In brief: Gov’t charges 301, Playmaker CRM and Emerge partner

Friday, June 24, 2016

WASHINGTON – A $900-million takedown by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force on June 22, the largest in history, included schemes involving durable medical equipment.

The nationwide sweep resulted in criminal and civil charges against 301 individuals, including 61 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for alleged false billings.

“As this takedown should make clear, healthcare fraud is not an abstract violation or benign offense—it is a serious crime,” said U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who announced the takedown with Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. “The Department of Justice is determined to continue working to ensure that the American people know that their healthcare system works for them—and them alone.”

The individuals have been charged with various healthcare fraud-related crimes, including conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, violations of the anti-kickback statutes, money laundering and aggravated identity theft. The crimes involve various medical treatments and services, including home health care, psychotherapy, physical and occupational therapy, durable medical equipment and prescription drugs.

In the Southern District of California, five individuals, including a doctor and pharmacist, were charged in a scheme to pay bribes and kickbacks to doctors in exchange for prescribing durable medical equipment and compound pain creams that were not medically necessary. The indictment alleges that, in this case alone, about $27 million in false and fraudulent claims were submitted.

The cases are being prosecuted and investigated by U.S. attorneys offices nationwide.

Including these most recent actions, nearly 1,200 individuals have been charged in national takedown operations, which have involved more than $3.4 billion in fraudulent billings.

CQRC expresses ‘disappointment’ over House inaction

WASHINGTON – The Council for Quality Respiratory Care has called on Congressional leaders to act on legislation that would retroactively delay cuts that go into effect July 1. Although the Senate on June 22 unanimously passed S. 2736, an unexpected sit-in in the House of Representatives over gun control last week prevented a similar bill, H.R. 5210, from being passed before lawmakers adjourned for the July 4th recess. “We are extremely disappointed that the PADME Act was not passed before the July 1 deadline, and strongly urge Congress to act immediately when they return to Washington. Delaying these cuts is crucial to protecting patients and providing the time needed to adequately study how cuts are impacting beneficiary access and care services,” said Dan Starck, Chairman of CQRC.

East meets west in acquisition

EXTON, Pa. – ABC Home Medical Supply has acquired Experea Healthcare, announced yesterday. Both companies are providers of disposable medical supplies, including urological, incontinence and wound care supplies. ABC Medical has a strong presence in the eastern United States while Experea ifs focused on the West Coast. “Bob Wolf and his team at Experea have created a premier provider of medical supplies on the West Coast, an area that we at ABC Medical have been interested in expanding for some time,” said Keith Jones, president and CEO of ABC Medical.

PlayMaker CRM, Emerge partner

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. – Emerge Sales and PlayMaker CRM have joined forces to bring sales training and sales software to HME providers. “Our sales training methodology teaches sales reps to shine the spotlight on how their company can better serve referral sources and outlines an easy-to-follow process for generating more orders,” said Mike Sperduti, CEO of Emerge Sales. “Combining that strategy with a powerful sales tool like PlayMaker CRM ensures that reps can effectively manage those relationships to maximize ROI.” The first offering from the partnership will be a webcast on July 20 at 2 p.m. EST: “Time to Grow Your HME Business Now!” During this one-hour webcast, Sperduti will share essential tactics that can strengthen HME sales processes and improve bottom lines.

Edward Vishnevetsky passes away

DALLAS – The HME industry is mourning the passing of healthcare attorney Edward Vishnevetsky this week. Vishnevetsky, counsel in the Dallas office of K&L Gates, passed away on Monday, June 20, while on vacation in Costa Rica. He specialized in healthcare and commercial litigation, representing a variety of organizations, including DME providers. Among his accomplishments: helping to remove dozens of providers from Medicare pre-payment audit and defending more than 50 providers through all stages of Medicare appeals. Vishnevetsky was a familiar face at industry events like Medtrade, and he was recently recognized as a Chambers USA 2016 "Legal Leader in the Field of Health Law" and as a 2016 Texas Super Lawyers "Rising Star” for the third consecutive year. His funeral service will be held in Dallas next week.

TwinMed snags Medicaid contract

SANTA FE SPRINGS, Calif. – TwinMed has been awarded a $225 million contract to provide incontinence supplies to Medicaid beneficiaries in New York. Under the five-year contract, TwinMed will establish minimum quality standards for adult and youth size diapers, and reduce costs, while maintaining the existing provider network, according to a press release. “TwinMed is committed to providing better care at a lower cost to Medicaid beneficiaries throughout the State of New York and are pleased to partner with Governor Cuomo and the New York State Department of Health to deliver, maintain and exceed current standards as outlined by the Governor’s New York State Medicaid redesign,” said Kerry Weems, CEO. TwinMed is a national distributor of medical supplies, primarily to skilled nursing facilities. New York’s Medicaid program is one of the largest in the country with more than 5.3 million enrollees.

BioScrip completes offering

DENVER – BioScrip has completed a public offering of common stock, netting approximately $83.15 million. The company will use the proceeds to fund the cash portion of its acquisition of HS Infusion Holdings; repay a portion of outstanding borrowings from its revolving credit facility; and for general corporate purposes, according to a press release. BioScrip announced earlier this month that it would acquire the Hammonton, N.J.-based Home Solutions for $85 million—$80 million of it in cash.

Brightree names new CEO

ATLANTA – Brightree announced its acquisition by ResMed earlier this year and now it has a new CEO. Matt Mellott will take the lead at the software company, replacing current president and CEO Dave Cormack, who will transition to a multi-year advisory role. Mellott joins Brightree from MedBridge Healthcare, a sleep disorder diagnostic testing and respiratory therapy company. In his 12 years at MedBridge, most recently as president, he helped to grow the company to include 140 sleep disorder centers and 21 HME locations across 22 states. “Leading a home medical equipment provider has helped shape my understanding of what post-acute care providers value in a software partner,” he said in a press release. “I’m looking forward to sharing those insights, accelerating Brightree’s already impressive pace of innovation and further enhancing its customers’ ability to deliver exception care, while building lasting businesses.” Prior to MedBridge, Mellott served in a variety of executive finance leadership and CFO roles. He began his career with KPMG, one of the Big Four accounting firms.

In addition to Mellott, Brightree named Bobby Ghoshal COO. He will oversee the company’s technology, product management initiatives, business operations and finance functions. Ghoshal was previously vice president of information technology in ResMed’s Americas group.

Brightree was acquired by ResMed in April 2016.

Am-Med Diabetic Supplies slapped with lawsuit

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is suing Am-Med Diabetic Supplies for allegedly violating the state’s Do Not Call laws by making more than 55,000 illegal robocalls to residents, according to news reports. The company, also doing business as Beyond Medical USA, allegedly made the calls, including 25,000 to residents registered on the Do Not Call list, to offer them diabetic supplies. Additionally, the company allegedly failed to disclose the true identity of the caller or company during the calls. After receiving six consumer complaints, the AG’s office launched an investigation. The lawsuit seeks civil penalties of up to $25,000 for each wrongful call.

DeVilbiss merits award

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. – DeVilbiss Healthcare has received a Digital Health Award for its SmartLink App for the IntelliPAP 2 CPAP System. The app received the Award of Mertis in the Telehealth/Remote Patient Monitoring category. “Drive DeVilbiss has long been recognized for producing high quality, highly reliable PAP therapy technologies, and it is an honor to be selected as a winner in the 2016 Digital Health Awards competition,” said Mitch Yoel, executive vice president of business development for Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare.

VGM Forbin advises on new ADA regs

WATERLOO, Iowa – Owners of privately held businesses now have to think about their online marketing when complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Websites are now included as part of Title III of the ADA, according to VGM Forbin. This means company websites will soon be legally required to comply with a set of standards called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG 2.0. The guidelines include visual and functional accessibility elements: How easily can people who are blind, suffer from color blindness or have light sensitivity navigate and interact with your website? VGM will hold a webinar on this topic on June 22.

People news: Mediware, Lab Tactical, LifeWalker Mobility

EY has announced that Kelly Mann, president and CEO of Lenexa, Kan.-based Mediware, has received this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Central Midwest. The award recognizes excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to business and community. Mann was among 21 finalists in the region and among seven selected for consideration for the Entrepreneur of the Year national program…Laboratory Tactical Consulting has appointed Ron Dixon vice president of consulting services. He will be responsible for the development and delivery of on-site consulting programs. Dixon, “The Professor” as his colleagues refer to him, joins Lab Tactical from Brightree, where he was a senior consultant. Previously, he was also a compliance manager at Rotech Healthcare…LifeWalker Mobility Products, the developer and manufacturer of the LifeWalker Upright medical walker, has promoted Scott Rieger to vice president of marketing and communications. He was previously director of marketing and corporate communications for the company. In his new role, Rieger will be responsible for defining and executing LifeWalker’s market development and branding strategies, sales support initiatives, public relations and advertising programs, and investor relations.