Reporter's notebook: Lincare leads provider news

Friday, January 27, 2017

We have a theory here at HME News: If it’s a story about a national provider, our readers will read it. 

The list of most read provider stories certainly proves the point, with Lincare accounting for four of the top five, including the No. 1 spot: “Whistleblower details alleged fraud at Lincare.” In what seems to be a growing trend of whistleblower lawsuits among healthcare providers, Lincare was accused of, among other things, submitting claims in competitive bid areas for which it did not have a contract; retaining overpayments for equipment that has already reached the 36-month cap; and billing for equipment provided to beneficiaries who didn’t qualify for such equipment. In November, the plaintiff dropped the lawsuit.

Legal woes aside, Lincare in 2016 spent time strengthening its position in the market. The No. 5 story, “Lincare bulks up before bid expansion,” actually got its start in late 2015 when the provider added scale after it closed on its long rumored plan to acquire American HomePatient, That deal, in turn, had smaller providers saying the deal could create opportunities for them to pick up residual business in the No. 3 story, “Lincare-AHP aftermath: Opportunity for regionals?”

Lincare also refocused on its core product offerings by selling off specialty pharmacy division Acro Pharmaceutical Services to Premier for $75 million in the No. 2 story, “Lincare offloads specialty pharmacy biz.”Our list of most-read provider stories wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Apria Healthcare, which in January 2016 launched ApriaLink, an electronic order management system in the No. 4 spot, “Apria shifts order management to the web.” The provider hopes the system will help it work smarter and more efficiently. hme

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