Apria ushers in new CEO

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Thursday, February 28, 2002

LAKE FOREST, Calif. - Apria has announced that Lawrence M. Higby, 56, has been appointed CEO and elected to the company's board of directors, replacing Philip L. Carter. Carter has decided to leave Apria after leading a "highly successful turnaround strategy" over the past four years, according to a company statement. Higby has been Apria's president and COO since November 1997. Prior to joining Apria, Mr. Higby served as president and COO of Unocal's 76 Products Company.

Chartwell bags 4 offices

ANDOVER, Mass. - Chartwell Diversified Services has closed or is in the process of closing its four Texas locations because they are either too far away from corporate headquarters or losing money. The locations are in Austin, Texas, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Of the four, apparently only San Antonio turned a profit, industry watchers said. Med Diversified, an Internet application service provider turned one-stop-shop, acquired Chartwell last spring for $90 million. Company officials did not return calls.

Podiatrist enters plea agreement to fraud

SPRING HILL, Fla. - Podiatrist John S. Bidelspach faces federal charges that he received $2,000 in illegal kickbacks from a wheelchair supplier during 1997, according to the St. Petersburg Times. He faces up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000. Bidelspach, 38, entered a plea agreement in mid-January, acknowledging that he received $200 every time he signed a "certificate of medical necessity" falsely attesting a Medicare patient needed a motorized wheelchair. Using those certificates, the supplier, a group known as the Gold Star companies, fraudulently billed Medicare for $110,850, prosecutors say.

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