In brief: Red Flags Rule delayed, FDA studies medical equipment

Thursday, May 27, 2010

BALTIMORE - The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has delayed the implementation of the Red Flags Rule from June 1 to Dec. 31, 2010, it announced Friday. The FTC said it had been asked by members of Congress for the delay so that lawmakers could consider legislation that addresses who the rule would affect. The Red Flags Rule requires "creditors" to put identity theft measures in place. DMEs are considered creditors any time they don't collect payment upfront. Physicians and other healthcare professionals have argued that they shouldn't be considered creditors.

FDA studies medical equipment

WASHINGTON - AAHomecare is keeping a close eye on the FDA as it crafts guidelines for the safe and effective use of medical devices in the home. "It's a table you want to be at," said Michael Reinemer, AAHomecare's vice president of communications and policy. "You always want to make sure it makes sense from the patient perspective and for providers." AAHomecare attended two workshops with the FDA last week that the agency held to solicit feedback for its  "Home Use Initiative." As patients receive more care in the home, the FDA wants to make sure that medical equipment initially approved for use in the hospital transitions safely to the home. Among other things, the FDA initiative includes the following components: partnering with home health accrediting bodies to support safe use, enhancing post-market oversight, and increasing public awareness and education. Guidelines for home use device manufacturers will be published within a year, according to AAHomecare.

AHP to discuss fate June 30

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. - American HomePatient (AHP) has scheduled its annual meeting for June 30. At the meeting, stockholders will discuss whether to take the company private by reincorporating in Nevada and selling their stocks to Dallas-based Highland Capital Management, which already owns about 48% of stocks. Highland Capital plans to restructure the company's $226 million in debt into two four-year secured loans.

VGM Insurance changes guards

WATERLOO, Iowa - John Spragle will retire as president of VGM Insurance as of July 1. His replacement is Tom Jones, who has extensive insurance experience, including as president of a mutual insurance company and the owner of his own agency. Spragle has been with VMG for 20 years. "John Spragle was instrumental in the organization of VGM Insurance, and contributed greatly to it becoming the largest HME insurance company in the world," said VGM founder Van Miller.  "We'll miss him a great deal because in addition to his hard work, we had a lot of fun."

Gentiva becomes giant

ATLANTA - Gentiva Health Services will acquire Odyssey HealthCare for about $1 billion in cash, creating "the largest U.S. healthcare provider focused on home health and hospice services," it announced last week. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2010.