In brief: VGM and van Halem merge, Pride and Navitas partner

Friday, June 13, 2014

WATERLOO, Iowa – The VGM Group and The van Halem Group have merged, allowing the member services organization to offer “an array of mission-critical professional services” related to audits. “They are the recognized leader in the audit defense field and our members will benefit greatly from this association,” stated Van Miller, CEO and founder of VGM, in a press release. The van Halem Group is now a division of VGM. Its headquarters will remain in Atlanta, and Wayne van Halem will continue on as president. With investment from VGM, The van Halem Group will be able to expand its capabilities, according to the release. “Together, The van Halem Group and VGM will make sure that our clients have the support that they need so they can continue providing quality care to their patients while maintaining compliance with complex regulatory issues,” van Halem stated. In addition to van Halem, the leadership team at The van Halem Group includes Carrie Nienberg, manager of clinical operations; Laura Wilson, operations manager; Kenneth Nelson, medical adviser; and Kelly Grahovac, senior consultant.

Pride Mobility, Navitas offer financing program

EXETER, Pa. – Pride Mobility Products has partnered with Navitas Lease Corp. to offer providers a new financing program. Features of the program include a simple one-page application, competitive rates, financing terms from 12 to 36 months, and credit decisions within hours. “Pride is focused on supplying our providers with the tools to grow their business and manage their cash flow,” said Andrew Pyrih, senior vice president of domestic sales for Pride Mobility, in a press release. “The program, which covers both Pride and Quantum products, offers affordable payment options to help providers best serve their clients’ mobility needs.” Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.-based Navitas provides equipment financing to small- and medium-sized businesses nationally through referral programs with equipment vendors and through lease brokers in its RLC Funding division.

Roll up buys Care Medical Partners

LOS ANGELES – Patient Home Monitoring (PHM), a company focused on rolling up annuity-based healthcare service companies in the U.S. and Canada, has acquired Care Medical Partners, a Georgia-based HME provider, for about $5.5 million, according to a press release. Under the terms of the deal, PHM will acquire 100% of Care Medical in exchange for $144,243 in cash and 5,655,476 in shares of PHM at $0.26 per share. As part of the deal, PHM will acquire $3.15 million in medical equipment placed with patients. Care Medical, which generated more than $13.1 million in revenue from March 31, 2013, to March 31, 2014, joins other recent acquisitions by PHM in Georgia, as well as South Carolina and Florida. “We are solidifying PHM’s regional presence in the southeastern United States, while at the same time providing significant expansion opportunities for our California-based cardiology service business unit,” stated Michael Dalsin, chairman and CEO of PHM, in the release.  There’s more to come: “Our M&A team is nearing the LOI stage with two additional acquisition targets and I expect to have the next deal lined up shortly,” Dalsin stated.

CDC: 9.3% of U.S. population has diabetes

WASHINGTON – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the National Diabetes Statistics Report 2014 last week and it’s not pretty. The CDC now believes 29.1 million people, or 9.3% of the U.S. population, had diabetes in 2012, up from 26 million in 2010. It believes 21 million were diagnosed and 8.1 million were undiagnosed. The CDC estimates the total costs of diabetes were $245 billion in 2012, up from $174 billion in 2010. Of that, $176 billion were direct costs (after adjusting for population age and sex differences, average medical expenditures among people with diagnosed diabetes were 2.3 times higher than people without diabetes) and $69 billion were indirect costs (disability, work loss, premature death).

‘Dear Colleague’ letter calls for review of bid program

WASHINGTON – A “Dear Colleague” letter circulating through Congress calls on the Office of Inspector General to review the competitive bidding program before its 2016 expansion, according to a VGM bulletin. The letter, spearheaded by Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., and Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., calls for a study of how competitive bidding and the national mail-order program for diabetic testing supplies are affecting senior health. Members of Congress have until June 30 to sign on.

Medtrade registration opens June 16

ATLANTA – Registration for Medtrade will open June 16. The show will take place Oct. 20-23 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Early rates of $25 for the expo and $99 for the conference are in effect until mid-September, according to a press release.

Special forum to address prior auth expansion

WASHINGTON – CMS will host a Special Open Door Forum on June 17 to discuss its plans to expand prior authorizations for PMDs to 12 additional states and to implement prior authorizations for certain DME nationwide. The forum will take place 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. To participate, call 800-837-1935 and use the ID 41801913.

Van Miller named Entrepreneur of the Year

WATERLOO, Iowa – Van Miller, CEO and founder of The VGM Group, has been chosen as one of nine EY Entrepreneurs of the Year for the Upper Midwest. “I owe it all to the associates,” Miller said of VGM’s 630-plus employees, who own the company through an ESOP. The entrepreneurs, who are chosen by an independent judging panel, are eligible for national recognition in November. While Miller is quick to credit his associates, he deserves kudos, too, says Jim Walsh, president and general counsel of VGM, and one of its original investors. “His consummate skill in managing talent and making hard decisions is evident to all who know him,” he said.

Univita sells division, names new CEO

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – Univita Health has signed an agreement to sell its Insurance Administration Services division to Stone Point Capital, a private equity firm. “The sale of the division will allow Univita to continue to expand its proven integrated home care delivery model as the single source solution for the post-acute care continuum,” the company states in a press release. “With the post-acute market size estimated at over $60 billion, there is a recognized need for expertise integrating across the care continuum.” Univita has also named Michael Muchnicki as CEO, replacing Jean Haynes. Muchnicki has 25 years of experience in health care delivery and managed care, including management positions at United Health Group and Cigna Healthcare.

AMA addresses coverage, payment for telemedicine

CHICAGO – The American Medical Association (AMA) voted last week at its annual meeting to approve a list of guiding principles to ensure the appropriate coverage and payment for telemedicine services. “The principles aim to help foster innovation in the use of telemedicine, protect the patient-physician relationships and promote improved care coordination and communication with medical homes,” according to a press release. The principles stem from a policy report developed by the AMA’s Council on Medical Service to address coverage and payment for telemedicine. “Telemedicine can improve access to receive care remotely, as medically appropriate, including treatment for chronic conditions, which are proven ways to improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs,” stated Dr. Robert Wah, president-elect of the AMA, in the release.

United Spinal sets date for Roll on Capitol Hill

NEW YORK – The United Spinal Association and advocates from its membership division, National Spinal Cord Injury Association, will gather in Washington, D.C., June 22-25 for Roll on Capitol Hill. The goal of United Spinal’s signature event: to shape policies that impact the health, independence and quality of life of people living with spinal cord injuries and disorders. “Roll on Capitol Hill presents a unique forum for our members and chapter leaders to constructively address disability issues that are impacting their lives, for good or bad, face to face with their representatives,” stated Joe Gaskins, president and CEO of United Spinal, in a press release. Those issues include ensuring increased access to needed DME, medical supplies and related services, prescription drugs and outpatient therapies; and expanding home- and community-based services and supports.

VGM, Brightree extend agreement

WATERLOO, Iowa, and ATLANTA – The VGM Group will continue its exclusive relationship with Brightree for business and financial management solutions for its members per a new multi-year agreement. “Effective use of modern business software solutions is vital to the success of independent HME providers,” stated Van Miller, CEO and founder of VGM, in a release. “We are excited to sign this new agreement so that our members have the opportunity to adopt a best-in-class, cloud-based solution to improve margins and optimize their businesses.” To date, more than 1,000 VGM members have converted to Brightree’s solution, according to the release.

It’s official: Gaskins becomes CEO of United Spinal

EAST ELMHURST, N.Y. – The United Spinal Association has named Joseph Gaskins its permanent president and CEO. Gaskins is an experienced Washington, D.C., lobbyist, accomplished executive in the wireless industry and wheelchair user from Seattle. Gaskins became interim CEO in December, when Paul Tobin resigned. He has been a member of United Spinal’s board of directors since April 2014. Gaskins says he looks forward to using his skills and experience to improve disability rights and help other wheelchair users achieve greater independence.

People news

AAHomecare welcomed two new staffers in June: Melissa Perry as administrative & meeting associate, and Jess Hammett as communications associate. Perry will focus on meeting planning, and Hammett on membership and event communications.