In brief: Investor buys Permobil, Drive responds to lawsuit

Friday, April 5, 2013

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Permobil, a manufacturer of high-end power wheelchairs, has been acquired by Investor AB, a Swedish investment firm. Private equity firm Nordic Capital agreed to sell Permobil for $842.3 million. Under Nordic’s wing, the company’s sales have nearly doubled, according to reports. Last year, Permobil, which operates in 30 countries, generated revenue of about $246.3 million. The company’s annual sales growth over the past decade has averaged 8%, according to reports. Investor AB President and CEO Borje Ekholm says Permobil offers “an attractive platform for future profitable growth.” “As a long-term owner, we look forward to, together with the dedicated management and employees, contributing to Permobil’s further development,” he stated. “Investor has a long track record of building companies within the healthcare arena. We believe we can help create an even stronger company by, for example, sharing knowledge within manufacturing, health economics and expansion into new geographies.” The acquisition, which is subject to approval from competition authorities, is expected to close during the second quarter of 2013.

Drive Medical suspends sale of certain CPAP masks

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. – In light of a lawsuit filed by ResMed, Drive Medical has suspended the sale and marketing of several of its CPAP masks, the company has announced. In March, ResMed filed parallel legal actions in the International Trade Commission (ITC) and U.S. federal court, alleging that its patents are being infringed by Apex Medical and its U.S. distributor, Medical Depot, doing business as Drive Medical. Drive Medical will offer substitute products to its customer base while it investigates the allegations made by ResMed, the company stated.

CMS reverses position on Medicare Advantage

BALTIMORE – No April Fools’ Day joke here: CMS announced on Monday a 3.3% increase in reimbursement rates for Medicare Advantage in 2014. This, after originally proposing a 2.3% reduction in February. “The policies announced today further the agency’s goal of improving payment accuracy in all our programs, while at the same time ensuring program stability and preserving beneficiary choice,” stated Jonathan Blum, acting principal deputy administrator for CMS, in a press release. The government pays private insurance companies, which lobbied hard against the reduction, to run Medicare Advantage. About 25% of the 47 million Americans on Medicare pay more to be part of the program, according to news reports.

Numotion: New name, new acquisition

ROCKY HILL, Conn. – Effective June 1, Numotion will become the official name of the company formed by the January merger between ATG Rehab and United Seating & Mobility. The company has also made its first acquisition since the merger, buying Ultimate Mobility, a provider of power wheelchairs based in Worcester, Mass., according to a press release. Frank Biondello, regional executive vice president of Numotion, stated in the release that the purchase “expands our presence in central and western Massachusetts, and helps strengthen our services throughout the state.”

Stakeholders ramp up complex rehab efforts

WALSENBURG, Colo. – NRRTS last week urged complex rehab stakeholders to call their members of Congress on April 10 and ask them to support a separate benefit category for complex rehab, according to a press release. The call-in runs concurrently with the National CRT Leadership and Advocacy Conference on April 9-11, and is designed for providers, manufacturers, clinicians and patients who cannot attend the event. Stakeholders have also launched a petition to urge members of Congress to support H.R. 942, a bill introduced by Reps. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., and Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., that would create a separate benefit category for complex rehab.

Provider short takes

IntegraSleep, a sister company to Active Healthcare, has opened a fourth location. The Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C., location will allow IntegraSleep to keep up with “overwhelming demand” for its services, according to a press release.IntegraSleep already has locations in Raleigh, Clayton and Smithfield, N.C. It offers a full range of sleep services, including polysomnography, CPAP titration and home sleep studies. Active Healthcare then follows up with equipment, therapy and compliance monitoring…Dynamic Healthcare Services (DHS) has appointed David Erb its new director of sales, according to a press release. “David will immediately begin recruiting and developing our sales staff, while simultaneously building our sales pipeline and lead development channels in strategic, targeted markets,” stated Terry Luft, CEO of DHS, in the release…SleepMed, a sleep testing and therapy company, has completed a merger with Watermark Medical, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based sleep testing and therapy company, according to a message from Watermark executives. The company will operate as SleepMed, but the Watermark Medical name will be maintained for use with physician customers, the message noted.

Vendor short takes

ZirMedhas launched a web-based service that helps providers determine a patient’s financial responsibility prior to providing service or care, according to a press release. The solution, called ZirMed Patient Estimation, enables providers to get paid faster and more accurately, thereby improving cash flow, the company states in the release...Fastrack Healthcare Systems has become the exclusive billing software provider for members of Independent Medical Co-Op (IMCO), according to a press release. IMCO recently launched a membership group serving independent HME providers…DeVilbiss Healthcareis offering free sleep workshops in four cities throughout April and June, according to a press release. The workshops, set for April 16 in Denver, April 30 in Toronto, May 15 in Pittsburgh (full), and June 18 in Detroit, include two modules: “Keys to Sleep: Diagnosis to Treatment” and “Success in Sleep: Connecting the Dots.” The workshops are worth six continuing education credits (CEUs).