In brief: HME champions win re-election, ResMed expands software portfolio

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Friday, November 9, 2018

WASHINGTON – A number of champions for the HME industry, including Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., have won their re-election bids in Congress.

McMorris-Rodgers, who bested her Democratic contender Lisa Brown, has led a number of efforts to provide relief from Medicare’s competitive bidding program, including introducing H.R. 4229, which has 157 co-sponsors. She has also spearheaded a number of congressional sign-on letters to CMS requesting relief.

A number of champions for complex rehab have also won re-election. Reps. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., and John Larson, D-Conn., who introduced H.R. 3730, a bill to stop CMS from applying bid-related cuts to accessories for complex manual wheelchairs, came out on top. As did Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., who introduced H.R. 750, a bill to create a separate benefit for complex rehab.

However, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., who has also supported the industry’s fight against the bid program, lost to her Republican contender Kevin Cramer. In 2015, Heitkamp joined Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., in introducing a bill to soften the blow of the nationwide rollout of competitive bidding pricing on Jan. 1, 2016. Thune was not up for re-election.

The industry also has at least one new champion in the making: Dan Meuser, the former president of Pride Mobility Products, who won a bid to represent Pennsylvania’s 9th congressional district. Dan Meuser left Pride in 2008 to pursue a career in public service. His brother, Scott Meuser, is the chairman/CEO of the company.

Group: Final rule didn’t go far enough on liquid oxygen

WASHINGTON – A group of patient and physician groups has expressed its disappointment that CMS did not carve out liquid oxygen from its competitive bidding program in a recently released final rule. “Despite CMS’s acknowledgement of the problems facing patients, especially those who require liquid oxygen, we are disappointed that the administration chose not to use its full statutory authority to ensure that all patients who require supplemental oxygen receive the treatment they need, or even respond to our specific and united recommendations to make these needed reforms,” the group stated. Instead, the rule creates a new class for portable liquid oxygen equipment by splitting the existing class of portable gas and portable liquid oxygen, and increases the payment amount for the new class of portable liquid oxygen equipment so that it is the same as the payment amount for oxygen generating portable equipment. Going forward, the group, which includes the American Association for Respiratory Care, American Lung Association and American Thoracic Society, says it plans to work closely with CMS and Congress to ensure both the clinical and quality of life needs of its patients are met and their concerns addressed. “CMS must closely monitor these patients, as well as suppliers, during this gap period and be prepared to change course and use its full statutory authority if patient needs are not met,” the group states. “If they are not, Congress must be prepared to intervene.”

Rehab Medical buys Family Medical Supply

INDIANAPOLIS – Rehab Medical has acquired Family Medical Supply in Oklahoma, expanding the complex rehab provider’s footprint to 14 states. Family Medical Supply has been in business for more than 30 years and operates two locations in Oklahoma City and Kingston. “Rehab Medical is excited to expand into the state of Oklahoma,” said Kevin Gearheart, president. “Family Medical Supply is a well-respected business that shares a number of our values, with a strong emphasis on improving the lives of those we serve.” Twenty-one employees at Family Medical Supply, including two ATPs, will join Rehab Medical’s team. Rehab Medical operates in 22 major metropolitan markets. Earlier this year, the Indianapolis Business Journal named the provider one of the city’s Top 25 Fastest Growing Companies.

ResMed expands software portfolio

SAN DIEGO – ResMed has signed a definitive agreement to acquire privately held MatrixCare, a provider of long-term, post-acute care software, for $750 million. MatrixCare serves more than 15,000 providers across skilled nursing, life plan communities, senior living and private duty. “The acquisition of MatrixCare is an excellent addition to the out-of-hospital software portfolio that we can offer our healthcare provider customers,” said ResMed CEO Mick Farrell. ResMed already owns Brightree and HEALTHCAREfirst, which serve HME, home health and hospice providers. For calendar year 2018, MatrixCare pro forma net revenue is estimated to be about $122 million, with a pro forma EBITDA of about $30 million, making the deal’s price tag a valuation multiple of 25 times. ResMed will fund the deal, which is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of its fiscal year 2019, primarily with its credit facility.

Earnings season: BioScrip, VieMed

DENVER – BioScrip today reported third quarter revenues of $180.9 million, down from $198.7 million for the same period last year. Net loss from continuing operations was $8.1 million, a $5 million improvement. Adjusted EBITDA was $16.4 million, a 25% increase. “BioScrip achieved record third quarter adjusted EBITDA driven by revenue growth, higher gross profit margin, and ongoing operating expense discipline,” said Daniel Greenleaf, president and CEO. “We delivered comparable revenue growth for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2015.” The company increased its 2018 full year guidance to between $710 million and $720 million in revenue.

VieMed sees continued growth

LAFAYETTE, La. – VieMed reported revenues of $17.2 million for the third quarter of 2018, an increase of 38% compared to the same quarter in 2017. It’s the third consecutive quarter the company has seen double-digit revenue growth. The company grew its ventilator patient count by approximately 35%. Gross margin was $13.1 million, and adjusted EBITDA was about $4.4 million. Casey Hoyt said the company and industry are experiencing “positive momentum” in the wake of its study with KPMG. “The runway is set for continued growth, which will allow us to bring our first-class care to many more patients in need across the country,” he said in a press release.

Vizient urges CMS to reconsider home infusion benefit

IRVING, Texas – Vizient, a member-driven health care performance improvement company and its subsidiary Provista, a supply chain partner for non-acute healthcare delivery organizations, have urged CMS to reconsiders its “very narrow interpretation of the new Medicare home infusion benefit. The benefit was finalized in the recently released Home Health Prospective Payment System final rule for 2019. The rule will limit reimbursement for home infusion services to only the day on which the services are furnished by skilled professionals in the individual’s home. “Unfortunately, this decision will likely limit patient access to high-quality, low-cost home infusion services,” the groups stated.

Miller Prosthetics recognized for service to military

BELPRE, W.Va. – Miller Prosthetics and Orthotics was recently honored with a 2018 Freedom Award. The award, sponsored by the Orthotic Prosthetic Group of America, recognizes O&P providers who deliver excellent care for military personnel, according to an article in The Parkersburg News and Sentinel. “We’re excited to recognize Miller Prosthetics and Orthotics for its exceptional care they provide to the men and women who have sacrificed for our freedoms,” said Todd Eagen, president of OPGA. “These dedicated professionals blend patient care with precise design to ensure our military heroes can have increased mobility and independence.”

Healogics launches patient engagement program

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. ­­– Healogics, a national provider of wound care services, has launched a Patient Engagement Program. Through the program, patients receive message reminders for appointments, as well as links to educational videos, articles and instructions for wound and ostomy care, according to a press release. The program features two-way engagement, allowing Healogics team members to see patient responses in real time and respond quickly to prevent delays in care. During the pilot phase of the program, Healogics saw an 8% reduction in cancelled appointments. "Ostomies, in particular, are life-changing surgeries," said Deborah Leblanc, RN, BSN, MM, NEA-BC, Healogics chief nursing officer. “Ostomy readmissions are costly, and the education expertise is limited. Through the Patient Engagement Program, I believe we can help effect change in our patient population and improve patient outcomes with our hospital partners."

Triple W receives honor

SAN DIEGO – Triple W has been named a CES 2019 Innovation Awards Honoree for its DFree, the first wearable device for incontinence. The annual CES Innovation Awards recognize outstanding design across 28 product categories. The DFree, which monitors how full your bladder is and notifies you when it’s time to use the bathroom, was recognized in the “Fitness, Sports and Biotech” category. “We just launched DFree in the U.S. market and are excited to be recognized so soon by such a prominent showcase of consumer tech like CES,” said Atsushi Nakanishi, president and CEO, in a press release. “DFree’s new and life-changing approach for the challenge of managing urinary incontinence gives consumers the opportunity to engage fully in an active lifestyle.”

Adventist Health to lay off workers

PORTLAND, Ore. – Adventist Health Home Care Services will close its personal care and HME division here, affecting 92 employees, according to an article in the Portland Business Journal. The cuts are expected to begin around Dec. 20, the company stated in a letter to the Oregon Dislocated Worker Unit. Adventist plans to focus on growing its home health, hospice and palliative services, a spokeswoman told the paper Employees connected with the personal care and HME decision will be considered for other roles in the organization.

Short takes: Soleo, Freeus, Circadiance

McKinney, Texas-based Soleo Health has been chosen by Shire as a provider of the specialty drug VONVENDI, the first and only recombinant von Willebrand factor designed specifically for treating and managing adults with von Willebrand disease. VWD is the most common bleeding disorder, affecting up to 1% of the world’s population…Ogden, Utah-based Freeus has been named to this year’s Utah 100, an annual list of the fastest growing companies in Utah by MountainWest Capital Network. Freeus is a wholesale provider of two-way voice mobile medical alert systems that connect users to emergency care specialists 24/7. The companies on the list of the Utah 100 were chosen by the percentage of revenue increases between 2013-17…Pittsburgh-based Circadiance has received a Japanese patent for its SleepWeaver line of Soft Cloth CPAP Masks. Circadiance now holds 12 US and international patents.