In brief: Invacare leaves Canada, Mediware partners with Jaysec

Friday, February 14, 2014

ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare will close its London, Canada, manufacturing facility by mid-2014, the company announced Feb. 12. The plant produces long-term care beds and case goods. Production of the case goods will be moved to an Invacare plant in Sanford, Fla., while production of the beds will be outsourced to a third party with facilities “around the world,” according to a press release. ''While we regret the impact that this decision will have on our London associates, we believe this is an important step for the long-term health of the company,” said Gerald Blouch, Invacare president and CEO. “We expect that this closure will result in long-term cost savings that will enhance our ability to compete in the healthcare market.” Invacare on Feb. 6 reported a decrease in net sales for 2013.

Mediware, Jaysec combine forces

LENEXA, Kan. – Mediware Information Systems has partnered with Jaysec Technologies, allowing its users to interface more directly with physicians electronically. As a result of the partnership, Mediware users will have access to GoJaysec, a software program that processes referrals electronically without the need to manually input orders, according to a release. “We are excited to help our clients ensure orders are clean so payment can be made promptly,” stated Thomas Mann, Mediware president and CEO, in a release. “One of the HME industry’s biggest challenges is to get the physician order signed and submitted with the required documentation.”

In addition to GoJaysec, Mediware users will have access to GoPatient Management, a software program that manages patient outreach with an automated option. Jaysec’s programs are only the latest arrows to be added to Mediware’s quiver. Since acquiring Fastrack and Definitive Homecare Solutions last year, the company has been busy combining the features of its various products to develop a single business management solution.

House passes sleep apnea bill

WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives on Feb. 11 passed a bill that would require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to go through a rulemaking process before implementing a new sleep apnea policy. The bill, introduced by Reps. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., and Rick Larsen, D-Wash., will likely slow down the FAA’s plans to require pilots with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater to undergo testing for sleep apnea. There’s a nearly identical bill in the Senate.

Colonial Medical forms strategic partnerships

ORLANDO, Fla. – Colonial Medical Supplies, which was awarded more than 600 contracts in nearly every competitive bidding area (CBA), has become a minority shareholder of Airlife Medical in Auburndale, Fla. Colonial Medical has been serving patients in CBAs through subcontracting agreements, but in late 2013, it began seeking strategic partners to serve patients directly. Airlife Medical represents Colonial Medical’s third such investment in 2013. Colonial Medical was awarded contracts for walkers, oxygen, CPAP, manual and power wheelchairs, hospital beds and support surfaces. “Due to the common ownership, Airlife has been added to the Medicare Provider Directory as a competitive bid winner under the Colonial contract, as well as other private insurance contracts which Colonial is contracted,” stated David Bruinsma, CEO of Colonial Medical.

Liberator reports increases across the board

STUART, Fla. – Liberator Medical’s net sales were $18.6 million in its fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 31, 2013, up 6.2% over the same period in 2012, the company announced Feb. 13. Net income was $2.12 million, a 56.8% increase; gross profits were $11.7 million, a 7.1% increase; and operating income was $3.5 million, a 55% increase. Liberator Medical, which began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in November, credits its focus on maximizing reorder rates from recurring customers and its direct response advertising campaign for the positive results. “We will continue to manage the levels of our direct response advertising spend, implement process improvements and explore potential acquisition targets to grow our business and increase operating margins during fiscal year 2014,” stated Mark Libratore, president and CEO, in the release.

Judge rules against whistleblowers in Liberty case

WILMINGTON, Del. – A bankruptcy judge has disallowed several whistleblower claims in Liberty Medical Supply’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. Former employees Deborah Loveland and Lucas Matheny had alleged that Liberty received millions in overpayments from Medicare and Medicaid, which it never repaid, and covered up it all up by tampering with data, according to Law360. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Peter Walsh ruled that Loveland and Matheny provided no proof of a false record or statement, no proof that Liberty had any knowledge of false records and no proof that Liberty had circumvented monetary obligations to the government. Despite receiving more than 4 million documents, database information and witness depositions, “their claims remain unsubstantiated,” wrote the judge. Liberty, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2013, had asked the court in October to render a summary judgment on the whistleblower claims, which were filed in Florida in 2008.

MAC publishes prepay reviews for support surfaces, glucose monitors

INDIANAPOLIS – The claim error rate for Group 2 pressure reducing support surfaces (E0277) was 74% between July 1, 2013, and Sept. 31, 2013, according to a prepay review by National Government Services (NGS), the DME MAC for Jurisdiction B. NGS reviewed 275 claims: 239 were denied and 36 were approved. It found that 21% of claims were denied due to no response to the additional documentation request letter…The claim error rate for glucose test strips (A4253) was 98.5% between Oct. 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2013, according to another prepay review by NGS. During that time, NGS developed 7,952 claims for additional documentation: 7,831 were denied. It found that 60% of claims were denied due to lack of medical necessity.

Verus Healthcare adds plans, makes acquisition

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Verus Healthcare, formerly Sleep Nation, is now in-network with one of the largest health plans in the country and the largest Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) plan, it announced Feb. 11. The provider has also completed another acquisition, bringing its total to 64. "As Verus Healthcare grows through acquisitions and internal growth initiatives, gaining full access to service more patients by being in-network with health plans is critical," stated Richardson Roberts, CEO of Verus Healthcare, in a release. The provider now has access to 26 BCBS plans across the country.

Minnesota Medicaid could have saved millions with bid pricing, OIG says

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Medicaid program could have saved an estimated $2.27 million in one year by establishing a DME competitive bidding program similar to Medicare’s, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG determined that average Medicare payment rates obtained through competitive bids for 42 selected DME items were significantly lower than Minnesota’s average Medicaid payment rates. The state agreed that it could achieve lower rates of payment for selected DME items; however, it did not concur entirely with the recommended approach.

Heritage acquires MedCare

WICHITA FALLS, Texas – Heritage Home Medical Company has purchased MedCare Medical Supply, according to news reports. Graham, Texas-based MedCare will take Heritage’s name. “This means that the Graham location will now get the responsiveness and customer service that all of our clients in Wichita Falls have been receiving since 2005,” said Heritage President Don Dobbins in the Graham Leader. “We feel that we provide better customer service than companies that do the same thing as we do.” Heritage provides wheel/lift chairs, hospital beds/supplies, bathroom aids, walking aids/orthotics and daily living aids.

Prism completes acquisition of MedCare

TORONTO, Ontario – Prism Medical has bought an additional 51% ownership interest in MedCare Products, making the company a wholly-owned subsidiary, according to a Feb. 10 release. At the end of 2012, Prism purchased a 49% stake in MedCare, as well as the Burnsville, Minn.-based company’s manufacturing assets and inventory. MedCare supplies ceiling and floor lifts, slings and transfer aids. "The acquisition of 100% of MedCare is an important transaction for us as it meets a number of key strategic objectives and builds shareholder value," said Andrew McIntyre, Prism Medical chairman, in the release. "MedCare will continue to operate as before from its base in Burnsville, Minn., relying on the strength of its local personnel, reputation for service, enhanced product offering and its strong customer base.” Prism bought the remaining 51% of MedCare for $268,000. Additionally, the remaining holdbacks from the 2012 acquisition were settled for $532,000.

DME provider publishes caregiver guide

EL PASO, Texas – BEK Medical’s “Finding Independence at Any Age: A Caregiver’s Guide to Independent Living and an Introduction to Home Medical Equipment,” is now available for download. The book is a guide to caring for the people who are newly homebound, and shows caregivers the various types of equipment available to make care easier. Dora Williams, president of BEK Medical and author of the book, talks about her won personal experience as a caregiver and recounts her own struggles.

People news

Owings Mills, Md.-based The Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) has hired Carrie Green as its marketing manager. Green is responsible for developing and implementing BOC’s marketing strategy to improve communication with stakeholders and uphold customer satisfaction. She replaces Carli Cohen…Louisville, Ky.-based M. Joseph Medical has named Julie Norris CEO. She succeeds company founder Michael Bartlett…New Berlin, Wis.-based Home Care Medical has a new member on its board of directors: Kathy Bechtel, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer for Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin…Inventory Solutions, Inc. has hired Lynn Corsale as its sales representative for New England. Corsale has been an independent sales rep for the past 18 years covering Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine…Varilite has promoted Nicole Muehlenhaus to director of medical. Previously, she was global product manager. In her new role, Muehlenhaus will set the future course of the company, as well as take over responsibility for Cascade Designs’ Medical Division, including sales, marketing, international distribution and customer service.