In brief: Report cites spike in PAP use, Inogen sets IPO terms

Friday, February 7, 2014

WASHINGTON – The number of beneficiaries receiving PAP devices for a one-year time period grew 13%, while the total number of beneficiaries receiving all DMEPOS items during the same period fell 1%, according to a recently released comparative billing report. Compiled by eGlobal Tech and Palmetto GBA, the report used data from claims processed by the DME MACs between July 2012 and June 2013. They also found allowed charges on PAP devices rose 23%, when allowed charges for all DMEPOS items fell by 2%. The report was designed to help suppliers ensure they use correct coding when billing for PAP devices and accessories. It emphasized trends in allowed charges for PAP devices and accessories, the number of PAP devices and accessories per beneficiary, and the use of more expensive PAP devices and accessories. CMS called for the report because proper billing for PAP devices and accessories has been identified as a risk area within the Medicare program.

Inogen sets IPO terms

GOLETA, Calif. – Inogen hopes to raise $75 million in its IPO by offering 4.4 million shares—20% insider—at $16 to $18 per share, according to news reports. At the midpoint of its proposed price range, its fully diluted market value would be $342 million, Renaissance Capital reports. For the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2013, the portable oxygen concentrator manufacturer/provider reported $70 million in sales. Inogen filed for the IPO in November. It plans to trade on the NASDAQ under the symbol INGN. J.P. Morgan is the bookrunner. 

Acquisition gives investment firm global footprint

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – PBM Capital Group, a private investment firm that owns Human Design Capital (HDM), maker of the recently released Z1 CPAP machine, has acquired Breas, a Swedish maker of home respiratory ventilators and sleep apnea products. PBM Capital Group will integrate Breas into HDM. Breas, a subsidiary of General Electric Company, sells its products in more than 40 countries through a global network of distributors. “We acquired Breas because it is a logical fit with our growing HDM sleep apnea business,” stated Paul Manning, CEO of PBM Capital Group, in a release. “The Breas acquisition opens the door to global distribution channels and gives us immediate access to an established line of home care ventilators backed by a strong IP portfolio.” The combined companies will extend their reach into the global home respiratory products market by developing new products or acquiring additional respiratory product companies, according to the release. Breas, which operates a 30,000-square foot manufacturing/office facility in Gothenburg, Sweden, and employs more than 100 in nine countries, expects to introduce its Vivo 50 ventilator in the United States this quarter. HDM launched its first product, the Z1 CPAP machine, in November 2013, and has more products in the pipeline. The Z1, which is small, lightweight and has the option of an integrated battery, has been “selling ahead of plan,” according to the release.

Invacare amends credit agreement

ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare has amended its credit agreement, giving the company more flexibility on its maximum leverage ratio financial covenant through Sept. 30, 2014, according to an announcement. Per the agreement, which went into effect Jan. 31, Invacare’s maximum leverage ratio for the first three quarters of 2014 has been increased. The agreement also allows the company to add back to EBITDA up to $20 million for one-time cash restructuring charges, an increase of $5 million from the previous agreement. Invacare has also reduced its revolving credit facility to $100 million from $250 million through the October 2015 maturity date of the facility. “The company is actively managing its capital structure and reducing debt levels as we work through the phase of the consent decree with the United States Food and Drug Administration,” said Gerald Blouch, president and CEO, in the release. “Over the first nine months of 2013, we reduced our debt outstanding by $179.2 million to a total debt outstanding of $58.9 million as of Sept. 30, 2013. We are confident that we will successfully exit this challenging period and begin to regain our custom power wheelchair market share.”

Use of Auto-PAP devices expected to soar, study finds

LONDON – U.S. shipments of auto-positive airway pressure (Auto-PAP) devices will grow 70% by 2017, according to an IHS Technology report released Feb. 6. Auto-PAP shipments should grow at a CAGR of 14.2% over four years, surpassing shipments of CPAP machines by 2015, according to the report. "Healthcare expenditures in the U.S. for sleep apnea have reached unsustainable levels," said Nicola Goatman, medical devices and healthcare IT analyst at IHS. "Diagnosis through sleep laboratories and therapy using a CPAP system are no longer the most cost-effective solution to an ever-worsening problem." Auto-PAP devices automatically change pressure in response to patients’ needs, so therapists don’t have to visit as frequently to adjust machines as patients’ conditions change, the report says. 

AxelaCare acquires ARC Infusion

LENEXA, Kan. – AxelaCare, a specialty home infusion provider, has acquired Los Angeles-based ARC Infusion, bringing its number of total pharmacies to 15, according to a release. “ARC Infusion is a great addition for us as it builds our presence in California in both the IG and acute home infusion markets” said Ted Kramm, AxelaCare CEO, in the release. “We are continuing to actively pursue acquisitions in California, as well as other states, to increase our geographic and product line diversification.” AxelaCare now has four pharmacies in California. In addition to California, its growing coverage includes Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon and Pennsylvania. The management and staff at ARC are expected to remain with the company. This isn’t the first acquisition for AxelaCare this year: It acquired SCP Specialty Infusion last month.

PE firm invests in van conversion company

PHOENIX – Evergreen Pacific Partners, a Seattle-based private equity firm, has purchased a majority stake in Vantage Mobility International (VMI), according to a Feb. 4 news release. Doug Eaton, VMI CEO, and Tim Barone, CFO, have retained significant stakes in VMI and will continue to lead operations. They will use new investment capital to expand to meet growing demand for wheelchair accessible vehicles, according to the release. “Evergreen’s involvement in VMI will give us the resources to help even more people,” said Eaton. “This relationship will allow us to invest in new manufacturing technologies that will lower our costs as we continually improve our world-class quality.” VMI offers minivan and full-size van conversions, platform lifts, scooter and wheelchair lifts, and transfer seats. Evergreen Pacific Partners manages two funds totaling $700 million. It invests in traditional buyouts, management-led buyouts and growth equity investments involving traditional middle-market companies in the western U.S. and Canada.

Ottobock names new ambassador

MINNEAPOLIS – Keith Gabel, a member of the first-ever U.S. Para Snowboard team and a below-knee amputee, has been named Ottobock Ambassador, the company said Feb. 5. As ambassador, Gabel, who is ranked No. 1 in the world in his sport, will serve as a role model for young athletes with disabilities. “Hiking, wakeboarding, downhill and cross country mountain biking, rock climbing, camping, fishing, cliff diving, skateboarding and snowboarding are just a few of my favorite activities," Gabel said, in the release. "With that in mind, I am proud to partner with Ottobock for multiple reasons, but mainly because they build innovative and quality products that withstand the kind of beating an active amputee such as myself can, and will, put it through." Among Gabel’s accomplishments: He won gold at the X-Games in Para Snowboard Cross, he is a seven-time World Cup Medalist and he was the first amputee to hit a 65-foot plus jump in international competition. "Keith's myriad of activities and the feedback he can give us regarding the performance of the Ottobock products he uses will greatly contribute to how we reach and support people with limb loss around the world,” said Ottobock Spokeswoman Karen Lundquist. 

Abbott plans pediatric tube feeding webinar

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. – Abbott is offering a Feb. 20 webinar on pediatric tube feeding for HME providers to gain insight to help them improve service to home enteral patients. Four families will participate in the webinar, sharing their experiences and offering information about HME suppliers, according to a release. The webinar will be recorded for those not available to tune in Feb. 20 at 3 p.m. EST.

DeVilbiss distributes Sleepnet masks in Canada

SOMERSET, Pa. – DeVilbiss Healthcare is now the exclusive distributor of Sleepnet sleep apnea masks in Canada, according to a Feb. 5 release. The deal went into effect immediately. “It is important for patients to have options when considering the best interface for their needs, particularly in the pediatric area, and partnering with an innovative company like Sleepnet Corporation can mean endless opportunity for our providers and their patients,” said Wally Haddick, vice president of sales in Canada and Latin America, in the release. Sleepnet soft shell masks allow users to shape and mold the frame for fit and seal, according to the release.

Passy-Muir honors Pediatric Home Service

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Passy-Muir, maker of speaking valves for tracheostomy and ventilator patients, has named Pediatric Home Service a Center of Excellence, according to a Feb. 4 release. The award recognizes 10 facilities nationwide that use the Passy-Muir valve as a standard of care. To qualify for the award, PHS had to meet several criteria regarding the use of the valve. “Education, knowledge, and a constant strive for excellence is extremely important to everyone at PHS, because it means we can provide the very best for our medically-complex patients,” says Bruce Estrem, PHS clinical education manager, in the release. “Being named a Center of Excellence demonstrates our commitment to providing that highest level of care and will potentially allow us to serve as a Passy-Muir Valve resource for others.”

Sigvaris provides docs with education tool

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. – Sigvaris has released an iPad app that helps doctors visually explain the circulatory system and potential problems, such as blood clots, spider and varicose veins, swelling and ulcers. Already in use at vascular clinics and medical offices, the app also shows how compression stockings help to improve circulation. “When you can show patients how a blood clot forms or the exact veins that have been affected by venous insufficiency, it gives them a much clearer understanding about what is happening within their body,” said physician Ariel Soffer in a release. The free app is available in English, Portuguese, German and French.

FAA OKs three concentrators for inflight use

WASHINGTON – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given its stamp of approval for three more portable oxygen concentrators to be used on planes. Newly authorized are SeQual Technologies’ eQuinox Moxel 4000, Oxywell Model 4000 and VBOX Trooper, according to a Feb. 5 release from the FAA. Patients may now bring 23 models of oxygen concentrators on airplanes. Despite the stamp of approval, the Department of Transportation “strongly encourages airlines to voluntarily allow the inflight use of oxygen concentrators even if not labeled as FAA-approved because they pose no safety danger,” according to the release.

Perry Home Medical Supply closes doors

PRINCETON, Ill. – Perry Memorial Hospital is closing the Perry Home Medical Supply store, citing changes in Medicare reimbursement, according to news reports. “Medicare has reduced what they are willing to pay for, and, secondly, if you bill for something and they don’t think you did it right, then you have to send (the money) back to them,” said President and CEO Rex Conger. Conger said changes in regulations and billing requirements for Medicare and commercial insurance companies make it hard for small HME stores. Perry Home Medical Supply will eliminate inventory and services before its last day, June 1. 

BOC, MED to highlight certification at Medtrade Spring

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) and The MED Group are teaming up to present a workshop on the Durable Medical Equipment Specialist (CDME) certification at Medtrade Spring. Topics covered will include the value of the certification and how to market it. Participants may sit for the CDME exam during the March 10-12 event. To earn the CDME, participants show a broad understanding of the industry and knowledge of products, including oxygen, transfer systems, enteral supplies and wound care, according to the release.

BioScrip sells home health business

ELMSFORD, N.Y. – BioScrip plans to sell its home health business, Deaconess HomeCare, to LHC Group for $60 million in cash, the company announced Feb. 3. BioScrip will turn its focus to its home infusion platform and use proceeds from the sale to pay down debt, according to a release. “This transaction will enhance BioScrip's financial flexibility to further benefit from the scale we built through our three recent infusion acquisitions, which have collectively deepened our strong clinical capabilities and customer relationships and provided us with a solid foundation from which to grow,” said Rick Smith, president and CEO. BioScrip picked up infusion providers InfuScience in 2012, and HomeChoice Partners and Care Point Partners in 2013.

Home healthcare market to hit $130.4B in 2017, report says

DUBLIN – The North American home healthcare market, valued at $90.9 billion in 2012, is expected to grow to $130.4 billion by 2017, according to a new Research and Markets report. Growth is fueled by the move from hospitals to home care, as well as innovation, availability, an aging population and a growing number of people with chronic diseases, the report said. The U.S. is expected to continue to dominate the North American home healthcare market over the next five years, the report said. “However, cuts in Medicare payments to home health agencies and risk to the safety of home healthcare workers are factors limiting the growth of this market,” it states. The market includes testing, screening and monitoring devices; therapeutic equipment; mobility products; and nutrition products. 

People news

Brent Shafer has been named CEO of Philips North America. Shafer, previously CEO of Philips Home Healthcare Solutions, is responsible for strengthening the company’s entrepreneurship, and growing revenue and market share in the U.S. and Canada. He will report directly to Royal Philips CEO Frans van Houten. Shafer succeeds Greg Sebasky, who retired on Feb. 3…Kay Ellen Koch has been named Invacare’s clinical rehab education manager. With more than 30 years seating and wheeled mobility experience, Koch, who became an ATP in 1996, has focused on pediatrics. She most recently worked in marketing education, accreditation and training for Mobility Designs… John Phillips, senior marketing and training manager with Ottobock, has earned Seating and Mobility Specialist Certification from the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America. He is one of 120 in North America to be awarded the certification.