In brief: Industry keeps up pressure, ResMed nears CEO decision

Friday, December 28, 2012

WASHINGTON – It's impossible to predict whether lawmakers will reach a deal on the so-called fiscal cliff by the new year, but HME industry stakeholders say don’t get distracted by the bigger picture. “We are focused on getting as much support as quickly as possible on the market-pricing program (MPP),” said Jay Witter, senior director of government affairs for AAHomecare. “We are moving in the right direction and Rep. Price has said he’s pleased with the progress.” H.R. 6490, which would replace competitive bidding, stands at 87 co-sponsors. Meanwhile, stakeholders continue to draw attention to problems with the bidding program. Round 1 bid winner Rob Brant and other area providers appeared on a Miami news program Dec. 28 to discuss problems with the program and review MPP.

OIG: Very little physician solicitation due to bid program

WASHINGTON – The drastic reimbursement cuts that went into effect as part of Round 1 of competitive bidding haven’t caused HME providers to solicit physicians to prescribe a different brand or mode of delivery, according to a new study from the Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG found that 69% of physicians did not receive solicitation from providers for changes regarding to brand and 78% of physicians did not receive solicitation from providers for changes regarding to mode of delivery. It also found that many physicians did not prescribe brand (58%) or mode of delivery (35%) and, therefore, had no reason to be solicited by providers. The OIG also noted that none of the nearly 37,000 hotline calls related to competitive bidding involved concerns about providers soliciting physicians regarding brand or mode of delivery.

ResMed to select new CEO in early 2013

SAN DIEGO – ResMed is on track to choose an internal candidate as its next CEO in early 2013, The Australian has reported. The two candidates vying for the position: Michael Farrell, president of Americas; and Robert Douglas, COO. Founder and outgoing boss Peter Farrell said that recruiters are in the process of preparing a final report that will be presented to the board next month, and that a vote will likely take place at a board meeting in February.

Rotech agrees to $25 million loan credit

ORLANDO – Rotech Healthcare has agreed to a $25 million new term loan credit facility with Silver Point Finance, according to a press release. “We expect that proceeds from the new credit facility will provide the company with additional flexibility to respond to competitive changes and opportunities in the industry, and will support the company’s working capital needs as we implement our business plans,” stated Philip Carter, president and CEO of Rotech in the release. The company borrowed $23.5 million under the new agreement, with the remaining $1.5 million to be borrowed on a delayed draw basis on or before Jan. 1, 2014. The loan replaces and repays Rotech’s existing commitments and loans under prior agreements, assuming the remaining $1.5 million is borrowed. The new loans will mature on April 30, 2015, at which point the entire principal amount is due.

ASP figures show several increases

BALTIMORE – A new year, a new average sales price (ASP) schedule for nebulizer medications. In the latest ASP figures, released in December, several drugs received healthy increases: Brovana (J7605) increased nearly 11 cents to $5.33 per dose, Perforomist (J7606) increased 31 cents to $5.52 per dose, and budesonide ((J7626) increased nearly 39 cents to $5.26 per dose. Albuterol (J7613) and ipratropium (J7644) stayed relatively flat, with both hovering at about 12 cents per dose. Levalbuterol (J7614) was down just over 13 cents to 52 cents per dose.

Excela promotes members of leadership team

GREENSBURB, Pa. – In light of continued growth, Excela Heath has promoted two members of its leadership team, according to a press release. Sherry Gaston, previously the director of laboratory and imaging services, joins the senior management team as vice president for ambulatory and diagnostic services, while John Sphon, previously chief executive of MedCare, becomes the full-time CEO of that company, of which Excela is the principal stakeholder. Under Sphon’s leadership, MedCare expanded into northwest Pennsylvania by acquiring Erie-based Great Lakes Home Care division.

AMEPA announces winners of Outstanding Advocate Award

MIAMI – Jerry and Amanda Hall of Hall-Moore Medical Supply in Jacksonville, Fla., are the recipients of the 2012 Robert Arado Outstanding Advocate Award, according to an AMEPA newsletter. The award is given to the provider who “has truly made a difference for the survival of the HME industry through personal commitment,” the newsletter said. While the Halls’ business was not directly affected by Round 1 of competitive bidding, they traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with Florida representatives and senators to discuss the program.

Short take

Alpha Source, a Wisconsin-based medical equipment parts distributor and battery pack manufacturer, has donated $1,000 to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. The company has also donated 100 gift-filled shoeboxes to Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child and donated $10 per box donated to Toys for Tots of Milwaukee…