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NAMES SUPPORTS CALL TO ROOT OUT HEALTH CARE FRAUD

 ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers (NAMES), which represents more than 2,100 ethical home medical equipment (HME) suppliers, applauds syndicated newspaper columnists Jack Anderson and Michael Binstein for their recent "Washington Merry-Go-Round" newspaper column highlighting the FBI's activities to curb health care fraud.
 Stated NAMES President Corrine Parver: "Even one Medicare beneficiary hurt in any way by an unscrupulous business practice is one too many. Even one company engaging in unethical business practices tarnishes the reputation of legitimate health care providers. All instances of health care fraud and abuse on unsuspecting consumers by unscrupulous companies must be eliminated. To do this requires a combined effort on the part of industry, government -- Congress


and the administration -- the media and educated consumers."
 "Policymakers understand that the vast majority of HME suppliers are reputable, local business leaders who provide the quality HME services that allow severely ill individuals and people with disabilities in need of sophisticated and complex medical care to receive such treatment services at home, where they prefer to be. Home care, including HME services, is the preferred and more cost- effective method of obtaining medical care for most Americans," said Parver.
 NAMES, on behalf of the ethical HME services industry, repeatedly has taken a strong and active stand against abusive business practices in the HME services industry. For example, in the 102nd Congress, NAMES helped initiate legislation, H.R. 2534, "The Ethics and Treatment of Home Medical Equipment Act of 1991," which was co- sponsored by 112 members of Congress. In addition, NAMES testified repeatedly before Congress on the ongoing efforts of the HME services industry to combat unethical business practices.
 "In terms of the federal government's focus on uncovering health care fraud," added Parver, "NAMES already is cooperating with the FBI and the Health & Human Services Department, Office of Inspector General (OIG), to help eliminate whatever health care fraud exists in the HME services industry. NAMES is an advisory/liaison committee member of the National Health Care Anti-fraud Association (NHCAA), whose mission is to enhance the identification, prevention, detection and prosecution of health care fraud, and also participates in the Fraud and Abuse Technical Advisory Group of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA).
 "NAMES established a Code of Ethics in 1987 to set high standards of conduct for members, amplified it in 1991 with a Guide for Conduct, and in 1992 established a formal complaint resolution process and membership termination procedure for violations of the Code of Ethics," Parver explained.
 "We insist, however, that the HME services industry, which helps make homecomings' possible for so many Americans, must not be unjustifiably identified as part of a so-called Medical Mafia,'" said Parver. "NAMES is working closely with Congress and the new administration to help eliminate unscrupulous HME suppliers from the Medicare program. Anderson's time would be well spent writing about the positive aspects of home care using HME services, rather than focusing only on the few unscrupulous suppliers who represent a very small segment of the HME services industry," said the NAMES president.
 NAMES, headquartered in Alexandria, is the national trade association representing a diversified membership of more than 2,100 home medical equipment (HME) suppliers with some 4,500 sites, over 100 HME manufacturers and 39 state/regional HME associations. NAMES mission is to promote access to quality home medical equipment services as an integral part of the nation's health care system.
 -0- 2/19/93
 /CONTACT: Steve Haracznak of NAMES, 703-836-6263/


CO: National Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers ST: Virginia IN: HEA SU:

KD -- DC021 -- 8581 02/19/93 17:29 EST
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Date:Feb 19, 1993
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