In brief: Highland owns AHP, CMS considers expanding oxygen use

Thursday, October 14, 2010

DALLAS - Highland Capital Management announced last week that it has 100% ownership of American HomePatient (AHP). The transaction is the culmination of a series of moves, including a self-tender of common shares, and a restructuring of $216 million in senior debt, both completed in September. Under Highland Capital's ownership, AHP "will benefit from access to the financial and strategic resources necessary to help the company realize accelerated, profitable growth," according to a release. "Using a structured and proven approach to value creation, Highland will partner with management to build a long-term competitive advantage through differentiation in service quality and operational excellence." Highland Capital, a Dallas-based investment adviser, has $22 billion of assets under management. It says in the release that AHP "is a prime example" of its "distinct ability to identify attractive investment opportunities designed to generate above-average returns over time."

Have a headache? Try oxygen

BALTIMORE - CMS is considering covering home oxygen therapy for the treatment of cluster headaches. In a recent proposed decision memo, CMS states that, while the evidence does not demonstrate that the home use of oxygen to treat cluster headaches improves health outcomes and, therefore, it's not reasonable and necessary, it's still "promising" and warrants additional research. As a result, "CMS is proposing covering under certain criteria," the memo states. To read the memo, go to

Grassley to CMS: Hold contractors accountable

WASHINGTON - Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and CMS Administrator Don Berwick criticizing the agencies for not properly overseeing the contractors responsible for adjudicating and processing Medicare claims; locating and addressing fraud; and improving the quality of health care provided to Medicare beneficiaries. "CMS is not holding contractors accountable when those contractors fail to carry out their responsibilities or fulfill contract terms," he stated in a release.

OIG: Error-prone providers slip through cracks

WASHINGTON - CMS doesn't do a good enough job identifying and focusing on error-prone providers, according to a report released last week by the Office of Inspector General (OIG). When the OIG used the tools at CMS's disposal--the Hospital Payment Monitoring Program (HPMP) and the Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT) program--to identify error-prone providers for fiscal years 2005 through 2008, it came up with 740 providers. Its analysis of the CERT data resulted in 186 providers, accounting for 25% of the dollars in error for those providers. To read the report, go to

Generex moves into mail-order diabetes supplies

WORCESTER, Mass. - Generex Biotechnology Corporation has acquired a majority interest (51%) in Global Medical Direct (GMD) of Lenexa, Kan., a provider of direct-to-consumer diabetes supplies and medications. The deal will give Generex a platform for its over-the-counter and diabetes prescription products as they come to market. GMD provides blood glucose meters, test strips, lancets, insulin, insulin pumps and diabetes maintenance medications and supplies to more than 65,000 patients. The deal is expected to close in early January 2011.