Skip to Content

In brief: Biden and CMS, Dexcom and VC, Great Elm and acquisitions 

In brief: Biden and CMS, Dexcom and VC, Great Elm and acquisitions 

WASHINGTON – President Biden is expected to name Chiquita Brooks-LaSure as CMS Administrator, according to numerous news reports. 

Brooks-LaSure served in the Obama Administration, where she helped guide the Affordable Care Act through passage and implementation. She has also worked as a Democratic staffer for the Ways and Means Committee in the House of Representatives.  

Brooks-LaSure is currently a managing director with Manatt Health, where she provides policy analysis and strategic advice to health care stakeholders across the private and public sectors. Her practice focuses on helping clients understand the implications of regulatory and legislative policies across private insurance, Medicaid and Medicare. 

Biden has not made an official announcement on his pick for CMS administrator. News reports were based on numerous anonymous sources. 

Biden has made an official announcement nominating Xavier Becerra as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Biden has also named Liz Richter acting administrator of CMS and Norris Cochran acting secretary of DHHS. 

Dexcom enters VC space 

SAN DIEGO – Dexcom has launched Dexcom Ventures to identify and invest in opportunities to supplement growth in its core business of continuous glucose monitoring and advance the development of adjacent technologies. 

Dexcom Ventures, led by Dexcom veteran Steve Pacelli, will be focused on investment opportunities in sensing technology, data analytics, remote patient monitoring and population health, broadening the company’s commitment to advancing better outcomes in health care. 

“Driven by core technologies that our teams have developed internally, Dexcom continues to achieve strong growth and expand our future markets,” said Kevin Sayer, chairman, president and CEO. “By establishing Dexcom Ventures, we believe we can advance innovative technologies that enable better health outcomes and complement our growth opportunity. I have full confidence in Steve and his team as they lead this exciting new effort.” 

Pacelli has been executive vice president of strategy and corporate development at Dexcom since 2012. 

The fund will support independent initiatives in glucose testing technologies and in adjacent fields of metabolic monitoring, with a “start-up” mentality, Pacelli says. 

“We strive to be value-add strategic investors by leveraging access to Dexcom’s unique industry experience and technology leadership,” he said. “While we have matured as a company over the years, we still consider ourselves to be a ‘start up’ of sorts. We feel well positioned to invest early and support our portfolio companies as they pioneer markets.” 

Great Elm set to resume ‘more active acquisitions’  

WALTHAM, Mass. – Great Elm Group reported $14.5 million in total revenue for DME for the three months ended Dec. 31, a 1% increase compared to the same period last year.  

It reported a net loss of $2.9 million vs. $700,000.  

“DME was able to grow revenue during the quarter despite the continued negative impact of COVID-19 on its business,” said Peter Reed, CEO. “Profitability was depressed during the quarter primarily as a result of legacy revenue reserve issues as well as increased operating costs due to the pandemic. Our team remains focused on improving profitability and resuming a more active acquisition program.”  

Great Elm says the increase in revenue was driven primarily by organic growth in CPAP resupply sales, offset by lower sleep studies revenue and lower rental revenues for new equipment set ups.  

The company also reported adjusted EBITDA of $1.9 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2021 year, compared to $3.5 million in the prior-year period. Adjusted EBITDA was lower due primarily to higher reserves of $1 million, $300,000 from the reallocation of corporate personnel to DME and a $200,000 increase in operating expenses related to COVID-19.  

Additionally, the company says operating expenses were higher compared to the year-ago period due to additional expenses incurred to enhance the platform and scalability of the business, and also a reduction in sleep study services, which tend to generate higher margin as compared to equipment sales.  

Billing expert pleads guilty in fraud scheme 

TAMPA, Fla. – Kelly Wolfe, president of Regency Inc., a medical billing company, has agreed to plead guilty to criminal health care and tax fraud, and to pay $20.3 million in a civil False Claims Act settlement. 

Wolfe, of Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., faces a maximum penalty of 13 years in federal prison. 

Wolfe and her conspirators used Regency to establish dozens of DME shell companies, placing the shell companies in the names of straw owners, according to the Department of Justice. By concealing the true ownership, Wolfe’s conspirators secretly gained control of multiple companies and collectively submitted more than $400 million in fraudulent DME claims for braces to Medicare and the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the VA, the DOJ says.  

“This pernicious telefraud scheme’s ambitions were cut short by the exceptional partnership of our law enforcement partners,” said Special Agent in Charge Omar Pérez Aybar of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG). “This guilty plea and the forfeiture of tens of millions of dollars back to the U.S. Treasury show our determination to stop such damaging fraud schemes and to bring fraudsters to justice.” 

Wolfe also admitted that for the 2017 tax year she purchased numerous personal items and services using Regency’s funds, but rather than properly report this as income to the IRS, she falsely classified her personal spending as business expenditures. 

The civil settlement resolves claims brought under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act against Wolfe and Regency by Condra Albright, a former Regency employee.  

In 2019, federal agencies launched a nationwide takedown, “Operation Brace Yourself,” on a $1.2 billion fraud scheme involving medically unnecessary braces. 

Accessible Systems expands footprint 

DENVER – Accessible Systems has merged with Ascent Mobility to expand regional home accessibility options. 

The Lakewood, Colo.-based Ascent Mobility offers stairlifts, wheelchair ramps and lifts, private elevators, overhead ceiling lifts and safety railings. 

Ascent owner Greg Shepherd will join the leadership team of Accessible Systems, and its team members will continue in their current roles. 

“Greg and his team really care about their customers and have built a remarkable business,” said John Bixenman, general manager of Accessible Systems. “We share a passion to help people enjoy and live independently in their homes. Even before COVID-19, most homeowners make a goal to remain in their home as they age.” 

Accessible Systems has expanded its footprint by investing in local providers with experienced owners. 

“We have seen a growing interest in home accessibility and accessible home improvements,” said Nathan Colburn of Accessible Systems. “We believe in investing in industry experience and proven leadership. That makes us different from a franchise system or medical companies that are adding on home accessibility products to their existing business. Our goal is to be the proven expert in each area we serve.” 

AZ MediQuip taps COO with retail resume 

PHOENIX – AZ MediQuip has named Mark Belanger COO to oversee the company’s operations and national development. “With a proven track record of exceeding business and financial objectives, Mark will be a valuable asset as we continue to grow and develop our business,” said Mark Nicotera, CEO of AZ MediQuip. “We are pleased to welcome Mark to the team and look forward to his contributions in leading us into the next chapters of our brand’s growth.” Belanger has more than 30 years of experience in establishing and implementing strategic plans, introducing new products and services, and developing policies, operations systems and procedures for leading retail brands, including Barnes and Noble, Dunkin Brands and Starbucks.  

CPAP therapy increases physical activity, study says 

DARIEN, Ill. – A new study has found that CPAP therapy leads to increased physical activity in adults with sleep apnea and heart disease. “We were pleased to find that our CPAP users reported that they were better able to maintain their levels of activity over the four years of the study, and that they reported fewer limitations in moderate and vigorous activities, including those that are important for independent aging, like walking up the stairs,” said study co-author Kelly Loffler, who has a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology and is a research fellow at the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia. In the study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, participants were assigned to one of two groups: one treated with CPAP and usual cardiovascular care, and a second received usual care. While there was no specific exercise intervention, participants reported physical activity using the Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire at the start of the study and over six, 24 and 48 months. During a mean follow-up period of 3.7 years, the group treated with CPAP therapy reported approximately 20% higher levels of moderate physical activity compared to the control group. The study also found the CPAP group was more likely to report activity levels consistent with expert recommendations.  

OIG: Part B drugs exceed AMP threshold  

WASHINGTON – Seven codes for Medicare Part B drugs met CMS’s price substitution criteria by exceeding the 5% threshold for wo consecutive quarters or three of the four previous quarters, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General. To conduct the study, the OIG calculated the volume-weighted average manufacturer’s price for each drug, consistent with CMS's methodology for calculating volume-weighted average sales prices. The OIG is providing the seven drug codes to CMS for review. CMS should review this information to determine whether to pursue price substitutions that would limit excessive payments for Part B drugs. 

NCPA: Increase vaccine supply to community pharmacists 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – More COVID-19 vaccine needs to be made available to local pharmacies to speed up the rate of vaccinations, says the National Community Pharmacists Association. Lack of vaccine supply has been an ongoing issue during the rollout. When given access, community pharmacies are able to quickly and efficiently vaccinate their patients, including those who are overlooked or hard to reach, the association says. “Independent pharmacists are located in communities of all population sizes, including rural communities, urban neighborhoods and immigrant communities,” said B. Douglas Hoey, CEO and pharmacist. “The quickest and most effective way to distribute the vaccines in those communities is to rely on the pharmacists who know them best. They speak the local language, they understand the local culture, and they have roots in the local neighborhoods.” 

URAC, CTEL partner to strengthen telehealth 

WASHINGTON - URAC, an independent health care accreditation organization, has launched a new partnership with The Center for Telehealth and e-Health Law (CTeL), an independent legal and regulatory telehealth research institute. The partnership works to connect CTeL’s members with URAC’s accreditation offerings, leading to better safety, security and outcomes for telehealth patients. CTeL members will have access to special discounted pricing for URAC accreditation, including telehealth accreditation, and URAC-accredited organizations will have discounts when they participate in CTeL’s online learning program. “By partnering with CTeL, URAC is helping to highlight the importance of telehealth throughout the pandemic and afterward,” said Jeffrey Carr, URAC’s vice president, business development. “We share with CTeL the belief that telehealth can help overcome challenges in health care, including access to care and importantly, barriers to receiving mental health care.” 

People news: NSM, Inogen 

National Seating & Mobility has named Daniel Curling as its new CIO. Curling has more than 20 years of experience in technology related positions. He most recently served as senior vice president, CIO for Asurion, a Nashville-based provider of insurance, warranty and support services for mobile devices, consumer electronics and home appliances. “Daniel is an innovative leader with a track record of success in driving transformational technology solutions for international businesses,” said Bill Mixon, NSM CEO. “His experience will be invaluable to our team as we continue to lead the future of technology driven care for our industry”… Kristen Miranda has been appointed to Inogen’s board of directors. Miranda has an extensive health care background and since 2017 has served as Aetna’s West Region President, with profit and loss accountability for an organization spanning 14 states. “We are privileged to have someone with Kristen’s deep health care background, as well as extensive payor relations skills, join us at this stage,” said Nabil Shabshab, Inogen CEO and president. "Her expertise will be a significant asset as we work to increase payer acceptance of our products, and we look forward to Kristen’s guidance and leadership as a member of our board.” 

Itamar seeks to raise awareness of home sleep testing  

ATLANTA – Eighty-nine percent of respondents to a survey commissioned by Itamar Medical say they know what sleep apnea is, but a deeper dive of results shows their understanding is “superficial.” The survey suggests a lack of awareness around the availability of safe and home-based diagnostic options, as well as a distrust of the data collected by commercially available wearable devices. “While unfortunately not all that surprising, the results of the survey exemplify the need to educate and spread awareness of the serious and life-threatening implications of undiagnosed sleep apnea,” said Gilad Glick, CEO. “We are dedicated to bringing about this awareness and providing home-based, easy to use, eligible for reimbursement and non-invasive solutions to address it.” Results of the survey include: 24% weren’t aware of home sleep apnea testing as an option, yet 56% said they would choose it as an option if they were prescribed a test. The survey was conducted in November using Google Consumer Surveys, spanning a representative sample of more than 1,000 respondents from the United States aged 18-65.  

United Spinal marks 75th anniversary  

NEW YORK – United Spinal Association celebrates 75 years of providing people with spinal cord injuries and disorders valuable programs and services that maximize their independence and quality of life. “As we reflect on United Spinal’s impact to advance disability rights throughout its history, we look forward to future progress in building an inclusive world that offers people with SCI/D new opportunities to become leaders, advocates and innovators,” said Vincent Piscopo, United Spinal’s president and CEO. United Spinal’s year-long anniversary campaign will highlight compelling stories of members, advocates and disability trailblazers that have supported the organization’s vision of building an inclusive world that welcomes wheelchair users and all people with disabilities. The organization will also celebrate and spotlight the work of its national network of chapters and peer support groups. The campaign will culminate with a virtual celebration showcasing its strong partnerships with corporations, disability leaders and elected officials. United Spinal has played a pivotal role in creating positive change in society – from improving Veterans Affairs benefits for disabled veterans to drafting portions of the American with Disabilities Act to ensuring New York City buses and subway states are accessible. For more information on the campaign, visit  

Tentinger leads VGM Forbin  

WATERLOO, Iowa – Lindy Tentinger, formerly senior vice president of marketing for VGM & Associates, has transitioned to president of VGM Forbin. In her previous role, Tentinger managed marketing and strategic growth efforts for multiple VGM brands to better serve their members and vendor partners. She launched the Industry Matters podcast, a member-exclusive Playbook series, a new website for and a quarterly buyer’s guide. “I am honored and thrilled to lead Forbin in its next phase of growth,” said Tentinger. “The breadth of digital and technology solutions, as well as industry expertise, deliver true value at a time when it couldn’t be more paramount for companies to invest in these areas. This team is dedicated to customer needs above all else and that is why I am excited to be a part of the Forbin family.” Tentinger brings years of executive leadership, as well as strategic business planning, B2B sales, marketing and customer experience in multiple industries. 

InfuSystem secures $75M 

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. – InfuSystem Holdings has secured a $75 million revolving credit facility, working with JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., acting as the lead arranger with a syndicate of financial banking institutions that include Wells Fargo Back, PNC Financial Services Group and Comerica Bank. The company now says it is better positioned to capitalize on strategic opportunities to grow and scale up two operation platforms: integrated therapy services and DME services. “We are pleased to be announcing our new credit facility which is designed to give us additional liquidity and enhanced financial flexibility and align with our growth-oriented capital allocation strategies,” said Richard Diloria, CEO. The new revolving credit facility replaced the company’s existing $49 million credit facility, which was comprised of a revolver and three team loans. Terms of the new senior secured revolving credit facility include a five-year term, no amortization and an adjusted LIBOR rate, plus an interest rate range of 1.9% to 3% based on the company’s total leverage ratio. 

Philips moves up ‘Best Employers’ list 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Royal Philips has earned a top spot on “America’s Best Employers of 2021” list by Forbes. Philips ranked 135 out of the top 500 large companies nationally, moving up 21 spots from the previous list. “Being named a best employer in America is a significant achievement in the best of times,” said Richard Kranz, head of HR at Philips North America. “However, receiving this recognition from employees in the midst of a global pandemic validates our focus on our triple duty of care: to ensure business continuity, and support our customers and employees.” America’s Best Employers were selected based on an independent survey of 50,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees. The respondents were asked to rate, on a scale of zero to 10, how likely they’d be to recommend their employer to others. Respondents were then asked to nominate organizations other than their own, as well as identify organizations they would not recommend to others. The final list ranks the 500 large and 500 mid-sized employers that received the most recommendations. 

NorthShore expands into Canada 

GREEN OAKS, Ill. – NorthShore Care Supply, the company behind NorthShore high absorbency adult diaper and incontinence supplies, has expanded into Canada. The company has served customers in the U.S. for nearly two decades, focused on providing product to people of all ages managing moderate to heavy incontinence. “The availability of NorthShore brand supplies means individuals managing incontinence can now buy these products domestically in Canada,” said Adam Greenberg, president and founder. Direct-to-home retailers Healthwick Canada and AgeComfort, both based in Canada, have started offering a selection of NorthShore products. 


To comment on this post, please log in to your account or set up an account now.