Medicare to establish specific definitions for chronic respiratory failure, as well as for mechanical ventilators/ventilation, and to create objective, consistent criteria for providing these products. Their suggested definition of respiratory failure is the inability of the respiratory system to maintain gas exchange within normal limits; oxygenation failure is the inability to maintain PaO2 of 60mmHg or greater on room air; and ventilatory failure is the inability to maintain PaCO2 of 45mmHg or below. Late last year, CMS overhauled the vent product category, reducing the number of codes from five to two, and reducing reimbursement by about 33%.

Program for joint conference announced

ARLINGTON, Va. – RESNA, NCART and NRRTS have announced the program for the first-ever Assistive Technology Collaborative Conference. The event, slated July 12-15 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Va., will include interactive exhibits; more than 50 workshops on best practices in assistive technology; research platforms and poster sessions; Capitol Hill visits; pre-conference instructional courses, including RESNA’s Fundamentals in Assistive Technology Course; networking events; and student competitions. For a list of events, sessions and workshops, click here.

Insulin prices increased threefold over 11-year period

YARMOUTH, Maine – The cost of insulin more than tripled—from $231 per year per patient in 2002 to $736 per year per patient in 2013, according to an analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The price for a milliliter of insulin increased 197%, from $4.34 to $12.92 during the same period. “Insulin is a life-saving medication,” said Dr. William Herman, a coauthor of the analysis and a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. “While there have been incremental benefits in insulin products, prices have been rising.” 

ASP: Budesonide takes a dive

BALTIMORE – Second quarter payments for respiratory drugs are up in most cases, with the exception of Budesonide (J7626), which decreased sharply, down nearly 73 cents per dose. Perforomist (J7606) saw the biggest increase, up 41 cents to $9.82 per dose, according to the latest average sales price (ASP) figures. Brovana (J7605) increased 24 cents to $8.50 per dose. Albuterol (J7613) and ipratropium (J7644) stayed fairly flat, at 12.5 cents per dose and 10.5 cents per dose, respectively.

Feds tweak Medicare Advantage pricing for 2017

WASHINGTON – Payments to insurers that offer Medicare Advantage plans won’t be as high as initially expected. Medicare Advantage payments will increase 0.85%, on average, for 2017, and insurers will likely see overall revenue increases of 3.05%, according to news reports. Earlier this year, CMS had indicated that payments would increase 1.35% and that insurers would see overall revenue increases of 3.55%. As part of a final rule published this week, the Obama administration has also proposed several tweaks to the program, including changing the way the quality of plans is rated if they serve a large population of low income and disabled beneficiaries, and shifting the way plans are reimbursed if they take on sicker-than-expected beneficiaries, according to reports.

ResMed closes deal, promotes Price

SAN DIEGO – ResMed has completed its acquisition of Brightree. The $800 million cash transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to gross margins and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share, the company stated in a press release headlined “It’s a New Day for HME Business Efficiency.” In connection with the acquisition, ResMed has entered into a first amendment to its credit agreement, increasing the size of its senior unsecured revolving credit facility from $700 million to $1 billion, according to Reuters. The amendment includes an uncommitted option to increase its revolving credit facility by an additional $300 million. In other news, ResMed has appointed Andrew Price president of Innovation and Operations. Previously, he was the company’s senior vice president, Global Manufacturing and Logistics. Before that, Price was vice president of marketing for Asia Pacific, and vice president of product development and marketing for the company’s Sleep Disordered Breathing business unit.

Philips takes home awards

MURRYSVILLE, Pa. – Philips has received 37 “Red Dot Awards” for product design, including a “high design” award for its DreamWear CPAP mask. The DreamWear features an under-the-nose cushion and a hollow frame to allow airflow to pass through. The “Red Dot” jury comprises 41 independent designers, design professors and specialized journalists. They evaluate entries based on degree of innovation, functionality, ergonomics, quality, symbolic and emotional content, ecological compatibility and durability. The “Red Dot” award follows an iF Design Award for the DreamWear and a Providers’ Choice Gold Award at Medtrade Spring for the DreamStation CPAP machine. Philips has a team of more than 400 designers in 15 studios around the world, from the Netherlands to Asia.

Texas providers charged with healthcare fraud

MCALLEN, Texas – Federal charges have been filed against two DME owners for allegedly defrauding Texas Medicaid/Medicare through false billings, the Southern District of Texas U.S. Attorney’s Office has announced. Manuel Gomez, owner of two Illusion Medical Equipment locations, and Elva Santos, owner of Hope & Miracle DME, were charged separately in difference cases, but in similar schemes involving incontinence supplies and diabetic supplies. Both allegedly forged the signatures of physicians on the required DME prescription forms.Gomez submitted $2.3 million in claims to Texas Medicaid, while Santos allegedly submitted false and fraudulent claims for approximately $714,000.

Stabenow, Lankford back bid bill

HME News - Thu, 04/07/2016 - 09:55
04/07/2016HME News Staff

WASHINGTON – HME stakeholders have added two co-sponsors to a bill in the Senate that would delay a second round of Medicare reimbursement cuts slated for July 1.

Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and James Lankford, R-Okla., signed on to S. 2736 on April 6. They join 15 other senators, a mix of Democrats and Republicans.

The bill, introduced by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.C., on March 17, would delay the cuts slated for non-competitive bidding areas from July 1, 2016, to Oct. 1, 2017. A first round of cuts went into effect in these areas on Jan. 1.

A companion bill in the House of Representatives is still a work in progress, stakeholders say.

The bill also states: The ceiling for a bid submitted for applicable covered items may not be less than the fee schedule amount that would otherwise be determined for such items on Jan. 2, 2015.”

As a “pay for,” the Senate bill seeks to speed up plans to limit federal Medicaid reimbursement for DME to the Medicare payment rates from Jan. 1, 2019, to Oct. 1, 2018.

Bid rates divide mobility providers

HME News - Fri, 04/01/2016 - 12:25
04/01/2016Tracy Orzel

YARMOUTH, Maine – Some mobility providers are telling CMS to take its contracts for the Round 2 re-compete and take a hike, while others are determined to make it work.

On average, reimbursement rates for manual wheelchairs will drop another 13.2% as part of the Round 2 re-compete, according to an analysis from AAHomecare. For power wheelchairs, they will drop another 5%.

“We were awarded the bid for standard mobility, but I declined it,” said Jeff Hall, president and CEO of Reliable Medical in Brooklyn Park, Minn. “It just isn’t worth all the audits and all the paperwork. There just wasn’t enough on the bone.”

The reimbursement rate for manual wheelchairs will decrease, on average, 9.8% in Hall’s area, the Midwest, and for power wheelchairs 3.7%.

But Jim Travis, president of West Seneca, N.Y.-based Buffalo Wheelchair, who accepted a contract for standard mobility equipment, says the cuts didn’t surprise him.

“I thought they might even be lower, based on the psychology of bidding,” said Travis. “There were a lot of people who didn’t get bids the first time, and I think they were probably a little more aggressive.”

On average, Travis’ area, the Northeast, will see a 20.2% decrease in reimbursement for manual wheelchairs and a 6.1% decrease for power wheelchairs.

As to whether or not providers can offset the reimbursement cuts, Travis says that’s a question just as much for the manufacturers.

“Dealers are going to have to become more efficient and take less profit and the manufacturers are going to have to come down a little bit,” he said. “Normally, it meets somewhere in the middle.”

Another option? Make fewer deliveries, says Tyler Riddle, vice president of operations at Albany, Ga.-based MRS Homecare.

“You can have people come in and pick up (the equipment) if your location allows it,” he said. “But, you’re going to have a hard time not delivering to people discharged from the hospital.”

Meanwhile, Hall says he’s done just fine without a bid contract.

“We were a better company without that bid last year,” he said. “We were able to focus more on our private pay and other payer sources.”

Insurers follow Medicare’s lead on vents

HME News - Fri, 04/01/2016 - 12:24
04/01/2016Theresa Flaherty

YARMOUTH, Maine – Commercial payers have wasted no time drastically reducing reimbursement for non-invasive ventilators, HME providers say.

In March, provider Bill Hart learned that both Allstate and State Farm were reducing reimbursement for the product category.

“We found out when we were doing the billing and got their proposed discounted rate,” said Hart, director of clinical services for Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Advent Home Medical. “It’s half of what we usually get.”

It’s exactly what industry stakeholders feared would happen after CMS announced plans to overhaul the product category, by reducing the number of codes from five to two, and reducing reimbursementby about 33%.

These Medicare changes just went into effect in January.

“So goes Medicare, so goes the private insurers,” said Gregory LoPresti, CEO of Syracuse, N.Y.-based Upstate Home Care.

When provider Ron Jenkins recently got word of reduced reimbursement rates from both UnitedHealthcare and Aetna, he thought it was a mistake.

“They took 50% off of Medicare,” said Jenkins, CEO of Longwood, Fla.-based Respitec Medical. “I thought it was miscoded—I thought they were using the bi-pap rates.”

At that rate, Jenkins says he won’t be able to offer certain products, like the Philips Trilogy, to members of those plans. But overall, he says, other payers still have “decent” reimbursement rates.

LoPresti says he’s avoided draconian cuts so far, by working to educate insurers about the value of home care.

“I have personally been very successful in showing how decisions made in a distant vacuum by Medicare do not work in our backyard,” he said. “It cannot always be about not wanting a rate cut; it’s about value.”

In light of reimbursement rates being reduced on both sides of the aisle—Medicare and commercial payers—providers say they have some hard decisions to make, including whether or not to make layoffs or restrict who they serve.

“If we have to lay people off, people are not going to get the kind of care that they are getting currently,” said Hart. “And, it’s so much more expensive to keep them in the hospital or a facility and then, while they are there, they are subject to infection and other risks.”

Oxygen e-template inches forward

HME News - Fri, 04/01/2016 - 12:23
04/01/2016Theresa Flaherty

WASHINGTON – Efforts to develop an electronic template for oxygen have taken an important step forward, but there’s still “a long way to go,” says AAHomecare.

“We’ve been saying it’d be great if we could work with CMS and an EHR to incorporate required data elements,” said Kim Brummett, vice president of regulatory affairs for the association.

And that happened in March, when the association hosted a conference call with CMS; EPIC Software, an electronic health record system that is widely used by healthcare systems; and two HME providers to discuss developing a pilot for an oxygen e-template.

“We’re putting together the stages of the pilot—how do we prove success,” said Brummett.

The goal of the pilot is to create an order for oxygen therapy, with clinical documentation and documentation of lab values, and to find a way to incorporate that information into EPIC, Brummett said.

CMS has for some time been considering e-templates for not only oxygen concentrators, but also power mobility devices and lower limb prostheses. While HME provider opinions are often mixed on whether or not e-templates would be helpful, there’s little doubt that health care is shifting in that direction, they say.

“I am in favor of anything that can standardize the ordering process,” said Steve Ackerman, owner of Spectrum Medical in Silver Spring, Md.“I’ve seen many companies that are looking to get portals installed so we can have the interoperability with our bigger referral sources.”

HME providers that have close ties with health systems and physician practices and that have worked with their IT programs and EPIC to incorporate all the needed items on orders and documentation have seen some success, Brummett said.

“But they are working system by system,” she said. “Really, we’ve got a long way to go.”

Providers experience chip-card related delays

HME News - Fri, 04/01/2016 - 12:22
04/01/2016Tracy Orzel

YARMOUTH, Maine – The deadline for retailers to transition to chip-enabled payment systems has come and gone, but many HME providers say they’re still waiting for the green light from the companies that offer those systems.

“We use Intuit and they have yet to provide us with chip readers, even though the law went into effect last year,” said Wayne Slavitt, founder and CEO of Mobül in Long Beach, Calif. “They sent us an indemnity letter and said, ‘We’ll let you know when we have the equipment.’”

There’s potentially a lot at stake: As of Oct. 1, 2015, retailers could be held liable for fraudulent purchases if they haven’t updated their payment systems to accept chip-enabled credit cards.

Provider Kevin Brownis in a similar boat as Slavitt. He has the readers, but the accompanying software hasn’t been updated.

“Eighty-five percent of our transactions are credit card transactions,” said Brown, who owns two All Star Medical locations in Tennessee. “I haven’t put much worry or thought into it, though, because I don’t have control over it. When they tell me they’re going to do the update, we’ll transition over to it pretty quick.”

While neither provider has been given a time frame as to when they can make the transition, Brown says his customers don’t seem too concerned about a potential data breach.

“They know we have information on them that most places don’t—like social security numbers and date of birth—and credit cards are just one more area,” he said.

While many providers are at a standstill, Mike Kuller, owner of Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Allstar Medical Supply (no relation to All Star Medical of Tennessee), is one of the lucky few who is up and running.

“We’ve had our chip reader for about a month now, but I ordered one back in September,” he said.

To help make the transition from swiping to inserting smoother, Kuller is doing things a little differently.

“Since we deal with mostly seniors, we put the card in ourselves,” he said. “It takes a little more time for the transaction to go through, so we figured it would be simpler if we did it.” 

In brief: Round 2 cuts add up, CGS readies transition

HME News - Fri, 04/01/2016 - 12:20
04/01/2016HME News Staff

WASHINGTON - Reimbursement rates will decrease, on average, 7.1% when the Round 2 re-compete kicks off July 1, according to an analysis from AAHomecare.

On average, providers will see a 6.2% reduction in the Midwest; 8% reduction in the Northeast; 5.9% reduction in the south; and an 8.8% reduction in the West as part of the Round 2 re-compete compared to the original Round 2.

Of the product categories included in the Round 2 re-compete, support surfaces will see the largest cuts, ranging from 22.7% to 31.3%, depending on the region. Close behind: Negative pressure wound therapy pumps, which will see cuts ranging from 17.8% to 21%.

There were a few categories that showed modest increases, including manual hospital beds, walkers, wheelchair accessories and negative pressure wound therapy supplies.

CMS is in the process of offering 12,181 contracts to 637 bidders. Of those, 93% are to bidders who currently furnish items in the area or within the product category.

The agency plans to announce the contract suppliers this spring and intends to go live with the payment amounts and contract suppliers on July 1.

CGS readies transition

NASHVILLE – CGS Administrators will take over the Jurisdiction B DME MAC contract July 5. The myCGS portal registration window for suppliers will open three weeks prior, and the process is expected to be a simplified, express registration to ease the transition, the agency said during a recent call. Jurisdiction B suppliers will receive a written invitation to pre-register. Any unfinished claims processing, appeals and other work will be officially transitioned from the previous contractor, National Government Services, to CGS for completion. CGS was awarded the Jurisdiction B contract in January.

NCART shows and tells for lawmakers

WASHINGTON – NCART is holding a “CRT briefing and Product Expo” on Capitol Hill April 21 to educate lawmakers about complex rehab and get their support for current legislation. The group is hosting the event along with the United Spinal Association and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, in coordination with the offices of Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Joe Crowley, D-N.Y. NCART is asking providers to encourage lawmakers to attend the event, which will comprise 20-minute briefings from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. People with disabilities, clinicians, providers, manufacturers and other advocates will be in attendance to provide demonstrations and answer questions. NCART hopes the event will help stakeholders increase support for bills in the House of Representatives and the Senate that would prevent competitive bidding pricing from being applied to accessories for complex manual and power wheelchairs, and would create a separate benefit for complex rehab products.

Oklahoma Medicaid announces 25% cuts

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which oversees the state’s Medicaid program, is cutting reimbursement rates for more than 46,000 providers by 25%, according to local news reports. Due to a roughly $1.3 billion hole in next year's state budget, state agencies are being directed to prepare for cuts of 15% or more to their budgets. The cuts, which will affect DME providers, hospitals, physicians, pharmacies and nursing facilities, are slated to take effect July 1. "This is a market-changing development in terms of hospitals' and other providers' ability to satisfactorily treat those that are on Medicaid," Craig Jones, president of the Oklahoma Hospital Association told a local news outlet.

Lifeway Mobility taps Medforce Technologies

SUFFERN, N.Y. – Lifeway Mobility has selected Medforce Technologies’ cloud-based CommandCenter business process management platform and ContentCenter document management system to run its operations. “The Medforce system allows us to connect to all of our vital documentation, forms and workflow activities right from the field and have instant data exchange with employees back at the office,” said Paul Bergantino, president of Lifeway Mobility, in a release. “It gives us the tools we need to maximize our productivity, minimize wait time, and ensure the best customer service possible.” Medforce recently revealed a new brand identity complete with logo, tag line, product names and website.

GF Health Products debuts new look

ATLANTA – GF Health Products has a new brand identity, the manufacturer has announced. The re-launch includes a new logo and a new mobile-responsive website featuring educational articles and resources. “Graham-Field’s diverse business mix and ever-growing global reach demanded a fresh look at how the organization supports its markets,” said Lisa Wells, president of Get Social Consulting, who helped Graham-Field develop its new brand strategy. “Their new brand concept and resource community were designed with the guidance of a skilled team of marketers and product managers, as well as business unit leaders. The strategic effort came together from the ground up within the organization.” The Graham Field family of brands includes Basic American Medical Products, Everest & Jennings, Grafco, Hausted, John Bunn, Lahtron, Lumex and Lumiscope.

McKesson joins forces with online provider

NEW YORK – McKesson has partnered with Shoplet to offer medical products online, the companies announced March 29. Shoplet, an online provider of office and cleaning supplies and furniture, entered the medical supplies market three years ago, according to a release. “This partnership is going to go a long way in providing more high-quality supplies to our customers,” said Tony Ellison, founder and CEO of Shoplet. “We are thrilled to work together.” Shoplet will offer DME, wheelchairs, incontinence products, gowns and gloves, among other products.

Convaid ramps up donations

TORRANCE, Calif. – Convaid has expanded its collaboration with United Cerebral Palsy. The company has committed to “a schedule of planned giving” to the organization, with its first donation scheduled for the UCP National Conference, April 4-6. Convaid will donate a lightweight, folding, pediatric wheelchair and a Carrot 3 child restraint system for raffle at the event. Convaid has long-standing relationships with United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Orange counties in California, and United Cerebral Palsy of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

Untreated sleep apnea increases crash risk

MORRIS, Minn. – Commercial truck drivers with untreated obstructive sleep apnea crash five times more often than those without sleep apnea, according to a new study from the University of Minnesota. Drivers with OSA who somewhat or completely complied with their therapy had a crash rate similar to drivers without OSA, the study says. The study included 1,613 truck drivers at a large trucking firm who had OSA and the same number of truck drivers who did not have the condition but who had similar experience and tenure. Drivers with OSA were given positive airway pressure therapy and an auto-adjusting machine for use at home or in their truck. Nearly 700 drivers fully followed treatment requirements, almost 600 partially did, and nearly 400 never adhered. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration recently announced they are considering requiring sleep testing for transportation workers. The FMCSA has been working on guidelines for testing and treating commercial drivers for nearly a decade.

VGM has ‘Big Ideas’ for Heartland Conference

WATERLOO, Iowa – The VGM Group has released the educational lineup for the Heartland Conference, June 13-16. This year’s event, themed “Ignite Ideas and Cultivate Connections,” organizes education into 16 categories, with more than 50 industry experts tackling topics ranging from billing and reimbursement to retail to accessibility to compliance. New this year: an education track to help generate and foster “Big Ideas.” The track, still in development, will include a creative boot camp and a “speed networking” event. VGM also plans to host a special event to honor women in the HME industry. This year will be the event’s 15th and VGM officials expect the usual crowd of more than 1,000.

bflow to host user conference

LOS ANGELES – bflow Solutions will host its first annual industry summit May 17 in Burbank, Calif. The event will bring together billing, compliance, accreditation, exemptee and managed care clients to learn how to optimize their businesses. Speakers will include Harlan Louie, sector chief, California Department of Public Health; Janelle Waynack of Instamed; and Abe Weinberger of WTI Outsourcing. The event is open to current bflow users, as well as those looking to test drive the solution. bflow is a cloud-based HME billing and compliance software solution that hit the market in 2011. The company launched bflowAcademy.com, which provides California Exemptee Certification, accreditation and compliance training, and healthcare continuing education services, in 2012.

 

 

Cuts add up for Round 2 re-compete

HME News - Thu, 03/31/2016 - 14:02
03/31/2016HME News Staff

WASHINGTON - Reimbursement rates will decrease, on average, 7.1% when the Round 2 re-compete kicks off July 1, according to an analysis from AAHomecare.

On average, providers will see a 6.2% reduction in the Midwest; 8% reduction in the Northeast; 5.9% reduction in the south; and an 8.8% reduction in the West as part of the Round 2 re-compete compared to the original Round 2.

Of the product categories included in the Round 2 re-compete, support surfaces will see the largest cuts, ranging from 22.7% to 31.3%, depending on the region. Close behind: Negative pressure wound therapy pumps, which will see cuts ranging from 17.8% to 21%.

There were a few categories that showed modest increases, including manual hospital beds, walkers, wheelchair accessories and negative pressure wound therapy supplies.

CMS is in the process of offering12,181 contracts to 637 bidders. Of those, 93% are to bidders who currently furnish items in the area or within the product category.

The agency plans to announce the contract suppliers in the spring of 2015 and intends to go live with the payment amounts and contract suppliers on July 1, 2016.

Untreated sleep apnea increases crash risk

HME News - Wed, 03/30/2016 - 12:56
03/30/2016HME News Staff

MORRIS, Minn. – Commercial truck drivers with untreated obstructive sleep apnea crash five times more often than those without sleep apnea, according to a new study from the University of Minnesota.

Drivers with OSA who somewhat or completely complied with their therapy had a crash rate similar to drivers without OSA, the study says.

“The most surprising result of our study is the strength and robustness of the increase in the crash risk for drivers with sleep apnea who fail to adhere to mandated treatment with positive airway pressure therapy,” Stephen V. Burks, study lead author and professor of economics and management, and principal investigator of the Truckers & Turnover Project at the University of Minnesota, Morris, said in release. “The results of our study support the establishment of obstructive sleep apnea screening standards for all drivers through the commercial driver’s medical exam.”

The study included 1,613 truck drivers at a large trucking firm who had OSA and the same number of truck drivers who did not have the condition but who had similar experience and tenure. Drivers with OSA were given positive airway pressure therapy and an auto-adjusting machine for use at home or in their truck. Nearly 700 drivers fully followed treatment requirements, almost 600 partially did, and nearly 400 never adhered.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration recently announced they are considering requiring sleep testing for transportation workers. The FMCSA has been working on guidelines for testing and treating commercial drivers for nearly a decade.

What Should I Expect to Pay for Funeral and Burial Expenses

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 03/27/2016 - 19:00
A common goal among many aging seniors and their families is to put money aside for funeral and burial expenses.

Arthritis Among Seniors

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 03/27/2016 - 19:00
Arthritis affects millions of people of all ages, including children (1 in every 250 children in the United States each year).

Parkinsons Disease

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 03/27/2016 - 19:00
In the U.S., over one million Americans suffer from Parkinsons disease (approximately 10 million worldwide).

What to Do When an Aging Loved One Dies

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 03/27/2016 - 19:00
If and when my parent passes away,which will likely take place in my own home, I wouldnt know what to do.

How Elder Law Can Help You

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 03/27/2016 - 19:00
The specialty of Elder Law is becoming more important as our population ages. People are living longer, but in many cases, are not living better.

Home the Desired Setting for Elder Care

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 03/27/2016 - 19:00
Most of those receiving long-term care and most caregivers prefer a home environment.

Is Medicaid Planning Ethical?

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 03/27/2016 - 19:00
As in any area of consumer spending, knowing what to look for and what strategies to use in arranging for paid care services can often result in saving money.

Fall Prevention and Coping after a Fall

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 03/27/2016 - 19:00
Age related physical changes, mental conditions, health conditions, and even medications increase the risk of injury. Falling is the leading cause of injury among seniors ages 65 and older.

Vietnam and PTSD - 40 Years Later

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 03/27/2016 - 19:00
40 years ago - May 7th - marked the end of the Vietnam War. Many of those alive 40 years ago can still easily recall where they were on the 7th of May and what they were doing on that memorable day.

VA Is Looking for Authority from Congress to Institute a 3 Year Look Back and Penalty for Veterans Pension

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 03/27/2016 - 19:00
Second of a series of analysis regarding the proposed legislation.
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