• Abbott ad tackles Medicare change

    From: Crain’s Chicago Business

    By  Andrew L. Wang

    Abbott Laboratories is running a national television ad that takes a pre-emptive strike at suppliers trying to shift Medicare patients away from the company’s diabetes test strips amid a rule change to the health care program for the elderly.

    The advertisement, which has run on ESPN, USA Network, MSNBC and other channels, warns that suppliers of the test strips, which some diabetics use several times daily to monitor their blood glucose, could switch beneficiaries to “a brand that might not be as accurate, a brand your doctor never heard of” because Medicare is changing the way those products are paid for.

  • Delay sought in competitive bidding

    From: Pittsburgh Business Times

    Kris B. Mamula

    Durable medical equipment vendors are continuing their opposition to Medicare’s competitive bidding program, most recently trying to delay the latest round of the program July 1.

    In a letter to Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Centre County, asked that the program be delayed while questions about vendor credentialing and other issues are resolved.

    “For these and many reasons, we believe that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should delay implementation of Round 2 and review the program in its entirety,” Thompson wrote in the letter, which was also signed by Rep. Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Iowa.

  • Industry casts further doubt on bid process

    From: HME News

    by: Theresa Flaherty

    WASHINGTON – H.R. 1717 remains the HME industry’s No. 1 priority, but with time running out, stakeholders are again pressing for a delay in the July 1 start date of Round 2 of competitive bidding.

    The basis for that delay: a growing list of contract suppliers that appear to fail to meet various licensure or accreditation requirements in accordance with CMS’s own bidding rules, they say.

    “This is raising significant issues about the process that CMS used to apply due diligence to complete the contracting process and raises concerns about how the contracts were determined,” said Wayne Stanfield, president and CEO of NAIMES.

  • Report: Roche mulls sale of blood-glucose monitor business

    From: Indiana Business Journal

    J.K. Wall

    Roche Diagnostics Corp. is mulling a sale of its blood-glucose meter business, according to a Reuters report, a move that would cast uncertainty over the nearly 1,000 people working for its diabetes business in Indianapolis.

    Reuters reported the potential sale on Wednesday, citing three people familiar with the matter. A Roche spokesman declined to comment to IBJ.

    The entire blood-glucose meter industry is facing a huge hit to sales on July 1, when the federal Medicare program will start a competitive bidding program for blood-glucose testing strips and supplies, which could cut its payments as much as 72 percent. The Medicare program for seniors is the largest health insurance program in the United States.

  • Some contract suppliers may not meet requirements

    From: HME News

    by: Theresa Flaherty

    YARMOUTH, Maine – As HME stakeholders continue to pore over the list of Round 2 contract suppliers, it’s become more and more clear that some may not meet various licensing requirements—a condition of winning a contract.

    “How are they granted awards if they didn’t meet state qualifications for licensure?” asked Jeff Mastei, director of compliance and audits for Dearborn, Mich.-based Wright & Filippis.

  • Medicare fraud targets seniors, scooters: ‘I don’t need it. I don’t want it.’

    From: San Luis Obispo Tribune

    By Lindsay Wise — McClatchy Washington Burea

    WASHINGTON —  Dr. Charlotte Kennedy first became suspicious earlier this year when she received a fax from a medical supply company asking her to authorize a back brace for a 92-year-old patient.

    The doctor from Chesterfield, Mo., had recently examined the patient, who’d never mentioned any back problems. In fact, the woman was an avid gardener. “She’s picking up sweet gum balls in her yard every day,” Kennedy said. But the fax said the woman had requested the brace, so Kennedy called her.

  • Will ‘pay for’ pass muster with CBO?

    From: HME News

    by: Liz Beaulieu

    WASHINGTON – HME industry stakeholders expect to find out soon if the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) agrees that their bill to replace competitive bidding with a market-pricing program (MPP) is budget neutral.

    “Now that the bill has dropped and now that the CBO has dealt with some of the other issues they’ve had to deal with, we expect a score to be coming,” said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare.

    Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., introduced H.R. 1717 on April 24 with 25 co-sponsors.

  • Senate finance members hint at changes to Medicare, Medicaid

    From: Home Care Magazine

    While everyone agrees that preventing waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid is a top priority, questions abound about how to achieve that goal. How should the federal government preserve integrity in health care programs as well as a healthy marketplace and access to quality care at the same time?

    Last year, the Senate Finance Committee invited stakeholders to submit white papers with recommendations about how to improve program integrity in Medicare and Medicaid.  A bipartisan report released this week by five members of the Finance Committee summarized concerns raised by the healthcare industry, patient advocates and other stakeholder groups about how to improve efforts to prevent waste, fraud and abuse. The key recommendations that emerged from the 146 stakeholder groups focused on improper payments, audit burdens, enforcement issues, data management and protecting beneficiaries.