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In brief: Clayback to step down, health spending slows, Optum buys home care provider 

In brief: Clayback to step down, health spending slows, Optum buys home care provider 

EAST AMHERST, N.Y. – Don Clayback will step down as executive director of NCART on Sept. 30 after 13 years leading the organization. 

“I am truly grateful for the opportunities I have had at NCART to help protect and improve access to CRT for people with disabilities,” said Clayback. “It has been an honor to advocate to ensure the children and adults we serve receive the highest quality equipment and supporting services they deserve to live full and independent lives. I thank all the dedicated advocates and organizations of the CRT community for their commitment and am confident NCART will continue its important work for many years to come.” 

During his tenure, NCART increased awareness and understanding of CRT and led collaborative efforts that secured CRT policy and legislative improvements at the federal and state level. These included permanent exclusion of CRT power and manual wheelchairs and their components from Medicare’s competitive bidding program, prevention of CRT payment cuts and improvements in coverage at the state level, and the passage of CRT recognition legislation in eight states. 

Additionally, Clayback was instrumental in the growth of the annual National CRT Conference and Congressional Fly‐in, helping to connect advocates and stakeholders with members of Congress to promote needed CRT-related actions.  

“Don has been a true leader and an incredibly effective advocate for the CRT industry and the individuals with disabilities we serve during his tenure as executive director”, said Chris Yule, NCART president. “The board of directors and I sincerely thank him for his years of direction and dedication. We wish him the best in his next chapter and know that he will continue to be successful in his future endeavors.” 

NCART’s board plans to announce a new executive director later this year. 

CMS readies for transition to post-PHE world 

WASHINGTON – CMS has developed resources to help Medicaid officials and other health care stakeholders prepare for the eventual end of the COVD-19 public health emergency, according to AAHomecare. 

Resources currently available include: 

  • Unwinding and Returning to Regular Operations after COVID-19 homepage 
  • Medicaid and CHIP Continuous Enrollment Unwinding – Communications Toolkit 
  • Resources/Overview for Managed Care Plans 
  • Strategies for States to Maintain Coverage of Eligible Individuals as They Return to Normal Operations 

The end of the PHE will require states to effectively plan for reimplementing their enrollment and disenrollment procedures. States receiving 6.2% FMAP funding provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act were restricted from disenrolling members from Medicaid during the PHE. When the PHE ends, these states will be evaluating the Medicaid eligibility of all of its members.  

AAHomecare says providers should be aware of these processes in their state(s) and be prepared to handle a larger than normal volume of payer changes during this time. 

AAHomecare, as well as state/regional HME associations, will share more updates and guidance for HME suppliers as it becomes available. 

Pandemic slowed health spending, CMS says 

WASHINGTON – The growth in national health spending is estimated to have slowed to 4.2% in 2021, down from 9.7% in 2020, despite increased demand for patient care, according to CMS’s 2021-2030 National Health Expenditures Report

The annual growth in national health spending is expected to average 5.1% over 2021-30 and to reach nearly $6.8 trillion by 2030, the report states. 

Additionally, the health share of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to be 19.6% in 2030, nearly the same as 19.7% in 2020, according to the report. 

“Near-term expected trends in health spending and insurance enrollments are significantly influenced by the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE),” the report states. “In 2021, spending for other federal programs and public health activity is expected to have declined from $417.6 billion in 2020 to $286.8 billion. Additionally, following the declines observed in 2020, health care utilization is expected to rebound starting in 2021 and then normalize through 2024. As COVID-19 federal supplemental funding is expected to wane between 2021 and 2024, the government’s share of national health spending is expected to fall to 46% by 2024, down from an all-time high of 51% in 2020.” 

Other highlights from the report, which is prepared by the CMS Office of the Actuary: 

  • Medicare spending growth is projected to average 7.2% over 2021-30, the fastest rate among the major payers. Projected spending growth of 11.3% in 2021 is expected to be mainly influenced by an assumed acceleration in utilization growth, while growth in 2022 of 7.5% is expected to reflect more moderate growth in use, as well as lower fee-for-service payment rate updates and the phasing in of sequestration cuts. Spending is projected to exceed $1 trillion for the first time in 2023. By 2030, Medicare spending growth is expected to slow to 4.3% as the Baby Boomers are no longer enrolling and as further increases in sequestration cuts occur. 
  • Average annual growth of 5.6% is projected for Medicaid spending for 2021-2030. Medicaid spending growth is expected to have accelerated to 10.4% in 2021, associated with rapid gains in enrollment. Over 2022 and 2023, Medicaid spending growth is expected to slow to 5.7% and 2.7%, respectively, as a result of projected enrollment declines, after the end of the COVID-19 PHE, when the continuous enrollment condition under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act expires and states begin to disenroll beneficiaries no longer eligible for Medicaid. Over 2025-30, spending growth is projected to increase an average 5.6%, in part due to the expiration of Disproportionate Share Hospital payment cap reductions set for late-2027. Spending is projected to exceed $1 trillion for the first time in 2028. 
  • For 2021-30, private health insurance spending growth is projected to average 5.7%. A rebound in utilization is expected to primarily influence private health insurance spending growth over 2021 (6.3%) and 2022 (8.3%), and then normalize through 2024. Over 2025-30, as health spending trends by private payers tend to be influenced on a lagged basis by changes in income growth, average growth for private health insurance spending is then expected to slow to 4.8% by 2030 in response to slowing income growth earlier in the projection period. Out-of-pocket expenditures are projected to grow at an average rate of 4.6% over 2021-2030 and to represent 9% of total spending by 2030 (ultimately falling from its current historic low of 9.4% in 2020). 

Strive Medical boosts urology business 

IRVING, Texas – Strive Medical, a portfolio company of NMS Capital, has acquired the urology division of United States Medical Supply, strengthening its national footprint. 

Strive Medical is a specialty provider of urology, wound care and other disposable medical supplies that has contracts with more than 24 state Medicaid programs and more than 5,000 private insurance plans. 

“This transaction marks an important step in advancing Strive’s commitment to investing in the urology specialty DME market in the areas where we have deep expertise and are central to our long-term growth strategy,” said Todd Philbrick, CEO of Strive. “We are thrilled to begin this next chapter for Strive, which deepens our national footprint, and we value this partnership with US MED through the transition.” 

Strive Medical began servicing US MED’s urology patients and referral sources on Feb. 28, 2022.  

US MED is a subsidiary of Advanced Diabetes Supplies, a portfolio company of Court Square Capital. US MED was acquired by ADS in 2021, and ADS was acquired by Court Square in 2020.   

Optum buys home health provider 

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn., and LAFAYETTE, La. – Optum, part of UnitedHealth Group, has agreed to buy LHC Group, a home health provider, for $170 per share of common stock in a play to extend value-based care into the homes of patients. 

LHC Group’s history of quality home and community-based care matched with Optum’s extensive value-based care experiences and resources will accelerate the combined company’s ability to deliver integrated care, improving outcomes and patient experiences, according to a press release 

“LHC Group’s sophisticated care coordination capabilities and its warm, human touch is so important for home care, and will greatly enhance the reach of Optum’s value-based capabilities along the full continuum of care, including primary care, home and community care, virtual care, behavioral health and ambulatory surgery,” said Dr. Wyatt Decker, CEO, Optum Health. “We greatly admire how the people of LHC Group have created a culture that enables them to be a trusted health care partner to patients and their families when they need it the most, and we look forward to working with and learning from them.” 

LHC Group’s 30,000 employees, including frontline care providers and administrative and support personnel, provide more than 12 million annual in-home patient-focused interventions. 

The LHC Group leadership team will stay on board as part of Optum. 

The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2022. 

Permobil expands in Tennessee 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Permobil plans to add 75,000 square feet to its facility in Lebanon, Tenn., which currently employs more than 240 people and measures 113,000 square feet. 

Company officials, as well as members of the office and production teams, held an event announcing the expansion on March 28 with local and state elected officials. 

“This site expansion is an exciting opportunity to expand and enhance the innovative solutions we provide for individuals,” says Chuck Witkowski, president of Permobil Americas. “As the global leader in trusted assistive technology, we’re increasing our research and development and production capacities to meet the growing needs of our end users and customers.” 

The facility’s features include a climate-controlled warehouse and a full-service café. It also features skylights for natural lighting, solar panels to offset power consumption, LED efficiency lighting and low-flow water fixtures. 

Permobil expects to finish the expansion this summer. 

VGM announces ‘magical’ Heartland keynote 

WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM & Associates has announced Devin Henderson will keynote the 2022 Heartland Conference on June 13-15. Henderson, a certified speaking professional, is a magician and comedian who tried out for America’s Got Talent. Today, he is focused on teaching about the “Possibility Mindset.” “Devin’s story of resilience is one that many of our HME leaders can identify with,” said Jill Blaser, chair of the Heartland Conference. “When the going gets tough, the next best step can be to reinvent and reengage just like Devin did.” Registration is open, with early-bird pricing until April 15. 

Medline to serve as prime vendor for Mount Sinai 

NORTHFIELD, Ill. – Medline has a new a multi-year $725 million prime vendor partnership with New York-based Mount Sinai Health System to provide an extensive portfolio of essential medical supplies and solutions across the health system's eight hospital campuses, school of medicine and ambulatory practices. “For over 20 years, the Medline team has been working closely with the Mount Sinai Health System to ensure we truly understand and consistently support their system's challenges and goals," said Ron Barrett, vice president of corporate sales at Medline. "We are excited to resume our prime vendor partnership, continuing to provide their system with reliable, superior service and together creating customized solutions to help healthcare run better." Under the agreement, Medline will place multiple team members, including full-time analysts and a logistics specialist, within the health system to work hand-in-hand with leaders to address specific caregiver needs and help drive new ways of optimizing care. Medline resources will also enable the health system to more easily monitor key metrics such as item utilization, contract compliance, price accuracy and spending by product categories through Medline's advanced analytics platforms. 

Belluscura inks deal to double manufacturing capacity 

LONDON – Belluscura has signed a three-year manufacturing agreement for its X-PLO2r portable oxygen concentrator with InnoMax Medical Technology in China. “Manufacturing X-PLO2R products at the national innovation center for medical devices with an affiliate of the world’s leading electronics manufacturing company is transformational,” said Robert Rauker, CEO of Belluscura. “The agreement will more than double our manufacturing capacity and will provide access to the significantly larger Asian market – in China alone there are five times the COPD cases than in the U.S.” InnoMax is a joint venture between MaxNerva Technology Services Limited, which is an affiliate of one of the leading contract electronics manufacturers in the world, and the National Center for the Advanced Medical Devices, which is located in Shenzhen. 

Study: CAIRE’s FreeStyle Comfort effective 

BALL GROUND, Ga. – CAIRE’s FreeStyle Comfort portable oxygen concentrator outperformed other market leading devices in a recent study designed to assess the effectiveness of these devices in delivering oxygen to patients. “Portable oxygen concentrators are intended to allow patients to maintain a more active lifestyle despite the constraints which COPD or other respiratory conditions might introduce,” said Barry hassett, vice president of global marketing. “The FreeStyle Comfort was specifically designed to optimize oxygen delivery in situations where the patient is not at rest in order to enable them to comfortably enjoy life outside the home.” Researchers at the Department of Respiratory Therapy, Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions, at Georgia State University in Atlanta compared the oxygen output of eight competitive devices that currently comprise the majority of the portable oxygen therapy market, along with control group systems, including a stationary oxygen concentrator and wall output oxygen similar to what a patient would receive in a clinical environment. Each device was assessed on its ability to deliver oxygen in a variety of situations intended to model real-life use. The GSU study demonstrated the CAIRE FreeStyle Comfort achieved higher FiO2 in seven out of the eight scenarios. FiO2 is defined as the percentage or concentration of oxygen a person inhales. 

Amoena taps fitter to lead sales training 

KENNESAW, Ga. – Amoena USA has announced that Rachel Brown, CFm, has joined the management staff as national sales trainer. “We're very pleased to welcome Rachel to the Amoena team as our Education and Training Manager,” said Kevin Ostwald, president. “Her direct field experience as a certified mastectomy fitter and store manager of a mastectomy retailer give her a real-life perspective that will be a valuable resource for all of our retail partners and new fitters.” Brown previously managed a mastectomy boutique in Columbus, Ohio, handling everything from bra and breast form fittings to human resources. In her new role, she will develop a more robust online education program for retail partners, as well as keep internal staff trained in the latest breast care innovations, surgery trends and company developments. Brown will serve both the U.S. and Canadian Amoena subsidiaries. Amoena offers a year-round Pre-Certification Fitter Training as its flagship educational product, hosting both in-person and virtual seminars to train new fitters and provide continuing education to certified fitters. The company also maintains a quarterly webinar series covering both product and business topics, like managing insurance claims and Medicare in the mastectomy space.  

Abbott Freestyle Libre receives expanded coverage in Japan 

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. – Abbott has received approval from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare for expansion of reimbursement coverage for its FreeStyle Libre system to include all people with diabetes who use insulin at least once a day. The expanded coverage will enable more people with diabetes to access the glucose data needed to manage their condition without the routine fingersticks associated with traditional blood glucose monitoring. "The best health care solution is the one that helps the most people, which is why we designed our FreeStyle Libre system with access and affordability in mind from the very beginning," said Jared Watkin, senior vice president of Abbott's diabetes care business. "FreeStyle Libre systems provide a complete and comprehensive glucose picture without the need for routine fingersticks. The technology helps enable behavior change, which ultimately helps people live better, fuller lives." 

CareCentrix named top workplace 

HARTFORD, Conn. – CareCentrix has been recognized by the Tampa Bay Times with a 2022 Top Workplaces Award. It’s the fourth year in a row that CareCentrix has received the award. “The ongoing challenges of the past two years have made it more critical than ever to invest in our team so that they can make at-home care possible for those who need it most,” said John Driscoll, CEO of CareCentrix. “We’re honored to accept this award and look forward to continuing our commitment to make CareCentrix a great place to work.” The award continues a series of recent recognitions for CareCentrix, including Forbes America’s Best Employers 2022 List and Fierce Healthcare’s “Fierce 15.” This most recent award is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by Energage on 15 culture drivers, including alignment, execution, connection and more. 

REMSleep provides update on DeltaWave 

TAMPA, Fla. – REMSleep has engaged a new third-party lab to redo testing for its DeltaWave as part of the 510k process for the nasal CPAP interface. The company says it has received a negative result on a cytotoxicity test due to incorrect procedures performed by a previous lab and has failed a re-test due to a faulty analysis by a testing company. “The failed test is not a result of management; we have run into a problem that we had not anticipated,” said CEO Tom Wood. “While we like to keep our shareholders informed as much as possible and try to provide timelines as to when significant events will occur, a lot of those timelines are reliant on third parties working together cohesively to give us timely, accurate results that we can share.” REMSleep believes it can narrow down the exact part of the device that is failing the test, quickly resolve the matter and have results from the new lab within the next few weeks. In the meantime, the company continues to initiate new distribution agreements for its ResVent auto-titrating CPAP device, which it says has not been affected by the current chip shortage. It has also signed a three-year lease on a 10,000-square-foot property to accommodate growth. 

Inogen changes up board of directors 

GOLETA, Calif. – Inogen has appointed Glenn Boehnlein, Kevin King and Mary Katherine Ladone to its board of directors. In conjunction with these appointments, Heath Lukatch, a director since 2006; Benjamin Anderson-Ray, a director since 2013; and Loren McFarland, a director since 2013, have all retired from the board. “Maintaining a board with diverse, fresh perspectives, skills, and experience to drive shareholder value is of utmost priority for Inogen and we are thrilled to welcome Glenn, Kevin and Mary Kay to the Inogen board,” said Elizabeth Mora, chairwoman of the board. “Each of them brings unique experiences and an extensive track record of helping guide and grow successful med-tech companies, which we believe positions them to support our overarching goal of transforming Inogen into a prominent leader in respiratory care.” Inogen has also reconstituted the committees of the board. The committee chairs will be Glenn Boehnlein for the Audit Committee, Kevin King for the Compensation Committee, Heather Rider for the Nominating & Governance Committee and Elizabeth Mora for the Compliance Committee. The company is maintaining the total number of members on its board of directors at seven. Boehnlein currently serves as vice president, CFO, at Stryker Corp. King served as CEO and president at iRhythm Technologies until 2021. He recently retired from the company’s board of directors. Ladone served as corporate officer and senior vice president of corporate development, strategy and investor relations at Hill-Rom Holdings, which is now a subsidiary of Baxter International. 

NRRTS names photo contest winners 

LUBBOCK, Texas – NRRTS has announced the winners of a digital photo contest to promote the complex rehab profession and wheelchair users. Todd Hargroder won in the glamour division for his photo “Todd at the Beach”; Mary Kay Walch won in the lifestyle division for her photo “Brea at the Aquarium”; and Barbara Crume, PT, ATP, won in the CRT division for her photo “Mike Edney, ATP, CRTS Working on Tyler Freeman’s Wheelchair.” “Congratulations to Todd, Barbara and Mary Kay for their great photos and their dedication to making the world a better place,” NRRTS stated in a press release. All winners will receive prizes and copies of their photos as posters. NRRST will also share the photos on its website and in its social media posts. 

RedDress ships wound care systems to Ukraine 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – RedDress began shipments of 400 of its ActiGraft systems to multiple hospitals in Ukraine the week of March 21. In addition to donating the FDA-cleared blood clotting wound care systems, the company is coordinating with its partner medical specialists from GraftIn and SlavaMed to help with delivery into Ukraine, and with another partner, Dr. Arkadiy Savchenko of Danylo Halytsky Lviv National Medical University, to teach nurses, doctors and aid workers in the country on how to use the systems. “We’re grateful we’re in a position to not only have cutting-edge product that has a far greater success rate than traditional wound care treatment options, but also that we have the ability to be financially capable to donate these resources to help so many people in need,” said Robert Mueller, general manager of RedDress. ActiGraf is a new, propriety and patented technology solution used to help with wound care that enables health care providers to produce – in real time – in vitro blood clots from a patient’s whole blood. Once applied, the blood clot supports wound management and naturally occurring processes in the patient’s body. RedDress is a privately held, Israel-based company with a U.S. subsidiary, RedDress Ltd. In Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. 

PowerPay enters health care financing market 

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. – PowerPay, a financial technology company that provides consumer lending for home improvements, has launched its services in a new vertical: health care financing. The company’s health care financing enables medical professionals to offer the patients loans of up to $60,000 with 9.99% rates and terms from six months to six years. “We’re excited to enter the patient financing vertical because we see an enormous opportunity to disrupt the traditional high merchant fee model currently offered by big banks,” said David Haas, co-founder and COO of PowerPay. “Offering longer terms with lower rates and no merchant fees eliminates friction in the model and is a win-win for doctors and patients.” PowerPay says it has reached more than $1 billion in loan volume in one year since its launch in the home improvement vertical.  


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