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Archive for July, 2020

Handi Medical Supply team members reach milestone years of service

Thursday, July 30, 2020 @ 07:07 AM  posted by jbuytaert

I would like to acknowledge the recipients of our Handi Medical Milestone Years of Service Awards.  As I look at this list, I’m reminded of the importance of creating and sustaining a culture of Trust, Respect, Integrity, Compassion and Excellence.  This group embodies the traits that we value as a company.  The same can be said for our entire Handi family.  Company values are most effective when they’re authentic.  It’s one thing to write your values on a wall, but living those values in your day-to-day interactions is much harder.

Handi’s success and reputation were built from the foundation of core values that Mary and Shann Benhardus created 32 years ago.  I just had a conversation with a company that wants to do business with us because of our heritage and strong culture.  It is clear that at Handi, we live our values and it shows.

5 years- Alex Banaszewski, Estee Rippel, Ilany Lopez, Kay Webber, Kristin Seline, Mark Oelke, Sabrina Newson

10 years - Nancy Petrun, Sheldon Anderson

15 years - Jenni Jacobson, Laurie Tomaszewski

20 years- Jeremy Nauss

30 years - Shann Benhardus

From Troy Keach, CEO

July 15, 2020
Courtesy of MAMES, 651-351-5395/

St. Paul, Minnesota — People who rely on Minnesota Medical Assistance who need home medical equipment and supplies, such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, incontinence and other medical supplies, may experience access issues should Minnesota Health and Human Services (HHS) proceed with two proposals included in the draft Final Report of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Health and Human Services.

Two (2) of the nine (9) Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) proposals under “Cost Savings Strategies: Health Care,” directly impact providers of Durable Medical Equipment (DME), also known as home medical equipment (HME) and medical supplies:

  1. VOLUME PURCHASING DURABLE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT: expands the use of volume purchasing to additional types of DME products, including enteral nutrition, wound care supplies, and standard wheelchairs and walkers.
  2. MODIFY CERTAIN MEDICAL ASSISTANCE DURABLE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT PAYMENT RATES TO MATCH MEDICARE RATES. Modifies Medical Assistance fee-for-service payment rates for select DME and supplies.

MAMES opposes the strategies for the following reasons:

Both proposals will not produce the amount of savings HHS expects to see without having an impact on access to HME and medical supplies for the population needing these items.

  • Per BRC reports1, spending on DME and supplies constitutes less than 3 percent of Medicaid fee-for service budget.
  • Medicaid currently has volume purchasing for oxygen, hearing aids and diabetic test strips. These items are vastly different from the other equipment and medical supplies they are proposing to volume purchase.
    • Most items listed, like wheelchairs and walkers, are already set by a volume purchase program — Medicare’s competitive bid program (CBP).
      • That CBP pricing established the upper payment limit for Medicaid federal cost sharing for those items addressed by the 21st Century Cures Act.  In legislation passed in 2019, Minnesota Medicaid already reduced payment rates on those items to Medicare rates, including walkers, wheelchairs, hospital beds and other common DME items.
      • DME providers would not go below what is already the lowest fee schedule for those items included in the Medicare CBP.
      • Enteral nutrition, which had been included in the initial rounds of Medicare competitive bidding, was specifically excluded for the 21st Century Cures Act upper payment limit, presumably because the enteral food prices that had resulted from the competitive bid process, caused significant access issues for Medicare patients who needed enteral nutrition.
      • As indicated in the BRC Report, in 2017, the legislature directed DHS to volume purchase adult incontinence products. During implementation DHS was sued and subsequently in 2019 the legislature prohibited DHS from volume purchasing adult incontinence products because of the impact it would have on the disability and beneficiary community not to mention the providers of HME and medical supplies.

Read more

Compression Garments and COVID-19

Thursday, July 16, 2020 @ 08:07 AM  posted by jbuytaert

During the COVID-10 pandemic, questions have come about as to the safety of wearing compression garments. Below are some questions and answers from Medi USA.

it possible to become infected via textiles with COVID-19?

Corona viruses only survive through human host cells, for example in the lungs. The international umbrella organization of the textile care CINET clarifies that the corona virus only has a life cycle of about 20 minutes outside host cells. This means for the textile dispatch and also for the handling of textiles (if common hygiene standards are adhered to) no transmission of the viruses can take place through them if the time period is longer than that, which should mostly be the case.

Should I spray disinfectant on my flat-knitted compression stockings?

Unfortunately, the knitted fabric suffers from the use of disinfectants. Wash your compression garments in the washing machine according to instructions. It is best to use a laundry net to protect the compression stockings from zippers or other risks.

Is there anything I need to consider when washing my compression stockings at this time?

Detergent – not high temperatures – is key. According to experts, detergent (or soap) would “dissolve” the outer virus shell and kill the virus. Even low temperatures are sufficient. The decisive factor is not heat, but detergent explains the Austrian Agency for Heath and Food Safety (Ages) on its website. The detergent thus leads to the reliable “dying” of the virus. SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the enveloped viruses and is therefore very sensitive to environmental influences.

Courtesy of Managed Healthcare Executive – June 19, 2020 – Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Jen Singer became sick with an unidentified respiratory illness while visiting Seattle in February, before many knew enough to be worried about COVID-19. The fever and coughing delayed the 53-year-old’s trip back home to New Jersey.

During an April telehealth visit, Singer didn’t have traditional COVID-19 symptoms. She felt abdominal fullness and had difficulty breathing when climbing stairs. Suspecting a gallbladder issue, the doctor sent her to the emergency department (ED), where her heart rate hovered near 40 beats per minute. A normal resting rate is 60 to 100. Singer’s diagnosis? Fluid buildup in her liver from a third-degree heart block – and she tested positive for COVID-19. She was treated with a pacemaker.

“For the entire month of March, I was taking my temperature (at home), when I should have been measuring my heart rate. If I’d had a pulse oximeter, I would have known that my heart rate had dropped to 42, and I would have rushed to the hospital sooner,” Singer says.

At-home pulse oximeter purchases have spiked more than 500% since the first COVID-19 case was identified in the U.S. The device can easily be purchased at drugstores and online retailers for as little as $40. But not all doctors agree that they’re helpful or that people need to self-monitor for potential COVID-19 exposure. False positives can cause unnecessary anxiety and lead people to seek unnecessary medical care. Many physicians, however, see pulse oximeters as an important way for people to identify declining lung function early and address the cause, including COVID-19, when it’s easier to treat.

Adjunct to Telehealth

Pulse oximeters are noninvasive clips typically used on the finger or the earlobe that measure light wavelengths to determine blood oxygen level. More precisely, the light is a measurement of  the proportion of hemoglobin in the blood that is “saturated” with oxygen. A normal saturation level is 94% to 100%. Pulse oximeters also take a pulse, thus the “pulse” in pulse oximeter, and are commonly used in hospitals to monitor patients.

At-home pulse oximeters were in use before the COVID-19 outbreak, especially by people with chronic heart or lung problems. People getting supplemental oxygen use them to adjust the flow as needed, explains Albert Rizzo, M.D., FACP, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association. Some athletes use them for fitness monitoring.

In late April, the American Lung Association put out a statement that quoted Rizzo as saying that “unless you have a chronic lung or heart condition that affects your oxygen saturation level on a regular basis, most individuals do not need to have a pulse oximeter in their home.” The same statement said the lung association advised against buying pulse oximeters unnecessarily.

The role of pulse oximeters for people with chronic health problems that affect their lungs ad breathing is well established. Just as patients with chronic conditions use devices like blood pressure cuffs and glucose monitors, “home monitoring of oxygen is a way for patients to become familiar with their baseline saturation and to monitor themselves for decompensation,” says Lisa Moreno-Walton, M.D., FAAEM, a professor of emergency medicine at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine and president-elect of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. The patient and treating physician should determine a target number for when to seek medical help. Pulse oximetry can be a great adjunct to telemedicine, she says, providing useful information to inform further medical care. Ideally, patients should first use the device with guidance from a physician to be certain they’re using it correctly and that the readings are consistent with the pulse oximeters at the medical practice or hospital.

Some physicians believe that pulse oximeters can save lives amid the COVID-19 outbreak by prompting people to get medical help sooner.  COVID-19 patients (how many is unclear) have shown up at the ED with “silent hypoxia,” abnormally low oxygen saturation levels without breathing difficulty. Silent hypoxia is not specific to COVID-19, but it may be more common than with other lung infections.

Over-reliance on a pulse oximeter and a good saturation rate can give a false sense of security, warns Rizzo, because oxygen saturation and heart rate are only two factors for  determining a person’s condition. For COVID-19, Rizzo says that a doctor would also consider shortness of breath, fever, cough, gastrointestinal symptoms and headache.

Pulse oximeters are available for as little as $25. It’s simple technology, says Rizzo. “You get what you pay for, but spending a couple hundred dollars isn’t necessary,” he explains, adding that if a cheaper one gives consistently accurate levels, it’s probably fine.

Patients should know that a pulse oximeter may be less accurate if they’re wearing dark or gel nail polish, says Rizzo. Cold fingers or poor circulation may also affect pulse oximeters. People should not rely on a single reading and should take measurements multiple times throughout the day to evaluate trends.

Now home from the hospital, Singer uses her $50 Ankovo pulse oximeter regularly. She also sent one to her college-age son as part of a care package – along with heart-healthy oatmeal.

If interested in a pulse oximeter, please click here:

White Paper Demonstrates Value of Incontinence Providers

Wednesday, July 1, 2020 @ 07:07 AM  posted by jbuytaert

courtesy of HME Business – by David Kopf, June 25, 2020

The document aims to educate regulators and payers on the importance of high-quality incontinence solutions supplied by knowledgeable providers in ensuring optimal care and cost management.

HME providers supplying incontinence products and services are critical in ensuring optimal incontinence patient care and cost management, according to a new white paper.

Moreover, the white paper, “Keeping Patients at Home with Improved Outcomes Through the Use of Quality Incontinence Products and HME Providers,” says that recent Medicaid and MCO funding trends are hampering those providers’ ability to help those patients.

“Matching the end-user with a product that meets or exceeds the National Association for Continence premium standards is essential—but selecting the right product or products and ensuring that the size and fit are appropriate for the end-users while providing ongoing supportive services are also key elements,” the white paper states.

The document was produced by a subgroup of the American Association for Homecare’s Medical Supplies Council, the Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN), the Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates (SUNA), and National Association for Continence (NAFC). Their goal is to educate payers and regulators on the importance of using high-quality incontinence products provided by knowledgeable HME providers that can manage end-users’ needs and prevent costly complications.

“The factors involved with managing the incontinent patient are complex, and if poorly managed, can lead to increased costs to the payer to treat the resulting complications,” said Gayle Devin of ActivStyle, who chairs AAHomecare’s Medical Supplies Council and the subgroup who developed the paper.

The white paper can be downloaded as a PDF.