In brief: OIG adds study, shareholders approve big deal

Friday, January 9, 2015

WASHINGTON – The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has agreed to investigate the impact of competitive bidding on access to DME. Back in July, 137 lawmakers, including Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., asked the OIG to conduct the study.

“We plan to review documents from providers and Medicare claims data for a nationally representative sample of beneficiaries to determine and compare the rates at which beneficiaries successfully obtained needed items subject to competitive bidding,” Inspector General Daniel Levinson wrote to Price.  The OIG has already reviewed Round 1 of the program and will start work this year to review Round 2. The agency is also conducting a limited scope review in 11 states related to allegations that unlicensed suppliers received contracts under Round 2. Additionally, the OIG has reviewed the impact of the program on market shares for diabetic testing strips.

Shareholders approve deal

MINNEAPOLIS – Medtronic shareholders last week approved a $43 billion dollar acquisition of Covidien. The deal still requires approval from the High Court of Ireland, according to local newspapers.The deal was first announced in June 2014. The combined company, Medtronic PLC, will retain offices in Minneapolis but have its headquarters in Ireland, where Covidien is based. That has drawn criticism for being a “tax dodge,” according to reports. The combined company will have a comprehensive product portfolio and broad geographic reach, with 87,000 employees in more than 150 countries.The deal is expected to be finalized in the last week of January or early February.

AxelaCare keeps home infusion market hot

LENEXA, Kan. – Private equity-backed AxelaCare Health Solutions has expanded its home infusion network outside of the New York-New Jersey metro area with the acquisition of Ambient Healthcare. Davie, Fla.-based Ambient provides intravenous therapies and nursing care in the southeastern United States. It has 16 infusion pharmacies, bringing AxelaCare’s total number of pharmacies to 34. AxelaCare made a number of acquisitions in 2014, including Advanced Care in New York in October, ARC Infusion in California in February and SCP Specialty Infusion in Chicago in January. New York-based PE firm Harvest Partners bought AxelaCare in 2013 from Excellere Partners.

Provider seeks government contracts

WEST CHESTER, Pa. – Advanced Medical Homecare Supplies will apply for GSA Schedule so that it can pursue federal contracts, including Veterans Affairs contracts, it announced Jan. 5. The company hopes the contracts will enable it to expand sales of Relaxis, a device that improves quality of sleep in patients with restless legs syndrome. "Getting our company on a GSA schedule will expand our reach not only to the federal level, but also to numerous state and county agencies throughout the region as they will be able to take advantage of our home care products at set government pricing," stated Michael Hanlon, president, in a release

Mediware integrates with A/R Allegiance

LENEXA, Kan. – Mediware Information Systems has entered into an agreement with A/R Allegiance Group, which provides private pay collection services to HME providers, as an integrated solution provider. Per the agreement, Mediware will offer its users access to CollectPlus, a billing service offered by A/R Allegiance. “This relationship will complement the services offered by Advantage Reimbursement, our billing and collection service for the home infusion market,” stated Kelly Mann, Mediware’s CEO, in a press release.

Jurisdiction D finds 21% error rate for concentrators

INDIANAPOLIS –A documentation compliance review for oxygen concentrators (E1390) from Sept. 1, 2014, to Nov. 30, 2014, resulted in an overall error rate of 21%, according to the Jurisdiction D DME MAC. The most common reasons for denial: proof of delivery (POD) was not submitted or was invalid; no documentation to support the beneficiary had been seen and evaluated by the treating physician within 30 days prior to the date of the initial Certificate of Medical Necessity (CMN); and no request documentation received within the allotted timeframe.

Numotion partners for a cause

ROCKY HILL, Conn. – Numotion will be a 2015 platinum camp sponsor for the Ryan Martin Foundation, it announced Jan. 5. The sports-based foundation was launched in 2011 and offers youth mentoring and basketball camps for wheelchair users. "Numotion is proud and honored to establish a partnership with the Ryan Martin Foundation,” stated Scott Ritchotte, area vice president of sales for Numotion, in a release. “Both organizations share common goals of promoting independence and quality of life for individuals with disabilities.” 

UPitt launches new wheelchair network

PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh will create an International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP), it announced in December. “For at least the last 30 years, there has been a need for an international society to help improve the quality of wheelchair service delivery, standardize and coordinate services, and improve the quality of wheelchairs,” stated Rory Cooper, a faculty member at UPitt who will serve as co-director of the ISWP. The project is being funded by a two-year, $2.3 million sub-award from the U.S. Agency on International Development.

Sigvaris enlists lymphedema expert

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. – Sigvaris has joined forces with Robyn Bjork of the International Lymphedema & Wound Care Training Institute to help spur innovation for patients with lymphedema, CVI and venous ulcers. “We have already learned so much from the conversations and trainings we have had with Robyn,” stated Scot Dube, president and CEO of Sigvaris North America, in a press release. “Her insights are going to help us create new ways to care for patients and help improve the quality of life for many patients worldwide.” Bjork is a physical therapist and an expert in wound care and lymphedema management. She is also co-founder and president of an international medical mission organization, ILWTI Medical Missions. Recently, the World Health Organization asked Bjork to write a chapter on wound care and lymphedema management for its publication.

Roscoe strengthens product offerings

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio – Roscoe Medical has hammered out an exclusive distribution agreement with Endevr, inventor of Strengthtape, an elastic athletic tape designed to relieve pain and provide support to muscles, joints and tendons without restricting motion. Roscoe will market the tape to home healthcare providers, physical therapists, chiropractors, medical wholesalers and e-commerce companies in North America.