In brief: Chart buys SeQual, survey lauds HME

Thursday, December 2, 2010

SAN DIEGO - Chart Industries agreed last week to acquire SeQual Technologies, a manufacturer of oxygen concentrators, including the Eclipse. Terms of the deal include a $40 million up-front payment and up to $20 million more, depending on SeQual's financial performance during the two years following the deal's closing. SeQual's annual sales are approximately $36 million, according to a Chart release. Chart's subsidiary Caire offers a line of home respiratory equipment, including the Helios, a portable liquid oxygen system. The acquisition of SeQual "expands our respiratory product offering with a leading portable, non-delivery oxygen concentrator," said Sam Thomas, chairman, president and CEO of Chart Industries, in a statement.

'Home medical devices can save healthcare system money,' survey says

SAN FRANCISCO - A majority of American patients support the use of home medical equipment to manage and improve their chronic conditions, according to a new survey conducted by GfK Roper for Practice Fusion. "Home medical devices can save the healthcare system money and also enable patients to live more independently while managing their chronic conditions," stated Ryan Howard, CEO of Practice Fusion, in a release. Practice Fusion provides a free, web-based electronic health record (EHR) system to physicians. It believes EHR systems are a "key connection" for linking home medical equipment like glucometers for diabetes patients back to physicians. "New technology has made home medical devices affordable, but the connections to physician EHR systems have not been developed extensively and have limited their clinical use," the release states. Other findings from respondents with one or more chronic conditions: 62% say communication with their doctor about using home medical devices would improve their health; and 57% between the ages of 25 and 49 were interested in home medical devices. For the study, GfK Roper conducted phone interviews among a nationally representative sample of 1,008 adults age 18 or older.

CMS releases NCB fact sheet on traveling beneficiaries

BALTIMORE - CMS last week released another fact sheet on competitive bidding, this one on traveling beneficiaries. To read the fact sheet, go to scroll to the "downloads" section and select "DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Fact Sheets."

CMS reminder: File claims in a timely fashion

BALTIMORE - CMS reminded Medicare fee-for-service providers last week that, as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, all claims for services furnished on or after Jan. 1, 2010, must be filed no later than one calendar year from the date of service or Medicare will deny those claims. As such, if providers have claims with service dates from Oct. 1, 2009, through Dec. 31, 2009, they must file those claims by Dec. 31, 2010, or Medicare will deny those claims. Claims with service dates from Jan. 1, 2009, to Oct. 1, 2009, keep their original Dec. 31, 2010, deadline for filing. For more info:

Mail order provider scores '10'

STUART, Fla. - For the 10th straight quarter, Liberator Medical enjoyed "record net revenues," the company reported Nov. 19. Net revenues for the fiscal fourth quarter ending Sept. 30 were $11.49 million, up from $7.856 for the same quarter in 2009. Net revenues for the year were $40.92 million, up from $25.82 million in 2009. Liberator also appointed Tyler Wick to its board of directors. Wick has more than a decade of experience in private equity experience, according to the release.

Provider expands Ohio territory

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Medical Service Company opened a new branch here in November, expanding its service area to most of Ohio and parts of West Virginia. "We look forward to bringing our reputation of great service to the Columbus community," stated Chairman Joel Marx in a release. The 60-year-old provider, which has 150 employees, has been named one of the top workplaces in Ohio. It offers a full line of respiratory and home medical equipment.

Medicare OKs oral appliances to treat apnea

BALTIMORE - The four DME MACS stated in November that custom oral appliances used to treat sleep apnea (E0486) would be covered if certain criteria are met. Those criteria include a face-to-face evaluation with the treating physician; an inability to tolerate a PAP device; and provision and billing by a dentist. The policy is effective for claims on or after Jan. 3, 2011.