In brief: Bill tries to force CMS’s hand on O&P certification, HME platform QMES secures financing

Friday, June 2, 2017

WASHINGTON – Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa., and Mike Thompson, D-Calif., have once again introduced a bill that calls on CMS to enforce a law that O&P providers be certified to receive payments under Medicare.

Thompson and Thompson introduced H.R. 2599, the Medicare Orthotics and Prosthetics Improvement Act of 2017, last week. They have introduced similar bills in previous sessions of Congress.

“Medicare beneficiaries in need of prosthetic and orthotic services deserve to know they’re getting the very best care,” said Mike Thompson in a press release. “Keeping fraudulent providers out of Medicare will ensure patients get the treatment they deserve, and has the added benefit of reducing costs.”

The Benefits Improvement and Protection Act (BIPA), which was signed into law back in 2000, requires certification for O&P providers. CMS has failed to enforce the provision, however, resulting in an uptick in fraudulent payments to unlicensed providers, Thompson and Thompson say.

The bill would also link eligibility for payment to the qualification of the providers and the complexity of the device; establish orthotists and prosthetists as Medicare providers, distinguishing them from DME providers; and clarify that notes taken by orthotists and prosthetists should be part of the patient’s medical record.

Congress adjourned late last year without passing the Medicare Orthotics and Prosthetics Improvement Act of 2015.

QMES secures more financing

NEW YORK – HME platform company QMES has obtained a second round of financing from CIT Group.

QMES, a DME provider in the Northeast, will use the $65 million secured senior credit facility to refinance legacy debt and support growth, according to a press release.

“QMES’s active M&A growth strategy has led to the successful completion and integration of more than 15 acquisitions and they currently serve over 100,000 patients annually,” said William Douglass, managing director and group head of CIT’s Healthcare Finance business. “As a result, the firm has grown to become the largest DME provider in the Northeast.”

QMES is a portfolio company of Quadrant Management, a New York-based private equity and restructuring firm that bought Landauer Metropolitan in 2013. An affiliate of Quadrant in May bought Braden Partners—better known as Pacific Pulmonary Services—and Associated Healthcare Systems from Teijin Limited.

QMES received a $50 million senior secured credit facility from CIT in 2014.

“Overall, the population is aging and we’re seeing growing rates of chronic diseases,” said Luke McGee, CEO of QMES in the release. “As a result, there’s a need for the type of equipment we distribute (i.e. CPAP machines, wheelchairs, ventilation equipment, etc.). CIT’s deep industry expertise and experience in financing middle market health care firms makes them a perfect financing partner for us and we’re excited to continue to build the business with them.”

Mediware broadens reach in alternate care market

LENEXA, Kan. – Mediware Information Systems has finalized an agreement to buy Kinnser Software, a provider of software solutions to 4,000 home health, hospice and private duty home care professionals, the company announced May 30.

The acquisition allows Mediware to expand its portfolio in the home health and hospice space, creating an integrated, high-growth software provider for the alternate care market, according to a press release.

“Kinnser’s intuitive platform provides Mediware with additional depth, expertise and capabilities to strengthen our platform in the home health and hospice space,” said Thomas Mann, CEO of Mediware, in the release. “This transaction marks our next step as we continue to expand our offering as the leading, integrated supplier of software solutions for alternate care providers.”

Mediware is purchasing Kinnser from Insight Venture Partners, a global private equity and venture capital firm based in New York City. Insight invests in growth-stage technology, software and Internet businesses.

TPG, which backed the deal, bought Mediware earlier this year.

“As experienced investors in software and healthcare, we have witnessed the role that innovation can play in advancing the industry’s infrastructure,” said Nehal Raj and Jeff Rhodes, partners at TPG, in the release. “Alternate care providers are continuing to see growth in patient volumes and are relying on technology as a low-cost and efficient management solution. We partnered with Mediware because we saw a compelling opportunity to invest in a high-quality software provider that will continue to benefit from these trends. Kinnser fits well within this vision, and broadens our end-market breadth within alternate care settings.”

Mediware has made a string of acquisitions in the past few years, including Definitive Homecare Solutions and its CPR+ platform; Fastrack; and CareCentric’s software solutions for the homecare market, including MestaMed.

Philips buys maker of respiratory vest

AMSTERDAM – Royal Philips has signed an agreement to acquire Respiratory Technologies, the maker of an airway clearance solution for patients with chronic respiratory conditions, like COPD and cystic fibrosis. Philips says the expansion of its respiratory care portfolio with RespirTech’s vest will further strengthen its solutions to manage care in the hospital and at home. “As healthcare continues to transform to a value-based care model, Philips is strengthening its respiratory care portfolio to enable its home care and hospital partners to better serve the care network,” the company stated in a press release. RespirTech’s portfolio also includes a robust clinical support program for managing respiratory patients in the home. The St. Paul, Minn.-based company was founded in 2004 and employs about 210 employees. Philips expects to complete the deal, announced May 22, in the coming months. It will not disclose financial details.

People news: Sunrise Medical, VGM, Permobil, Drive

FRESNO, Calif. – Thomas Rossnagel has resigned as president and CEO of Sunrise Medical, the manufacturer announced today.

Johan Ek, chairman of the board of directors, has taken over as acting CEO, according to a press release.

“After 20 years of service at Sunrise Medical, I would like to spend more time with my family,” said Rossnagel, who held the role since 2009. “For that reason, I have asked our owners, Nordic Capital, to find a new CEO for Sunrise Medical.”

Sunrise Medical is a global manufacturer of complex rehab products, seating and positioning systems, scooters and geriatric product lines. Key brands include Quickie, Sopur, RGK, JAY, Breezy, Sterling and Gemino.

Douglas moves into new position at VGM

WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM & Associates has named Craig Douglas to the newly created position of vice president of payer and member relations.

Douglas will be tasked with navigating payer relationships and addressing concerns that are impacting VGM members.

“Adding Craig’s expertise will serve as a huge benefit to our membership community,” said Clint Geffert, VGM & Associates president, in a press release. “He brings 18 years of experience working with payer sources and providers and has vast knowledge of the HME industry.”

Douglas previously served as vice president of payer relations for VGM’s Homelink division, where he was responsible for provider onboarding; oversight of network adequacy for the payer partners and patients for whom care was coordinated; and building and fostering effective, goal-driven relationships with payers and providers. 

Mick joins Permobil

LEBANON, Tenn. – Permobil has tapped WB Mick as its new general manager of the TiLite Business Unit Manual.

Mick, who will start June 12, previously worked as Numotion’s vice president of business development. Larry Jackson, president of Permobil’s Business Region Americas, will remain involved as president of the business unit, according to a press release.

“I always respected Larry’s vision and leadership and I am excited to work for him at world’s most innovative manual wheelchair manufacturer,” said Mick.  “Larry will continue to be a guiding force for me and Business Unit Manual.” 

Permobil acquired ROHO in 2015 and TiLite in 2014.

Lewarski elected to ARCF board

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. – Joe Lewarski has been elected to the board of directors of the American Respiratory Care Foundation. Lewarski, vice president of global respiratory and sleep for Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare, is a registered respiratory therapist and fellow of the American Association for Respiratory Care. He has also served multiple terms on the AAHomecare board of directors and he was awarded the association’s Homecare Champion Award in 2011. Lewarski was also awarded the Invacare Award for Excellence in Home Respiratory Care by the ARCF in 2001.

AAH elects new leaders

WASHINGTON – AAHomecare elected new leadership during its annual membership meeting at the Washington Legislative Conference in May. Steve Ackerman, CEO, Spectrum Medical, is chairman of the board of directors; Bill Guidetti, executive vice president, East Zone, Apria Healthcare, is vice chairman; and Jeff Hall, president of Reliable Medical Supply, is treasurer. Laura McIlvaine a board member with Shield Healthcare, has joined the board; and Doug Coleman, CEO of Rocky Mountain Medical Equipment, Major Medical Supply & UCH Home Medical Supply, has joined the board and executive committee.

Consumer groups join the cause

WASHINGTON – More than two dozen national consumer advocacy groups have joined with the ITEM Coalition in urging lawmakers to sign on to a letter asking Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and CMS Administrator Seema Verma to use their regulatory authority to make changes to protect the HME benefit. “Over the past several years, CMS has made significant policy and regulatory changes to the Medicare DME benefit,” the letter states. “Many of these changes have been intended to save taxpayer money; however, they have had a substantial negative impact on beneficiary access to vital devices and services that improve health and function.”Among the consumer groups signing the letter: the Amputee Coalition, the Clinician Task Force, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the United Spinal Association.

Inogen gets international clearance

GOLETA, Calif. – Inogen has obtained the EC Certificate for its Inogen One G4 portable oxygen concentrator and will now make the device available for sale in certain countries. “We are thrilled to launch the Inogen One G4 internationally and look forward to working with our international partners to increase freedom and independence for oxygen users with this product around the world as we have done in the United States,” said Scott Wilkinson, president and CEO, in a press release. The Inogen One G4 launched in the U.S. in May 2016.

Short takes: D.W. McMillan, BOC, Insulet

D.W. McMillan Home Medical Equipmenthas a new location at 1108 Douglas Avenue in Brewton, Ala., right beside Regions Bank. “Our goal is to help people keep life on track and being more visible in our new location will hopefully help,” Larry Rambach, manager, told the Brewton Standard. D.W. McMillan is a full-service HME provider…Claudia Zacharias, president and CEO of the Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC), has been recognized as a top 50 women-led business leader by the Commonwealth Institute of South Florida. She accepted the award at the group’s luncheon on May 18. TCI of South Florida partnered with Kaufman Rossin, a CPA and advisory firm, to survey more than 10,000 women-led businesses…Insulet Corp. has appointed Bret Christensen as chief commercial officer. He will run the company’s commercial operations, including sales, marketing, customer care, market access and advocacy. Christensen joins Insulet from Myriad Genetics, where he most recently served as general manager of the Preventive Care business unit.