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Idaho’s Medicaid cuts create job losses, mental health woes

From: Home Care Magazine

Idaho’s $35 million in Medicaid cuts have eliminated thousands of jobs, hurt disabled recipients and pushed mentally ill people into jails, says a panel that recently reported on the issue. The panel concluded that the cuts cost the state 4,000 jobs, and eliminated mental health services that were critical in keeping mentally ill people out of trouble with law enforcement. Police now must deal with more mental health issues, and suicide calls are up, said members of the study panel, which was sponsored by advocacy groups for Idahoans with disabilities.

ICD-10: Stick your toe in the water

From: HME News

‘They’re going to hate it at first, but they’re going to like it down the road’

By Liz Beaulieu, Editor

BALTIMORE – Even though CMS won’t implement ICD-10 until next year, home medical equipment providers should be familiarizing themselves with these new codes right now, industry consultants say.

At the very least, providers should be reviewing the “general equivalency mappings” or GEMs that CMS has already posted to its website that roughly translate ICD-9 codes to ICD-10 codes, they say.

“I think we’re all underestimating the vastness of where this will touch our daily processes,” said Andrea Stark, a reimbursement consultant … Continue Reading

Equipped to heal at home

Editor’s Note:  Healing at home requires a strong, vibrant home care industry.

From: PennLive/Body and Mind

Sure, we know where to shop for the hottest fashions, but when it comes to buying home medical equipment, our shopping savvy can drip away faster than an inverted IV bag.

Our doctor adds glucose meters, a commode, a wheelchair or a walker to our shopping list, and suddenly, we are foraging for products we never imagined we would need.

Experienced patients, such as Kelly Soule of Lower Allen Twp., reassure novice clinical consumers that they are not alone: There are services to help.

PAOC expiration strips HME of voice on bidding issues, says AAHomecare

From: Home Care Magazine

The HME sector is losing its only public sounding board for discussing concerns about Medicare’s vast expansion of the Competitive Bidding Program, says the American Association for Homecare.

The Program Advisory and Oversight Committee (PAOC) expired on Dec. 31, 2011. The committee was created by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 to provide advice on the bidding program.

Meanwhile, Round 2 of competitive bidding is now being implemented in 91 metropolitan areas, and it makes sense to keep PAOC in operation at least until bid rates are announced, says Walter Gorski, vice president of governmental affairs for AAHomecare. … Continue Reading

Phoenix Metal Artist Creates Wheelchairs with Attitude — and Machine Guns

From: HomeCare Magazine
by Larry Anderson

One wheelchair includes machine guns that look and sound like the real thing. Another includes a seat from a marine sea rescue helicopter and air brakes. It has a top speed of 24 miles per hour. A third wheelchair features ultra-bright LED head- and taillights. 

These are creations of Lance Greathouse, who transforms used wheelchairs into one-of-a-kind, colorful and “tricked out” pieces of art. He works out of a shop in the garage of his home near Phoenix, Ariz. Greathouse has channeled 30 years … Continue Reading