Providers clamor for patients

Friday, October 31, 2008

The sale of Independence Home Pharmacy’s (IHP’s) assets-including 20,000 nebulizer patients-to Med4Home, Lincare’s respiratory pharmacy, has raised eyebrows among industry insiders.

The price: $40,000, according to an asset purchase agreement dated Aug. 22.
“That’s a sweetheart deal,” said one provider. “They gave those patients to Lincare for nothing.”

IHP filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and abruptly ceased operations in August (See HME News, October 2007).

With some creditors owed millions, the low sale price has some asking if the deal will remain in place.

But bankruptcy law allows such sales, as long as the seller gets a fair value for the assets, said industry attorney Neil Caesar.

“The issue would be if the owners gutted the company before filing for bankruptcy,” he said.

IHP could have gotten more for the patients, say many industry insiders.

“I called the trustee attorney and gave him an offer that was more than what Lincare paid,” said one provider. “I never got any response.”

Neither the trustee attorney nor Lincare returned calls seeking comment.

Even though Lincare acquired the patients, patients can choose to go with another provider. There are several ready to fill that role.

“We have implemented some mass marketing to try and capture some of that business,” said one provider. “We definitely think we are in position to get some of that business back.”