In brief: Plaintiff reaches proposed settlement with Invacare, United Health dominates MA market

Friday, August 28, 2015

NEW YORK – The lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against Invacare has reached a proposed settlement of $11 million in cash, according to a statement from lead counsel Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossman.

A hearing for Government of Guam Retirement Fund et al vs. Invacare will be held Nov. 9 before Christopher Boyko in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division in Cleveland.

Boyko will determine whether the proposed settlement should be approved as fair, reasonable and adequate; whether the action should be dismissed with prejudice against defendants and the releases specified and described in the stipulation and agreement of settlement should be granted; whether the proposed plan of allocation should be approved as fair and reasonable; and whether the application for an award of attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of litigation expenses to be filed on behalf of lead counsel Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossman and local counsel Climaco, Wilcox, Peca, Tarantino & Garofoli should be approved.

The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit alleges that the defendant made false and misleading statements about violations of FDA regulations and current Good Manufacturing Practices.

United Health dominates Medicare Advantage market

NEW YORK – There is little or no competition in the Medicare Advantage market in 97% of U.S. counties, according to a new study from the Commonwealth Fund.

Among the nation’s 2,933 counties, only one—Riverside, Calif.—qualified as a competitive market and only 80 qualified as moderately competitive.

“Allowing private health insurers to play a larger role in Medicare is often suggested as a way to control Medicare costs and improve quality of care,” said Stuart Guterman, senior scholar in residence at AcademyHealth and coauthor of the study, in a press release. “The idea is if there are more insurers, they’ll fight for customers by lowering premiums and improving quality. For that to happen, however, we need to have enough insurers in a given market—and this study shows that, overwhelmingly, that isn’t the case.”

The Commonwealth Fund found that six insurers dominate the markets in the 100 counties with the most Medicare beneficiaries. United Health had the greatest number of Medicare Advantage enrollees in 38 counties, while Blue Cross affiliates had the greatest enrollment in 13 counties and Humana in 12 counties.

While both urban and rural markets lack competition, rural markets are the least competitive, the Commonwealth Fund found.

The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that aims to promote a high-performing healthcare system that achieves better access, improved quality and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children and elderly adults.

Cardinal Health bets on post-acute management services

DUBLIN, Ohio – Cardinal Health will acquire a majority stake in naviHealth, a Nashville, Tenn.-based company that partners with health plans, health systems and providers to manage post-acute care. “The acquisition of naviHealth aligns with Cardinal Health’s strategic priority of offering the most complete and integrated suite of services to meet the needs of our integrated delivery network, hospitals and other customers,” stated Michael Petras, president of Cardinal Health at Home, in a press release. naviHealth services nearly 2 million health plan members and more than 75 partner hospitals and physician groups. Its executive management team will continue to lead the business. Its principal investor, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, along with management, will continue to have an ownership interest. Cardinal Health’s distribution channel and suite of clinical products and services will accelerate naviHealth’s growth and expand its value proposition, according to the release.

Inogen ditches accounting firm in wake of investigation

GOLETA, Calif. – The board of directors at Inogen has dismissed BDO USA as the independent registered public accounting firm auditing the company’s financial statements, according to a recent Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In its place, Inogen has engaged Deloitte & Touche. The change follows an investigation into an accounting issue that delayed the company’s earnings for the fourth quarter last year. In the form, Inogen says “there were no disagreements with BDO on any matter of accounting principles or practices, financial statement disclosure or auditing scope or procedure.” The company says the accounting issue was due to a “lack of adequate controls that resulted in the improper use of technology to simulate medical documentation in 2014 and the first quarter of 2015.”

VGM takes bid show on road

WATERLOO, Iowa – The VGM Group will take to the road again with its Fall Seminar Series on competitive bidding. The fall/early winter series will be held in a dozen metropolitan regions encompassing the nine Round 1 2017 bid areas. Topics will include the 2016 roll-out of regional competitive bid reimbursement for all non-bid areas in the country, operational efficiency improvements, and generating alternative/additional revenue sources. Registration for Round 1 2017 opened Aug. 25.

PE firm recapitalizes US MED

MIAMI – An affiliate of H.I.G. Capital, a global private equity firm, has recapitalized United States Medical Supply, a mail-order medical supply business. H.I.G. will support US MED’s strategic growth plan, particularly by “aggressively purchasing value-enhancing add-on acquisitions,” said Camilo Horvilleur, managing director of H.I.G. Capital, in a press release. US MED provides medical supplies to patients suffering from chronic conditions, including diabetes, sleep/respiratory disorders and urological conditions, who need supplies daily.

MIT reports first profitable quarter

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – MIT Holding, which has subsidiaries in home infusion and HME services, reported its first profitable quarter for the second quarter of 2015. The company implemented a turnaround plan last year and is now looking to grow, according to a press release. “In addition to organic growth goals of 20-25% per year on existing business, we expect acquisitions and the opening of new facilities in untapped geographic locations throughout the United States,” said Tom Duncan, president.

MSD acquires patient app

STOUGHTON, Mass. – Medical Specialties Distributors has acquired Verbal Applications, also known as VerbalCare, a developer of apps that allow patients to communicate better. “The strategic combination of MSD and VerbalCare enhances the ‘Total Enterprise Solution’ we provide our customers, which includes other technology products designed to help our customers improve efficiency and patient outcomes,” said Jim Beck, CEO of MSD, in a press release. Verbal Applications will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of MSD. MSD offers home infusion equipment and other supplies.

Convaid goes back to school

TORRENCE, Calif. – Convaid is offering customers free wheelchair safety checks at their local dealers today. "This is a great opportunity for Convaid users to circle back to their dealers to make sure their Convaid is in top working order and still fits optimally to make sure each child is best outfitted for mobility at the onset of the school year," said CEO Chris Braun in a release. To that end, the wheelchair manufacturer is also offering seat extensions for children who may have grown over the summer.

Itamar gets injection of capital

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – Viola Private Equity has committed to invest up to $28.4 million in Itamar Medical, the manufacturer of the WatchPAT home sleep test. “An investment of $30 million will enhance the execution of Itamar Medical's growth strategy and the leveraging of the many financial opportunities we are identifying in the market,” said Gilad Glick, CEO of Itamar Medical, in a release. Viola Private Equity, an Israeli-based technology growth capital and buyout fund, will become the largest shareholder of Itamar, according to terms of the deal. Jonathan Kolber and Sami Totah, both general partners at Viola Private Equity, will join Itamar Medical's board of directors.

Medtrade seeks retail innovation

ATLANTA – Medtrade is calling for submissions to its Innovative Retail Product Awards. The top eight products will be presented in a Medtrade session during the show in October. Similar to Medtrade Spring, Medtrade attendees and judges will then select the top three. “All of these efforts seek to combine ‘retail’ with ‘care,’ so we and friends of Medtrade came up with term ‘caretailing,’” says Kevin Gaffney, group show director, Medtrade. Entries are due Oct. 2. View rules, entry form and contract here.

Short takes: Salida, RESNA, BioScrip

Salida, Colo.-based Salida Medical & Respiratory has been accredited and certified as a Medicare provider by Community Health Accreditation Partner or CHAP…RESNA seeks volunteer subject matter experts to write new questions for its ATP certification exam. Experts from all areas of assistive technology are encouraged to apply. You do not need to be ATP certified…Investment firm Coliseum Capital Management has purchased 632,907 shares of Elmsford, N.Y.-based BioScrip for a total of $1.1 million.

People: Feenan, Garrish

SCA has named Michael Feenan vice president of its Personal Care Business in North America. In this role, he oversees all sales and marketing activities for the division and reports to SCA Americas President Don Lewis. Feenan most recently worked as a vice president for xpedx…SleepSafe Drivers has named Steven Garrish senior vice president, business development and new ventures. Garrish most recently held a position as senior director of fleet safety at Walmart, where he implemented a SleepSafe Drivers sleep apnea program.