In brief: Judge blocks overtime rule; Lincare, InfuSystem face legal action

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

WASHINGTON – A federal judge in Texas on Nov. 22 blocked a new overtime rule from going into effect on Dec. 1. The rule would require employers to pay overtime for more than 40 hours of work per week for all employees earning up to $913 per week or $47,476 per year. The current threshold: $455 per week or $23,660 per year. The judge, Amos L. Mazzant III of the Eastern District of Texas, ruled that the Obama administration had exceeded its authority by raising the overtime salary limit so significantly. The Labor Department says it “strongly disagreed” with the decision and was “considering all of our legal options,” raising the possibility of an appeal, according to The New York Times. While the injunction is only a temporary measure that suspends the rule until the judge can issue a decision on the merits, his language indicates he will likely strike down the rule, the Times reported.

Legal action: Lincare, InfuSystem

MIAMI – The plaintiffs in a whistleblower lawsuit against Lincare have asked the court to overturn the decision.

The whistleblowers, Gerry Phalp and Matt Peoples, claim that unsolicited calls from Diabetic Experts of America, a Lincare subsidiary, violated Medicare statute, which forbids such calls unless the beneficiary has bought something from that company within the past 15 months.

In July 2015, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams sided with Lincare, ruling that Diabetic Experts is a subsidiary of Lincare, not a separate entity; therefore, because the beneficiaries had received oxygen supplies from Lincare within the 15-month time period before the calls, the calls did not violate the False Claims Act.

In arguments before the Eleventh Circuit on Nov. 16, however, the attorney for the whistleblowers, Simon Paris, argued that the court was wrong to conclude the definition of DME was ambiguous and that blood-testing supplies were, therefore, exempt from the statute.

Also during those arguments, Weili Justin Shaw, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, told the court that Williams made the right decision, but used the wrong reasoning. He said that could damage future cases by allowing a defendant to dodge liability for violation of a regulatory requirement by proposing a reasonable alternate interpretation of the requirement, regardless of the defendant's intent.

Class action lawsuit filed against InfuSystem

DALLAS – A class action lawsuit has been filed against InfuSystem Holdings, alleging violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The lawsuit alleges that, between May 12, 2015, and November 7, 2016, InfuSystem and several officers and directors used false and misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that the company lacked effective internal control over financial reporting.

It also alleges that the company’s financial statements from the start of 2015 overstated estimated accounts receivables collections and, in turn, overstated revenues and pre-tax income by a corresponding amount. As a result, those statements were materially false and misleading, and could not be relied on, the lawsuit alleges.

Following that announcement, InfuSystem stock dropped significantly, according to a press release from The Briscoe Law Firm, which is representing the class action.

Veterans Mobility Safety Act clears another hurdle

WASHINGTON – Both the Senate and House of Representatives have now passed a version of the Veterans Mobility Safety Act, the VGM Group reported on Nov. 22.

The bill requires Veterans Affairs to establish quality and safety standards for adaptive equipment and vehicles, including equipment quality and safety; certification of providers by third-party manufacturers or other organizations; training for VA personnel administering the program; and allowances for modifications at the veteran’s residence.

The Senate passed the bill passed by the House, H.R. 3471, but with an amendment to ensure the certification process is not limited to one specific organization.

“VGM, Accessible Home Improvement of America (AHIA) and U.S. Rehab have put a great amount of effort into these changes,” VGM stated. “AHIA is in the process of creating a new training program on hitch-mounted lifts to address this need.”

With two slightly different versions of the bill, it now returns to the House.

Once the bill passes the House, it will head to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

Previous versions of the bill divided the manufacturers and providers in the market.

FRA to release advisory on importance of sleep apnea screening, treatment

WASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration is expected to issue a safety advisory to push railroads to address worker fatigue and accelerate their installation of inward- and outward-facing cameras, the agency announced Nov. 16. The FRA made the announcement in response to a train crash* in Hoboken on Sept. 29 that killed a woman and injured more than 100 others. The train’s engineer revealed recently that he has severe sleep apnea. The advisory will stress the importance of sleep apnea screening and treatment, according to news reports. The advisory, akin to a strong recommendation, is a stopgap measure while regulators draft rules that would require railroads to screen engineers for sleep apnea, reports say.

HME provider opens health and wellness store

FLETCHER, N.C. – Remedy Health & Wellness, a new store focused on preventative health products, as well as traditional HME, will hold an opening reception on Dec. 8. Marcus Suess, the CEO of All-States Medical Supply, is behind the new store. “By offering an extensive inventory of health and wellness supplies, our team at Remedy Health & Wellness look forward to helping people of all ages and abilities live fulfilled lives,” he said. The reception will include a ribbon cutting by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce (feel free to avoid this, Suess said), followed by food and refreshments (make sure not to avoid this, he said). “We are very excited about this new venture and the opportunity to fill a need in the community,” he said. Remedy Health is online at www.RemedyHW.com and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/RemedyWH.

Numotion nearly doubles size of facility

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Numotion has relocated and expanded its Southeast Missouri branch, according to the Southeast Missourian. The 9,000-square-feet facility is nearly twice the size of the company’s previous facility and will allow it to expand office and service and repair space, and provide additional storage space, the newspaper reported. Numotion’s Cape Girardeau branch is one of seven in the state and one of 120 across the country.

Product news: ResMed, SnooZeal

ResMed’s AirFit F20 full-face mask and N20 nasal mask are now available in the United States, the San Diego-based company announced Nov. 22. The AirFit 20 series introduces a new InfinitySeal silicone cushion that adapts to the unique facial contours of each patient and is designed to provide a universal fit for all patients, regardless of face shape or size, the company says. The masks also feature magnetic clips for easy fit and removal. ResMed expects mask and accessories growth in the Americas to rebound with the launch of the AirFit 20…The anti-snoring and sleep apnea device from Seattle-based SnooZeal has scored a CE mark, making it the first commercially available over-the-counter device that targets the underlying cause of snoring, Fierce Biotech reported Nov. 21. The device addresses the excessive relaxation and loss of tongue muscle tone during sleep. Worn for 20 to 25 minutes twice a day over six weeks, it delivers electric pulses to the back of the tongue to increase muscle tone. Patients use a smartphone app to control their treatment.