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In brief: Belluscura makes moves, Numotion launches SpinKids, Cigna pays up

In brief: Belluscura makes moves, Numotion launches SpinKids, Cigna pays up

LONDON and PLANO, Texas – Belluscura has announced a possible acquisition and has made a change to its executive leadership. 

Belluscura has reached an agreement with TMT Acquisitions, a London-based acquisition vehicle in the technology, media and telecommunications sector, on the key terms of a possible share-for-share offer for the company, in a deal that would be valued at EUR 6 million. Belluscura will use the deal, which includes a $100,000 break-up fee, to help grow its portable oxygen concentrator business globally. 

In a release, Belluscura described the deal as “a compelling combination which significantly increases Belluscura’s ability to execute on its burgeoning sales pipeline and strategy, creating considerable value for all stakeholders of both TMT Acquisition and Belluscura.” 

Belluscura has also announced that Simon Neicheril has replaced Tony Dyer as CFO, effective immediately. He has more than 20 years of experience in a range of senior finance and CFO roles, and joins from manufacturing company Pace Industries, where he served as interim CFO. He was previously CFO of GlobalStep, a global software testing company. 

"We are pleased to have Simon join the company as we expand operations in the U.S. and globally,” said Adam Reynolds, chairman. “We greatly appreciate the hard work and dedication of Tony and are pleased he is staying with the company on a part-time basis." 

Belluscura in September received approval from the Hong Kong Department of Health – Medical Device Division to distribute its X-PLOR portable oxygen concentrator.  

Numotion launches SpinKids 

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Numotion has launched SpinKids, a brand dedicated to the mobility and equipment needs of the pediatric market. 

SpinKids, which operates as the newest segment of SpinLife, offers a range of products from bath seats and car seats to wheelchairs, strollers and gait trainers. It also provides comparisons of top products based on expert and customer input. 

“We are extremely excited to announce the launch of SpinKids,” said Bret Barczak, chief marketing officer of Numotion and executive vice president of its retail division. “SpinKids was a natural next step for the SpinLife brand. This addition allows us to expand our capabilities to serve even more customers with a broader portfolio of products and services and an additional pathway for desired products to a customer segment long served by Numotion.” 

In addition to products, the site features educational content, articles, and customer success stories, all geared toward helping parents and caregivers make the best possible choice for their child’s needs. 

SpinLife was acquired by Numotion in 2021. 

Cigna pays $172M to resolve FCA allegations 

PHILADELPHIA – Cigna has agreed to pay $172 million to resolve allegations that it violated the civil False Claims Act by submitting and failing to withdraw inaccurate and untruthful diagnosis codes for its Medicare Advantage Plan enrollees to increase its payments from Medicare.  

Cigna will pay about $135 million to resolve the allegations, with the remaining $37 million resolving allegations related to unsupported diagnoses for MA beneficiaries arising from Cigna’s home visit program. 

“Given the growth of Medicare Advantage plans, investigating fraud involving Medicare Part C is more important than ever,” said U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which conducted the investigation. “My office has prioritized combatting Medicare Advantage fraud, including applying data-driven investigative methods and working extensively with our law enforcement partners across the country. We will hold accountable those who report unsupported diagnoses to inflate Medicare Advantage payment, such as unsupported diagnosis codes for morbid obesity.” 

More than half of all Medicare beneficiaries are now enrolled in MA plans, with CMS paying private insurers more $450 billion each year to provide for their care.  

The government contends that for payment years 2014-19, Cigna operated a “chart review” program in which it retrieved medical records from health care providers documenting services they had previously provided to Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in its plans. It retained diagnosis coders to review those charts to identify all medical conditions that the charts supported; to assign the beneficiaries diagnosis codes for those conditions; and to submit additional diagnosis codes to CMS that the health care providers had not reported. 

However, Cigna’s chart reviews also did not substantiate some diagnosis codes that were reported by providers and previously submitted by Cigna to CMS. Cigna did not delete or withdraw these inaccurate and untruthful diagnosis codes, which would have required Cigna to reimburse CMS. Thus, the government alleges that Cigna used the results of its chart reviews to identify instances where Cigna could seek additional payments from CMS, while improperly failing to use those same results when it provided information about instances where it was overpaid. 

In connection with the settlement, Cigna has entered into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. The CIA requires that Cigna implement numerous accountability and auditing provisions. On an annual basis, top executives and members of the board of directors must make certifications about Cigna’s compliance measures, Cigna must conduct annual risk assessments and other monitoring, and an independent review organization will conduct multi-faceted audits focused on risk adjustment data. 

Trella Health releases Marketscape CRM 

ATLANTA – Trella Health, a provider of market intelligence and integrated customer relationship management solutions, has released its new integrated Marketscape CRM for HME and infusion organizations. The new platform provides direct navigation between the market insights solution and CRM for complete account activity visibility and a more efficient workflow. "At Trella, we are dedicated to understanding our customers' unique needs in the HME and Infusion markets, and we are constantly innovating our solutions to provide them with the tools they need for success,” said Rebecca Molesworth, vice president of product. “We're thrilled to introduce our new integrated CRM solution to the HME and Infusions markets, allowing organizations a path to achieve increased productivity, streamlined workflows, and better outcomes.” Marketscape CRM will also lay the foundation for future EHR integration improvements.  

SageHome buys Safe Showers 

ATLANTA – SageHome, a portfolio company of Cairngorm Capital Partners, has acquired Safe Showers, a bath remodeling business that specializes in fast installations to help seniors and others with access difficulties live safely at home. This acquisition extends SageHome’s operations into Texas and across the South and reflects a step change in the company’s acquisition activity. “We are delighted to welcome Chris and the Safe Showers team to SageHome,” said Brain Hutto, CEO of SageHome. “We have experienced remarkable growth since inception, quadrupling both our revenues and geographic footprint. Our success has been achieved by pursuing strategic organic and acquisitive growth opportunities and applying a disciplined value creation plan.” Chris Edelen, owner & CEO of the San Antonio, Texas-based Safe Shower, has a long track record in the bath remodeling sector, having previously been CEO of LeafGuard, which had the largest network of Jacuzzi walk-in-tub dealers nationally. He also led the Kohler team that launched the walk-in-tub offerings and nationwide Kohler dealer network. Chris Edelen and Joan Edelen, CFO of Safe Showers, will continue to lead the company, working with the SageHome team to realize the growth opportunities of the business. 

Henry Schein launches Practice Pink 

MELVILLE, N.Y. – Henry Schein has launched its annual Practice Pink program, an initiative that has raised more than $1.9 million in the past 17 years to support nonprofit organizations dedicated to cancer research and prevention. By offering its customers a variety of pink products, including health care consumables, practice supplies, and apparel, Practice Pink supports important cancer research and prevention efforts. “At Henry Schein, we strongly believe in the potential of public-private partnerships to contribute to a healthier world, and the Henry Schein Cares Practice Pink program exemplifies this belief,” said Maureen Knott, vice president, U.S. Supplier Initiatives, Henry Schein, and president, Henry Schein Cares Foundation. “Through the combined dedication and generosity of our supplier partners and customers, we will persist in our commitment to advancing cancer research and prevention, all while striving together for a world where cancer is no longer a threat.” Practice Pink is an initiative of Henry Schein Cares, the company’s global corporate social responsibility program. 

F&P announces Walshe to participate in executive program 

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – Fisher & Paykel Healthcare has selected Charlotte Walshe to participate in its Future Directors program, effective Jan. 1, 2024. Walshe has more than 20 years of experience across a range of sectors and has held chief executive roles with Jade Software and Dynamic Controls. "Charlotte’s experience and dynamism will be valuable assets," said Scott St. John, board chairman. "She has demonstrated leadership and expertise in both public and private sectors in R&D and highly regulated environments. I'm pleased to have the opportunity to work with her." Future Directors is an initiative of the Institute of Directors aimed at giving talented executives exposure to a company board to gain governance skills and experience for a 12- to 18-month period. Future Directors attend board meetings to observe and participate in discussions, but they do not have voting rights. 

FODAC organizes Maui relief 

ATLANTA – Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC), a non-profit organization, is partnering with Amazon and UPS to provide crucial medical supplies to victims of the devastating wildfires that swept through Maui on August 8, leaving many residents struggling to access essential health care equipment. FODAC swiftly mobilized its resources and reached out to various partners for assistance. "We believe that everyone deserves independence and an improved quality of life," said Chris Brand, spokesperson for FODAC. "By working alongside organizations like Amazon and UPS, we are able to extend our reach beyond Atlanta's borders and make a meaningful impact on communities affected by unforeseen disasters." FODAC specializes in providing mobility aids such as wheelchairs, walkers, patient lifts, standers, hospital beds, shower chairs, transport chairs, rollators and other vital equipment crucial for individuals with disabilities. Its team has successfully managed to collect a substantial quantity of these much-needed supplies within their warehouse facilities and repackaged them for overseas travel through UPS' transportation services. FODAC says the generosity of Amazon and other partners has made it possible for these essential items to reach their destination safely and expeditiously. 

Trace Medical to distribute home dialysis system 

WHITMORE LAKE, Mich. – Trace Medical has signed a long-term distribution agreement with Outset Medical to rent the Tablo Hemodialysis System to HME providers to meet the growing demand of dialysis patients seeking treatment at home. “We are excited to work with Outset to fill an obvious need in dialysis treatment,” said Greg Apostolou, CEO. “Our chairman was recently diagnosed with renal disease and experienced first-hand the treatment gaps for patients. Together, we see an opportunity for Trace to utilize our national distribution platform and customer base, which serves approximately 30 million patients annually, to address these gaps.” Tablo, cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, serves as a single enterprise solution that can be used across the continuum of care, allowing dialysis to be delivered anytime, anywhere and by anyone. “Home hemodialysis is the future of dialysis care,” said Steve Williamson, chief commercial officer, Outset Medical. “This new agreement will provide us an additional opportunity to reach the over half million Americans that depend on dialysis to live.” Trace has established a Dialysis Advisory Board with some of the industry’s most prominent nephrologists, GPO leaders and C-suite executives to help educate the industry about the benefits of home hemodialysis and has initiated discussions with commercial payer related to the clinical and financial benefits associated with home hemodialysis. 

Indie pharmacies fill void 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Nearby independent community pharmacies largely anticipate being able to help patients of major chain pharmacies who are left scrambling by closed stores or reduced hours, according to a new survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association. Forty-three percent of survey respondents say they are located near a major pharmacy chain store that’s implementing cost-cutting measures. Of those, nearly 90% say they are able to absorb and provide care for patients who were going to that store; and more than 60% say they are actively working to attract these patients by increasing advertising budgets and targeting their marketing efforts. “Chain pharmacies in the United States are closing left and right, leaving Americans on both sides of the aisle looking for new pharmacies and independent pharmacies often scrambling to rescue them,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist. “It’s unclear if this is an opportunity or threat for independent pharmacies. But one thing is certain: patient access to community pharmacies is in peril without reforms to PBMs and the pharmacy payment model.” Respondents also say word of mouth and the positive reputation of independent pharmacies are helping to attract customers. They say low reimbursement from PBMs is the top concern that would make it harder to compete for or accept patients from chain pharmacy, followed by a need for more staff and resources. Additional concerns include patient steering and pharmacy network contracting issues with insurers and programs like Tricare.


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