Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Wall Street cuts Lincare

TAMPA – The Medicare Prescription Drug Act’s cuts to respiratory therapy and medication reimbursement has prompted the Tampa Tribune to identify Lincare as a company that “could become one of the casualties of the Medicare bill.” The newspaper last Friday reported that documents filed with the Security and Exchange Commission show that 58% of Lincare’s $960.9 million in revenues last year came from Medicare. After the probable cuts to DME became clear last month, Lincare’s stock price slid from nearly $44 per share to about $32, wiping out more than $1 billion of the company’s value. The main driver behind the devaluation is the new law’s impact on reimbursement for respiratory medications. While the Drug Act calls for a 10-20% reimbursement reduction next year, the 2005 cuts will run as deep as 50-60% as the reimbursement mechanism shifts from an AWP to an ASP (average sales price) model.
Study links asthma and mental illness
YARMOUTH, Maine - Asthma patients should be closely monitored for anxiety and mental illnesses, experts say, following new evidence that the breathing condition is linked to a range of psychological disorders. People with mild to severe asthma were more than twice as likely than people without asthma to have an anxiety disorder or suffer from some phobia. Reasons for the increase association were unclear, according to researchers. It could be that a long-term and potentially life-threatening condition may increase levels of anxiety.
Odds and ends
Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City, N.M., closed its home medical equipment business November 30 and planned to cease home respiratory therapy services December 31. The company had begun transitioning its 900 patients - 500 of them respiratory patients - to other providers last month. The hospital exited the HME business to focus on inpatient and outpatient services... The Birmingham, Ala., franchise of Home Instead Senior Care, a provider of non-medical companions and sitters for the elderly, is constructing an $800,000 facility. Half of the new location will house an HME business, tentatively to be called the Senior Shop.