In brief: VGM helps Nichole Medical, Scooter Store settles

Friday, January 4, 2013

WATERLOO, Iowa – At least one industry stakeholder is contributing to Dominic Rotella’s effort to push his case (Nichole Medical v. TriCenturion) to the U.S. Supreme Court. The VGM Group has contributed $5,000, the first installment of a $25,000 commitment, to help Rotella challenge a lower court's decision that CMS contractors, as government agents, have "official immunity." Rotella has until Jan. 19 to file an appeal.

Gov’t, The Scooter Store settle

NEW YORK – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has settled a disability discrimination lawsuit against The Scooter Store, the agency has announced. The terms of the settlement require The Scooter Store to pay $99,000 to a disabled former employee and to make changes designed to prevent discrimination. The organization alleged that The Scooter Store discriminated against James Sherman, a mobility manager, by failing to grant his request for a reasonable accommodation. Sherman, who suffers from psoriatic arthritis and needed a temporary leave of absence from work, was allegedly denied the request and fired by The Scooter Store, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. “We commend The Scooter Store for working cooperatively with us to resolve this matter,” said EEOC New York trial attorney Louis Graziano. “We are confident that we have the mechanisms in place to ensure compliance with the law in the future.”

Exec leaves Apria

LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Apria Healthcare Group has announced that CFO Chris Karkenny will depart the company and transition his holding company responsibilities to Peter Reynolds, who will also become the company’s new principal financial officer, according to a press release. Reynolds will maintain his post as the company’s chief accounting officer and controller. The move is part of the company’s strategy of operating Apria Healthcare Group’s two business units more autonomously, with separate finance and accounting services for each unit. Reynolds, who has 25 years of healthcare experience, has been Apria’s chief accounting officer and controller since 2007.

Advanced Home Care grows

HIGH POINT, N.C. – Advanced Home Care rang in the new year with a new acquisition, picking up Norcross, Ga.-based Extrakare. The deal, announced Jan. 1, will allow Advanced Home Care to expand its service area to the greater Atlanta area, according to a press release. “Going forward, we will expand services offered to patients in this region,” stated Joel Mills, Advanced Home Care CEO. “This is an exciting addition to our geography with quality leaders and staff members joining our team.” Extrakare was co-founded in 2004 by Scott Lloyd and Kevin Godwin, both of whom will join Advanced Home Care: Lloyd as regional director in northern Georgia and Godwin as branch manager. “Our entire team is excited to build the Advanced Home Care brand on top of the solid reputation we have developed in the North Georgia market,” stated Lloyd. “The additional resources Advanced Home Care brings to this market will allow us to become an even more valuable partner to the local healthcare community.” Advanced Home Care has made several acquisitions in the past few years, including the HME and home infusion divisions of Hudson, N.C.-based Health Options in January 2011 and Triangle Aftercare in December 2011.

ATG Rehab adds depth in two states

ROCKY HILL, Conn., and APEX, N.C. – ATG Rehab has expanded its services in North Carolina and Virginia by acquiring the complex rehab business of Carolina Mobility & Seating. Carolina Mobility’s locations in Apex, Asheville and Greensboro, N.C., and Chesapeake, Va., will become ATG Rehab locations. Its location in Wilmington, N.C., will merge with an existing ATG Rehab location there. Carolina Mobility adds 18 assistive technology practitioners (ATPs) to the ATG Rehab team. ATG Rehab now has 25 ATPs in North Carolina and Virginia. “ATG Rehab’s purchase of Carolina Seating & Mobility adds tremendous depth to our North Carolina and eastern Virginia operations, while strengthening our services throughout the state,” stated Gary Gilberti, ATG Rehab division president, in a press release.

Edge Medical Supply buys Jones Medical Equipment

TYLER, Texas – Edge Medical Supply has purchased the assets of Jones Medical Equipment, a Corsicana, Texas-based respiratory and home medical equipment provider. The deal strengthens Edge Medical Supply’s position in the north central Texas market, stated President Brian Bersano in a press release. Edge Medical Supply, which has 10 locations, will move Jones Medical Equipment’s operations to “Edge Medical Supply has the strategic growth its existing location in Corsicana. Duckridge Advisors, an M&A firm, advised Jones Medical Equipment on the deal. capital necessary to better service both the patients and regional physician referral network in the local community,” stated Don Davis, president of Duckridge Advisors.

Zoll sues Philips Respironics

CHELMSFORD, Mass. – Zoll, a unit of Asahi Kasei Corp., has filed a lawsuit against Philips Respironics alleging infringement of a patent on equipment used to monitor patients being treated for sleep-disordered breathing, according to an article from Bloomberg. Zoll claims Respironics is wrongly using protected technology for data collection, covered by a 2004 patent, in its Philips EncoreAnywhere respirator, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Wilmington, Del. The patent covers a system of data-collection and management for medical devices worn by patients, with electronic readings transmitted to a doctor’s office over the Internet.

Provider files suit against Brightree

MADISON, Wis. – Family Care Medical Services is suing Brightree, an Atlanta-based HME billing service, for allegedly failing to make adequate efforts to collect debt on behalf of the company, according to an article in the Madison-St. Clair Record. Family Care Medical claims it lost more than $50,000 because the terms of its contract with Brightree were breached. In the suit, filed Dec. 11, 2012, the company claims it hired C&S Billing Center Corp. to send billing information to Medicare and Medicaid. The suit states that when Brightree acquired C&S Billing, it agreed to abide by the terms of Family Care’s original contract with C&S Billing, but it failed to follow through.

American Sleep Medicine settles fraud allegations

WASHINGTON – American Sleep Medicine, based in Jacksonville, Fla., has agreed to pay $15.3 million to resolve allegations that it improperly billed Medicare and two other organizations for sleep diagnostic services that were not eligible for payment, according to a press release from the Department of Justice (DOJ). The government contended that American Sleep, which owns and operates 19 diagnostic sleep testing facilities in 14 states, submitted false claims to Medicare and TRICARE, a healthcare service for uniformed service members, between Jan. 1, 2004, and Dec. 31, 2011. The claims were false because the diagnostic testing services were performed by technicians who lacked required certification credentials, according to the release. As part of the settlement, American Sleep has also entered into a five-year corporate integrity agreement with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

Short takes

ACHC (Accreditation Commission for Health Care) has released a new transition program for DMEPOS and pharmacy providers designed to help them switch accrediting organizations at any time…San Diego-based DJO Global, a provider of medical device solutions for musculoskeletal health, vascular health and pain management, acquired Exos Corporation, a Minnesota-based medical device company.