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ECRI in Plymouth Meeting, PA, recently announced the topics for its upcoming lineup of interactive telephone seminars to be held this year. The seminars are similar to a call-in radio show; participants listen to three speakers and then have a chance to call in during a question-and-answer period. The series will include the following seminars:
The registration fee for each individual seminar is $199. To participate in or for more information on ECRI’s 2001 telephone seminar series, contact the company at 5200 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462-1298, or call (610) 825-6000, ext. 5888.
A new round of fake invoice scams is continuing to flourish, according to a report in AHA (American Hospital Association) News. The association received reports from at least three organizations saying that they had received fake invoices from an organization calling itself Direct Supply and claiming to be based in Los Angeles. Elkhart (IN) Hospital, Good Hope Hospital in Ervin, NC, and the Long Prairie (MN) Memorial Hospital and Home, as well as companies in Oregon and Kentucky, each reported receiving an invoice for approximately $74. The company uses a box at a Mailboxes Etc., with this address: Direct Supply, 8391 Beverly Blvd., #345, Los Angeles, CA 90048-2633.
A company in Milwaukee named The Direct Supply Network, dealing primarily with nursing homes and managed care issues, emphatically denied being part of the organization mailing invoices from Los Angeles. The Direct Supply Network also said it had received more than 1,500 copies of the fake invoices from clients and that it is working with the Los Angeles office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to track down the source of the fraudulent invoices.
Sheryl Lynch, legal assistant for Direct Supply Inc. in Milwaukee, requests anyone receiving the invoices to fax them to her attention at (800) 250-1961. Lynch says that dates on the invoices range from Feb. 1, 2000, to Dec. 18, 2000, a few have been dated Jan. 4, 2001, and many have a Las Vegas postmark.
Even though women in the United States live longer than their male counterparts, elderly disabled women may not be receiving as much home care as men in similar circumstances, according to an article in the Dec. 20, 2000, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study examined data from a nationally representative survey taken in 1993 among 7,443 noninstitutionalized people ages 70 or older. Included in the sample were 3,109 respondents who said that they either had difficulty or received help with activities such as eating, dressing, bathing, preparing meals, making telephone calls, and managing money.
Researchers found that disabled women received about a third fewer hours of informal care than their male counterparts. Among the reasons attributed to this discrepancy were that women are more likely to be living alone (75% of disabled men lived with a spouse), and in situations where both spouses are still living at home, women tend to take on the traditional caregiving role more than their husbands.
Even when researchers allowed for the fact that until 1997 there was not a great wave of paid home care services, women still received significantly less home care regardless of whether it was paid for. The study also found that adult daughters were found to be the primary caregivers of disabled women, whereas wives, even if they were disabled, provided the majority of care for their disabled husbands.
Additionally, researchers found that elderly disabled women were more likely than elderly disabled men to be too poor to afford home care services without the help of Medicare or Medicaid.
Gentiva Health Services, the nation’s leading provider of specialty pharmaceutical and home health care services, announced the management team for its newly organized home health division. Ron Malone, Gentiva’s executive vice president and president of nursing services, is moving to the position of executive vice president and president for the home health division and will assume executive management responsibility for both nursing services and the company’s network management division, now known as CareCentrix.
Reporting to Malone will be Al Perry, formerly senior vice president of CareCentrix, now the senior vice president of nursing services, where he will be responsible for Gentiva’s nursing services operations. Also as part of the unveiling of the company’s new home health division management, Gentiva announced the promotion of Susan D’Amelio from assistant vice president of CareCentrix, to vice president of corporate accounts.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) recently introduced a bill into the Senate that would permanently eliminate the 15% home health reimbursement reduction, which is slated to go into effect on Oct. 1, 2002. Moreover, this bill, S. 326, the Home Health Payment Fairness Act of 2001, would also make permanent the 10% add-on for services to rural patients.
Currently, the bill has these co-sponsors in the Senate: Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-MO), John F. Kerry (D-MA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jim M. Jeffords (R-VT), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Carl Levin (D-MI), Tim Hutchinson (R-AR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Michael B. Enzi (R-WY), Barabara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Robert C. Smith (R-NH), Frank H. Murkowski (R-AK), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), John W. Warner (R-VA), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Jean Carnahan (D-MO), Richard G. Lugar (R-IN), and Thad Cochran (R-MS).
If your senator is not currently a co-sponsor, you may wish to contact his or her office via letter or e-mail to urge support for S. 326 and protect the home health care industry. To find contact information for your state’s representatives, go to the web site: Thomas.loc.gov.
According to federal auditors, if Medicare had been able to purchase two popular prescription medications in 1999 at prices, which were made available to the veterans’ health system, Medicare and its beneficiaries would have saved $1.6 billion. Paying the actual wholesale price for the same drugs would have saved $761 million, the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general said in a recent report.
Currently, most over-the-counter or outpatient prescription drugs are not covered by Medicare. Only in specific circumstances — vaccines, drugs used with medical equipment covered by Medicare, and those drugs associated with organ transplants, dialysis, chemotherapy, and pain management — are prescription medications for the elderly covered. Under current law, Medicare recipients pay 95% of the average wholesale price for such drugs, and Medicare reimburses them 80% of the total. All told, Medicare and its beneficiaries paid $3.9 billion for covered drugs in 1999.
Meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs is free to negotiate with individual drug manufacturers and suppliers for bulk discounts. "At the prices the Veterans Department paid in 1999 for the 24 most widely used drugs covered by Medicare, the agency would have saved more than half the $3.1 billion it spent," the audit found.