In brief: Senators circulate letter, Aeratech Medical named top provider

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Friday, September 28, 2018

WASHINGTON – A Senate sign-on letter supporting additional relief from Medicare’s competitive bidding program was released Sept. 28, a companion letter to one circulating in the House of Representatives, which had garnered 79 signatures at press time Friday.

The Senate letter, spearheaded by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., urges CMS to increase reimbursement rates in bid areas until the next round of the program is implemented and extend 50/50 blended reimbursement rates to all non-bid areas as part of its forthcoming final rule.

The Senate letter is only open through Thursday, Oct. 4, and stakeholders urge HME providers to immediately contact their senators and ask them to add their name to the letter.

The deadline for the House letter, spearheaded by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., has been extended from last Friday’s deadline into this week, according to a bulletin from AAHomecare.

AAHomecare has identified lawmakers who have previously supported relief in non-bid areas as “top targets” for adding their names to the letter. They include the 49 senators who added their names to a sign-on letter urging bid relief in July 2017, and the 155 representatives who have co-sponsored H.R. 4229.

CMS is expected to publish a final rule in November.

Aeratech Medical named top HME provider

Miller’s and Respiratory Services of Western New York tie for second place

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Medina, Ohio-based Aeratech Medical has been named the first-place winner of the HME Excellence Awards.

Akron, Ohio.-based Miller’s Rental and Sales, and Buffalo, N.Y.-based Respiratory Services of Western New York were named second-place winners (tie).

“Winning this award is a tremendous accomplishment on a number of levels,” said Rick Rector, publisher of HME News, which sponsors the awards. “It showcases a provider’s loyalty and commitment to their patients and community, and their ability to make smart and creative business decisions in the face of some of the most difficult times in the HME industry. The winners represent the best in the industry.”

All three companies worked their way through an initial application then a finalist application, providing information on their financials, quality control, staffing and community involvement.

·      Aeratech Medical, which was started in 1999 by a respiratory therapist, is a provider of home respiratory care and equipment, including portable ventilators, CPAP machines and supplies, and home oxygen equipment.

·      Miller’s, a third-generation family owned company, is a full-line provider of HME with a large complex rehab business.

·      Respiratory Services of WNY, locally owned since 1997, is a provider of respiratory and durable medical equipment and services.

The judges for this year’s HME Excellence Awards were Miriam Lieber, an independent consultant; Jonathan Sadock, the managing partner and CEO of Paragon Ventures; and Anna McDevitt, owner of Laboratory Tactical Consulting.

HME Woman of the year finalists announced

WATERLOO, Iowa – Four finalists have been selected for the 2018 HME Woman of the Year, VGM has announced.

The finalists, chosen from 39 nominations, are Karen Atkins, CEO and president, Mobility First; Georgie Blackburn, vice president, government relations and legislative affairs, Blackburn’s; Colleen Hunter, CEO and president, Browning’s Pharmacy and Health Care; and Deanne Sandvold, vice president and owner, EZ-Access, a division of Homecare Products, Inc.

“These women are determined advocates and leaders—serving our industry selflessly for years,” said Clint Geffert, president of VGM & Associates. “They exemplify the dedication and innovation required to have a positive impact not only on their business and coworkers, but also the customers and the communities they serve.”        

The winner will be announced at Medtrade, Oct. 15-17 in Atlanta.

Now in its third year, the award, sponsored by VGM, recognizes a woman in the industry who has made significant contributions throughout her career to her company, community and the industry.

Last year’s winner was Barbara Smith, CEO of Healthline Medical Equipment in Wichita Falls, Texas.

AEA Investors will be Numotion’s new owner

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Numotion has confirmed that AEA Investors, a New York-based middle market private equity firm, will be its new owner. The complex rehab provider confirmed to HME News last week that it had signed a definitive agreement with a new private equity sponsor, but it did not name the sponsor. Numotion has been backed by Audax Private Equity and LLR Partners for six years. The Numotion deal marks a return to healthcare investment for AEA Investors, according to PE Hub Healthcare. The firm currently has $11 billion under management. “Rather than mere investors, we see ourselves as providers of transformational capital that invest in well-positioned businesses which can benefit and improve operationally, strategically and financially,” AEA states on its website. “By focusing on building businesses, often within niche and complex sectors, we have invested successfully over many economic cycles.”

Rectangle Health, VGM partner on payment processing

VALHALLA, N.Y. – Rectangle Health, a provider of payment technology solutions, has formed a strategic relationship with VGM & Associates, it announced Sept. 25. Through the new relationship, Rectangle Health will offer its solutions at a discount to VGM’s membership of HME providers. “Their platform and payment technology is one of the best we’ve seen for the DMEPOS industry, and we’re certain this partnership will enhance our members’ focus on what they do best—helping others,” said Scott Owen, senior vice president of contracting for VGM & Associates. Rectangle Health, formerly Retriever Medical & Dental, began as a credit card processing program for medical and dental offices. It has grown to become a healthcare payment and processing company for more than 50,000 healthcare providers in the U.S., processing more than $5 billion in patient payments each year.

Aeroflow ‘pitches in’

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Aeroflow Healthcare has donated and rented medical equipment and supplies to area shelters in Asheville, N.C., and Greenville, S.C., for Hurricane Florence evacuees. The provider has provided and personally delivered 20 rental hospital beds to facilities near Greenville; extra oxygen tubing and four nebulizers to Heartland Healthcare Center of Greenville; and portable oxygen tanks and eight nebulizers to Myrtle Beach Estates Senior Living. “It’s incredibly important for us to pitch in and assist communities in need,” said Casey Hite, president and CEO. Aeroflow says it will continue assisting shelters and the Red Cross in the areas affected by the hurricane by donating supplies and other medical resources.

Stealth brings back Ottobock supports

BURNET, Texas – Stealth Products has become the exclusive distributor in North America for a range of upper extremity supports from Ottobock. The move brings the products back to the North American market. “When we learned about the discontinuation of the Ottobock line of upper extremity supports in our market, we knew these options would fit nicely into the Stealth solutions portfolio,” said Lorenzo Romero, president of Stealth Products. “We didn’t want to just add a similar product into this category, we wanted to offer a recognizable brand that speaks to a long history of reliability. We feel these products will expand the range of solutions we can provide to our customers, while maintaining the quality you’ve come to expect from Stealth.” Ottobock is pleased to once again offer the products with the “right partner.” “As our business changed in early 2018, our customers made clear that this part of our portfolio was important for them to continue delivering effective solutions to their clients,” said Sarah McCarvill, global product manager, seating and kids, Ottobock. “It was important for us to find a partner with an established reputation for delivering high quality postural positioning solutions. With Stealth, we know we found the right partner.”

Ascensia gets ‘seal of approval’ for Contour Next

BASEL, Switzerland – The Contour Next BGMS finished top of the list for accuracy, according to the results of a recently published assessment of 18 blood glucose monitoring systems. The system from Ascensia Diabetes Care was the only one to have 100% of data points within protocol limits for accuracy used by the Diabetes Technology Society in their Blood Glucose Monitoring System Surveillance System. Based on the results of the independent assessment, the Contour Next was one of six systems awarded a “seal of approval” by DTS for meeting stringent standards for accuracy. The full results were published in Diabetes Care in August.

Medtrade extends advance rates

ATLANTA – Advance registration rates for Medtrade are still in effect until Oct. 7, show organizers have announced. "Advance rates are the last chance to take advantage of discounted prices," said Sarah Varner, marketing director for Medtrade. "It's an awesome value." Under the advance rates, an expo pass is $100 and a conference pass, which includes access to the expo, is $299. On Oct. 8, the rates increase to $150 and $429, respectively. Medtrade takes place Oct. 15-17 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

Short takes: Somnoware, CareCentrix

Somnoware, a provider of digital health software, has joined CMS’s electronic medical documentation program. The program expands the secure electronic exchange of health information in accordance with national standards. The Somnoware integration allows physicians to place an order for a PAP device, send relevant order details and medical information to DME companies, allow these companies to request additional documentation, and provide the ability to sign and date the document…CareCentrix, a post-acute care management provider, announced that several of its technology platforms used in conjunction with electronic personal health information have earned certified status for information security by HITRUST. "The HITRUST CSF is the gold-standard, and we are pleased to demonstrate our commitment to patient data privacy and safety by achieving this certification," said John Driscoll, CEO of CareCentrix.

Miler's,RE