In brief: Woman of the Year, brace fraud, AdaptHealth offering

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Friday, July 17, 2020

WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM has begun accepting nominations for the 2020 HME Woman of the Year.

Now in its fifth year, the award recognizes one woman in the industry who has made increasingly significant contributions throughout her career to her company, community and the HME industry.

“The HME Woman of the Year award provides recognition and visibility for exceptional leaders in our industry,” said Clint Geffert, president of VGM & Associates. “Whether through advocacy work, sharing expertise at industry meetings or by being innovative to grow business or streamline operations, this award recognizes a woman who is blazing a path for the future.”

Last year, VGM received 55 nominations from across the country, and Wendy Russalesi, chief compliance officer for AdaptHealth, was named the winner.

VGM will accept nominations through Aug. 14. Nominations are open to all women, regardless of title or position, who work in the HME industry.

DME owner pleads guilty in latest brace fraud case

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Patrick Wolfe, operator of Wilmington Island Medical in Georgia, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy for his role in a scheme in which he paid kickbacks in return for leads for DME like orthotic braces and then billed Medicare Part B for the items.

This prosecution stems from “Operation Brace Yourself,” a nationwide fraud takedown of a $1.2 billion scheme uncovered in 2019.

The combined total of fraud charged in these Georgia cases, which include eight physicians, two nurse practitioners, three operators of different telemedicine companies, three brokers of patient data, and several other owners of DME companies, is more than $480 million, according to the Department of Justice.

“When the delivery of health care turns from providing comfort to patients to padding the pockets of greedy criminals, our office and those of our law enforcement partners will be there to protect our federal treasury,” said Bobby Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. 

Wolfe, of Florida, faces up to five years in prison, plus substantial financial penalties and forfeitures.

Invacare expects decline in net sales, but favorable adjusted EBITDA

ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare expects to report unaudited and preliminary net sales of about $196 million for the second quarter of 2020, a 17% decrease compared to the same quarter in 2019.

The company expects adjusted EBITDA in 2Q20 to be favorable to 2Q19, driven by higher gross margin as a percentage of net sales and lower SG&A expenses.

“Given the unprecedented nature of the current environment, we are pleased with our strategic execution,” said Matthew Monaghan, chairman, president and CEO. “With sales being impacted by a near complete shutdown of the global economy during the second quarter, we reoriented our business to optimize sales for those products where opportunities are more limited.”

To mitigate the decrease in net sales as a result of the pandemic, Invacare says it has initiated “strong cost containment actions” to conserve cash, including reducing employment costs and deferring tax payments—moves that are expected to drive sequential improvement in profitability and free cash flow in the second quarter.

Due to Invacare’s sudden shift in product mix and its long-lead supply chain, the company also expects a temporary increase in inventory.

“However, we anticipate this inventory will convert to cash in the remainder of 2020 and into 2021,” Monaghan said.  “Our associates continue to work through various challenges to procure materials and components necessary to support the pandemic response and other parts of our business.”

AdaptHealth proposes $300M offering

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. – AdaptHealth announced July 14 that it has commenced an offering of $300 million aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2028. The company plans to use the net proceeds from the offering to repay certain of its existing senior secured indebtedness, and pay related fees and expenses. The senior notes and related guarantees are being offered only to investors who are reasonably believed to be “qualified institutional buyers” in reliance on the exemption from registration set forth in the Securities Act. On July 1, AdaptHealth announced the upsizing and pricing of its previously announced underwritten public offering of 8 million shares of its Class A Common Stock at a price to the public of $15.50 per share. The gross proceeds, before deducting the underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses, were expected to be about $124 million.

CQRC taps Teufel as new chairman

WASHINGTON – The Council for Quality Respiratory Care has named Crispin Teufel as chairman of the board. Teufel, CEO of Lincare, succeeds Dan Starck. “I am honored and humbled to serve as the next chairman of the CQRC,” said Teufel. “As we navigate the unprecedented challenges imposed by COVID-19, I look forward to working collaboratively with my industry colleagues to continue delivering high-quality care to patients both during the pandemic and beyond.” The CQRC is a coalition of home oxygen therapy provider and manufacturing companies with a mission to educate members of the home respiratory care community to protect access to benefits in the Medicare program. Its current priority is working with Congress and the administration to block implementation of Round 2021 of the competitive bidding program for home respiratory supplies and services.

NHIA launches fellowship program

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Home Infusion Association has launched a Fellow Program (FNHIA) for experienced home and specialty infusion professionals to advance the home and specialty infusion industry profession through practice, excellence and leadership. As part of the program, fellows will have the opportunity to work with selected industry professionals to foster and promote mentoring of future industry leaders. “We are excited to announce our fellow program,” said NHIA’s President & CEO Connie Sullivan, BSPharm. As part of our mission to advance the home and specialty infusion industry, it is paramount that we recognize industry leaders and utilize their skills and expertise to assist the next generation of leaders.” Minimum criteria for the program include membership in NHIA for at least five years; direct work experience in the home and specialty infusion profession for at least seven years;  a record of industry contributions to NHIA, the National Home Infusion Foundation, or other industry-related organizations;  and  three  letters of recommendation. Applications are due Sept. 15.

NCPA launches ‘Essential’ campaign

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association has launched an “Essential” campaign to rally pharmacists and other small business owners to pressure Congress to include several key provisions in the next COVD relief package, including liability protections of essential businesses operating in good faith; expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program; and recognition of pharmacists as health care providers. “Essential businesses are taking great precautions, sometimes at considerable expense, to continue serving their communities, while also protecting consumers, their employees and themselves against the virus,” says B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist and CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association. “Their neighbors need them, especially neighborhood pharmacies.”

Easy Breathe checks benefits

LOS ANGELES – Easy Breathe, an online CPAP store, now offers insurance “Easy Check,” allowing its team to provide free, no-obligation benefits verification for customers. Customers access the insurance “Easy Check” form online, fill it out and submit it. Easy Breathe will then reach out to customers after checking their insurance benefits, usually within one to two business days. “We started our ‘Easy Check’ program as part of our ongoing commitment to making CPAP easier,” said Nick Weiss, CEO and founder of Easy Breathe. “Now, instead of spending hours trying to navigate the details of their insurance policy, customers can simply fill out our online form and then Easy Breathe takes it from there. We check their benefits and provide all the information they need to purchase their much-needed CPAP products.” Easy Breathe also offers a CPAP prescription renewal program, allowing customers to renew their prescriptions for CPAP supplies without leaving their homes, and payment plan options.

Soleo Health launches alternative care paths program

FRISCO, Texas – Soleo Health has launched Soleo Direct, a program that aims to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations, readmissions and emergency room visits by identifying patients eligible to receive treatment at alternative sites of care. Soleo Direct uses proprietary algorithms to determine targeted diagnosis-related groups and establishes care paths for specific diagnoses that can be safely treated with intravenous or injectable medications in the home or an alternate site setting. “By working collaboratively with hospitals, health systems, payers and physicians, Soleo Direct is emphasizing medication stewardship, both during and after a hospitalization or emergency room visit, thereby positively impacting the patient’s quality of life,” said Barbara Prosser, vice president of health outcomes and research for Soleo Health.

NSM tapped as national partner for catastrophic care

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – National Seating & Mobility has finalized an agreement with Paradigm Catastrophic Care Management, a care manager for catastrophic injuries. The agreement confirms NSM as a complex rehab technology and home access partner for Paradigm’s clinical operations, aligning the nationwide networks of both companies and broadening the mobility and access services available to injured workers and their families. “Paradigm’s innovative approach, commitment to excellence and whole person care model aligns with NSM’s core values and operational priorities,” said Bill Mixon, CEO of NSM. Referrals from Paradigm’s network of nurse case managers will be routed through a centralized intake process by NSM’s workers’ compensation service team. Cases will be assigned to the NSM branch closest to a client. Paradigm delivers its solution through three divisions: Catastrophic Care Management, Complex Care Solutions and Specialty Networks.

Invacare, Alber launch portable power assist solution

ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare and Alber have introduced the SMOOV one, a power-assist solution for manual wheelchair users, in the U.S. market. The SMOOV one is a portable, rear-mounted power add-on. “This solution has represented yet another technological leap forward for Invacare and is a great addition to our portfolio of mobility products,” said Joost Beltman, Invacare’s vice president of sales and marketing for North America. Features of the SMOOV one include: easily attached and detached from rigid and folding wheelchairs, single-drive wheel coating with a rubber layer and tire treads, 395-degree swivel fork, and downloadable app.

Pharmacy: The Compliance Team, RedSail Technologies

Spring House, Pa.-based The Compliance Team recently launched its latest Exemplary Provider Quality Award program: Pharmacy Testing Certification. The program provides pharmacies with the education and tools necessary to achieve certification for COVID-19 and other Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments waived tests. It offers pharmacies new revenue opportunities via point-of-care testing, and collect and transfer testing. To participate, a pharmacy must obtain a CLIA Waiver and have completed a CMS Part B application. Included in the standards are: point-of-care testing, collection/sending of tests, equipment management, supply (PPE) management, patient assessment and facility assessment…Spartanburg, S.C.-based RedSail Technologies, whose portfolio includes QS/1, is partnering with OmniSYS to deliver clinical solutions to community and long-term care pharmacies. The companies say the collaboration will offer enhanced clinical services and provide revenue streams to set pharmacies apart from their competition. Through the program, customers can sign up for services offered by OmniSYS. OmniSYS has developed a solution that identifies gaps in a patient’s immunization history, as well as opportunities to offer companion vaccines, and provides guided documentation to capture all the elements necessary for reimbursement and reporting, and manages the claims process from submission to remittance to proactive denial management.

ACMESA to reschedule summer meeting

CARY, N.C. – ACMESA will reschedule its summer meeting, originally planned for Aug. 19-20 in Wrightsville Beach, N.C., because the state currently prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The association is exploring whether it will be able to reschedule the meeting in September or October and will explore holding a virtual meeting, as well. People who already registered to attend the August meeting should email Beth Bowen to request a refund.

Sunrise taps former Permobil exec as president

FRESNO, Calif. – Sunrise Medical has named Larry Jackson president of Sunrise Medical North America. Jackson, who will also become a member of the company’s Global Senior Leadership Team, reports to Thomas Babacan, president and CEO of Sunrise Medical Group. “Larry bings significant strategic and operational expertise,” said Babacan. “He is the ideal candidate to lead our North American business going forward and bring our successful growth to the next level.” Prior to joining Sunrise, Jackson was president of Permobil U.S.

Registration opens for RESNA conference

WASHINGTON – Registration is now open for RESNA’s 2020 Virtual Conference, Sept. 23-24. This event will bring together assistive technology professionals from a variety of disciplines to exchange ideas about the latest innovations and research helping people with disabilities lead independent, healthy lives. The conference features 20 educational workshops, a student design competition, virtual exhibit hall and the RESNA Awards. Register here.