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In brief: SoClean sues Philips, Better Health gets investment, Movair launches ventilator

In brief: SoClean sues Philips, Better Health gets investment, Movair launches ventilator

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. – SoClean Inc. has filed a lawsuit against Philips, alleging the company has sought to blame it for problems related to its recall of certain respiratory devices. 

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for Massachusetts, alleges Philips has misled the public and engaged in acts of deliberate misdirection, placing blame on SoClean to divert attention away from obvious design flaws, including a poor choice of sound abatement foam, which led to its recent voluntary product recall of Philips’ CPAP machines, BiPAP machines, and ventilators.   

SoClean also alleges that Philips and its CEO and Chairman of the Board, Frans van Houten, made false and misleading statements regarding ozone cleaners that have had a negative impact on SoClean’s business. Among other things, the complaint states that Philips and its CEO wrongfully suggested to consumers, distributors, health care professionals, and the general public that SoClean and its ozone cleaners were somehow responsible for the product recall.  

“We are disappointed that Philips has decided to point the finger at SoClean for its product recall and has chosen to make false and misleading statements about our products,” said Robert Wilkins, CEO of SoClean. “By this lawsuit, SoClean intends to defend itself against Philips’ dishonest attacks, restore its hard-earned reputation, and correct the record for a consuming public that has been intentionally misled by Philips.”  

SoClean and other makers of CPAP cleaners have stood by the safety of their products. 

Best Buy to acquire health technology platform 

MINNEAPOLIS – Best Buy has signed an agreement to acquire Current Health, a technology platform that brings together remote patient monitoring, telehealth and patient engagement into a single solution for healthcare organizations.  

“The future of consumer technology is directly connected to the future of healthcare,” said Deborah Di Sanzo, president of Best Buy Health. “We have the distinct expertise in helping customers make technology work for them directly in their homes and by combining Current Health’s remote care management platform with our existing health products and services, we can create a holistic care ecosystem that shows up for someone across all of their healthcare needs.”  

Current Health’s enterprise care-at-home platform enables healthcare organizations to deliver high-quality, patient-centric care at a lower cost. The company integrates patient-reported data with data from biosensors – including their own continuous monitoring wearable device – to provide healthcare organizations with actionable, real-time insights into the patient’s condition. 

“Over the coming decade, significantly more healthcare can be delivered in the home,” said Christopher McCann, CEO of Current Health. “Best Buy has unparalleled physical reach, world-class supply chain logistics, and trusted support services–allowing us to provide a high-touch consumer experience, at scale. We’re excited to join with Best Buy Health to move safe and effective healthcare into the home globally.” 

Earlier this year, Best Buy Health began offering health and safety services on the Apple Watch, and launched the Lively App and Lively Wearable2 medical alert device.  

Legislation to require Medicare coverage of wigs re-introduced 

WASHINGTON – A bill that would require Medicare to cover wigs under the durable medical equipment has been reintroduced in the House of Representatives. 

Lead by Reps. James McGovern and Ayanna Pressley, both Democrats from Massachusetts, the Wigs as Durable Medical Equipment Act (H.R. 5430), would help individuals affected by Alopecia and patients with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy. 

“For people impacted by Alopecia or undergoing cancer treatment, a wig can make all the difference in the world,” said McGovern. “It can provide them with the confidence and courage the need to get back to normal during a challenging time. But wigs can cost thousands of dollars, and despite the enormous and clear benefits they provide, they are not currently covered by programs like Medicare.” 

Many private insurance plans cover wigs for those undergoing treatments that cause hair loss or who are affected by alopecia areata. 

Pressley has been public about her own experience with Alopecia. 

“Since I first revealed my alopecia diagnosis, I’ve been intentional about creating space and creating community for those of us who have medical conditions that impact our hair - and this bill is a continuation of those efforts,” she said. “Every person living with Alopecia, battling cancer, or facing another medical condition that leads to hair loss, should be able to access wigs and other head coverings.” 

McGovern introduced similar legislation in 2017.   

Better Health secures additional funding 

SAN FRANCISCO – Better Health, an online supplier of urological and ostomy supplies, announced today a $10 million Series A funding that it will use to expand its services. 

“We’re excited to continue supporting our members in managing their health at home and to expand our services and offering to meet their growing needs,” said Naama Stauber Breckler, CEO and co-founder of Better Health. “When it comes to medical supplies, receiving the right support makes all the difference in improving patient health outcomes and in reducing overall utilization of care.” 

Funding will be used to build out the company’s capabilities to include specialized telehealth services covered by insurance, expand its model of bundled supplies, education and telehealth into new categories of products and chronic conditions, and expand its partnerships with health systems and payers.  

The funding round is led by Caffeinated Capital and General Catalyst with participation from Bill Ackman’s family office, Table Management, 8VC, Anorak Ventures, Tank Hill Venture Partners, Motive Science, Modern Ventures and Unpopular VC.  

Better Health launched earlier this year with $3.5 million in seed funding. 

“I love investing in exceptional founders, building category-defining companies disrupting antiquated markets with low NPS, said Raymond Tonsing, founder and managing partner at Caffeinated Capital. “Since investing in its seed round Better Health had grown tremendously, it grew its member base 4.5 times in the first half of 2021 alone. I’m excited about what the coming year will bring.”  

Steve Ackerman to be honored at Medtrade East 

WASHINGTON – Provider Steve Ackerman has been named the 2021 Van Miller Homecare Champion. 

Ackerman, president and CEO of Spectrum Medical in Silver Spring, Md., has held various leadership roles for AAHomecare, most recently as chairman of the board. He has spoken before Congress and CMS as an industry expert, and represented the HME industry as a champion for HME policy priorities.  

The Van Miller Homecare Champion Award recognizes and honors AAHomecare members who reflect the characteristics of an HME visionary, Van G. Miller, past CEO and founder of the VGM Group. In 2019, the Association honored Karyn Estrella, an exceptional regional association leader. 

Ackerman will be presented with the award during the Stand Up for Homecare reception, Tuesday, Oct. 19, at Medtrade East. Tickets are still available online. 

Ira Katz named indy pharmacist of the year 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Ira Katz was named the 2021 Willard B. Simmons Independent Pharmacist of the Year at the National Community Pharmacists Association at the organization’s 2021 Annual Convention, held Oct. 9-12. 

The annual award, sponsored by Upsher-Smith Laboratories, is given to a pharmacist who exhibits exemplary professional leadership, service to community and commitment to independent pharmacy. 

Katz is the owner of Little Five Points Pharmacy in Atlanta, which he opened 40 years ago. As a pharmacist committed to reducing the number of lives lost due to opioid overdoses, Katz understands the importance of community education when it comes to opioid safety. Through his pharmacy, he provides naloxone (Narcan) administration education and has made the product available, free of charge, to those in the community, including local businesses and restaurants.  

Katz is Chairman of the Board of the Georgia Academy of Independent Pharmacy where he has been a board member for more than 25 years, and he also serves on the AIP Alternative Income Committee. He is also a member of the Georgia Pharmacy Association, serving on its governmental affairs team. 

“Ira Katz has played an invaluable role as a community pharmacist, and we couldn’t be more pleased to help NCPA recognize his achievements,” said Rusty Field, President and CEO, Upsher-Smith. “Ira is a proven leader who has demonstrated that a pharmacist’s role goes far beyond dispensing medications. His efforts to educate and marshal resources to help those in need have single handedly made a difference in people’s lives.” 

Sign-on letter closes with 95 signatures 

WASHINGTON – A sign-on letter pressing CMS to finalize a DMEPOS proposed rule that would adjust payment rates received 95 signatures from members of the House of Representatives. The letter was spearheaded by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., a ranking member on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, and Paul Tonko, D-N.Y. The proposed rule was published in October 2020

NCPA names new president 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Pharmacist Michele Belcher was installed as 2021-22 president of the National Community Pharmacists Association at the organization’s 2021 Annual Convention, held Oct. 9-12. 

Belcher, of Grants Pass Pharmacy in Grants Pass, Ore., is active in her state pharmacy coalition and state association and has served on task force groups for the board of pharmacy. She has been an adviser for the entrepreneurial academy at OSU College of Pharmacy and is active in state legislation, speaking before both House and Senate committees. 

Inogen appoints Glezer chief technology officer 

GOLETA, Calif. – Inogen has named Stanislav Glezer, M.D., to the role of chief technology officer responsible for R&D and engineering, medical affairs and regulatory affairs. Glezer, who joined Inogen in June. will remain an executive vice president of the company. He has more than 27 years of experience, including expertise in the development and commercialization of combination drug device innovations, clinical development, medical and regulatory affairs as well as market access and has held leadership roles at a variety of medical technology and biotechnology firms, including Becton, Dickinson and Company, Adocia S.A., Novo Nordisk, Inc., and Sanofi S.A. “Since joining Inogen as chief medical officer earlier this year, Stan has made a significant impact in helping us instill clinically-informed discipline in innovation, product development practices and go-to-market strategy,” said Nabil Shabshab, president and CEO. “In this new role, Stan’s deep background in clinical research, success in developing, commercializing, and securing access for new innovations will be vital as we drive the next phase of growth and shareholder value creation.” Inogen also announced that Brenton Taylor, Executive Vice President, Engineering, will be leaving the Company after a transition period ending April 1, 2022. 

HME Woman of the Year nominations open, but act fast 

WATERLOO, Iowa – Nominations for the 2021 HME Woman of the Year Award are now open. The sixth annual award, presented by VGM, recognizes a woman in the industry who has made increasingly significant contributions throughout her career to her company, community, and the home medical equipment industry. “The HME Woman of the Year Award honors exceptional leaders in our industry,” said Clint Geffert, president of VGM & Associates. “Whether through advocacy, sharing expertise with peers, or by being innovative to grow business, this award recognizes a woman who makes a lasting impact on her customers, community, and coworkers.” Last year’s winner was Patty Mastandrea, CEO of MedCare Equipment Co. HME Woman of the Year nominations are open to all women, regardless of title or position, who work within the HME industry. Nominations are due Oct. 22 and can be submitted online by visiting The winner will be announced during a virtual ceremony on Dec. 16.  

VGM Wound Care publishes Diabetic Program Guide 

WATERLOO, Iowa— VGM Wound Care, a division of VGM & Associates, has released its Diabetic Program Guide. It includes directions on how to develop a diabetes program. “The new diabetic guide was designed to help our members understand the diabetic market and decide if a diabetic program is right for their business,” said Heather Trumm BSN, RN, CWON, and director of VGM Wound Care and Bariatrics. “The guide walks the DME through looking at the opportunity, considerations and the payer reimbursement.” According to the CDC, 34.2 million U.S. adults have diabetes and one in five of them don’t know they have it. In the last 20 years, the number of adults diabetes has more than tripled. VGM members can download their copy here.  

Movair launches ventilator with high-flow oxygen 

AUSTIN, Texas - Movair, a respiratory therapy company formerly known as International Biophysics Corporation, has launched Luisa, an advanced ventilator intended for use in homes, institutions, hospitals or portable applications for both invasive and non-invasive ventilation. Luisa can be used through the FDA's Emergency Use Authorization in response to the increasing need for safe and effective ventilators. "Increased respiratory patient illness, COVID-19 and product recalls have created a critical need for ventilators in the United States," said David Shockley, CEO of Movair. "We're addressing this demand with the launch of Luisa, a portable and compact home ventilator, designed and made in Germany, that also provides patients with high-flow oxygen therapy.” Luisa is a portable and compact home ventilator with the added benefit of high-flow oxygen therapy. Luisa was designed to help patients embrace everyday experiences and active, mobile lifestyles. Weighing only eight pounds, Luisa includes a battery run time of up to 18 hours and offers patients eight adjustable comfort settings to deliver personalized, tailored therapy. 

Study examines high costs of sleep disorders 

YARMOUTH, Maine – Sleep disorders are associated with significantly higher rates of health care utilization and expenditures, according to a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine on Oct. 1. Using a conservative prevalence estimate found in the study, the authors found the overall incremental health care costs of sleep disorders in the United States represents about $94.9 billion. Adults with sleep disorders were found to have increased utilization of office visits, emergency room visits and prescriptions compared to those without sleep disorders, according to the study. They were also more likely to be non-Hispanic, White and female, with a higher proportion with public insurance and higher Charlson Comorbidity Scores, the authors found. 

RESNA published standard for travel 

ARLINGTON, Va. – RESNA has published the new AT-1 Standard for Assistive Technology for Air Travel. This standard specifies requirements and test methods for efficient and safe handling and storage of many different types of assistive technologies (AT) for passengers with mobility impairments on aircraft. “Many mobility device users travel by air but are discouraged from doing so because of the high incidence of damage that presently occurs to mobility devices during air travel,” said Peter Axelson, chair of the RESNA Committee on Assistive Technology for Air Travel. “Having the ability to select design features specific for air travel will help reduce damage to their mobility devices.” The AT-1 Standard provides design and labeling specifications that will make it easier to handle a mobility device during air travel and reduce its likelihood of damage. It also provides specifications for an air travel configuration card to be attached to the mobility device during travel. The standard is available for purchase from RESNA for $575.  

Permobil Foundation donates custom chair 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Permobil Foundation, in partnership with the Minnesota Twins, LiveLikeLou and Phi Delta Theta, gave a dedicated fan a team-branded, custom Permobil power wheelchair at the Twins game on Sept. 26. Shirley Custard, who was diagnosed with ALS in August 2020, received a Permobil M5 Corpus wheelchair with the team’s colors and logos. “We understand that living with ALS is a challenge by itself, but our hope is that Shirley’s one-of-a-kind chair will help support her and give her the courage and independence to live life with fewer limitations,” said Ashley Davis, executive director of the Permobil Foundation. It’s the third time Permobil Foundation has surprised a Major League Baseball fam battling ALS with a custom Permobil power wheelchair. Permobil fast tracks every wheelchair order for a person with ALS through production to ensure they get their wheelchair without delay.


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