In brief: Senator calls hearing, Apria borrows $900M

Friday, April 12, 2013

WASHINGTON – Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has scheduled a hearing to address HME marketing tactics, according to a press release. In advance of the hearing, entitled “Oversight and Business Practices of Durable Medical Equipment Companies,” McCaskill is encouraging those who have experienced aggressive sales tactics from HME companies, such as “repeated telephone calls and aggressive sales pitches,” to call her office and share their stories. “It’s clear talking to folks in and out of Missouri that what’s going on in this industry deserves scrutiny,” she stated in the release. “These sales tactics are costing taxpayers money.” The hearing, slated for April 24, is the first for McCaskill’s new panel: the Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight. Witnesses testifying before the panel will include representatives from CMS, along with individuals representing companies in the HME industry, according to the release.

Apria completes debt refi

LAKE FOREST, Calif.—Apria Healthcare has secured a term loan credit facility of $900 million, according to a press release. Additionally, the company has issued notices of redemption for $700 million of its outstanding 11.25% senior secured notes (series A-1) due 2014 and $160 million of its outstanding 12.375% senior secured notes (series A-2) due 2014.

N.Y. members of Congress to CMS: Delay Round 2

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of New York lawmakers has asked CMS to delay the expansion of competitive bidding. A letter signed by 19 New York members of Congress expresses “concern” with Round 2 of the program, set to kick off July 1, particularly with respect to the recently announced single payment amounts. CMS has designed a program, the letter states, “that does not hold bidders accountable for their bids, does not ensure that bidders are qualified to provide the products in the bid areas, and produces bid rates that are financially unsustainable over the long term.” The letter also blasts a lack of transparency from CMS. “Congress has repeatedly asked CMS for detailed information regarding the competitive bidding system and CMS has failed to provide even basic information about the program,” the letter states.

CPAP treatment improves productivity, study finds

BERLIN, Germany – CPAP treatment bolsters productivity at work for those suffering from sleep apnea, according to a study conducted by the European Respiratory Society and the European Sleep Research Society. Using the Endicott Work Productivity Scale, a questionnaire designed to assess workplace productivity, and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, a questionnaire that measures daytime sleepiness, researchers found that 35 of 45 sleep apnea patients who adhered to CPAP treatment for three months showed significant improvement at work. The 10 patients who did not comply with the treatment showed no significant improvement, the study found. “Previous research has shown the potential benefits of CPAP to patients’ health and quality of life and our findings add to this body of evidence,” stated lead author Evangelia Nena, MD, PhD. The study will be presented April 11 at the Sleep and Breathing Conference in Berlin. 

M&A: Home Care Medical, Valley Respiratory

New Berlin, Wis.-based Home Care Medical, a provider of HME, respiratory care and home infusion products, has acquired HomeCare Resources, based in Sheboygan, Wis. The acquisition gives the company a third retail store in southeastern Wisconsin. Home Care Medical will expand the offerings at HomeCare Resources, which specializes in CPAP therapy, mobility aids, bathroom therapy and other HME, to include oxygen therapy, ventilator management, rehab technology, and bracing and compression garments…Phoenix-based Valley Respiratory Services, a provider of HME, power mobility devices and respiratory services, has acquired RTA Homecare, adding three new locations in Mesa and Casa Grande, Ariz., according to a press release. With the new acquisition, the company now owns seven locations throughout Arizona.

Vendor short takes

Invacarewill release its financial results for the first quarter of 2013 before the market opens on Thursday, April 25. In a conference call scheduled that same day at 8:30 a.m. EST, the company plans to discuss its earnings and give an update on certification audits relating to its consent decree* with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at its Taylor Street wheelchair manufacturing facility…For the first time in its 37-year history, Convaid has a new look. The company has launched a new logo and tag line. Coming this summer: a new website. “Convaid has also redefined its mission to help create a better life for special needs youth and their families by exemplifying compassion, customization and being the best in class,” according to a press release…QS/1 has released a tool to help pharmacies better serve Medicare Part B customers, and comply with regulations and audits. QS/1’s Medicare Part B Compliance Documentation allows pharmacies that use NRx or PrimeCare Pharmacy Management Systems to retain the documents required for audits.