In brief: ResMed claims victory, AAH builds war chest
SAN DIEGO – ResMed announced July 18 that an investigation by the U.S. government has resulted in a recommendation that the International Trade Commission (ITC) stop Taiwanese manufacturer APEX Medical from importing and selling infringing products. In a March filing, ResMed argued patent infringement by two APEX masks (WiZARD 210 and WiZARD 220) and two APEX flow generators (iCH and XT Fit). The ITC case against APEX also named Medical Depot, doing business as Drive Medical. The ITC previously entered a consent decree against Drive, ordering it to stop importing and selling the Freedom 210 and Freedom 220 masks made by Apex, which are identical to the WiZARD masks. “We appreciate but are not surprised by the swift conclusion of this case against both APEX and Drive,” stated David Pendarvis, global general counsel and chief administrative officer for ResMed. “We will continue to defend our patents and innovations against any future threats.” ResMed has also filed a lawsuit against 3B Medical/BMC Medical for alleged patent infringement. ResMed claims 3B Medical infringed on three patents involving the elbow swivel of a nasal pillow mask and the water flow-back valve of a humidifier.
AAHomecare raises funds to fight bid program
WASHINGTON – AAHomecare expects to spend in excess of $180,000 on a legal challenge to stop competitive bidding—and the association needs help footing the bill, it says. AAHomecare is asking for contributions to a “STOP Competitive Bidding Fund” to help cover its legal costs, according to a July 15 letter. “Your kind support and payment to the fund will allow us to meet our current expenses and be better prepared for the next challenge,” the letter states. MK Battery has announced it will contribute to the effort, the letter states. Every company or group that makes a contribution of $200 or more will appear, if they choose to, on a list of donors on AAHomecare’s web site. “We are reaching out to every company and organization in the industry to spread this large burden across the entire homecare community,” the letter states.
Scooter Store downsizes headquarters
NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge has allowed The Scooter Store to reject the leases on its headquarters and an adjacent building in New Braunfels, according to the San Antonio Express News. The Scooter Store employed more than 1,200 people at the headquarters before an FBI raid in February and a mass-layoff in March. About 200 employees will relocate to a 30,000-square-foot location, also in New Braunfels. The Scooter Store plans to auction off all of its assets in an Aug. 6 bankruptcy auction.
Cash + ABN can keep non-contract suppliers in the game
BALTIMORE – Non-contract suppliers in Round 2 competitive bidding areas can provide service to Medicare beneficiaries if the patient agrees to pay cash and signs an advanced beneficiary notice (ABN), AAHomecare advised in a bulletin this week. The ABN must clearly state that Medicare will not pay for specified items because the beneficiary has chosen to obtain them from a non-contracted provider. The beneficiary then must choose whether to file the claim with Medicare or waive their Medicare rights. Such claims will be dinged with a patient responsibility code, which allows a non-contract supplier to collect from the beneficiary, the association says. AAHomecare has confirmed this guidance with the CBIC, which expects to update its website soon. Providers have reported to the association that beneficiaries in Round 2 areas are choosing to pay cash for needed items, either because they can’t find a contract supplier or they would rather stay with their current supplier.
New 101 Mobility location to offer pool lifts, rentals
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – 101 Mobility has a new franchise to serve customers from Boca Raton to North Lauderdale, Fla., and all surrounding areas. Owners Melanie Sweet and Bill Bovett will focus on helping clients age-in-place by selling, installing and servicing stair lifts, ramps, patient lifts, pool lifts, vertical lifts and automobile lifts. They will also offer rentals. 101 Mobility has signed up more than 30 franchisees since September of 2010.
VGM to providers: Speak4DME
WATERLOO, Iowa – The VGM Group has launched Speak4dme.com to provide independent DME and complex rehab providers a platform to share their stories about the negative impact that audits are having on their ability to do business and properly care for patients. The site is designed to help providers fight for greater transparency and oversight of CMS’s independent audit contractors.
Aeroflow enters negative pressure wound therapy market
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Aeroflow has added negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) to its list of offered products and services, the company announced July 12. Aeroflow, which already provides home respiratory and mobility equipment, will work with home health agencies and hospitals to provide NPWT, according to a press release. Aeroflow won 456 contracts as part of Round 2 of competitive bidding, which kicked off in 91 cities on July 1. The company did not say how many contracts it won for NPWT.
Butler Mobility lifts new townhouses
PHILADELPHIA – Butler Mobility has teamed up with Total Access and the Philadelphia Housing Authority to add an inclined platform wheelchair lift to seven new, handicapped-accessible townhouses in the city. Butler Mobility designed the lifts to fit the stairs in each of the townhouses, and Total Access installed them. Lewisberry, Pa.-based Butler Mobility builds its products in the United States, meeting a funding requirement for the townhouses. “By meeting the project deadlines and delivering a quality, American-made product, Butler Mobility was able to help wheelchair-bound residents live independently and access the freedom they need to move floor to floor,” according to a press release.
CPAP Horizon Project turns to crowd funding
SUPERIOR, Colo. – CPAP Horizon Project seeks to raise $30,000 or more in phase one funding through the crowd funding website Indiegogo with a goal of improving the effectiveness of CPAP therapy in the United States. The money will help fund a national sleep apnea awareness and screening campaign; a free web and mobile application for CPAP users called ManageMyCPAP; the development of a health information exchange to facilitate technology integration and data sharing; and the legal formation of CPAP Horizon Project as a 501c3 non-profit organization, according to a press release. CPAP Horizon Project is an alliance of CPAP therapy stakeholders that exists to bring about positive change in the lives of millions of sleep apnea sufferers.
Home Care Medical expands program
NEW BERLIN, Wis. – Home Care Medical has expanded its best+fit PAP Therapy Program to its Sheboygan and West Bend, Wis., stores, according to a press release. The program entails collaborating and acting as a liaison for pulmonologists, local sleep specialists, primary care physicians and other area referrals for sleep apnea patients; assisting with patient verification; scheduling PAP set-up and instruction; and following up and managing compliance monitoring. Leading the expansion: respiratory specialist Debbie Sprengel, RPSGT, the company’s new registered polysomnographer. HME News first wrote about the program last year.
Somnetics picks up rights to pillow
MINNEAPOLIS – Somnetics International, the maker of the Transcend Sleep Apnea Therapy System and accessories, has snagged the exclusive rights to sell and distribute the SleepAngel Pillow in the United States. The pillow features PneumaPure Filter Technology, proven to block germs, mold, dust and allergens that can contribute to asthma, allergy sinus and respiratory conditions. “The SleepAngel Pillow complements the growing line of devices that Somnetics offers to help people breathe and sleep better and reduces the impact of allergens and germs in getting a good night sleep,” stated Clarence Johnson, CEO and president of Somnetics International in a press release. The pillow is manufactured by Ireland-based Gabriel Scientific, a research and development company dedicated to the design and manufacture of science-based products that improve the quality of sleep.
Therafirm expands capacity with new facility
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Therafirm, a Knit-Rite company, has moved its North Carolina operations from Ellerbe to Hamlet. More than 250 people attended a grand opening ceremony recently to take tours of the newly renovated, state-of-the-art facility. Therafirm, which Knit-Rite acquired in 2000, designs, markets and manufactures compression hosiery and other textiles for the medical and consumer markets. The facility allows the company to expand capabilities and capacity, according to a press release.“We are proud of our 90 years in the medical textile business and our continued commitment to producing American made textiles, along with being grateful for the opportunities we have to contribute to innovative solutions for our customers and good jobs for our people and the U.S. economy,” stated Mark Smith, president and CEO. “We are excited to locate our plant here and look forward to growing in Hamlet in the years to come.”
Quantum, Pride make ‘strategic organizational moves’
EXETER, Pa. – Quantum Rehab and Pride Mobility Products have announced a new framework for their sales divisions, according to a press release. Quantum will now have a more clinical focus, emphasizing field leadership working directly with patients, therapists and providers. Pride Mobility will now have a more retail focus to help providers remain economically viable. “Due to the ongoing changes within the custom rehab technology and DME industry, Quantum Rehab and Pride Mobility continue to make strategic organizational moves to ensure providers and facilities receive the highest level of products and services,” stated Andrew Pyrih, senior vice president of domestic sales.
CareActive to roll out new line
RICHMOND HILL, N.Y. – CareActive, a division of CareApparel, will roll out a new line of HME products in the fall of 2013, including reusable incontinence products, therapeutic footwear, bibs, wheelchair accessories and bed pads. CareApparel specializes in special needs clothing, including “Easy On…Easy Off” adaptive clothing. CareActive will debut its new products at two industry trade shows: The National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Aug. 11-13, in Las Vegas; and Medtrade, Oct. 8-10 in Orlando, Fla. Additionally, CareActive has named Brad Slavin brand manager/director of sales.
ArjoHuntleigh has named Rick Lytle as its North American president. Lytle will oversee the company’s sales and service operations in the United State and Canada. His initial focus will be to effectively integrate the commercial operations of the recently acquired Therapeutic Surfaces division from Kinetic Concepts, Inc…NovaSom has appointed John Spitznagel as its new CEO. Spitznagel will also serve on the company’s board of directors. He succeeds Richard Hassett, who has served as president and CEO since 2010. Prior to NovaSom, Spitznagel served as chairman and CEO of Oceana Therapeutics, a medical device company focused on pediatric urology, and colon and rectal surgery.