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In brief: Sleep rebound, Philips settlement, Invacare noncompliance 

In brief: Sleep rebound, Philips settlement, Invacare noncompliance 

NEW YORK – HME providers saw a 6.3% decline in their sleep patient volume in the last 12 months, but they expect double-digit growth in the next 12 months, according to the third quarter HME Sleep and Oxygen Survey from Needham. 

The decline in sleep is mainly due to a shortage in flow generators. The eventual re-entry of Philips into the flow generator market appears likely to come mostly at the expense of smaller competitors rather than ResMed, according to the survey. 

Respondents indicated that they expect to permanently shift an average of 46.6% of their Philips Respironics flow generator purchases (down from 58.4% in the 1Q22 survey) and an average of 16.6% of their Philips Respironics mask purchases (down from 30.2% in the 1Q22 survey) to other companies due to the recall.  

Mask price increases accelerated, while flow generator price increases eased, according to the survey. Respondents indicated flow generator prices increased by 10.7% in the last 12 months vs. an 11.7% increase in 1Q22 survey.  

“We believe that the price increase was driven primarily by the Philips Respironics recall and supply chain challenges, which have severely limited the supply of flow generators,” stated the survey. “While mask supply isn't as limited as flow generator supply, we believe that the flow generator shortage may be affecting mask prices since the products are often sold together.” 

For oxygen, providers expect their POC purchases to nearly double in the next twelve months. Inogen looks likely to gain share in the HME channel primarily at the expense of Philips. Precision Medical had the highest-rated POC, followed by the OxyGo private label POC. 

Philips settles allegations of induced referrals 

PITTSBURGH – Philips RS North America, formerly known as Respironics, has agreed to pay $1.28 million to settle allegations that it unlawfully induced referrals for its equipment in violation of the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute, the Department of Justice has announced. 

The government specifically alleged that, between December 2015 and December 2016, Respironics helped a DME supplier procure a twelve-month, interest-free loan that was fully guaranteed by Respironics. Under the arrangement, Respironics bore the full financial risk of non-collection on the loan in the event the DME supplier defaulted on the loan. 

The government contended this arrangement violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and, in turn, the False Claims Act. 

In addition to the civil settlement, Respironics entered into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Inspector General. The CIA requires Respironics to implement and maintain a robust compliance program that includes, among other things, reviewing arrangements with referral sources and monitoring the company’s sales force. It also requires Respironics to retain an independent monitor, selected by the OIG, to assess the effectiveness of its compliance systems. 

This civil matter arose from an action brought under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act. Pursuant to that act and the settlement agreement, the whistleblower will share in the financial recovery. 

The claims asserted against Respironics are allegations only. There was no determination or admission of liability. 

CMS releases Medicare premiums, deductibles 

WASHINGTON – The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B beneficiaries will be $164.90 for 2023, a decrease of $5.20 compared to 2022.  

The annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries will be $226 in 2023, a decrease of $7 compared to 2022, according to information released Sept. 27 by CMS. 

The 2022 premium included a contingency margin to cover projected Part B spending for a new drug, Aduhelm. Lower-than-projected spending on both Aduhelm and other Part B items and services resulted in much larger reserves in the Part B account of the Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) Trust Fund, which can be used to limit future Part B premium increases.  

Medicare Open Enrollment for 2023 begins Oct. 15, 2022, and ends Dec. 7, 2022. During this time, people eligible for Medicare can compare 2023 coverage options between Original Medicare, and Medicare Advantage, and Part D prescription drug plans. 

Medicare health and drug plan costs and covered benefits can change from year to year, so people with Medicare should look at their coverage choices annually and decide on the options that best meet their health needs, CMS says. 

 Invacare receives notice of noncompliance 

ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare announced on Sept. 29 that it has received notice from the New York Stock Exchange that the company is not in compliance because the average closing price of the company’s common shares was less than $1 per share over a consecutive 30 trading-day period. 

The notice does not result in the immediate delisting of the company’s common shares from the NYSE. 

Invacare plans to notify the NYSE by Oct. 7 that it intends to cure the stock price deficiency and return to compliance with the NYSE continued listing standard. The company can regain compliance at any time within the six-month period following receipt of the notice if on the last trading day of any calendar month during the six-month period the company has a closing share price of at least $1 and an average closing share price of at least $1 over the 30 trading-day period ending on the last trading day of that month. 

The company intends to consider available alternatives, including, but not limited to, a reverse stock split, subject to shareholder approval no later than at its next annual meeting of shareholders if necessary to cure the stock price non-compliance. Under the NYSE’s rules, if the company determines that it will cure the stock price deficiency by taking an action that will require shareholder approval at its next annual meeting of shareholders, the price condition will be deemed cured if the price promptly exceeds $1 per share and the price remains above that level for at least the following 30 trading days. 

Invacare’s common shares will continue to be listed and traded on the NYSE during this period, subject to the company’s compliance with other NYSE continued listing standards. 

Invacare’s stock opened on Sept. 30 at $0.78. 

Owens & Minor recognized for performance 

RICHMOND, Va. – Owens & Minor has received two awards from Vizient in recognition of its performance and service. 

Owens & Minor received both the Medical/Surgical Supplier Excellence Award and the Achieve Committed Program Excellence Award at the 2022 Vizient Connections Summit held Sept. 19-22. 

“Customers are at the heart of everything we do, and we are proud of our long-term, consistent commitment to Vizient’s members,” said Jeff Jochims, executive vice president, COO and president, Products & Healthcare Services, Owens & Minor. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration and empowering their success in delivering excellent patient care.” 

The awards honor Vizient-contracted suppliers for their service, support, reliability, ethics and integrity in collaboration with the organization and its members. 

The Medical/Surgical Supplier Excellence Award honors Owens & Minor for its comprehensive contract access across product and service lines and its commitment to value creation and improving total cost of care. The Achieve Committed Program Excellence Award recognizes Owens & Minor’s HALYARD product brand for providing exceptional value by helping highly committed Vizient members achieve maximum value in select medical-surgical categories. 

“We are pleased to recognize Owens & Minor with both of these awards,” said Simrit Sandhu, executive vice president of Vizient. “This is an acknowledgement of their achievements in helping Vizient’s members meet their organizational goals for cost management and supply chain efficiency, as well as their commitment to service excellence.” 

Aeroflow inks deal with UCare 

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Aeroflow Healthcare has contracted with UCare, an independent, nonprofit health plan providing health coverage and services across Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Per the contract, Aeroflow will provide breast pumps; lactation education and support; continuous glucose monitors (CGM); catheters; incontinence supplies, such as diapers and briefs; and CPAP machines and accessories. "Providing necessary medical equipment is crucial to a patient's quality of life,” said Asheley Carter, strategic partnerships associate. “We are excited to join UCare in their efforts to simplify insurance and advocate for Minnesota and western Wisconsin residents. We strive to go above and beyond to meet our patient's needs and offer the necessary support to ensure each patient's success.” The nonprofit UCare offers health coverage to more than 600,000 members, providing innovative services and partnerships across communities. 

InstaCart dips toe into health care 

WASHINGTON – InstaCart is launching InstaCart Health, a new initiative to deliver healthy foods in underserved communities. The initiative includes a comprehensive suite of new products, partnerships and commitments, including Care Carts, designed to give health care providers and caregivers the ability to order groceries and medical supplies on behalf of someone else. “Instacart has become a staple in millions of households, which puts us at the heart of the relationship that people have with food and, therefore, their health,” said Fidji Simo, CEO. “We have a responsibility to use the power of our platform, products and partnerships to expand access to nutritious food and improve health outcomes.” A variety of organizations and services are now using Care Carts, including digital nutrition platform Good Measures in partnership with WellCare of Kentucky; and hospital-at-home solution provider Medically Home. 

Grahovac joins Big Sky AMES board 

ATLANTA –Grahovac, general manager at The Van Halem Group, has been named as an associate director on the board of directors of the Big Sky Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers. “I’m honored and excited to join the Big Sky board of directors,” said Grahovac. “State associations play a pivotal role in the HME community and help represent the interests of the independent provider on a state, local, and national level. "Grahovac has been a regular speaker at the Big Sky state association meetings. She will start her two-year term effective immediately. Big Sky AMES, founded in 1993, represents HME and complex rehab providers in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Additional information on Big Sky AMES can be found at  

NCPA’s Hoey joins credentialing board 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, a nonprofit credentialing organization for pharmacy technicians, has named B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association, to its board of governors. As the first new board member since 2001, NCPA joins PTCB’s five founding governing organizations to collaborate on guidance to best support and advance the pharmacy technician profession in all settings. “We’re excited to welcome NCPA to PTCB’s board of governors,” said William Schimmel, PTCB executive director and CEO. “Independent community pharmacies are critical lifelines for so many Americans and settings where pharmacy technicians can build their careers and serve their communities. Bringing the voice for independent pharmacy to the table is invaluable for helping to empower technicians and advance patient safety.”  Pharmacy technicians working in independent community pharmacies represent more than 10% of PTCB’s 2022 Workforce Survey respondents. They are essential to advancing medication safety, supporting efficient workplace operations and ensuring consistent care.  NCPA’s perspective will help shape the offerings of PTCB credentials based on what pharmacy technicians need to be successful and provide safe patient care in the community pharmacy setting.  

Ascensia hosts diabetes art competition 

BASEL, Switzerland – Ascensia Diabetes Care has relaunched its “This is Diabetes” art and photo competition in support of World Diabetes Day 2022. The competition aims to highlight the importance of diabetes care and education, amplifying the International Diabetes Federations’ official theme of Access to Diabetes Care for 2021-2023, and its focus this year on Education to Protect Tomorrow. Ascensia’s global competition is seeking original art or photography that illustrates the need for access to quality diabetes care and education. “As a company solely focused on diabetes, IDF’s World Diabetes Day is a cornerstone of Ascensia’s calendar, and we are proud to support it for the 7th consecutive year,” said Rob Schumm, president. “It not only brings the community together but provides a great opportunity to spread important messages far beyond those who work in, care for, or live with diabetes every day.” The winner will be announced Nov. 14, World Diabetes Day, with the winner receiving €6,000 to donate to a diabetes charity of their choice, with €3,000 and €1,000 donations awarded for second and third place, respectively. Submissions are open until Oct. 30 at The judging panel includes members of the diabetes online community, professional artists, Ascensia employees and an Eversense brand ambassador. They will be looking for creativity, storytelling and connection to this year’s theme. 

InfuSystem appoints Malhotra to board 

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. – InfuSystem Holdings has appointed R. Rimmy Malhotra as a new independent director to its board of directors effective Sept. 20, 2022. Malhotra, founder of The Nicoya Fund LP, a private investment partnership, currently serves as a director and vice chairman of HireQuest Inc., a light staffing franchisor. “I have long admired InfuSystem, and believe the company has the opportunity to significantly expand its business to the benefit of all stakeholders,” said Malhotra. “Managing through growth transitions is always a challenge, and this can be particularly trying for small public companies. I look forward to being part of the governance process at InfuSystem and doing my part to help the company achieve its goals.” Since November 2019, Malhotra has been a member of the board of directors of Optex Systems Holdings, an optical systems manufacturer, and of Scotts Liquid Gold. He will serve as a director on the InfuSystem board until he stands for election at the company’s next annual shareholders meeting in May 2023. 

Quantum joins Gleason’s team 

NEW ORLEANS – Quantum Rehab has entered into a multi-year sponsorship with the Team Gleason Foundation to improve access to and development of advanced equipment and technology to serve persons and families living with ALS. “Quantum is pleased to further our support with Team Gleason,” said John Storie, vice president of the Eastern U.S. for Quantum Rehab. “We know our donation of power seat elevators, such as our iLevel technology, is important because it will help people living with ALS to have increased independence and gain access to areas of their homes they previously could not.” This sponsorship aligns with Team Gleason’s “Boundless” campaign, which aims to raise $30 million in critical funds to meet the growing demand for its unique program services, enhance the development of assistive technology innovation, and expand advocacy to push legislation. The organization has a goal of increasing the total number of ALS patients it serves annually from 2,600 to 8,000 each year by 2027. “Quantum Rehab’s commitment to the ALS community enhances independence, while providing the highest level of customer service,” said Blair Casey, executive director at the Team Gleason Foundation. “Together, Quantum and Team Gleason have reached those living with ALS throughout the United States.” 

DSB’s Nick Bush joins AAHomecare board  

WASHINGTON – Nick Bush, director of business development of Direct Supply Brands, has joined AAHomecare’s board of directors with an at-large seat for the 2022-23 class. Bush brings more than 15 years of experience in the health care industry. "Nick brings vast knowledge in health care sales, technology and leveraging relationships,” said Tom Ryan, president & CEO of AAHomecare. “His experience and passion for the industry will be a great asset to the association through this board seat. I look forward to working with him, too, as we build on the programs and strategies the Association is putting in place to advance the HME industry at the federal and state level." In his current role at DSB, Bush is focused on leveraging technology to help providers improve care, efficiency and outcomes in health care. Previously, he was responsible for capital sales teams focused on delivering large projects on time and on budget. Direct Supply Brands, which was formed in 1985, calls itself “America’s first virtual distributor.” Its Attendant line includes vital signs monitors, oxygen concentrators, and nebulizers and aspirators and its Panacea line includes wheelchairs, cushions, mattresses, beds. 

EW opens registration for Focus Conference 

WATERLOO, Iowa – Registration is open for Essentially Women’s Focus Conference, scheduled for Feb. 4-6, 2023, at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater Beach, Fla. “We are excited to bring Focus Conference back to the Sheraton Key Resort in 2023,” said Nikki Jensen, vice president of EW, a division of VGM & Associates. “We had so much positive feedback from our attendee last year on the location, education and networking.” Early bird registration ends Nov. 30. As part of the conference, EW will present the 4th Annual EW Ruth Addison Award of Excellence. EW is currently accepting nominations for the award, which is given to an individual who has made a significant impact within her company, community and the women’s health industry. Nominations are open through Nov. 30. 

OIG questions Medicaid spending by managed care plans 

WASHINGTON – CMS has an opportunity to strengthen state oversight of reporting by Medicaid managed care plans on medical loss ratios (MLRs), according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General. States reported that most Medicaid managed care plans submitted MLR reports; however, the OIG found that 49% of the 495 MLR reports reviewed were incomplete. These incomplete MLR reports were missing at least one of seven numeric data elements that are essential to the MLR calculation. This missing data occurred across four of the seven MLR report data elements: non-claim costs; taxes and fees; member months; and quality improvement activity expenses. The data element for non-claims costs, generally defined as plan expenses for administrative services, accounted for the majority of incomplete MLR reports. Missing data on non-claims costs may reduce transparency on managed care spending and limit a state’s ability to ensure that plans are appropriately spending Medicaid dollars on the health of enrollees rather than excessive administrative expenses. The OIG recommend that CMS (1) design an annual MLR reporting template for states to provide to their Medicaid managed care plans; (2) clarify that states should verify the completeness of their plans’ MLR reports; (3) clarify that states should review their plan’s MLR reports to verify the accuracy of reported data elements; and (4) provide additional guidance to states regarding plan’s reporting of non-claims costs in MLR reports. CMS concurred with all recommendations. 

Dynarex honors medical professional 

ORANGEBURG, N.Y. – Dynarex Corporation is honoring Lainey Volk as the 2022 recipient of the Dynarex First Responder Caring Award. This nationally recognized award is given to EMS professionals who show outstanding dedication to their community. Dynarex will present the award, as well as showcase its line of EMS medical products, at the EMS World Expo, Oct. 10-14 in Orlando, Fla. Volk is the director of outreach and education, AHA Training Center, and EMT with the San Juan Islands EMS in Washington state. She and her colleagues installed 25 car seats and provided nine helmets for children, as well as assisted more than 100 patients. In addition, she awarded more than 461 CPR, Basic Life Support and First Aid certifications to members of the public, as well as taught instructor-level wilderness and infectious disease courses. Dynarex has hosted the award for the past five years. 

Canadian Woman of the Year finalists named 

WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM Canada has named the three finalists for the inaugural Canadian HME Woman of the Year. They are Michelle Harvey, vice president of sales and products for HME Home Health in Richmond, British Columbia; Allison Seiderer, president and CEO of Living Well Home Medical Equipment in Peterborough, Ontario; and Cindy Wickens, founding partner at XPerience Home Healthcare in Windsor, Ontario. “We are incredibly excited to present the first Canadian HME Woman of the Year award to one of these outstanding finalists,” said Dave Davies, president of VGM Canada. “We are honored to be able to bring this prestigious award to the HME and mobility providers in Canada. Each of these women has made an impact on her community, company, and the industry. Congratulations to this year’s finalists.” The winner of the award will be announced prior to the keynote session at the Canadian Seating & Mobility Conference on Oct. 20. The nominations for the award were open to all women, regardless of position, who work in the HME or mobility industry. 

ACHC’s Domingos receives community recognition 

CARY, N.C. – José Domingos, president and CEO of Accreditation Commission for Health Care, Inc., (ACHC), was selected for the 2022 Triangle Business Journal CEO of the Year Award. The award program honors a diverse lineup of outstanding C-level executives for their invaluable contributions to the Triangle community, holding titles such as CEO, COO, CFO and chief diversity officer. “I am honored to be included among such a remarkable group of leaders within the Triangle community and am so grateful for the recognition ACHC has received on a local, national and international level,” said Domingos, president and CEO of ACHC. “I speak for the entire ACHC team who work passionately to help providers improve their business operations and enhance the quality care they provide across the healthcare spectrum.” Domingos joined ACHC in 2011 as the vice president of marketing and business development and assumed the role of CEO in 2012. He has worked within the health care industry on both domestic and global scales and has extensive experience in marketing management, development and strategy, health economics and research, public policy, advocacy programs and more. The 22 winners were recognized at an awards dinner on Sept. 21 at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary. 


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