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• The Michigan Democratic Task Force on Health Care Delivery is holding public hearings throughout the state through October in order to present the state legislature with recommendations for change. At the first meeting in Grand Rapids, healthcare providers complained of excessive regulation and inadequate funding, reported the Grand Rapids Press. "It is ludicrous to me that there are those in Congress who are boasting about a budget surplus when you have children suffering, and there are elderly who are literally dying at home," said the former manager of a now defunct home healthcare agency.
• A judge upheld a decision by New Jersey state officials to eliminate the 20 hours of home healthcare received by a 70-year-old man with rheumatoid arthritis. The state began auditing the Personal Care Assistant program last year and has since reviewed 8,500 cases. Of those cases, 2,892 people lost their home health aides or had hours reduced, while 325 people received an increase in hours. The man with arthritis, a widower, has trouble walking and depended on the aides for cooking and cleaning. A spokesman for the state’s division of Medicaid has said that some people were abusing the PCA program. A husband and wife, for instance, were each receiving home health services by two different aides, when only one was needed, reported the Star-Ledger in Newark. About 110 people, however, have successfully regained their aides after appealing the state’s decision.
• Baptist Hospital Home Care (BHHC; Winston-Salem, NC) has reached an agreement to sell its durable medical equipment and respiratory therapy operations to Lincare (Clearwater, FL). BHHC will continue to operates its other home care operations, including home infusion pharmacy services, nursing, physical, occupational, and speech therapy, aide services, and medical social work.
• Peter Taylor’s company, Medical Technology Solutions (MTS; Tampa, FL), which provides wound care supplies to institutions and to individuals at home, is one of four companies that were selected this month to sell surgical dressings in Polk County, FL, under the federal competitive bidding project. In the past, MTS competed with dozens of other wound care companies in Polk County, ending up with about $200,000 a year as its share of the Medicare business in the county, reported the St. Petersburg Times. To win the spot in the pilot program, MTS had to price its products below existing Medicare levels and agree to onsite visits, financial audits, and reference checks, the Times reported.