In brief: Coloplast buys Comfort Medical for $160M, senators introduce bill to preserve access to diabetes supplies

 - 
Friday, December 2, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS – Coloplast, which has its U.S. headquarters here but is based in Denmark, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Coral Springs, Fla.-based Comfort Medical for $160 million in cash, the company announced Nov. 30.

The deal, if completed and approved by authorities, combines a manufacturer of ostomy, urology, continence and wound care supplies with a provider of those supplies.

“The acquisition of Comfort Medical fits very well into our overall consumer ambition for Coloplast in the U.S., securing continued access to innovative technology for end users,” said Lars Rasmussen, Coloplast’s CEO, in a release. “Comfort Medical has a strong patient acquisition model and an efficient and scalable setup, in addition to a strong management team with a good cultural fit to Coloplast.”

Comfort Medical, a subsidiary of Liberty Medical, is expected to record sales of about $38 million for 2016, according to the release.

Coloplast plans to leverage Comfort Medical’s business model of capturing patients through direct response advertisement and physician referrals. It provides patients with products from a number of manufacturers, including Coloplast.

“I am excited about the future prospects of our U.S. business and view this acquisition as an additional building block in the implementation of our U.S. strategy,” Rasmussen said.

Earlier this year, Comfort Medical acquired Wheel:Life, a digital media publication and social community for wheelchair users with more than 26,000 followers on social media, further strengthening its ties to end users.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016/17.

Senators introduce bill to preserve access to diabetes supplies

WASHINGTON – Sens. Dan Coats, R-Ind., and Mark Warner, D-Va., have introduced a bill that they believe would help ensure that all Medicare beneficiaries have access to their preferred brand of diabetes test strips.

The senators introduced the bill, the Diabetes Supplies Act, on Nov. 16 in response to Medicare’s national mail-order program for diabetes testing supplies. As a result of the program, they say, the most commonly purchased brands of test strips are no longer available to Medicare beneficiaries through mail-order suppliers.

“All diabetes patients should have access to the same market of products, regardless of whether they receive Medicare benefits,” Coats said in a statement. “Diabetes patients deserve the right to choose what products will best help them manage their disease. Our legislation will improve quality and access for all diabetes patients.”

The bill would strengthen consumer protections by ensuring beneficiaries are informed of their rights to obtain their preferred products and by preventing auto-refills of unwanted products.

Additionally, the bill would ensure that suppliers seeking to supply diabetes test strips have demonstrated an ability to obtain the products included in their bids, and it would reinforce the authority of the Department of Health and Human Services to terminate suppliers who fail to comply with the terms of their bids.

The bill is supported by the American Association of Diabetes Educators, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the Diabetes Access to Care Coalition.

Pride offers third-party consumer financing

EXETER, Pa. – Pride Mobility Products has added another tool to the toolbox of retail providers.

The company announced Nov. 29 that it can now help providers arrange financing for their customers through Monterey Financial Services and Care Credit.

“We’ve heard from both Pride retailers and consumers that consumer financing outlets are a necessity in this industry and would provide opportunities for business growth for retail products,” said Julie Pello, general manager of business development, in a press release. “We were able to vet such lenders as Monterey Financial Services and Care Credit who were able to provide comprehensive financial solutions for retailers and consumers across the country.”

Providers who are interested in arranging financing for their customers can contact their Pride Mobility credit or sales representative.

Pride Mobility decided to step in with third-party consumer financing as a nod to the “ever-expanding” retail market for products like its Jazzy Air*. The power wheelchair features patent-pending technology that allows 10 inches of seat elevation at a driving speed of up to 3.5 mph.

http://www.hmenews.com/article/social-climbing-pride-mobility-elevates-consumer-mobility

Regulatory updates from AAHomecare: Oxygen payments, supplier standards

Starting April 1, 2017, the fee schedule amount* for stationary oxygen equipment will be increased if either of the following applies: 1.) if the prescribed amount for stationary equipment exceeds 4 liters per minute, the amount will be increased 50%; or 2.) if portable oxygen is prescribed, the amount for portable equipment will be added to the amount for stationary equipment. If both situations apply, the DME MACs will have to use the higher amount of the two, but they cannot use both adjustments…CMS has agreed to limit its reviews of whether or not a provider meets supplier standard #5 to those that provide enteral pumps and/or Group 2 and Group 3 power wheelchairs. The standard states that, “A supplier must advise beneficiaries that they may rent or purchase inexpensive or routinely purchased DME and of the purchase option for capped rental equipment.” Although enteral pumps and Group 2 and Group 3 power wheelchairs are the only items that are subject to the standard, AAHomecare heard from its membership that inspectors were conducting this review for other items.

https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN...

OIG reports issues with licensure, infusion payments

WASHINGTON – Incomplete and inaccurate data allowed some suppliers in Round 2 of competitive bidding to be awarded contracts, says the Office of Inspector General.

In its Semiannual Report to Congress, the OIG reveals that an audit of 146 suppliers revealed that 63 did not meet all licensure requirements and an additional 14 needed to be further researched by CMS and its contractors. In the report, the OIG also reiterated its recommendation that CMS switch from an average wholesale price model to an average sales price model for DME infusion drugs. Under the AWP model, payments continue to be misaligned with drug costs, says the OIG. CMS could also include DME infusion drugs in the competitive bidding program, according to the report.

DME MAC offers new online tool

NASHVILLE – CGS Administrators, the Jurisdiction B DME MAC, has launched Mr. Wizard, an online tool that provides detailed information on claims under review and the status of additional documentation requests. Providers simply enter their 14-digit claim control number to receive information on type of denial received and detailed explanation; provider NPI; date of service, code billed, and links to education and resources for particular denials.

Invacare names biotech exec to board

ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare has a new board member: Susan Alexander, who has served as the executive vice president, chief legal officer and corporate secretary for Biogen, a pharmaceutical company, since December 2011. She has more than 35 years of corporate legal experience, both from private law and general counsel positions in global med-tech, software and manufacturing companies. Alexander brings strong cross-functional legal, regulatory and senior management expertise to the board, Invacare says. “Susan’s leadership will be valuable as Invacare transforms from a generalist DME company into a leading medical device company that focuses its strong technical capabilities on solving complex clinical needs for post-acute care,” said Matthew Monaghan, chairman, president and CEO, in a press release.

Numotion adds to online offerings

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Numotion now offers RibGrips through shopnumotion.com. The American-made wheelchair handrims feature soft rib discs that offer 360 degrees of gripping surface molded over aluminum handrings that attach to most standard wheels to provide users with better range of motion and prevent calluses. “We created the Numotion online store, ShopNumotion.com, to offer our customers a wider array of products that can enhance their lifestyle and increase their mobility,” said Mike Swinford, CEO, Numotion. “RibGrips are a well-researched accessory for manual wheelchair users. We hope that adding them to our store will increase awareness and access to this innovative product.” Numotion launched the online store in September.

F&P gets win in German court

MUNICH – The District Court in Munich has overturned two preliminary injunctions previously granted to ResMed against Fisher & Paykel Healthcare’s German subsidiary. In August, the court granted two injunctions, preventing the sale of F&P’s Simplus, Eson and Eson 2 masks in Germany. In a hearing in November, the court ruled to overturn the first injunction and in a subsequent hearing this month, it ruled to overturn the second injunction. As a result of the rulings, F&P’s German subsidiary has resumed sales of the masks in Germany. In August, F&P announced it had filed patent infringement proceedings against ResMed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, seeking judgment that ResMed’s AirSense 10 and AirCurve10 range of flow generators products, its ClimateLineAir heated air tubing and its Swift LT and FX masks infringe patents it holds. ResMed responded by filing patent infringement actions against F&P in U.S., German and New Zealand courts.

3B Medical gets win at ITC

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – An administrative law judge of the U.S. International Trade Commission has issued an initial determination that ResMed failed to satisfy the domestic industry requirement for patents relating to its CPAP masks and nasal pillow products manufactured in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia, according to 3B Medical, which has been embroiled in several legal battles with its competitor. 3B Medical successfully argued that ResMed did not demonstrate sufficient U.S. content to obtain protection under Section 337 because “ResMed has not demonstrated that the value added by the alleged activities in the U.S. is significant compared to the overall manufacturing cost,” 3B Medical stated. “As a result of the decision, the ALJ found no violation of any of the asserted mask patents by 3B Medical, resulting in total victory for 3B in the ITC’s investigation,” the company stated. ResMed has already abandoned its appeal of the ITC’s ruling that ResMed’s patent on its CPAP humidifier was invalid, 3B Medical says.

Mobility short takes: United Spinal, ElDorado Mobility

The United Spinal Association hosted its National Chapter Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas recently, bringing together chapter leaders from across the U.S. to discuss a multitude of topics that affect the spinal cord injury and disorder community. Hollister was the Titanium Level Corporate Sponsor of the event. United Spinal currently has 48 chapters in 28 states, and six regional coordinators. The strategies they develop at the annual meeting help to galvanize the association to provide a clear path moving forward and to assist the large constituency of wheelchair users that they serve…ElDorado Mobility gifted Gail Ulerie with a “dream trip” to Hawaii in memory of her son, Shurvon Phillip, a sergeant in the military who died Oct. 30 due to injury related complications. In May 2005 in Iraq, a Humvee Phillip was traveling in hit a landmine, giving him a broken jaw and a broken leg, and affecting this brain. The all-expenses paid vacation was donated by ElDorado after the provider learned of Shurvon’s journey through its partnership with the U.S. Pain Foundation. Each year, the Wings for Warriors Foundation holds a gala in partnership with the U.S. Pain Foundation to help fundraise for veteran’s programs and to spread awareness for their mission of support. This year’s even was held Nov. 11 at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.

SoClean launches giveaway

OXFORD, Mass. – SoClean, the makers of a CPAP cleaner and sanitizing machine, has launched a new video as part of a promotional giveaway. The 60-second video, “Kill Germs, Not the Mood,” depicts a romantic couple interrupted by the need to clean a CPAP machine. To enter the giveaway, users must watch the video and submit their name, email and phone number. One winner will be randomly selected to receive a SoClean sanitizing machine. The giveaway runs from Nov. 29 to Dec. 27. To enter: https://www.soclean.com/soclean-cpap-signup/.

Convaid gives back

TORRANCE, Calif. – Convaid has launched a wheelchair giveaway as part of Giving Tuesday on Nov. 29. Convaid community members are invited to complete the phrase "I am thankful for . . ." on Facebook and Twitter between Nov. 29 and Dec. 31, 2016, using the hashtag #Convaidgives. The winner, who will receive a Convaid Rodeo pediatric wheelchair, will be chosen based on the meaningfulness of their post, and the number of likes, shares and retweets it receives. "Planned giving is ingrained in the Convaid culture,” said Nanneke Dinklo, marketing director. “We continually seek ways to give back to our community and our Giving Tuesday initiative is in line with charitable endeavors.” Giving Tuesday was launched in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation.

New IDTF launches

TUCSON, Ariz. – Vitalistics, an independent diagnostic testing facility, has opened to provide overnight pulse oximetry and home sleep testing services. Vitalistics has its own SaaS software platform, ODIE, to provide a streamlined workflow, regulatory compliance and the latest technologies. “It is quick, easy and economical to get started with, simple to use, and leverages the best expertise and technology in the industry,” said Jeff Wurgler, CEO in a press release. Wurgler is the former COO of Arete, a sleep diagnostics provider that rebranded in 2012 as STARS Healthcare after it was acquired by 02 Science.

HME Specialists undergoes $5M reno

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – HME Specialists recently gave vendors and public officials a tour of its new headquarters, which it is in the process of remodeling, according to local news reports. The 33,000-square-foot location will allow the provider to consolidate its administrative and warehouse operations, and add about 50 new jobs. The cost of the renovation is $5 million.

Home infusion providers make gains

MedTrakRx, a pharmacy benefit manager, has selected ARJ Infusion Services, a specialty pharmacy, to provide home infusion therapies to patients with complex, rare and chronic conditions. ARJ will be responsible for providing pharmacy and infusion nursing services to MedTrakRx members with hemophilia, immune deficiencies, inflammatory disorders and neurological conditions. The annual cost of therapies to treat these conditions ranges from $35,000 to more than $400,000…Option Care Enterprises, a national provider of home and alternate treatment site infusion services, has been selected as a contracted provider of a new 20% formulation of subcutaneous immunoglobin therapy for primary immunodeficiency (PI). Immunoglobin is a lifelong therapy provided to prevent recurrent infections in patients with PI, which affects as many as 6 million people worldwide.

Aeroflow Healthcare gives back

ASHEVILLE, N.C. ­– Staff at Aeroflow Healthcare has donated nearly 1,000 pounds of nonperishable goods for families in need. Employees hosted a successful canned food drive to support a local MANNA Food Bank. “We want to show our community how much we care, and by donating so much food, we hope everyone in our area is able to have a warm meal this holiday season,” said Casey Hite, CEO. The non-profit organization MANNA Food Bank has been serving Western North Carolina since 1983, relying on the support of volunteers and donors like Aeroflow.

Repairs expert Fuller passes away

ST. LOUIS – Richard “Dick” Fuller, who most recently created a tool called Labor Tracker to help providers bill for complex rehab and HME repairs, passed away Nov. 22 surrounded by family. He was 66. Fuller’s work in the HME industry goes back to the 90s, when he worked for Everest & Jennings, a wheelchair manufacturing company. He also served as director of certified repair centers for The MED Group. Over the years, Fuller supported efforts to carve out complex rehab as a separate benefit under the Medicare program. A memorial gathering will be held for Fuller on Dec. 16 at Schrader Funeral Home in Baldwin, Mo. A memorial service will be held the following day at St. Mark Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Labadie Community Association or to the Siteman Cancer Center.