In brief: ActiveCare, HPS partner; Apria clears hurdle

Sunday, July 13, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. - As part of a strategic partnership, ActiveCare Medical will provide its power wheelchairs and scooters to members of Home Patient Services at a special contract price, it announced last week. "This will give our members the ability to purchase power wheelchairs and scooters at a price normally reserved for the very largest national providers," stated HPS CEO Timothy Waits in a release. "This will give our members a competitive advantage that should translate into a higher degree of profitable sales through competitive bidding." In addition to special pricing, ActiveCare offers HPS members "a responsive parts department staffed with experienced people who understand the need for quick turnaround and expert advice," stated ActiveCare President and CEO Steve Neese in the release.

Apria, Blackstone clear hurdle
LAKE FOREST, Calif. - Apria Healthcare's sale to an affiliate of The Blackstone Group has cleared an antitrust regulatory review, the provider announced last week. The sale, valued at $1.6 billion, still has other hurdles, including shareholder approval. Company officials expect the deal to close by the end of the year.

Warrant issued for provider's arrest
MIAMI - A fugitive Miami businessman was sentenced last week to 130 months in prison for his role in a scam that cost Medicare $4.6 million. Gustavo Smith, owner of Medstar Services and Orthotics Fitters, had been allowed to remain free on bond after his April 23 conviction. On June 14, he violated the terms of his release and fled the country. A warrant has been issued for his arrest. Smith has been charged with submitting fraudulent claims primarily for negative pressure pumps and related wound care supplies. The doctors and patients whose billing numbers he used testified in court that they had never heard of him or his companies. Smith's scam allegedly involved opening companies in the name of nominee owners, and once Medicare made payments the companies, he employed a money launderer to transfer the cash to him. Smith allegedly accepted payments from 180 companies.

Otto Bock completes merger
MINNEAPOLIS - Otto Bock Healthcare no longer uses OrthoRehab for its post-surgical orthopedic services, the company announced July 10. The change reflects the integration of the two companies' orthopedic rehab product lines and support services after Otto Bock's 2005 acquisition of Arizona-based OrthoRehab. "We've successfully united our two organizations with one vision--providing a complete orthopedic services solution that can support a patient from hospital to home," stated Pat Chelf, vice president, sales and marketing, Otto Bock HealthCare North America. "Now it's important that our name assures our audiences they are being served by the full breadth, history and reputation of Otto Bock Healthcare."