In brief: Arcadia, Amazon launch Choice; Apria goes nat’l with Medela

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Friday, November 2, 2018

SEATTLE – Arcadia Group has launched an Amazon-exclusive brand of consumer-use medical devices for diabetes and hypertension management.

The Choice brand will start with a range of blood glucose and blood pressure monitors, both with supporting mobile apps offering tracking, data mobility and reminders.

“The Choice brand is all about accessible wellness,” said Bob Guest, CEO of Arcadia Group. “Consumers no longer need to drive to a store to stand in line and purchase their medical devices and supplies. Now, in the privacy of their home, consumers can review, compare and purchase the products of their choice. No insurance is required. Therefore, customers have the freedom of choice. They will no longer be told by their insurance company what brand they can by. Choice is freedom.”

Arcadia has experience in brand development within the diabetes and cardiovascular markets as the original architect of Walmart’s ReliOn brand and Abbott’s Freestyle brand.

Over time, Arcadia Group plans to incorporate voice-driven measurement interpretations, as well as individualized wellness recommendations.

“This is all possible with Alexa and will provide patients with a wellness experience not available until now,” Guest said.

Apria goes nat’l with Medela’s NPWT line
MCHENRY, Ill., and LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Medela has announced that Apria Healthcare will begin distributing its negative pressure wound therapy product line nationwide.

Per the terms of the agreement, Apria will expand its wound care portfolio to include the full line of Medela’s negative pressure wound therapy products, including its Invia NPWT System with FitPad.

“By offering a united front, these two companies can help remove the complexities that occur in coordinating patient care from hospital to home, providing wider access to Medela’s leading technology nationwide,” said Kevin Ackerman, vice president of healthcare for Medela USA.

Apria will offer the products through its more than 300 branches and its nearly 1,900 commercial payers and preferred provider agreements with integrated health systems across the country.

Medela’s proprietary wound care system features intelligent pressure control and dynamic exudate removal, and can be used in both the acute and homecare settings, according to a press release.

“We believe our patients, prescribers and healthcare providers will immediately see the benefit of using the Invia NPWT system with FitPad in both the acute care and homecare space, and of having Apria’s dedicated sales team assist in safely getting these patients back home and coordinating their ongoing care,” said Jeff Johnson, vice president of business development for Apria.

CMS finalizes temporary payment for infusion services
WASHINGTON – CMS has finalized a rule that includes a temporarily transitional payment for home infusion services, and implements a new home infusion therapy benefit.

The rule, originally published in July, implements the transition payments effective Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2020, prior to a new permanent home infusion therapy services beginning on Jan. 1, 2021. The temporary payments, required by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, address a payment gap created by the 21st Century Cures Act.

The final rule also establishes health and safety standard for home infusion providers as part of a new infusion therapy service benefit, and establishes the approval and oversight process for accrediting organizations of these providers, as required by the 21st Century Cures Act. CMS states that is it seeking further comments on its interpretation of “infusion drug administration calendar day” and its potential effects on access to care.

Industry stakeholders have expressed concerns about this interpretation, which they say doesn’t take into consideration how infusion drugs are typically administered. Specifically, the agency wants to require a nurse to be present on the days when a drug is administered in the home to receive payment, but it is not uncommon for infusion drugs to be administered without a nurse, they say.

"At a time when private payers, Congress, and beneficiaries are seeking to modernize health care delivery, the final home infusion rule doubles down on the payment policy of yesteryear," said Bill Noyes, interim executive vice president for the National Home Infusion Association. "Unfortunately, the result will be more hospitalizations and nursing home visits for beneficiaries, and a higher bill for the taxpayer."

In a press release, BioScrip the largest independent provider of home infusion services, said it disagrees with the CMS’s interpretation.

“Based on CMS’s final rule, we are evaluating the future treatment of Medicare beneficiaries, while also considering next possible steps to ensure this new transitional benefit is implemented as Congress intended,” said Dan Greenleaf, president and CEO.

AAHomecare submits comments on anti-kickback statute
WASHINGTON – AAHomecare has submitted comments on the anti-kickback statute to the Office of Inspector General. The association suggested a new OIG safe harbor that addresses a supplier disclosing in advance when it will waive or reduce a patient’s co-payment obligation. “If a patient’s income is at or below 300% of the federal poverty level, then the patient’s obligation will be automatically waived and if the patient’s income is above that threshold, the provider will gather financial information and then decide as to whether the provider will waive or reduce copayment.” AAHomecare also suggested the OIG relax the “60-40 Tests,” which state that to form a join venture, not more than 40% of the joint venture can be owned by a party that is in the position to refer to or transact business with the joint venture, and not more than 40% of the business generated by the joint venture can come from one of the parties in the joint venture. When one of the parties of the joint venture is a referral source, it is impossible to comply with the 60-40 tests, the association stated. The comments are in response to a request for information from the OIG on the “Medicare and State Health Care Programs: Fraud and Abuse; Request for information Regarding the Anti-Kickback Statute and Beneficiary Inducements CMP.”

AAH releases scorecard
WASHINGTON – AAHomecare has created a downloadable election scorecard that allows users to track lawmaker support for the HME industry. The spreadsheet also notes who is seeking re-lection, retiring or has resigned. Of the 67 legislators who are not running for re-election, 32 took at least one action to support the industry, like co-sponsoring legislation or adding their signatures to sign-on letters, according to a bulletin from AAHomecare. The scorecard is available as an Excel spreadsheet or PDF.

ResMed becomes platinum sponsor
SAN DIEGO – ResMed has stepped up its support of AAHomecare, moving from a gold-level to a platinum level corporate partner—the highest sponsorship level for the association. “ResMed is committed to working with our partners on sustainable reimbursement programs that maximize patient access to home oxygen, PAP and other life-changing out-of-hospital therapies,” said Larissa D’Andrea, ResMed senior director of government affairs. “We’re encouraged by the progress made on competitive bidding reform—this great work must continue.” ResMed recently collaborated with AAHomecare and other industry groups on a new online bidding resource.

FDA approves FreeStyle app
ABBOTT PARK, Ill. – The FreeStyle LibreLink app has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the iPhone, according to a press release from Abbott. The app allows user to capture and view real-time glucose levels. It also includes a series of in-app reports that visualize blood glucose trends and patterns. The free app will be available for download in the coming weeks and will be able to pair with the FreeStyle Libre or FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensors. The Android version is currently under development.

Aeroflow names RN to lead new division
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Aeroflow Healthcare has tapped Michelle Worley, a registered nurse, to manage its new pulmonary division. Formerly the company’s sleep division, Aeroflow Pulmonary incorporates more products and services, such as ventilation and the AffloVest mobile airway clearance therapy. Prior to this role, Worley was Aeroflow’s clinical operations manager, responsible for leading the clinician’s team. “Michelle’s experience with Aeroflow and as a registered nurse makes her ideal to lead the pulmonary unit to new levels of success,” said Vaughn Williams, director of business operations. “Her leadership will be critical in improving our processes and efficiencies, and incorporating new equipment to advance Aeroflow’s mission of improving the quality of life for more patients.”

CleveMed secures patent for sleep data analytics tool
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland Medical Devices has been issued a new patent that covers “technologies that enable data transfer from home sleep apnea therapy (CPAP) to the cloud through software apps on a patient’s cell phones or other personal smart devices like wearables.” “There is a tremendous need to allow healthcare providers and patients easy access to therapy efficacy data, especially long-term,” said Hani Kayyali, CEO. “This will not only permit healthcare providers a deeper understanding of a patient’s response to therapy through larger data integration, but also give patients easy access to their own data to improve engagement with therapy.” CleveMed says the patent is “one in a long line of patents” that will establish the company as a leader in “data acquisition from the home for patients suffering from chronic sleep disorders.” CleveMed’s most recent addition to its product lineup: SleepView Insight, a quarterly report that offers summaries on HST data, including demographics, screening results, disease severity, co-morbidities, turnaround times and study completion rates. The company is currently offering a free pilot of the tool.

Numotion buys Medsource’s complex rehab division
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Numotion has acquired the complex rehab technology division of Medsource, extending its reach and capabilities in Utah, Arizona, Nevada and Idaho. Medsource, which has been in business since 1989, provides custom mobility products to thousands of consumers across the region, according to a press release. “Medsource has a unique model that has been highly successful,” said Mike Swinford, CEO of Numotion. “We are excited to learn from this team and look forward to applying their knowledge to positively impact and serve many more customers in the region.” Sixty-six Medsource employees will join Numotion.

McKesson gets new CEO
SAN FRANCISCO – McKesson Corp. has announced that John Hammergren, chairman and CEO, will retire March 31. The company’s board of directors has unanimously selected Brian Tyler, currently president and COO, to succeed Hammergren as CEO, effective April 1. Tyler will remain president. Edward Mueller, currently the lead independent director on McKesson’s board, will succeed Hammergren as independent chairman of the board, also effective April 1. In the time since Hammergren became CEO in 2001, the company has more than quadrupled revenues to $208 billion; expanded into global markets; and advanced to No. 6 on the Fortune 500, reflecting shareholder returns of more than 400% or 9% on a compound annual basis. Harvard Business Review named him one of their 100 “Top Performing CEOs in the World.”

Synergy launches mobile app for wound care management
SAN DIEGO – Synergy Wound Technology has launched InteliWound, a mobile, cloud-first, software-as-a-service app that it says reduces wound care costs. The app allows licensed clinicians to perform more efficient and uniform wound measurements, assessments, documentation and product/supply ordering—all during a home visit. Powered by a scalable platform build on Amazon Web Services, the app provides: precision, touchless, volumetric measurements by way of a 3D camera; guided, easy-to-understand, clinically proven wound assessments; treatment plan suggestions with application instructions; wound supply recommendations and/or DME; an optional marketplace; and more. Synergy Wound Technology is a tech-driven product development company that specializes in wound management, prevention and early evaluation.