In brief: Drive Medical, Sunrise Medical make buys

Friday, April 3, 2015

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. – Drive Medical made not one but two acquisitions last week. Drive Medical Limited of the U.K., a wholly owned subsidiary of Drive Medical, has acquired U.K.-based Park House Healthcare. Founded in 1984, Park House Healthcare manufactures pressure prevention products, hospital and long-term care beds and transfer equipment, and has more than 25 distributors worldwide. “The Park House acquisition extends our already significant presence in Europe, providing us with a full line of pressure prevention mattresses to complement Drive’s extensive product portfolio,” stated Richard Kolodny, president of Drive Medical, in a press release. “Park House will also expand Drive’s footprint into the National Health Service and long-term care markets in the U.K.” Drive Medical has also acquired Santa Fe Springs, Calif.-based Columbia Medical, expanding the presence of its Wenzelite division in the pediatric market. Columbia Medical’s product offerings include wheelchairs, aircraft transfer chairs, bath and shower products, gait trainers and car seats. “With our recent acquisition of Specialised Orthotic Services (SOS) in the U.K., we believe there will be significant cross-selling and marketing opportunities with Wenzelite, Columbia Medical and SOS in the U.S. and Europe,” stated Drive Medical CEO Harvey Diamond in a release. Terms of the acquisitions were not disclosed.

Sunrise Medical buys Switch-It

FRESNO, Calif. – Sunrise Medical has acquired substantially all of the assets of Switch-It, a manufacturer of special drive controls, special input devices and other high-tech products for complex power wheelchairs. Sunrise Medical officials say the acquisition expands the company’s portfolio in complex rehab and further positions it for significant growth. “Switch-It is a strong fit with our business and this acquisition accelerates our global offerings in the high-end mobility market,” stated Pete Coburn, president, U.S. commercial operations at Sunrise Medical, in a press release. Together, the two companies plan to co-develop programs and specially design products for multiple mobility needs, according to the release. Switch-It officials say the acquisition allows the Missouri City, Texas-based company to grow its presence outside of the U.S. “This acquisition brings us significant opportunities to leverage our growth and expand our international presence by utilizing the strong global reach of Sunrise,” stated Andrew Parker, president of Switch-In, in the release.

FullCircle hires marketing company

SHELBYVILLE, Ky. – FullCircle Registry has engaged a marketing company to distribute company information to stockholders and the investment community. Innovative Marketing, which has locations in New York, Chicago, Tampa, Fla., and San Diego, will develop, execute and maintain investor relations programs, e-mail investor packages to qualified brokers and individual investors, complete investor sentiment work, conduct an outbound campaign to new investors and communicate with company management for strategy discussions and planning. Innovative Marketing will also transmit information through social media to help the company with its plan to acquire DME companies in Louisiana. “If this marketing activity is successful then we can continue negotiating in our DME merger project,” the company stated in a release.

Educate on burn risk for COPD patients, study advises

GALVESTON, Texas – Home oxygen therapy puts patients with COPD at risk for burns, according to a new study published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Researchers looked at 685 Medicare patients with COPD who suffered burns and 2,055 who did not between 2001 and 2010, and found that those who suffered burns were more likely to have been prescribed home oxygen therapy within 90 days prior to their burns. Still, “the benefits of oxygen in COPD patients outweigh the modest risks of burn injury,” said senior study author Dr. Alexander Duarte, a professor in the division of pulmonary critical care and sleep medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Duarte advises healthcare professionals to educate and counsel patients and their families on the potential risk of burn injury. Overall, one out of 1,421 COPD patients who have been prescribed oxygen therapy suffer a burn each year, according to the study.

People news: Insulet, NHIA, NHIF

Insulet, manufacturer of the OmniPod Insulin Management System, has appointed Michael Levitz CFO starting May 4. He succeeds Allison Dorval, who has resigned to pursue other opportunities. Dorval will remain at Insulet through July 3 to help with the transition. Levitz has more than 15 years of experience with several medical device companies…The National Home Infusion Association has announced that Danette Frauenholtz, executive director at the University of Iowa Community HomeCare in Iowa City, has been named chairwoman of the board of directors. She succeeds Paul Mastrapa, president of Walgreens Infusion Services, who has served as chairman since 2013…The National Home Infusion Foundation has awarded its inaugural Lynn Giglione Memorial NHIF Scholarship Award for Home and Specialty Infusion Nursing to Diane Tuemler for her leadership and commitment to patient care in the home and specialty infusion field. Tuemler is a homecare liaison nurse for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where she educates and prepares parents and caregivers to administer infusion therapy to their child at home.

ROVI goes on tour

CARSON, Calif. – To celebrate the launch of its new wheelchair, ROVI Mobility has hit the road in a ROVI Educational Bus. Equipped with training and demonstration equipment, the bus will make stops in more than 50 cities, including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Denver, before coming to a stop on Sept. 1, 2015. The purpose of the tour: to educate ATPs, rehab technicians and clinicians about the ROVI X3. For a full list of tour dates, click here. 

Inogen seeks extension on annual report filing

GOLETA, Calif. – Inogen announced last week that it will file a Form 12b-25 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The move will give the Goleta, Calif.-based manufacturer an extra 15 days to file a Form 10-K for its annual report for the year ended Dec. 31, 2014. Due to an ongoing internal investigation into potential violations of accounting policies, the company was unable to file the form by the March 31 deadline. 

And the winners are…

LAS VEGAS – Medtrade Spring show organizers have announced the winners of this year’s Innovative Retail Product Awards: IWalkFree Inc. took first place for the iWALK 2.0 Hands Free Crutch, and ING Source took second and third places for its OrthoSleeve FS6 Compression Foot Sleeve and Foot Gym, respectively. Finalists were given three minutes to pitch their products to judges and attendees during a session at the show…Show organizers also doled out New Product Pavilion Provider’s Choice Awards. The TwoCan Cane by TwoCan Cane took home gold; the Amara View Minimal Contact Full Face Mask from Philips Respironics earned silver; and The OxyGo Portable Oxygen Concentrator from Applied Home Healthcare Equipment won bronze...Finally, show organizers doled out an award for Best Booth to Minneapolis-based HurryCane Company. 

Industry stands up for home care

LAS VEGAS – AAHomecare held its Stand Up for Homecare reception last week at Medtrade Spring, drawing 200 attendees and raising more than $50,000. The money raised goes to consumer advocacy groups like the American Association of People with Disabilities, United Spinal Association, Paralyzed Veterans of America and National Council on Independent Aging, as well as AAHomecare’s own Save My Medical Supplies. “The reception raised over $50,000 to help promote a positive image of HME and raise public awareness of home care's benefits,” the association stated in a press release. This year, Bert Burns, a disability advocate and paralympian, attended the reception to share his story and to support Save My Medical Supplies. Also at the reception, AAHomecare and show organizers gave awards to several members of Medtrade’s Educational Advisory Board. Mary Ellen Conway of Capital Healthcare Group, Bob Fary of Inogen, Miriam Lieber of Lieber Consulting, Mark Schmeler of the University of Pittsburgh and Jay Williams of QS/1 Data Systems were all honored for their contributions and leadership. “(They) are the cornerstone of Medtrade’s success,” stated Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare, in the release. “AAHomecare and Medtrade thank them for their tireless service, counsel and leadership.”

Senate moves to protect access to speech generating devices

WASHINGTON – The Senate has included language in its budget resolution that protects patient access to medical necessary speech generating devices, reports Tobii Dynavox, a manufacturer of the devices. The language comes from a bill introduced March 18 by Sen. David Vitter, R-La. A similar bill has already been introduced in the House of Representatives. “The Senate adoption of the budget amendment for speech generating devices is another show of support that we hope will result in full enactment of the legislation,” the company stated in a press release. Known as The Steve Gleason Act of 2015, the bills would make SGDs purchase items instead of capped rental items, and clarify statutory language to ensure coverage of eye-tracking technology for beneficiaries who need it to operate their devices. A number of senators have put their weight behind the bill, including Maine’s two senators, Angus King and Susan Collins.

The MED Group expands payer network

LUBBOCK, Texas – The MED Group, a Managed Health Care Associates company, has expanded its payer network to include several new and enhanced agreements. MED members now have access to an additional 11.8 million covered lives through agreements with Prime Health Services, MultiPlan’s Texas True Choice Network and Stratose. "We are excited to bring these new payer agreements to our members, enabling them to seek new revenue opportunities and discover new referral sources in their marketplace,” stated Jeff Woodham, senior vice president and general manager of The MED Group, in a press release. “Our members can directly market their products, programs and services to the broad range of clients who utilize these three payers."

Sleep, COPD apps developed, tested

BALTIMORE ¬– Doctors at Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep have developed a new mobile app, called MySleep101, to help doctors who are not specially trained better identify patients who might have a chronic sleep disorder, the Baltimore Business Journal reports. The idea: Doctors use the app to diagnose symptoms and refer patients for follow-up care with a sleep specialist. Using the app, doctors can watch short video clips and brief lectures about the most common sleep disorders, including sleep apnea. The app also offers guidance on risk factors, treatment and management strategies for each sleep disorder. It’s available for $3.99 in Apple’s app store…LifeMap Solutions has launched a pilot program for COPD Navigator, an Apple HealthKit-compliant iOS app that helps patients monitor and manage their symptoms, with Mount Sinai. As part of the pilot, LifeMap will work with researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and with COPD experts from the Mount Sinai–National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute. The app tracks symptoms, medication and treatment adherence, and overall quality of life. The data is presented in an easy-to-understand and configurable graph, empowering patients to recognize patterns and send the information to their doctors.

Hasco reports double-digit growth

ADDISON, Texas – Hasco Medical, a provider of wheelchair accessible vehicles, reported net revenues of $91 million for 2014, a 24.8% increase compared to 2013. It reported net income of $2.1 million, a 160% increase. “Our team continues its excellent execution by driving sales in our wheelchair vehicle sales and services business,” stated CEO Hal Compton in a press release. “These results are a testament to the increasing success of our brands and the successful delivery of our growth plan by our management team.” Additionally, service and other revenues contributed $23.3 million for 2014, a 24.7% increase compared to 2013. Hasco Medical expects the launch of the new Ford Explorer-based BraunAbility MXV Sport Utility and the Chevrolet Suburban-based Mobility SVM SUV to help drive growth in 2015. “These vehicles represent a paradigm shift in the wheelchair accessible vehicle market and Ride-Away and Mobility Freedom are positioned with trained mobility consultants to deliver on customer expectations,” Compton said. “I see these vehicles as increasing the accessible market.” Also coming in 2015: new locations in Parkville, Md., and Miami. Hasco operates 20 locations in 11 states from Maine to Florida. Its brands include Ride-Away, Mobility Freedom and Wheelchair Vans of America.

Stratice Healthcare partners with MED

CARMEL, Ind. – Stratice Healthcare has formed a strategic partnership with The MED Group, giving the company access to a network of more than 2,000 providers. “Through our collaboration with The MED Group, we are well positioned to scale our electronic prescribing platform to all major markets,” stated John Brady, CEO and co-founder of Stratice Healthcare. Stratice Healthcare is a health information technology company and developer of eDMEplus, an electronic prescribing platform that connects healthcare providers with HME providers. Because it’s integrated within electronic health records, eDMEplus allows users to streamline the ordering process by eliminating phone calls, faxes and paper trails, according to the company. “We applaud the Stratice team’s vision toward achieving interoperability for our industry,” stated Jeff Woodham, senior vice president and general manager of The MED Group, in the release.

Brightree, Apacheta launch mobile solution

ATLANTA – Brightree and Apacheta have launched an integrated mobile delivery management solution to HME providers. Apacheta’s solution integrates with Brightree, allowing providers to decrease costs, reduce paper, optimize productivity, track deliveries and assets, accelerate time to revenue for claims, and improve patient outcomes, according to a press release. “The Apacheta and Brightree mobile delivery management solution addresses our need to eliminate paper and optimize our logistics operations with an intuitive solution,” stated Ben Gissinger, regional vice president of operations at QMES, a provider using the solution. “This mobile solution will help add more automation to our processes across the enterprise." The cloud-based solution supports consumer-grade smartphones and tablets, allowing providers to get up and running quickly without high upfront costs, according to the release.

AAH gets increased commitment from VGM

WASHINGTON ¬– AAHomecare has welcomed The VGM Group as a bronze level corporate partner. "We look forward to working more closely with AAHomecare, especially on the legislative front,” stated Van Miller, founder and CEO of The VGM Group, in a press release. “In these challenging times, it is more important than ever that the interests of the entire industry are protected." AAHomecare now has 13 companies in its corporate partner program: Apria Healthcare, Brightree, Byram Healthcare, Drive Medical, Inogen, Invacare, Medtrade, Philips Respironics, Pride Mobility Products, ResMed, Shield Healthcare, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals and, now, VGM.