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In brief: CPAP preferences shift, Belluscura snags gov’t contract, CMS invests in home care 

In brief: CPAP preferences shift, Belluscura snags gov’t contract, CMS invests in home care 

NEW YORK – HME providers expect to shift an average of 58.4% of their Philips Respironics flow generator purchases and an average of 30.2% of their mask purchases to other companies due to the recall, according to the first quarter HME Sleep and Oxygen Survey from Needham. 

That’s up from the 56% and 23.1%, respectively, reported in the third quarter survey. 

“ResMed should gain market share over the (next 12 months),” the survey states. “Respondents expect its share of their flow generator purchases to increase by 6.1% and its share of their mask purchases to increase by 1.8%.” 

Providers also expect, however, for Philips Respironics to gain market share over the next 12 months, as it re-enters the market. They expect the company’s share of their flow generator purchases to increase by 11.7% but its share of mask purchases to decrease by 1.8%. 

The gains by ResMed and Philips Respironics are expected to be made at the expense of smaller players in the sleep therapy market, according to the report. 

Other highlights from the survey: 

The recall is driving up prices. Providers indicated flow generator prices increased by 11.7% in the last 12 months compared to 4.1% in the third quarter survey, and mask prices increased by 5.9% compared to 1.7%. 

Flow generator availability has worsened. Providers report they’ve only been able to purchase the following percentage of their desired flow generator purchases within their required timeframes: 8.2% for Philips Respironics (down from 10.3% in the third quarter survey), 13.2% for Fisher & Paykel (up from 7%), and 27.1% for ResMed (down from 45.4%). 

Sleep patient volumes have declined. Providers report their sleep patient volume decreased on average 13.1% in the last 12 months, but they expect it to increase 7.3% in the next 12 months. 

For oxygen, providers expect a large decline in their portable oxygen concentrator purchases over the next 12 months, partly due to shortages, according to the survey. 

Belluscura opens up ‘significant sales opportunity’ 

LONDON and PLANO, Texas – Belluscura’s X-PLOR portable oxygen concentrator has been awarded a distribution and pricing agreement from the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) through its distribution partner, Lovell Government Services. 

DLA procures more than $41.8 billion in goods and services annually from manufacturers and suppliers and provides them to the Department of Defense and other federal/state customers throughout the U.S. and globally. 

“Receiving the DAPA code opens up a significant sales opportunity for the X-PLOR as it is now available through the DLA system, which includes the military installations, military hospitals and other federal and state agencies serviced by the DLA,” said Robert Rauker, CEO. 

Lovell Government Services is a service-disabled, veteran-owned military purchasing organization that provides exclusive medical, surgical and pharmaceutical resources to the U.S. Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs medical organizations.  

Belluscura says Lovell Government Services has already started selling the X-PLOR. 

“We are delighted to be working with Belluscura and its advanced oxygen products,” said Chris Lovell, major USMC retired, and CEO. “The United States government is the largest buyer in the world.” 

Sec. Becerra: ‘Everyone deserves opportunity to live at home’ 

WASHINGTON – CMS will offer more than $110 million to expand access to home and community-based services (HCBS) through Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person (MPF) program. 

The new Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) makes individual awards of up to $5 million available for more than 20 states and territories not currently participating in the MPF program. The funds will support initial planning and implementation to get new programs off the ground to ensure more people with Medicaid can receive high-quality, cost-effective, person-centered services in a setting they choose. 

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to live at home, in their communities and with their loved ones,” said Xavier Becerra, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “This funding will bring dignity and peace of mind to even more seniors and people with disabilities across the country. We will continue expanding these programs to ensure all Americans have equitable access to the high-quality health care they deserve – no matter where they live.” 

These awards will help states/territories:  

  • Establish partnerships with community stakeholders, including those representing diverse and underserved populations, Tribal entities and governments, key state and local agencies (such as state and local public housing authorities), and community-based organizations;  
  • Conduct system assessments to better understand how HCBS support local residents;  
  • Develop programs for the types of community transitions MFP supports;  
  • Establish or enhancing Medicaid HCBS quality improvement programs;  
  • Recruit HCBS providers as well as expert providers for transition coordination and technical assistance; and  
  • Conduct a range of planning activities deemed necessary by the award recipients and approved by CMS.  

State Medicaid agencies not currently participating in the MFP program may apply through the NOFO no later than May 31, 2022. 

For states already participating in the MFP program, CMS is also increasing the reimbursement rate for MFP “supplemental services.” These services will now be 100% federally funded with no state share. Further, CMS is expanding the definition of supplemental services to include additional services that can support an individual’s transition from an institution to the community, including short-term housing and food assistance.  

Medtrade West crowns product award winners 

PHOENIX – The top product award at Medtrade West went to My Crutches from SCS Direct in Trumbull, Conn. The company, which positions its product as a “fashion crutch,” won the Providers’ Choice Gold as part of the New Product Pavilion Providers’ Choice Awards sponsored by HomeCare Media. “Breaking a leg isn’t fun,” said CEO Howard Greenspan. “Why make it worse with unsightly crutches?” Dignity Lifts: Bidet Lift won the Providers’ Choice Silver Award, and Heel P.O.D. from NelDerm won the Providers’ Choice Bronze Award. Medtrade West took place April 4-6 at the Phoenix Convention Center. 

DuBois Medical Supply joins health system 

DUBOIS, Pa. – DuBois Medical Supply has joined Penn Highlands Healthcare, a regional health system, in a move that will ease patient transitions from inpatient to outpatient care, according to the Courier Express. DuBois Medical Supply, which has been in business for more than 30 years, is the third HME provider within the system. With DuBois Medical Supply, Penn Highlands now has HME locations in Brookville, Clearfield, DuBois, Kane, Monongahela and St. Marys. DuBois Medical Supply also makes more than 25,000 products available for online ordering on its website. Penn Highlands provides services in 39 counties through seven hospitals, three home care agencies, 150 clinics, eight community pharmacies, five long-term care facilities and a network of physicians. 

Preferred Home Care enters ‘next chapter’ 

NEW YORK – Preferred Home Care of New York has been acquired by Help at Home, a national provider of in-home, person-centered care. Edison Home Health Care, which shares a majority owner with Preferred Home Care, has also been acquired by Help at Home. “We established Preferred Home Care of New York with a clear vision to provide the most exceptional level of care from a remarkable team of caregivers and staff,” said CEO Berry Weiss. “We’re delighted to move into the next chapter by joining the Help at Home family, because they subscribe to the same standards as we do.” Preferred Home Care provides services in 21 counties in New York, primarily in New York City and Long Island. Together, Preferred Home Care and Edison Home Health Care add 10,500 clients and 12,000 employees to Help at Home’s current client and employee base. 

Bonafide taps ClearAdvantage to help manage risk 

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., and NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Bonafide Medical Group has subscribed to ClearAdvantage, a multi-year managed services program that provides customers with the benefits of an integrated and efficiently executed cybersecurity and HIPAA-compliance program, the two companies have announced. By partnering with Clearwater, Bonafide is taking proactive steps to ensure it has the right expertise and tools to meet the expectations of customers with respect to maintaining a strong security posture and keeping pace with rapidly evolving compliance concerns, they say. “Throughout Bonafide’s history, we have worked with industry leaders to establish standards and best practices with respect to HIPAA and data security,” says Mark Ludwig, CEO of Bonafide Medical Group. “But as the industry continues to evolve, we recognize the need to advance our approach to cybersecurity and HIPAA compliance. Clearwater is the ideal partner to help us do that. Their ClearAdvantage program provides us with ongoing access to a deep team of cybersecurity and compliance experts that know the health care industry inside out, software that is purpose-built to help us manage cyber and compliance risk, and a dedicated program leader to bring it all together in alignment with our business objectives.” Bonafide has entered into an initial four-year subscription to the ClearAdvantage Protect Plus cybersecurity and risk management program. The program addresses a range of key concerns from governance and OCR-Quality Risk Analysis and Risk Management to vulnerability assessments and incident response.  

Motion Composites grows US sales team 

SAINT ROCH de L’ACHIGAN, Quebec – Motion Composites has added Michael Hughes as U.S. sales director. Since joining the HME and complex rehab technology industry in 2009, Hughes has advanced across several leadership positions by developing and implementing market-specific strategic sales and marketing plans that exceeded objectives. “Michael’s leadership, experience and deep understanding of the CRT industry will help us drive significant growth in the U.S. market,” said Nicholas Forrester, vice president of sales. Most recently, Hughes served as the national sales director for Merits Health Products. He earned his ATP certification in 2018.  

WVIPA, NCPA help to secure PBM reform 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The West Virginia Independent Pharmacy Association and the National Community Pharmacists Association applaud Gov. Jim Justice for signing H.R. 4112, a patient choice bill. The bill gives patients greater authority to choose which in-network pharmacy fills their prescriptions and addresses what the associations call the arbitrary “specialty” designation that pharmacy benefit managers use to steer patients into PBM-owned pharmacies. “H.B. 4112 will help patients retain access to their trusted pharmacy by protecting their right to choose the in-network pharmacy provider that is best for them,” WVIPA and NCPA wrote in a letter thanking Gov. Justice for signing the bill. “Too often, that choice is stripped from patients by their PBM, which forces patients to use a particular pharmacy to fill their prescriptions, particularly high-cost specialty drug prescriptions.” WVIPA put in countless hours to get the bill passed and NCPA worked to reinforce its efforts, including with a letter to Gov. Justice in March.  

Belluscura names industry vet to lead operations 

LONDON and PLANO, Texas – Belluscura has announced that Jim Clement has joined the company as head of commercial strategy. Clement has more than 30 years of experience in the DME industry, including general manager of GCE Healthcare, which hit the market with a POC under the Zen-O brand in 2016. “We are very excited to have Jim join our team,” said Robert Rauker, CEO of Belluscura. “His extensive knowledge of this industry will be a valuable asset to the company.” Over his career, Clement has held leadership positions in all areas of medical device manufacturing, with a particular focus on commercial operations and global product development of oxygen therapy devices. “I’m looking forward to working with the Belluscura team as we take their revolutionary technology through the next phase of growth and focus on patient care.” Belluscura recently signed a three-year manufacturing agreement for its X-PLO2r portable oxygen concentrator with InnoMax Medical Technology in China.  

CAIRE marks 20 years of LifeStyle 

BALL GROUND, Ga. – CAIRE is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the launch of the first portable oxygen concentrator, the LifeStyle. “For us, pioneering the first portable oxygen concentrator has been both a point of pride, and an ongoing incentive to continue to innovate and develop those technologies that will ensure clinically efficacious oxygen delivery and an improve quality of life for all of our users around the world,” said Earl Lawson, CEO of CAIRE. Introduced under CAIRE’s AirSep brand, the LifeStyle was the brainchild of then Vice President of Research and Development Norm McCombs, who modeled the size and weight of the device on his wife’s handbag. The LifeStyle would go on to be the first POC to gain approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for commercial air flights in 2005. McCombs was recognized for his contributions by President Barack Obama with a National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2013. The LifeStyle paved the way for the FreeStyle series. 

Ascensia launches Eversense E3 in US 

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Ascensia Diabetes Care has launched the next-generation Eversense E3 Continuous Glucose Monitoring System for patients in the U.S., alongside the new Eversense PASS savings program. Eversense E3, which is developed be Senseonics Holdings, was approved for use up to six months by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this year, making it the longest lasting CGM sensor available in the country. “We are thrilled to offer Eversense E3 to people with diabetes in the U.S. and are proud to do this alongside a favorable Payment Assistance and Savings Program,” said Robert Schumm, president at Ascensia. “Eversense E3’s offering is truly differentiated and we believe it is important to make the system as affordable as possible. We have been working closely with payers on coverage and our dedicated CGM commercial team is eager to introduce the product to more patients, so they can experience the unique benefits of the Eversense system.” Under the Eversense PASS program, users pay only $99 out of pocket for their first sensor and smart transmitter. After that, users pay no more than $100 per month or $600 for the duration of each sensor. 

Altimate Medical receives certification 

REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. – Altimate Medical, maker of the EasyStand, has received ISO 13485:2016 certification for Medical Device and Quality Management Systems (QMS). The audit to recertify Altimate’s QMS and expand its scope to include the functions of the former ActiveAid business took place in early February. “ISO 13485:2016 is the most internationally recognized quality system standard and Altimate’s certification demonstrates we comply with the laws and regulations of the medical device industry,” said Amy Curtis, director, quality and regulatory, for Altimate Holdings. “It took effort and dedication from each team within the company to make this happen and involves nearly every aspect of the business:  management, resources, design, manufacturing, assembly, customer service, procurement and more.” Altimate Medical purchased ActiveAid in 2018, with the goal of certifying the company. 13485:2016 certification is an internationally recognized set of quality management system requirements for medical devices. To be certified, companies must demonstrate the ability to provide products that consistently meet customer and regulatory requirements. Companies that are certified are audited annually and must recertify every three years. Many countries require certification to sell medical devices in their country. 

Trace Medical names Johnson CTO 

WHITMORE LAKE, Mich. – Trace Medical has appointed Dallas Johnson as chief technology officer. Johnson, who has extensive experience building scalable technology platforms, will be responsible for the continued development and integration of multiple platforms as the company continues its growth initiatives. “We are fortunate to have Dallas join the Trace team as we execute growth initiatives over the next five years,” said Greg Apostolou, CEO. “Technology is paramount to our sustained growth, as well as delivery of efficient rental solutions, and Dallas’ strong operations and technology experience are essential to these goals.” Johnson has worked with Trace in a consulting role for the past two years. Prior to joining Trace, he served as CEO of Bōkka Group, an advertising agency based in Denver. 

Ride Designs taps Steelman for marketing gig 

LITTLETON, Colo. – Ride Designs has named Barry Steelman of Steelman Marketing to be the company’s new director of marketing. Steelman will assist Ride Designs, a manufacturer of wheelchair seating cushions and backs, with everything from advertising campaigns to artistic design to branding to trade show booth design to video production. “We are excited to have Barry lead our marketing efforts now and into our next decade,” said Rich Salm, vice president of sales and marketing for Ride Designs. Steelman previously worked for Permobil, Stealth Products, Roho and TiLite. “I am excited to help them reach the next level of success,” he said. “They have a successful brand presence and have enjoyed good marketing direction in the past.” Ride Designs is a branch of Aspen Seating. 

CU adds resupply application 

BILLINGS, Mont. – Computers Unlimited has released TIMS Patient Subscriptions, an application that allows HME providers to enroll their patients in a resupply subscription during initial intake. Key integration points for the application include easy patient auto enrollment, automated compliance checks (eligibility, utilization, documentation and authorizations), patient contact options (phone, email, text or IVR) and auto-generated qualified orders. Computers Unlimited expects 80% of resupply orders can be automated from start to finish. To watch a video about the application, go here

AAH state update: Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, Rhode Island 

The Tennessee Senate has passed SB 2134, legislation to strengthen access to complex rehab technology. It would prohibit insurers from considering the location where CRT products will be used when making a medical necessity determination; require insurers to offer a prior authorization process for coverage determinations; and require insurers to pay 100% of benefits approved in a prior authorization issued by a plan. The legislation now heads to the Tennessee House for consideration. A companion bill, HB 2048, has already passed the House Insurance Committee…The Ohio Department of Medicaid has announced that CMS has approved the state’s plans to distribute federal ARPA relief for home and community-based service (HCBS) providers, including HME providers. The approval paves the way for HME providers in the state to receive a 10% retroactive lump sum payment for fee-for-service claims from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021…Lawmakers in Illinois included legislation to exempt breast pumps and supplies from the state sales tax, HB 4234, in a hearing held on March 24. “As the overwhelming majority of the medical field believes breastfeeding is a medical necessity, sales tax on that process becomes a tax on the health of a child,” testified state Rep. Ann Stava-Murray. Lawmakers in Rhode Island have introduced similar legislation, HB 7867 and SB 2603. 

DRCE hosts auto mobility event  

CHANTILLY, Va. - The Driver Rehabilitation Center for Excellence hosted more than 70 attendees for a Comprehensive Automotive Mobility Solutions for Healthcare Professionals regional training event in March. The DRCE, in partnership with BraunAbility, Sure Grip and Q’STRAINT, sponsored the all-day event, which featured course instruction from Tim Jones, OTR, CDRS, vehicle walk-arounds and networking. It’s the first time the training has been in-person in two years.  

Integra boosts industry support 

WASHINGTON – Integra Partners has joined AAHomecare as a Diamond Corporate Partner and has invested in the industry-led DMEscripts e-prescribing platform. Integra has 60 payer lines of business, including commercial, Medicare and Medicaid, extending to more than 18 million covered lives. “Integra is committed to helping HME providers succeed and increase their capacity to serve patients who depend on high quality medical equipment and services,” said Scott Prater, director of network expansion at Integra. Integra, based in New York City, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Point32Health. As part of its investment, Integra has joined the board of directors of DMEscripts. “We recognize the importance of electronic prescribing for the future of the HME industry and our participation positions us to play an active role in the future of this innovative technology,” said Dominic Paniccia, CEO of Integra. 


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