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In brief: AZ MediQuip CEO, Tricare decision, DexCom 7 approval 

In brief: AZ MediQuip CEO, Tricare decision, DexCom 7 approval 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – AZ MediQuip has named Lane Hamm CEO, replacing Mark Nicotera. 

Hamm has a retail background, most recently serving as CEO of Weekends Only Furniture & Mattress, a family-owned company with eight stores and an e-commerce platform. While there, he led the company’s expansion into multiple markets and launched its e-commerce platform. 

“With his strong resume and straightforward demeaner, I am delighted to pass on the leadership of AZ MediQuip to Lane,” said Nicotera, who founded the company. “While Lane’s business acumen is readily apparent, his understanding of the unique nature of HME retailing and how our customer relationships are often life changing are what truly stand out.” 

AZ MediQuip was founded in 2011 and has eight retail locations offering a broad range of home medical equipment. It also offers repair services and in-home installation. 

“I am excited to be joining AZ MediQuip and following in Mark’s pioneering footsteps,” Hamm said. “I am looking forward to the opportunity of leading this wonderful organization as we enter into our next chapter of growth.”    

Tomorrow Health launches automated ordering process 

NEW YORK – Tomorrow Health has launched Clinical Rules Engine, a tool that it says fully automates the order lifecycle for the full spectrum of DME codes.  

Referring care providers using the tool are guided through a five-question digital form that’s fully customized to a patient's participating health insurance plan. When they complete the form, the order is immediately routed to the home-based care supplier best suited for the patient's needs. 

"High-touch management of care transitions from hospital to home or post-acute care to home requires that we simplify and digitize the process, improving care transitions and providing payers, care teams and all parties with up-to-the-minute visibility into care status," said Vijay Kedar, co-founder and CEO. "Fully automating one of the most cumbersome and technical parts of the home healthcare coding process is a big step forward for drifting down readmissions and restoring lower-cost home settings as patients' primary place of care." 

Clinical Rules Engine is in active rollout with referring care providers. 

Tomorrow Health says the tool cuts a traditionally one- to two-week process to five days or fewer for most orders, with half delivered in two days, ensuring patients get the home-based care they need, when they need it.  

"Tomorrow Health makes documentation and order fulfillment much easier, which helps us submit claims and receive payment more timely," said Shawna Morton, vice president of contracts at Rotech Healthcare. "Reducing reimbursement complexity is a huge step forward in ensuring patients get the equipment they need when they need it the most.” 

Pharmacy organizations criticize Tricare decision 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A group of pharmacy organizations, including the National Community Pharmacists Association and the National Home Infusion Association, worry that decisions by Cigna and Express Scripts to eliminate the option for Tricare beneficiaries to obtain prescriptions at their pharmacy of choice will disrupt patient access to needed medications. 

In a letter to Amy Bricker, president of Express Scripts, and David Cordani, president and CEO of Cigna, the organizations argued that all pharmacies that were included in the 2022 Tricare network should remain in the 2023 network at the 2022 terms and conditions to protect beneficiary access to pharmacy care. 

“Tricare patients earned their benefits, and it is imperative that they retain convenient access to their health care providers, especially those with whom they have established, trusted relationships,” the letter states. “Independent community and specialty pharmacies take great pride in caring for those who honorably serve or have served in our armed forces. … The relationships between pharmacists and patients are built on trust, and for many patients is not something easily transferrable. Keeping patients’ trusted pharmacies in network is critical to the patients’ care.” 

Other organizations behind the letter include the Alliance for Pharmacy Compounding, the American Pharmacists Association, the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy and the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition. 

Express Scripts, the Cigna-owned pharmacy benefit manager that administers the Tricare benefit on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense, recently announced changes effective Oct. 24 that would shrink its retail pharmacy network by 15,000 pharmacies, mostly independent community pharmacies located in underserved rural and urban areas. The change impacts 400,000 beneficiaries, according to the NCPA.  

To view the letter to Bricker and Cordani, click here

HME Home Health reports record year 

RICHMOND, British Columbia – HME Home Health’s total sales for the 2021-22 fiscal year expanded by double digits, says Robert Boscacci, the company’s CEO and co-founder.  

The company has expanded aggressively across the province in recent years and today has six store-warehouse operations in Richmond, Victoria, Surrey, Nanaimo, North Vancouver and Kelowna. It employs more than 100 highly-trained professionals, technical and support staff members. Earlier this year, HME Home Health was listed as one of “Canada’s Top Growing Companies in 2022” by the Globe and Mail. 

In 2023, the company will continue to grow in British Columbia, with a strong focus on partnering with new programs and initiatives to expand its market further, Boscacci says. 

“HME will also announce a new partnership in the coming months that will bring our products to even more British Columbians,” he said. 

HME Home Health offers a vast array of mobility devices and medical equipment, including power wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, mattresses and other DME, as well stairlifts, vertical platform lifts, ramps and other installed products. 

Researchers take different approach to adherence to CPAP therapy 

CHICAGO – Researchers at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University are testing an app with a new adherence metric: the percentage of time a user wears their CPAP device relative to their time spent sleeping. “Sleep apnea can be effectively treated only when CPAP is used during the entire time spent in bed sleeping,” said Esra Tasali, MD, director of the UChicago Sleep Center and senior author of an initial study on the app published Dec. 5 in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. “We know that sleep patterns can vary considerably, so one-size-fits-all adherence guidelines are insufficient for most patients. By developing a tool for personalized CPAP treatment for sleep apnea, we are providing an opportunity for patients and providers to deliver and track therapy based on individual need.” For the study, a team at Northwestern University modified a weight-loss app they developed that tracks diet, physical activity and weight. To support weight loss, the app integrates information from a wearable sleep and activity tracker and weight scale. Since excess weight is a major risk factor for sleep apnea, researchers modified the app to have it chart patient CPAP wear time and check it against a goal of wearing the device 100% of time spent sleeping. Based on the patient feedback, researchers added features like push notifications to remind users to wear their CPAP device before bedtime. As a next step, researchers are planning additional studies to test the tool against traditional methods for monitoring CPAP use to determine whether it improves patient adherence to therapy.  

Philips reduces activities in Russia 

AMSTERDAM – Philips released a statement on Dec. 5 condemning Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. The company says it has substantially reduced its activities in Russia since February, including stopping shipments of its consumer health products (except for certain baby care products), suspending marketing activities and winding down R&D activities. “We are focusing our remaining activities in Russia on the delivery of medical systems, devices and spare parts to health care providers to the extent possible, in full compliance with applicable export controls and sanctions,” the company stated. “This is in line with the guidance provided by various regulators. We will continue to closely monitor developments with a view to evaluating possible next steps and will support any decisions and actions taken by the international community.” Philips and the Philips Foundation have been working with local humanitarian organizations, such as the Red Cross and local government agencies, to provide support to Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic. This includes providing patient monitors and handheld diagnostic ultrasound devices to assist in acute and emergency care. “Consumer products, including products for mothers and their babies, have been provided to Ukrainian hospitals, maternity homes and charitable organizations,” the company stated. 

DexCom 7 receives FDA approval 

SAN DIEGO – DexCom has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its next-generation Dexcom G7 Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) System for people with all types of diabetes ages two years and older. “There’s a reason Dexcom has the best-selling real-time CGM on the market,” said Kevin Sayer, chairman, president and CEO of Dexcom. “For more than a decade, we’ve pioneered generation after generation of sensing technology that consistently delivers improved accuracy, reliability and a simpler user experience, giving people greater control of their diabetes. When we set out to design G7, our goal was simple: to make the most powerful, easy-to-use CGM available for people with diabetes, whether they have Type 1 or Type 2.” Dexcom G7 offers a suite of customizable alerts that can warn of high or low glucose levels and help users spend more time in range. The system features a predictive low alert that provides a 20-minute advance warning of potentially dangerous low glucose levels so users can act quickly to avoid a hypoglycemic event. Users can also share information with loved ones and care teams anywhere, anytime through industry-leading remote monitoring and reporting capabilities. 

Hart adds Matt Wagenhauser as VP of operations 

GRAND BLANC, Mich. - Hart Medical Equipment, a provider with 23 locations in Michigan and Ohio, has named Matt Wagenhauser vice president of operations. Wagenhauser has more than two decades of health care management and business development experience. Most recently, he was the associate vice president at ProMedica Physician Group in Toledo, Ohio. “Matt makes an excellent addition to the team, providing the additional strength and extensive experience needed as we continue to prepare for an outcome-based future in health care,” said Allen Hunt, Hart’s president. At Hart, Wagenhauser will be responsible for the leadership and vision for the continuous improvement of business operations and patient care, positioning the company to achieve its strategic objectives, including both organic and inorganic growth, as well as develop innovative new services aligned to meet the needs of our health system partners. Hart, which also serves patients nationwide through its e-commerce platform, has shared ownership by Henry Ford Health, McLaren Health Care, Ascension Genesys Hospital, Blanchard Valley Health System, Wood County Hospital and The Bellevue Hospital. 

ACHC adds Rommie Johnson as associate program director 

CARY, N.C. - The Accreditation Commission for Health Care has hired Rommie Johnson, MPH, PMP, CHC, to serve as its associate program director. Johnson has more than 10 years of experience in health care compliance, accreditation operations, and project and business management with leading national accreditors of outpatient health care settings. In his new role, Johnson will direct the Ambulatory Surgery Center and Office-Based Surgery programs at ACHC and manage the strategic direction for ASC/OBS organizations seeking accreditation and certification. “Rommie will be an invaluable addition to our program leadership team,” said Patrick Horine, vice president, acute care services. “His proven track record and ability to establish relationships with industry leaders makes him especially qualified to assume this position within ACHC. With his extensive experience in business management, we are confident he will strengthen our standards and provide us with fresh perspectives that will drive our growth and national presence.” Previously, Johnson served as the associate director of business development for the Ambulatory Care Accreditation Program at The Joint Commission. 

HQAA names new director 

WATERLOO, Iowa – HQAA has announced that Harold Davis has been named director of surveyor services. Davis has 35 years of experience and has been a respiratory therapist for 38 years. “Harold is a strong educator and HQAA will use this talent to improve education to our clients, as well as our surveyors and HQAA coaches,” stated Rhonda Pearce, executive director. “We are excited about this addition to HQAA.” Davis will replace Jim Moyer, who will retire later this month. 

Medtrade greenlights SmartSaver rates 

DALLAS – SmartSaver rates for Medtrade, March 28-30 at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas, are in effect Dec. 5 through Dec. 16. At these rates, HME providers can pick up an Expo Pass for $30 and a Conference Pass for $125. The Conference Pass includes access to the Expo and the Consultant Cocktail Hour. “Time is money, and we believe three days offer tremendous value for people who are looking to get out of the office, but not for too long,” said York Schwab, show director. “SmartSaver rates amount to an amazing deal, but prospective attendees need to act fairly fast to take advantage.” Register for Medtrade here.   

Medofficedirect offers CareCredit health care credit card 

NAPLES, Fla. - Medofficedirect, a wholly owned subsidiary of HealthLynked Corp. and an online distributor of discounted medical supplies, has announced that its customers can now apply for and use Synchrony’s CareCredit health care credit card to finance their purchases. "We are happy to partner with Medofficedirect to offer its customers a variety of financing options to easily pay for the medical equipment and supplies they need while affording them the ability to pay over time," said Claude Royster, general manager, Specialty Markets, Synchrony. "With the addition of CareCredit, Medofficedirect enables its customers to move forward with the purchases they need as part of their health care journey." Medofficedirect customers can apply for the CareCredit credit card on a mobile device or computer or over-the-phone. A credit decision is made within minutes, and upon approval, cardholders can use the credit card to purchase products immediately. Cardholders can choose from a variety of financing options. 

BMA applauds proposed rule on PAs  

WASHINGTON – The Better Medicare Alliance, a research and advocacy organization, believes a CMS proposed rule on prior authorizations for Medicare Advantage plans will help to coordinate safe, effective care and streamline the process. “While we continue to review the proposed rule in closer detail, we believe it complements our goals of protecting prior authorization’s essential function in coordinating safe, effective, high-value care, while also building on the Medicare Advantage community’s work streamlining this clinical tool to better serve its 30 million diverse enrollees,” said Mary Beth Donahue, president and CEO of BMA. “We additionally welcome the proposed rule’s data exchange provisions, which will further improve communication between health plans, providers and beneficiaries. Notably, the proposed rule addresses recent concerns from some lawmakers related to the budgetary impact of the BMA-endorsed Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, legislation that already passed the U.S. House of Representatives with unanimous support.” The Better Medicare Alliance is a community of more than 750,000 grassroots beneficiaries and 190-plus ally organizations working to improve health care through a strong Medicare Advantage.  

Axxess, CareAcademy facilitate learning 

BOSTON and DALLAS – Axxess, a technology innovator for health care at home, has announced an integration partnership with CareAcademy, a provider of education to home health agencies, franchise systems and payers. The intergation, the companies say, increases learner knowledge for better health outcomes by enabling seamlessly access to CareAcademy’s training and compliance management platform from within the Axxess Training and Certification Program. “Interoperability is a critical factor for agencies when they are choosing technology solutions,” said Robyn Lunsford, COO of CareAcademy. “Seamless integrations between platforms help businesses to operate more smoothly and efficiently. CareAcademy is excited to add Axxess to our growing list of back-office software integration partners.” Axxess clients can now connect their CareAcademy administrator accounts to their Axxess accounts through single sign-on (SSO) technology. Axxess clients who do not have CareAcademy accounts can launch a free trial of the integration from within the Axxess platform. The companies plan additional functionality to further integrate both platforms for 2023. “The ongoing nursing shortage has really amplified the need for training, and access to that training is critical,” said Andrew Awoniyi, vice president for patient engagement and analytics at Axxess. “We’ve already taken steps to meet this demand, like offering our Axxess Training and Certification Program at no cost, and this partnership was a natural next step. CareAcademy’s efforts to provide access to training and passion for growth and innovation has made them ideal partners.” 


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