CMS extends deadlines for first round of DMEPOS

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is extending the bid submission, registration, and accreditation deadlines for the first round of the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program.

On May 15, 2007, CMS issued a request for bids for the first round of the Medicare DMEPOS competitive bidding program. The original due date was 9 p.m., EST, July 13, 2007. All bids are now due by 9 p.m., EST, Sept. 25, 2007.

Suppliers interested in bidding must first register and receive a user ID and password before they can access the Internet-based bid submission system. Got to http://www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicareProviderSupEnroll/ for more information.


Web site offers diabetics way to track glucose levels

Tracking blood glucose levels, making sense of the numbers, and sharing the all-important data with doctors could all get easier for the millions of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, with the launch of a new web site created by a 24-year-old computer engineer who knows the challenges of the disease first hand.

SugarStats.com offers a web-based system to record and track glucose levels and medication usage, food and carbohydrate intake, and exercise and activity levels.

Studies have shown that web-based programs such as SugarStats.com can help people with diabetes reduce blood sugar levels, as measured by a standard blood test used to monitor average glucose levels over several months. The National Institutes of Health, American Medical Association, and American Diabetes Association studies have all concluded that web-based programs can have a significant impact, as long as the diabetic's health care practitioner can view the data.

Basic registration on the site is free and offers both glucose and medication tracking. A premium level offers the added features of food and exercise tracking for a small monthly or yearly fee.


Time spent in ED increased; patient satisfaction also up

The average time spent in emergency departments rose in 2006, but so did patient satisfaction, according to a recent report by Press Ganey Associates. Based on the firm's patient surveys in 1,500 hospitals, patients spent an average of four hours in the ED, 18 minutes more than in 2005.

The more patients an ED saw over the year, the longer the average visit, which increased by 30 minutes for every additional 10,000 patients. Patient satisfaction dropped as time in the ED increased, with the lowest satisfaction reported from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and highest from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The 10 metropolitan areas with the highest ED patient satisfaction during the period from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2006, according to the report, are Milwaukee; Indianapolis; Columbus, OH; Oklahoma City; New Orleans; Detroit; Nashville, TN; Cleveland; Kansas City, MO-KS; and Chicago.