In brief: Liberty Medical sells, Linde buys

Friday, December 21, 2012

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Mail-order provider Liberty Medical Supplies is getting out of the fee-for-service diabetes supply business, according to local news reports. Liberty will reportedly sell its Medicare diabetes business to Coral Springs, Fla.-based Arriva Medical. As a result, Liberty will also lay off 250 employees at its location here, and another 200 at its Salem, Va., location, according to multiple reports. The announcement comes days after a group of Liberty Medical executives bought the business from its parent company, pharmacy benefit giant Express Scripts. Liberty plans to remain in the Medicare Advantage program and also focus on the commercial diabetes market, including insulin pumps.

OIG: CMS pays too much for braces

WASHINGTON – The Office of Inspector General (OIG) recommends in a new report that CMS lower the fee schedule amount for certain back braces through competitive bidding or inherent reasonableness. Medicare paid more than $96 million for L0631 back orthoses in 2011, nearly four times what providers paid to acquire them. Between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011, the average Medicare allowable for the orthoses was $919; the average supplier acquisition cost was $191, according to the report. The OIG also found that, although the code description for L0631 includes fitting and adjustment services, one-third of providers reported they did not provide those services.

Graham-Field to manufacture Simmons support surfaces

ATLANTA, Ga. – GF Health Products (Graham-Field) has been awarded an exclusive licensing agreement to manufacture Simmons therapeutic support surfaces, according to a press release. Per the agreement, GF will manufacture products like powered air and foam mattresses, and standard foam and gel/foam overlays. The products will be distributed to a number of markets, including home health and hospice. “We believe that the combination of Graham-Field’s experience in the industry together with the Simmons brand name will lead to an unbelievable partnership,” stated Todd Merker, director of global licensing for Simmons, in the release. The agreement marks GF’s second expansion into the therapeutic pressure management category this year, coming on the heels of its acquisition of Pressure Management Group’s gel manufacturing process.

Linde makes another buy in health care

SEVRES, France – The Linde Group, which owns Lincare, plans to buy Calea France, a provider of respiratory services and sleep therapy supplies based here, according to a press release. The Calea France purchase marks Linde’s third acquisition of 2012, coming on the heels of its purchase of Lincare in August. Calea France, which employees about 200 people, generated revenues of €28 million in fiscal year 2011, and Linde’s annual revenue in its healthcare product division is now about €3 billion. The transaction is expected to be completed at the beginning of 2013. 

Doing good

More than 35 people turned out for a recent “Haircuts for the Holidays” fundraiser organized by Binson’s Home Health Care Centers in Center Line, Mich., according to a press release. Participants donated 10 inches of hair, which will be used to make wigs; or donated $20 to get a haircut. It takes eight ponytails to make a wig, and Binson’s collected more than 35 ponytails. It also raised $1,000 in donations…Convaid, a manufacturer of customized mobility devices, has teamed up with Girl Scout Troop 5227 in Staten Island to donate wheelchairs to children who lost equipment during Hurricane Sandy, according to a press release. Convaid was set to deliver the wheelchairs on Dec. 22, 2012, to Home Medical Equipment in Garden City, N.Y.

Provider short takes

Roberts Home Medical Equipment recently acquired Germantown, Pa.-based Frederick Memorial Hospital Home Medical Equipment, according to a message on the hospital’s website…Eden Prairie, Minn.–based BioScrip, a specialty pharmacy services provider, will acquire HomeChoice Partners for $70 million. HomeChoice is an alternate-site infusion pharmacy services provider…Carlsbad, Calif.–based Medex, a provider of home medical equipment, has partnered with Senior Mobility Vista Aids to expand its reach in the southern California wheelchair market and strengthen its repair and service offerings, according to a press release.