In brief: Congressman seeks feedback, Drive expands presence

Friday, May 23, 2014

WASHINGTON – Congressman Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, wants to hear from suppliers on the competitive bidding and re-review processes, according to an AAHomecare bulletin. Renacci, a former DME provider who lost in the Round 1 re-bid, will host a roundtable on the bid program and other issues affecting DMEPOS suppliers June 5 in Ohio. AAHomecare is compiling answers to a short online survey and sending them to Renacci. In other competitive bidding news, H.R. 1717 picked up three additional co-sponsors last week bringing the total to 178. They are Reps. Thomas Petri, R-Wis., Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., and Lois Frankel, D-Fla. The bill would repeal competitive bidding and replace it with a market pricing program.

Drive expands presence in Europe

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. – Drive Medical has acquired several product lines from Days Healthcare, a U.K.-based manufacturer

The deal will expand Drive’s European presence, says Drive Chairman and CEO Harvey Diamond. “Not only does this acquisition expand our growing presence in the European marketplace and enhance our position as a global manufacturer and distributor of durable medical equipment, it also provides increased manufacturing capacity and more diversified design and technology capabilities in Europe,” he said in a May 19 release. The product lines include homecare and long-term care beds, scooters, wheelchairs, riser recliner products and other items. In October, Drive secured $115 million in financing from GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services. The loan was obtained with an eye to supporting ongoing capital and growth needs, including acquisitions. Drive also acquired the manufacturing and distribution facility in Bridgend, Wales. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ResMed studies target comfort, compliance

SAN DIEGO – A study presented this week at the American Thoracic Society 2014 International Conference shows a new algorithm can make APAP therapy more comfortable for women. “The overlooked gender differences of sleep apnea can make treatment uncomfortable and less effective for women,” said Jeff Armistead, vice president of medical affairs at ResMed, which funded the study. Researchers say the treatment algorithm addresses symptoms common to women: shorter respiratory events, apneas that occur mostly during the REM phase of sleep, and that air flow is frequently restricted but not blocked in female patients.Also this week, ResMed announced the results of another study, which found that its U-Sleep compliance management solution led to a 59% reduction in labor associated with coaching patients on CPAP therapy.U-Sleep monitors usage and helps providers coach and manage patients. It sends automated text messages and emails to patients when data shows they aren’t using their CPAP devices.

Bill would add sleep apnea screening to Medicare preventive physicals

DARIEN, Ill. – Under a bill introduced this week, Medicare would screen for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) during initial preventative physical exams, according to an American Academy of Sleep Medicine release. The bill would add a questionnaire to initial visits performed on or after Jan. 1, 2016, targeting beneficiaries at high risk for the disease. “A sleep apnea screening questionnaire is a simple, validated and cost-effective tool that can be used to identify Medicare patients who are at risk for obstructive sleep apnea,” said Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Health Caucus, who introduced the bill. “Diagnosing and treating sleep apnea is essential for effective chronic disease management among seniors.” The American Academy of Sleep Medicine initiated the legislation under its Seniors Sleep program to increase preventive sleep care.

Prepayment review focuses on CPAP

INDIANAPOLIS – National Government Services, the Jurisdiction B DME MAC, plans to target CPAP devices for a widespread prepayment medical review, it announced in a message yesterday. Providers randomly selected for review will receive an additional development request asking for a detailed written order for the CPAP device and any accessory billed on the same claim; medical records documenting a face-to-face clinical evaluation prior to the sleep test detailing symptoms of sleep disorder, their duration, cardiopulmonary and upper airway exam, neck circumference and BMI; a Medicare-covered sleep test; and documentation that the patient or caregiver was instructed on proper use and care of equipment. If the claim is for the fourth or subsequent rental month, providers will be asked to submit documentation of a re-evaluation by the treating physician and documentation verifying the patient used the device four or more hours on 70% of the nights during a period of 30 consecutive days. Refill requests are to include documentation of contact with the patient within a week of dispensing a supply of new accessories, according to the statement.

Numotion expands in Wisconsin, Mobility Plus sells

EAU CLAIRE, Wis., and TULSA, Okla. – Numotion has acquired Eau Claire, Wis.-based Reliant Rehab Service & Supply, a provider of mobility equipment and DME accessories. “Reliant’s locations in Eau Claire and Marshfield will greatly expand our service area, while the Appleton location will strengthen Numotion’s service capabilities throughout the Fox Valley area,” said Tim Havel, Numotion regional vice president. Also this week, Cherokee Nation Businesses has announced its sale of Muskogee, Okla.-based Mobility Plus to Freeland Brown Pharmacy. Mobility Plus offers sales and rentals of rehab technology devices, respiratory products and DME. Freeland Brown Pharmacy offers prescription services, compounding, ostomy, wound care, nutritional supplements, DME and mobility-related supplies.

Provider expands with 101 Mobility franchise

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – 101 Mobility has awarded West Virginia territory to Bob Murdock, owner of Access & Mobility Products, the company recently announced. "Once we began talking with 101, we were impressed by their vendor relationships and marketing department," said Justin Murdock, Bob Murdock’s son. "It became clear that with 101 corporate handling a large part of the marketing, including web traffic, we would be free to focus on other aspects of our growing business." Access & Mobility will continue offering accessible minivans and other vehicle modifications along with 101 Mobility retail items.

Home Care Medical marks 40 years

MILWAUKEE – Home Care Medical will celebrate its 40th anniversary with an open house May 31 at its retail location here. The event will include a cookout and music from a local radio host. In conjunction with the radio remote, one listener will win a restored 1969 Mustang. Attendees at the event can register to win a host of prizes, including Kindles, donated by Jobst-FLA and Sunrise, and gift cards donated by manufacturers including Invacare, Golden, Drive and Comfort Company.

Harmar names new leader

SARASOTA – Harmar has appointed Drew McCartney as its new president and CEO, the company announced May 20. He succeeds Chad Williams, who will remain with Harmar on its board of directors. “His leadership over the last 16 years was critical to Harmar’s growth and we look forward to his continued involvement in the business as a member of the Board of Directors" stated Jeff Lipsitz, managing partner at Cortec Group, Harmar's controlling shareholder. McCartney has previously held CEO positions for portfolio companies of BelHealth Investment Partners and DW Healthcare Partners, and served as CEO of First Circle Medical.

Short takes: Medela, SCA

Medela has completed its acquisition of the enteral feeding assets of Brea, Calif.-based Acacia, which produces neonatal feeding devices… SCA is poised to launch Tena Identifi, a new sensor-based technology for continence care, in the U.S., the manufacturer announced this week. The technology is in the final stages of regulatory clearance, according to a press release. Tena Identifi tracks users’ voiding patterns over a 72-hour time period and converts the data into reports that help acute and long-term care facilities provide more individualized care.

People in the news: Tracy, Zelenko, Cox

Bret Tracy has been named MK Battery’s national sales director. Tracy, an ATP who joined MK Battery in 2012 as associate director of HME business, has worked on federal separate benefit legislation and sits on several industry boards…Tammy Zelenko, president/CEO of AdvaCare Home Services, celebrated her 15th year of owning the company May 20…Laura Cox has joined Shield Healthcare as an ostomy lifestyle expert.