THE STATE newswire – California and home health care – Brief Article
California HME Providers Receive Good News, Hope for Numbers: California home medical equipment providers can breathe a little easier after positive news from the Department of Health Services regarding a moratorium on Medi-Cal provider enrollment for HME companies.
Qualified providers with pending crossover enrollment applications have been approved to bill retroactively to July 1, 2000, according to the California Association of Medical Product Suppliers. This will allow them to recoup lost crossover payments resulting from the ongoing moratorium, officials said. THE DHS has still not set a date to lift the moratorium, however, and CAMPS officials are continuing to press for the DHS to once again enroll DME providers into Medi-Cal.
The original moratorium, instituted in July 1999 to combat fraudulent providers, faces review every six months and has continued to be extended, most recently through October 2001. The moratorium has outlasted its original purpose, said CAMPS executive director Robert Achermann. “When this October moratorium date approaches, it will have been almost two years,” he said. “This is a very difficult segment of the patient population to ignore.”
CAMPS has made a number of recommendations to continue enrollment and avoid further fraud and abuse. One suggestion was to issue temporary provider numbers and institute a probationary period of six months to allow the department to closely monitor providers’ business activities and ensure validity.
“We certainly appreciate the need to make sure that the vast majority of providers, or all providers, are credible. But we can’t wait forever,” said Achermann. “Something has got to work.”
In other California news, the California State Board of Equalization has reversed its position on taxation of total parenteral nutrition, intradialytic nutrition, and enteral nutrition products and supplies. The products and supplies are now exempt from sales and use tax. The regulations will be applied on a retroactive basis, according to CAMPS. But the association cautions that, if filing a Claim for Refund with the Board, businesses understand that they will almost certainly be audited by the board.
PAMS Awards 2001 Scholarship: The Pennsylvania Association of Medical Suppliers awarded its annual PAMS Scholarship to Justin Van Wyen of Lampeter-Strasburg High School. The $1,000 scholarship is awarded each year to a student who continues his or her education with the help of home medical equipment.
Van Wyen, editor of the school newspaper, a national honor society member, and anchor for the Lampeter-Strasburg High School television station, has cerebral palsy and uses a walker, manual wheelchair, leg orthotics, and a motorized wheelchair.
“I was very surprised,” said Van Wyen. “I thought that in the whole of Pennsylvania there would be a lot of kids like me – some more deserving, I thought. But I was blessed.” Van Wyen plans to use his scholarship to pursue a degree at Millersville University in Millersville, Pa. “I’m going to use it wisely,” said Van Wyen. “I’m going to use it to make the best of my education.”
His mother, Carolann Van Wyen, credited HME with helping her son become an achiever. “All of [Justin’s] accomplishments could never have been achieved without his having an attitude of acceptance for who he is and a desire to live to the fullest,” she said. “But that alone still isn’t enough. He needed mobility that has come from his walkers, wheelchairs, and hundreds of hours of physical therapy.”
For breaking news, go to www.homecaremonday.com, the electronic news service of the home medical equipment industry.
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