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In brief: Heartland wraps up, Medtrade East masks up

In brief: Heartland wraps up, Medtrade East masks up

WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM welcomed nearly 1,000 guests for its 20th annual Heartland Conference last week. 

The conference, which is usually held in June, was moved to September to help ensure health and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers took precautions like moving all social events outdoors and requiring masks indoors. 

“As leaders in the health care industry, we wanted to do everything we could, taking all proper precautions, to help keep everyone safe during our time together,” said Clint Geffert, president of VGM & Associates. “We know the past year and a half has provided numerous challenges and uncertainties, and we’re honored to have the opportunity to bring everyone back together, safely.” 

VGM also offered a virtual offering, Heartland At Home. 

In addition to offering education, an exhibit hall and social events, VGM presented Roger Lichty, owner of Mobility Connection in Rockford, Ill., with a perfect attendance award for attending all 20 Heartland Conferences. 

In another nod to the conference’s 20th anniversary, VGM selected 20 charities nominated by attendees, awarding each a $200 check. 

“Heartland is more than an industry conference,” Geffert said. “It’s an opportunity for our members to get together and be part of something bigger. Whether they chose to attend in person or virtually, we hope they experienced all the magic that Heartland had to offer.”  

The Heartland Conference will return to Waterloo on June 13-15, 2022. 

AAHomecare gears up for virtual conference, Medtrade East 

WASHINGTON – The deadline to register for AAHomecare’s Virtual Washington Legislative Conference is coming up: Sept. 22. 

The association won’t be able to make meeting requests with lawmakers of behalf of attendees after that date.  

Also on Sept. 22, AAHomecare will host an Issue Education and Training Program for the conference at 2:30 p.m. ET. The association encourages all attendees to participate to gain a full understanding of this year’s new virtual format. 

Meetings with members of Congress will take place from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 29. 

Additionally, AAHomecare is looking ahead to Medtrade East, where it will host The Stand Up for Home Care reception on Oct. 19 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. ET at Ventanas.  

To register for the virtual conference, go here

To register for the Stand Up for Home Care reception, go here

Administration expands vaccination requirements for health care settings 

WASHINGTON – The Biden-Harris administration will require COVID-19 vaccination of staff within all Medicare- and Medicaid-certified facilities, including HME providers, to protect both them and patients from the virus and its more contagious Delta variant, CMS announced on Sept. 9. 

CMS, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says emergency regulations requiring vaccinations for nursing home workers will be expanded to include hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings and home health agencies, among others, as a condition for participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  

“As the Delta variant strengthens, the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to doing everything we can to keep patients, and those who care for them, safe,” said Xavier Becerra, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). “There is no question that staff, across any health care setting, who remain unvaccinated pose both direct and indirect threats to patient safety and population health. Ensuring safety and access to all patients, regardless of their entry point into the health care system, is essential.” 

CMS is developing an Interim Final Rule with comment period that will be issued in October.   

In the agency’s review of available data, it is seeing lower staff vaccination rates among hospital and End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) facilities. To combat this issue, it is using its authority to establish vaccine requirements for all providers and suppliers that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. 

“Data show that the higher the level of vaccination rates among providers and staff, the lower the infection rate is among patients who are dependent upon them for care,” said Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, CMS Administrator. “Now is the time to act. I’m urging everyone, but especially those fighting this virus on the front lines, to get vaccinated and protect themselves, their families, and their patients from COVID-19.” 

ZOLL, Itamar merge to advance link between cardiology, sleep apnea 

CHELMSFORD, Mass., and CAESAREA, Israel – ZOLL Medical Corp. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire all outstanding ordinary shares of Itamar Medical for about $538 million. 

Itamar Medical is focused on the development and commercialization of non-invasive medical devices and solutions to aid in the diagnosis of respiratory disorders, including the WatchPAT Home Sleep Apnea Device. 

“It is currently estimated that 60% of cardiovascular patients suffer from some form of sleep apnea, and the majority of these patients go undiagnosed,” said Jon Rennert, CEO of ZOLL Medical, which makes products for defibrillation and cardiac monitoring, among others. “The combination of ZOLL Medical and Itamar Medical will help more patients receive diagnosis and treatment for sleep-disordered breathing. We look forward to helping strengthen the collaboration between the worlds of cardiology and sleep medicine.” 

OSA is associated with increases in the incidence and progression of coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke and atrial fibrillation; and CSA that’s associated with Cheyne-Stokes respiration predicts incident heart failure and atrial fibrillation, and strongly predicts mortality among patients with heart failure, according to a press release. 

Under the terms of the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of the two companies, ZOLL Medical will acquire all outstanding ordinary shares of Itamar Medical for $31 per American Depository Share (ADS), or $1.03 (equivalent to approximately NIS 3.31) per ordinary share, in cash. The offer of $31 per ADS in cash represents a premium of 50.2% over the price of Itamar Medical’s ADS on the Nasdaq Stock Market on Sept. 10, 2021. 

ZOLL Medical’s acquisition of Itamar Medical is subject to approval by the shareholders of Itamar Medical, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Assuming typical regulatory and shareholder approval timeframes, the companies currently expect the transaction to close by the end of 2021. 

Once complete, Itamar Medical’s principal operations will continue at its current location in Caesarea, Israel, including its R&D and Digital Health Technology centers, as well as the production center. 

AAG, VGM partner to better equip homes for aging 

IRVINE, Calif. – The American Advisors Group (AAG) has partnered with VGM Live At Home to broaden access to home equity to fund home modification projects. More than 80% of seniors wish to live in their home for the rest of their lives, according to a recent study by AAG. “This partnership is a perfect combination of two category leaders focused on the same mission of helping seniors,” said Jesse Allen, executive vice president of alternative distribution for AAG. “Our data shows that the pandemic caused an increase number of American seniors to want to age in the comfort of their home, but only 3% of older Americans have homes that are safe enough to do so. This partnership offers an exciting opportunity to impact in a meaningful way the lives of customers, families and communities.” Per the agreement, VGM Live At Home members will now be able to connect their senior customers directly with AAG loan officers in their local areas. These loan officers will work in-person with each individual client and their families to discuss the financing options they have available to fund home modifications, such as installation of shower rails, stair lifts or wheelchair ramps. AAG will also provide VGM Live At Home members with educational material about home equity use and will take part in industry related events like the VGM Heartland Conference. “We have seen first-hand how AAG has impacted the senior community with the financial solutions they have for older Americans and now our associated businesses will have the opportunity to leverage their services to help seniors across the nation,” said Jim Greatorex, vice president of VGM Live at Home. 

NC Medicaid extends rate increase 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – North Carolina Medicaid has agreed to extend a 5% rate increase for home medical equipment for two months, until Nov. 30, according to AAHomecare. Medicaid officials have also agreed to meet with ACMESA to discuss extending the relief beyond Nov. 30.  “North Carolina providers are elated that NC Medicaid elected to extend the 5% Covid relief,” said Craig Rae, ACMESA president. “In light of the continued cost increases we’re facing, this helps protect access for beneficiaries.” The rate increase was implemented to help providers respond to the public health emergency. The two-month extension will add $2.2 million to the bottom lines of HME providers, on top of the estimated $20.9 million in relief already secured for providers since the rate went into effect in March 2020.   

Collins Medical marks nine decades 

FAIRFIELD, Conn. - Collins Medical Equipment and Accessibility Solutions celebrated its 90th anniversary on Sept. 10 with a ribbon cutting. The family owned company started in 1931 as Collins Pharmacy, and it added durable medical equipment in 1975. In 2002, Collins Pharmacy sold its prescription department to CVS so it could focus on DME. In 2016, it launched a new division, Collins Insulin Pumps & Supplies. Today, four generations of the Collins family work at the company. 

United Spinal urges support of spinal cord injury resolution 

KEW GARDENS, N.Y. – The United Spinal Association is urging members to reach out to their members of Congress to ask them to co-sponsor a resolution, introduced by Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., supporting National Spinal Cord Injury Month, which takes place in September. The average lifespan for people with SCI has not improved significantly since the 1980s. Increased education and investment in research are key factors in improving outcomes and enhancing the quality of life for individuals with SCI, says the association. 

Soleo Health opens specialty center 

FRISCO, Texas – Soleo Health has opened a Thyroid Eye Disease Therapeutic Care Management Center. Soleo Health’s TCMCs are designed to support patients nationally with specific complex conditions, including rare and ultra-rare diseases and the respective therapies used to treat them. “We created our TED TCMC to provide clinical expertise and a support system for patients, caregivers and physicians nationwide,” said Drew Walk, CEO. “Our TCMCs provide a consistent patient journey by leveraging the cumulative expertise of our talented clinicians and other key team members.” Each new TED patient will be assigned a patient ambassador who will provide concierge-level service to help navigate their therapy needs and address any questions. The TED TCMC is also staffed with specially trained interdisciplinary teams, comprising highly experienced therapy-care pharmacists, registered nurses and reimbursement and patient care specialists. Each Soleo Health TCMC is supported through the company’s 21 specialty pharmacy locations nationwide with pharmacy licensure in all 50 states.  

NCPA launches PBM push 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The National Community Pharmacists Association has launched a three-day ad blitz aimed at pushing Congress to end the practice of pharmacy benefit managers that pocket savings intended for senior citizens and drive local pharmacies out of business. The ad, titled “You Should Know,” shows how PBMs negotiate discounts on expensive pharmaceuticals and then keep a chunk of the savings instead of passing it on to consumers. The ad also points out how the same PBMs steer patients to their own pharmacies – and away from local independent pharmacies – to limit patient access. The ad will appear in The Washington Post on Tuesday and Wednesday and in Politico from Tuesday to Thursday. 

Hospice Source taps new CEO 

CARROLLTON, Texas – Hospice Source has named Jeff Mongonia CEO. Mongonia has been in the post-acute health care space for 30 years, holding key leadership roles in both the HME and respiratory care industry, as well as the hospice and palliative care industry, most recently as COO of the Hospice and Palliative Care business unit at Compassus. Prior to that, he held roles at American HomePatient and Lincare. Hospice Source currently provides service to patients and hospice providers from 64 locations throughout Texas, California, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, Oklahoma, Missouri and Virginia. 

CMS to start over on innovative technology final rule 

WASHINGTON – CMS has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that seeks to fully repeal a final rule on Medicare Coverage of Innovative Technology and the definition of “reasonable and necessary.” The rule was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 14, 2021, with an effective date that has been delayed until Dec. 15, 2021. The NPRM will include a public comment period and will detail the agency’s intent to conduct future rulemaking to expedite a coverage pathway for innovative technologies (balanced with evidence development to ensure beneficial health outcomes for beneficiaries) and a regulatory definition of the reasonable and necessary standard for Medicare coverage. 

Medtrade East to require masks 

ATLANTA – Show organizers will require masks at Medtrade East, Oct. 18-20, at the Georgia World Congress Center. In an update to the Medtrade East website, they also note that Atlanta is under a mask mandate. “Medtrade East is excited to welcome our attendees and exhibitors back to forge new relationships and celebrate old ones,” show organizers say on the website. “Our team is committed to creating an event experience where our customers, partners and employees can safely and effectively conduct business.” Advance rates for the show are good through Oct. 8. 

Best Home Medical sells to Rotech 

BARBOURSVILLE, West Va. – Best Home Medical has sold to Rotech Healthcare, according to Medtrade Monday. The company’s owner, Regina Gillispie, RRT, who was the 2018 Van Miller Homecare Champion, is semi-retiring. “After more than 30 years in the HME industry, I made the decision to sell my company to semi-retire,” Gillispie, an active advocate of the industry on Capitol Hill, told Medtrade Monday. “I appreciate all the information and friendships that my membership in ACMESA, VGM and AAHomecare have provided. I met so many amazing people who work hard for our industry and help change things for the better. I hope all companies will join at least one of these great organizations and get involved in advocating for the HME industry.” Best Home Medical formed in 2005. Hear Gillispie on the “HME News in 10” podcast, talking about the benefits of developing relationships with legislators and their aides.  

NHIA to publish scholarly journal for infusion therapies 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Home Infusion Association will launch a new peer-review publication, Infusion Journal. The new scholarly journal will feature independent research and studies related to infused therapies, patient outcomes, medication safety, economic analyses and case studies. “Our provider organizations are operating in a unique and growing health care sector that is underrepresented in the academic-style publishing area,” said Connie Sullivan, president of NHIA. “With the publication of Infusion Journal, NHIA will make data-driven clinical and policy related findings available to the many disciplines involved in delivering infusion therapies in a variety of settings.” The NHIA will publish the journal three times a year and initially mail it as a supplement to INFUSION Magazine, the association’s flagship publication. NHIA, through its 501(c)(3) affiliate National Home Infusion Foundation (NHIF), has renewed its focus on the importance of research and evidence-based practice for the past decade. NHIF has published several research studies resulting from the collection of industry-wide, standardized data on patient satisfaction, reasons for discontinuation of home infusion services and experiences with administration of COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies. The new Infusion Journal will encourage individual clinicians to conduct independent research and submit the results for publication. 

Oventus targets growth in North America with new hire 

BRISBANE, Australia – Oventus Medical has appointed Michael Sisk as vice president of finance in the U.S. to support the increasing needs of the company’s North American operations. He brings more than 25 years of experience in finance and accounting, ranging from smaller banks to $8 billion publicly traded financial institutions. “Mike has built a strong track record of financial management with publicly traded organizations over many years,” said Dr. Chris Hart, founder and CEO. “He will bring broad experience and a clear focus on delivering strong results for the company. As we continue to expand our U.S. customer footprint, having Mike in North America will provide valuable real-time support.” Most recently, Sisk was an executive with Signature Analytics, providing complete accounting and CFO services to companies with revenue ranging from startups with no revenue to companies with $100 million in revenue. Through this role, he provided support to a number of growing med-tech companies. Sisk will be based in California.


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