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In brief: HCD’s big buy, Brightree’s new leader, CQRC’s letter 

In brief: HCD’s big buy, Brightree’s new leader, CQRC’s letter 

RICHMOND, Va. – Home Care Delivered, a provider of diabetes, incontinence, wound, urological and ostomy supplies, has bought the DMEPOS supplier business unit of Medline Industries. 

HCD says the strategic move will enhance its market presence, expand its geographical footprint and provide access to a broader customer base, while reinforcing its relationships with patients, health care plans and manufacturers. 

"By integrating Medline's DMEPOS supplier assets, we are accelerating our growth strategy, delivering an avenue for expanded cost-efficiencies and member adherence," said Lowell Price, senior vice president of business development and chief growth officer of HCD. "This strategic move aligns with our commitment to delivering superior customer service, additional product offerings and ensuring reliable delivery to our members. HCD is well-positioned to continue to elevate customer experiences and reinforce our market presence." 

Medline says the deal will allow the company to focus on its core business of manufacturing and distributing medical supplies. 

Home Care Delivered received a majority equity investment from BPOC, a Chicago-based private equity firm focused exclusively on the health care industry, in 2021.    

VGM’s Jim Walsh passes away 

WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM Group has announced that Jim Walsh, its co-founder and chairman of its board of directors, passed away on Oct. 12. 

Walsh, who died of natural causes in his home surrounded by family, was 74. 

“Jim has been part of the heart and soul of VGM since its inception,” said CEO Mike Mallaro. “He has been central to the VGM family and a visionary leader. His impact—not only on our company, but on the entire industry—has been tremendous. Our members, vendors, employee owners, and customers will all feel his loss.” 

Walsh moved to the Cedar Valley in 1975, following his wife Linda, who was an associate professor of psychology at the University of Northern Iowa, and became a successful trial lawyer, as well as good friends and partners with Van G. Miller. Walsh and Miller, along with their friend, John Deery, founded VGM & Associates in 1986, following building plans that began as scribbles on a cocktail napkin. 

As VGM grew, Walsh continued to practice law at Clark Butler Walsh and Hamman Law Firm. He also became corporate counsel for the City of Waterloo, serving five mayors and 20 city councils. His “hobby” of renovating downtown Waterloo properties became JSA Development in 2001, now with more than 35 properties downtown. 

Ten years after his initial investment, Walsh became VGM’s corporate counsel, a director of all its companies, and a frequent resource and consultant to members of VGM-sponsored companies. He was also one of three co-trustees who served as the governing board for VGM’s employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). Walsh retired from his role as corporate counsel at the end of 2021, but he remained board chairman and a trustee, with plans to retire from those roles at the end of 2023. 

In 2022, Walsh received the Van Miller Homecare Champion award from AAHomecare. This honor, named after his VGM co-founder, recognizes Walsh’s longstanding record of service in the home care community and his spirit of caring and generosity. 

Walsh’s community involvement included being a charter member of the Waterloo Development Corporation and serving on boards for the Healthcare Quality Association of Accreditation (HQAA), Waterloo Expo Services Corporation, Waterloo Telecom Partners, Cedar Valley Community Health Care, Waterloo Community Playhouse and Waterloo Community Foundation. He was also a Fellow of the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers. 

Outside of VGM, Walsh was perhaps best known for being the founder of the Cedar Valley Irish Cultural Association, which sponsors the annual Iowa Irish Fest. Now in its 18th year, the Iowa Irish Fest is a premier cultural event that attracts nearly 50,000 visitors to Waterloo each August. 

Brightree names Timmons new leader 

PEACHTREE CORNERS, Ga. – Brightree has named Gregg Timmons as the new general manager of its HME and infusion business unit effective immediately. 

The company says Timmons, who previously served as general manager of value-added solutions for ResMed SaaS and before that as CEO of Apacheta, was selected after “an extensive and thorough selection process.” 

“Customer-centricity is at the core of Brightree’s mission, and Gregg’s profound insights into product development, customer solutions and market value have been evident throughout his tenure,” said Bobby Ghoshal, president of ResMed SaaS. “Gregg has extensive history within the HME and health care software sectors and is supremely well-suited for this role. With his wealth of knowledge, he will play a pivotal role in setting our course for the future and propelling the HME and home infusion business to unprecedented heights.” 

In addition to Apacheta, Timmons also served as CEO of MedAct. Both Apacheta and MedAct were acquired by Brightree. 

In his new role, Timmons will assume responsibility for the daily operations of Brightree’s HME and home Infusion business and will play a central role in shaping and executing a strategic vision aimed at advancing the company’s growth trajectory. 

While ResMed SaaS searches for a new leader for the value-added solutions division, Timmons will assume the role of interim general manager, overseeing CitusHealth, patient collections and MealTracker, with support from other members of the leadership team. 

Matt Mellott, formerly CEO of Brightree, left the company earlier this year. 

Groups push for standardized clinical data elements 

WASHINGTON – The Council for Quality Respiratory Care recently joined five other respiratory care groups in sending a letter to CMS asking the agency to require Medicare contractors to use a standard clinical data element template for supplemental oxygen to ensure beneficiaries, prescribers and suppliers won’t be overburdened with audits. 

While the groups say they appreciate that CMS has developed a pilot program for an e-clinical template for oxygen, the current focus on electronic interface will not be useful until the agency adopts standardized clinical data elements. 

“While we were hopeful that the pilot would be the next step in achieving the goal of replacing medical record review with a set of standardized clinical data elements that would clearly indicate what information prescribers need to provide when ordering supplemental oxygen for their patients, it appears that the pilot is focusing on the electronic interface instead of the clinical data elements in the template and complicating what should be a straight-forward process,” the letter reads. 

The groups urge CMS to delay adoption of a streamlined and transparent template while electronic data submission systems are being developed and, instead, use the existing CMS template (modified consistent with the community’s recommendations).  

The CQRC joined AAHomecare, the American Association for Respiratory Care, the American Thoracic Society, the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), and The VGM Group in sending the letter. 

NCPA creates TRUST 

ORLANDO, Fla. – The National Community Pharmacists Association is creating a limited liability company called TRUST LLC to investigate and, when appropriate, litigate or arbitrate on behalf of community pharmacies to recover pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration fees. 

The NCPA believes DIR fees were assessed by the PBMs and insurance plans in violation of federal antitrust law and state contract laws. 

“PBMs shouldn't be able to make assessing junk DIR fees against competing pharmacies a multi-billion dollar cottage industry that puts their competition out of business and compromises patient care,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist, MBA. “It’s completely anti-competitive, and we’re fighting back.” 

It’s the second major legal effort announced in the past several weeks: In September, a class-action lawsuit against CVS Health, CVS Caremark and Aetna was brought by an independent pharmacist from Iowa who is a member of NCPA. 

TRUST LLC has retained the law firms of Berger Montague PC, Cohen & Gresser LLP, and Baker Donelson to lead the litigation. Berger Montague and Cohen & Gresser are the firms that filed the class-action lawsuit against CVS Health in federal court last month. 

“Community pharmacists are indispensable providers of health care in communities across the United States,” said Katie Funk, a partner with Baker Donelson. “We look forward to working with NCPA to expose the unconscionable PBM practices that are driving up costs, eliminating patient choice, and driving community pharmacies out of business.” 

Indie community pharmacies do more, make less 

ORLANDO, Fla. – Independent community pharmacies represented a $94 billion marketplace in 2022, but their gross margin fell to 21%, the lowest point in the 10-year lookback window of the National Community Pharmacists Association’s annual digest

This reflects factors like low or below-cost third-party reimbursements, inflation (which showed up in drug prices) and a higher cost of dispensing, according to the 2023 NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health. 

“Patients across the country look to their local independent pharmacy for critical health care services, but crippling economic pressures from pharmacy benefit managers and the broader marketplace can make it difficult to keep the doors open,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist, MBA. “The NCPA Digest report helps us demonstrate the array of patient services these pharmacies offer and what they need to survive. Like those they serve, independent pharmacies are resilient, but they aren’t invincible. Reforms to the broken payment model are needed if we are to ensure successful pharmacies and healthier, happier patients.” 

Other data from the digest include:  

  • The estimated number of independent community pharmacies declined, falling to 19,432 locations in 2023 from 19,479 the year prior. 

  • In 2022, the average prescription volume was 66,218 per store, an increase from the 63,228 prescriptions dispensed in 2021.  

  • Ninety-two percent of independent community pharmacy respondents identified their primary pharmacy operation as retail pharmacy. 

WellSky buys Corridor 

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – WellSky has acquired Corridor, an end-to-end, tech-enabled services platform designed for the post-acute care industry, from HealthEdge Investment Partners, a private equity firm. By adding Corridor to its portfolio, WellSky will strengthen its medical coding and revenue cycle management (RCM) offerings for home health and allow it to move into the skilled nursing facility market. “Providers today must continually demonstrate higher quality performance and compliance, and they’re looking for solutions to support quality patient care and reduce administrative burdens,” said Bill Miller, CEO of WellSky. “As we looked to strengthen our services offerings, Corridor emerged as an ideal partner. Together, WellSky and Corridor help more post-acute care organizations succeed against industry challenges.” Corridor serves more than 2,600 client sites and supports more than 52,000 clinicians. The announcement comes on the heels of WellSky’s recent acquisition of Experience Care, a which offers an electronic health record, further demonstrating its commitment to the long-term care market. 

NCPA names top pharmacist 

ORLANDO, Fla. – Clint Hopkins, a pharmacy owner in Sacramento, Calif., has received this year’s NARD Ownership Award from the National Community Pharmacists Association as part of the association’s recent annual convention. The award recognizes an independent community pharmacist who embraces entrepreneurial spirit through promotion and demonstrated excellence in the field of community pharmacy ownership. Hopkins and his husband Joel Hockman relocated to Sacramento in 2016 to purchase Pucci’s Pharmacy from Tom and Linda Nelson, who had already set the stage for providing quality care to the local LGBTQ+ community. Hopkins and Hockman opened Pucci’s LTC Pharmacy earlier this year and acquired Eddie’s Pharmacy in Los Angeles along with their business partners in April 2023. They pride themselves on expanding health care access to those who are underserved. Hopkins is currently serving on the Community Pharmacy Advisory Group Steering Committee for the California Pharmacists Association and is also serving on the Good Neighbor Pharmacy Advisory Board for AmerisourceBergen. He was also recognized with the 2023 California Pharmacists Association’s Pharmacist of the Year Award. 

HOMELINK builds team to scale business 

WATERLOO, Iowa – HOMELINK has added three new national account managers to support its growing client base. Corey Zahm, Brenda Hansen and Jessica Bogdan will focus on account service and client support. “Corey, Brenda and Jessica all bring exceptional knowledge and account leadership from their years of industry experience,” said Danny Real, senior vice president of sales at HOMELINK. “As we continue to scale our business, their expertise will drive success for our clients, ensuring they continue to receive the highest level of service." Zahm has more than 25 years of experience in the managed care and workers’ compensation industries, most recently as the area vice president of client and vendor service for Arissa Cost Strategies. Hansen has more than 20 years of experience in workers’ compensation and personal injury insurance, most recently as a senior account executive for Delta Group. Bogdan has more than a decade of health care sales experience, most recently as a regional account executive at Align Networks. HOMELINK, which has been in business for more than 30 years, has significantly expanded its offerings, providing a comprehensive suite of ancillary services spanning the entire care continuum. 


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