In brief: CMS ramps up site visits, Mediware adds analytics

Friday, February 26, 2016

WASHINGTON – CMS will strengthen strategies designed to reinforce provider screening activities by increasing site visits to Medicare-enrolled providers and suppliers. The agency says it will enhance and improve IT systems, and implement continuous data monitoring practices to help make sure practice location data is accurate and in compliance with enrollment requirements. More specifically, CMS says it will use National Site Visit Contractor to increase the number of site visits to Medicare-enrolled providers and suppliers; enhance address verification software in PECOS to better detect vacant or invalid addresses or commercial mail reporting agencies; analyze enrollment data to allow it to identify and deactivate providers meeting specific criteria that have not billed Medicare in the last 13 months; and monitor and identify potentially invalid addresses on a monthly basis through additional data analysis by checking against the U.S. Postal Service address verification database.

Mediware releases analytics solution

LENEXA, Kan. – Mediware Information Systems and Rock-Pond Solutions have released a custom business intelligence solution for Fastrack customers. Fastrack BI integrates with the current Fastrack application to provide real-time reporting and data analysis for HME and home infusion providers, according to a press release. Fastrack customers can access an analysis package that includes detailed analytic cubes, real-time advanced reporting, and dashboards with trending metrics and key performance indicators. Fastrack BI also gives the option to create custom pivot-table analysis based on metrics of their choice with analytic cube technology. These tools will also transition seamlessly to Mediware’s CareTend product when customers move to that new technology. Mediware and Rock-Pond in 2015 announced plans to partner on software distribution and new product development.

Insulet sells Neighborhood Diabetes

BEDFORD, Mass. – Insulet Corp. has announced plans to sell Neighborhood Diabetes to Liberty Medical for $5 million. Insulet acquired Woburn, Mass.-based Neighborhood Diabetes for $63 million in 2011. "This transaction is an important step in positioning Insulet as a more focused organization, enabling us to direct our operational and financial resources toward driving continued growth of our innovative OmniPod and drug delivery products, while improving our financial profile for profitable growth over the long term,” said Patrick Sullivan, president and CEO of Insulet. “Together with Liberty Medical's comprehensive product portfolio, Neighborhood Diabetes will have the investment opportunities necessary to further develop and scale the business.” Liberty Medical was acquired by private equity firm Palm Beach Capital in 2014 for $68.5 million. The Insulet-Liberty Medical deal is expected close in the first quarter of 2016.

At Insulet, revenues grow, but so do net losses

BILLERICA, Mass. – Insulet Corp. has reported fourth quarter revenues of $100.1 million, representing year-over-year growth of 38%. It has reported full-year revenues of $324.2 million, year-over-year growth of 12%. Revenues from the company’s signature product, the OmniPod Insulin Management System, were up 21% in the fourth quarter and 8% for the year. Net loss for the fourth quarter was $27.3 million, compared to a net loss of $5.4 million for the same period in 2014. Net loss for the year was $73.5 million, compared to a net loss of $51.5 million for 2014.

NHIA finalizes data definitions

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Home Infusion Association has released its final set of Standard Definitions for Patient Outcomes Data to establish national benchmarks. The definitions, developed by a volunteer task force, include: adverse drug reaction, emergency department use, unplanned hospitalization, and medication error. "By collecting uniform data, the home and specialty infusion industry will take an important step toward describing and quantifying the value of home infusion as a critical component of the community-based health care continuum,” said NHIA President & CEO Tyler Wilson. The association in 2010 launched its multi-year Industry-Wide Data Initiative, an effort to define outcomes data elements and standards of care.

Brightree, McKesson to offer interoperability services

BOSTON –CommonWell Health Alliance, a not-for-profit trade association of health IT companies, has made its cross-vendor interoperability services available to its members, including Brightree and McKesson. Of the 10 million Medicare beneficiaries who are discharged from acute care hospitals every year, more than 66% have two or more chronic conditions, while 14% have six or more. “This patient population typically requires care from multiple providers in a variety of highly divergent settings,” said Jitin Asnaani, executive director of CommonWell Health Alliance, in a release. “Our collective experience across the continuum can help break down the barriers to cross-vendor HIT interoperability and make a dramatic difference in care coordination among ambulatory, acute and post-acute settings of care, with the ultimate goal of better patient outcomes.” Brightree, Cerner and McKesson plan to deploy the services to its home health and hospice customers this year.

PharMerica’s revenues, income blow up

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – PharMerica Corp., a provider of pharmacy services, including specialty home infusion, has reported fourth quarter revenues of $520.6 million compared to $523.5 million for the same period in 2014. Net income was $20.2 million vs. $3.2 million. The company reported full-year revenues of $2.03 billion compared to $1.89 billion for 2014. Net income was $35.1 million vs. $6.8 million. PharMerica credited acquisitions, in part, with growing revenues. “During the fourth quarter, we completed two institutional pharmacy acquisitions, one specialty home infusion acquisition, and acquired a hospital pharmacy management business,” said CEO Greg Weishar. “These acquisitions are consistent with the company’s goal of adding at least $100 million in annualized revenues yearly through acquisitions, which we achieved once again in 2015.”

Idaho strikes down licensing bill

BOISE, Idaho –A bill that would have added new licensing requirements for DME providers in Idaho was voted down last week. The bill, S.B. 1264, would have required providers to have a location staffed during reasonable business hours, and to have sufficient inventory and staff to service or repair products under the state Board of Pharmacy. Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little cast the tie-breaking vote after the Senate deadlocked, according to The Spokesman-Review.

VGM, LifeTouch join forces

WATERLOO, Iowa –The VGM Group has partnered with LifeTouch to make its post-discharge services available to members. Based in Columbia, S.C., LifeTouchworks withhealthcare companies, hospitals and other homecare service providers to reduceextended length of stays and readmission rates. According to VGM’s blog: “VGM members receive service fees paid by LifeTouch for services provided by the members to LifeTouch clients. Service fees are payable within 15 days of the end of each month based upon the revenues received by LifeTouch clients that month.”

CMS proposes shakeup for Medicare Advantage

WASHINGTON – CMS has proposed changes to Medicare Advantage plans in 2017 that it believes will provide stable and fair payments, and improve the program. The net payment impact of the proposed changes would result in a modest increase of 1.35% on average Medicare Advantage plans, according to a press release. “This moderate growth is consistent with last year’s update and reflects a similar pattern in Medicare fee-for-service,” the agency states. “Plans that improve the quality of care they deliver to enrollees can see higher updates and can grow and enhance the benefits they offer to enrollees.” Proposed changes include implementing a new risk adjustment model, and making an adjustment to plan payments reflective of the statutory minimum. Medicare Advantage has reached record high enrollment each year since 2010, a trend continuing in 2016 with a cumulative increase of 50% to an all-time high of more than 17.1 million beneficiaries. Nearly 32% of Medicare beneficiaries are now enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.

Short takes

Fisher & Paykel Healthcarehas signed a lease to operate a 125,000-square-foot facility in Moreno Valley, Calif., according to The Press Enterprise. The company already has an office in Irvine. City officials say the Auckland, New Zealand-based Fisher & Paykel plans to work with them to bring manufacturing jobs to Moreno Valley and to apply for Foreign Trade Zone designation…Algona, Wash.-based EZ-Access, a division of Homecare Products, Inc., has named Cy Corgan national sales manager to strengthen the company’s relationships with accessibility dealers. Corgan was most recently director of strategic accounts for Pride Mobility Products…Matthews, N.C.-based Carolina’s Home Medical Equipment has been named a SmartCEO Future 50 Award Winner. The program, sponsored by SmartCEO magazine, recognizes greater Charlotte’s 50 fastest-growing mid-sized companies that have experienced outsized growth based on a combined three-year average of revenue and employee growth…Aeroflow Breastpumps has partnered with Humana and Humana Beginnings as a preferred breast pump provider. The Ashville, N.C.-based Aeroflow Breastpumps is a subsidiary of Aeroflow Healthcare…RESNA’s ATP Certification Program has been re-accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. More than 3,800 professionals are certified to use the ATP designation.