Product Spotlight

Afflovest Shakes Up Oscillation Therapy

High frequency chest wall oscillation vest lets providers offer new therapeutic approach while tapping into an important Medicare code.

Afflovest Oscillation Therapy

Billed under Medicare code E0483, the Afflovest gives providers access to currently one of the highest capped rental reimbursement products while serving patients with a variety of diagnoses.

At a time when providers are exploring a variety of non-Medicare products and services to broaden their revenue, there are still some products coming on the market that offer a solid, Medicare-funded business case, along with a therapeutic benefit. The AffloVest from International Biophysics Corp. is case in point.

In its very basic sense, the AffloVest is a high frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) vest that quietly runs on batteries and provides truly portable therapy. Billed under Medicare code E0483, the device is designed for treating patients with a variety of diagnoses, including cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS, quadriplegia and other neuromuscular diseases. The diseases might differ, but they all can create secretions in a patient’s airways that inhibit gas exchange in the lungs and negatively impact pulmonary health.

Notably, the AffloVest can also be used for COPD patients with an underlying diagnosis of bronchiectasis, a condition in which the airways that carry air in and out of patients’ lungs grow thicker and scarred, and have difficulty clearing out mucous as a result. This application further expands the device’s therapeutic reach.

“This is the growth market for HFCWO devices,” says John Eberhart RRT, RPSGT, western regional sales representative for International Biophysics. “Numbers that have been put out by the American lung Association and the CDC state that about 50 percent of patients with COPD will have bronchiectasis associated [with their condition].”

A Significant Code

Savvy HME providers might perk up at the mention of Medicare code E0483; it is one of the most lucrative capped rental codes for DMEPOS. So not only does HFCWO benefit a wide range of patients, but it can boost the bottom line.

“The E0483 reimbursement code is currently one of the highest capped rental reimbursement products,” Eberhart says. “… The AffloVest can help offset the losses DMEs have experienced due to competitive bidding by offering the AffloVest.

“Due to the reimbursement amount, the number of AffloVests that a DME needs to sell on a monthly basis to help offset competitive bid losses, is not overwhelming,” he adds. “In general, the capped rental period is 13 months, but there are private insurances that will pay for as a purchase, so the DME gets its money right away.”

How does HFCWO Work?

The AffloVest takes such a new approach to this therapy that its maker, 25-year-old International Biophysics, rightly describes the vest as equal parts innovative and disruptive. That’s likely a fair stance to take for two reasons: the AffloVest uses different technology for an entirely new therapeutic method, and it is being offered to HME providers, which previously haven’t usually been able to offer this type of device because other manufacturers typically sell their devices direct.

What makes AffloVest’s therapy approach new and different starts with its eight, battery-powered oscillating motors, which are sewn into the AffloVest in areas correlating with the anatomy of the lungs. The oscillating motors create percussive waves that help the lungs break up and move built-up secretions in the airways.

Initial clinician findings demonstrate that many patients who switch from the old style air bladder vest technology benefit from increased lung function results with the AffloVest.

This differs greatly from previous solutions that used air bladders tethered to hoses and an external air generator to create a single a waveform. In the case of AffloVest, the mechanical motors create eight, targeted waveforms without compressing the patient. This means the AffloVest can more comfortably target areas such as the upper lobes of the lungs, which is an area often missed by air bladder technology, according to Bob Ellis, vice president of sales and marketing for International Biophysics.

“We don’t squeeze the patients,” Ellis says. “We create the wave form mechanically, rather than pneumatically.” Another way the AffloVest breaks away from previous treatments is that because the device runs on batteries, and is not connected to any air generator via a series of tubes, the patient can be entirely mobile and ambulatory during treatment. A typical prescription for HFCWO therapy would be 30 minutes twice a day, and between 5 Hz and 20 Hz, according to Eberhart.

“So patients are using this therapy an hour day, which is a substantial amount of time,” Eberhart explains. “A big benefit of the AffloVest is that they are not tied down to a chair. These patients can get up, get around, cook — do whatever they want to do.”

And, because the AffloVest isn’t connected to anything, this also means that the AffloVest is not position dependent, which in turn means that clinicians can also incorporate postural drainage techniques into their patients’ therapy regimen.

In terms of the AffloVest’s battery, it lasts three hours at the highest intensity setting. And the device comes with a cable and adapter for wall outlets, as well as offering an optional car inverter so patients can charge the battery or power the AffloVest nearly anywhere.

Getting Started with AffloVest

Eberhart advises that providers considering offering the AffloVest start by getting informed about HFCWO therapy, how the product works, and how it differs from other solutions, as well as becoming well versed in E0483 billing.

“For a DME to implement the AffloVest into its product repertoire the company needs to have capable staff who are able to discuss the technology behind the AffloVest and how it is different than air bladder technology,” Eberhart says. “In addition, the ability to discuss the disease processes with physicians, nurses and patients alike.”

Eberhart adds that International Biophysics offers training programs for providers’ sales and marketing employees, clinical staff and billing specialists. Also, the company provides templates of all the necessary policies and procedures for accreditation, intake, cleaning the devices, and similar functions.

International Biophysics Corp.
(888) 711-1145

This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher HME Business, DME Pharmacy and Mobility Management magazines. He was Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy from 2008 to 2023. Follow him on LinkedIn at and on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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