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In brief: Home ventilation’s benefits, California’s win, EZ-Access' expansion

In brief: Home ventilation’s benefits, California’s win, EZ-Access' expansion

LAFAYETTE, La. – Viemed Healthcare has published a third peer-reviewed study demonstrating the benefits of non-invasive ventilation at home.  

Using 100% research identifiable fee-for-service Medicare claims from 2016 through 2020, researchers found that using NIVH to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with chronic hypercapnic respiratory failure is associated with significant reductions in mortality, hospitalizations and total Medicare costs. 

“In addition to the significant clinical benefits demonstrated in previously published papers, this study demonstrates that NIVH improves health outcomes while simultaneously driving down overall health care costs,” said Dr. William Frazier, Viemed’s chief medical officer and co-author of the study. “The study was also designed to investigate how the timing of NIVH initiation affected the outcomes. The results showed that the clinical and financial benefits of NIVH are greatest when therapy begins immediately following the diagnosis.” 

The study, “Early Initiation of Non-Invasive Ventilation at Home Improves Survival and Reduces Healthcare Costs in COPD Patients with Chronic Hypercapnic Respiratory Failure: A Retrospective Cohort Study,” was published in Respiratory Medicine. 

In terms of cost-savings, Medicare expenditures for the year following NIVH initiation decreased by $5,484 (11.6%) compared to controls if treatment began within seven days of diagnosis. The cost reduction was $3,412 (7.2%) if NIVH began within 15 days of diagnosis. For patients whose therapy began more than 15 days after diagnosis, NIVH use was cost neutral. 

Viemed published a similar study in 2021, looking at data from 2012-2018.

California budget contains wins for HME 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California’s recently passed $308 billion budget includes several positive changes for home medical equipment.  

Those changes: 

It makes permanent the 100% of Medicare for all respiratory equipment and supplies that was established by the Department of Health and Children’s Services during the PHE; 

Eliminates the 10% cut on all DME and CGMs; and 

Eliminates the 10% cut for orthotic devices on July 1, 2022, or when federal approval is obtained, and on Jan. 1, 2023, for prosthetic services/devices.  

The changes were pushed by the California Association of Medical Equipment Product Suppliers and other industry stakeholders.  

“The positive outcome achieved for our industry outlined herein is a prime example of what we can achieve when we identify a common goal, put our collective voices together, and initiate the necessary conversations with the people who can help us achieve our desired outcomes,” said Craig Douglas, vice president of payer relations for VGM & Associates. “When we find ourselves in situations where something is not reflective of our current environment, whether that is a medical policy, a reimbursement rate, etc., regardless of how long that policy or rate has been in place, we need to point out the insufficiency and work together toward a better outcome.”  

Kubat opens new location 

OMAHA, Neb. - Kubat HealthCare has opened a new location focused on respiratory equipment and services in Papillion, Neb. "Kubat HealthCare's new respiratory location is a win-win for the community in Papillion, Neb.," said Jim Rich, CEO of Kubat HealthCare. "We are taking action to make our patient's lives better by providing exceptional access to care. This is health care where people and medical providers need it, in this community, where they live and work." The new location will offer CPAP, oxygen, AffloVest and ventilators, as well as vitamins, CBD therapies and home medical equipment. "As a resident of Papillion I've seen first-hand the need for providers that offer an array of health care solutions," said Dawn Wierzbicki, executive vice president of growth. "It is our goal to grow our service offerings within this community moving forward." Kubat recently acquired Hilltop Drugs Etc. in Neligh, Neb. 

FDA authorizes pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has revised the Emergency Use Authorization for Paxlovid to authorize state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe the drug to eligible patients, with certain limitations to ensure appropriate patient assessment and prescribing. “Pharmacists are the drug therapy and drug interaction experts,” said B. Douglas Hoey, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association. “This move opening up their ability to assess the need for and prescribe Paxlovid will improve patients’ timely access to treatments that will help keep them out of the hospital and alive.” Not everyone agrees with the change, however, including the American Medical Association, which said it was “beyond a pharmacist’ scope and training.” “In the fight against a virus that has killed more than 1 million people in the United States and is still extremely present and transmissible, patients will get the best, most comprehensive care from physician-led teams – teams that include pharmacists,” said Dr. Jack Resneck, president of the AMA. “But, whenever possible, prescribing decisions should be made by a physician with knowledge of a patient’s medical history and the ability to follow up. To ensure the best possible care for COVID-19 patients, we urge people who test positive to discuss treatment options with their physician, if they have one.” 

Owens & Minor receives Premier recognition 

RICHMOND, Va. – Owens & Minor has received the 2022 Supplier Legacy Award from Premier Inc., in recognition of its long-standing history of consistently supporting Premier network members. “We know the complexities faced by hospitals, health systems and other providers as they strive to deliver excellent clinical care for their patients while also responsibly managing costs,” said Edward A. Pesicka, president and CEO, Owens & Minor. “We’re proud to be recognized by Premier and its members for consistently and reliably supporting their efforts in attaining those goals.” It’s the seventh year Owens & Minor has received the award. In 2021, the company was also recognized with a COVID-19 Award for Most Supportive Supplier in recognition of its rapid response during the earliest days of the pandemic, implementing robust safety protocols and ramping up its Americas-based PPE manufacturing to help maintain supply resiliency.  

Philips joins climate change initiative 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Philips has joined an initiative created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the White House, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change. The company has extended its actions to combat climate change to its supply chain, aiming to have at least 50% of its suppliers committing to science-based targets for CO₂ emission reduction by 2025. “A healthy environment is vital for healthy human lives, making this a critical initiative,” said Robert Metzke, global head of sustainability for Philips. “At Philips, our purpose is to improve 2.5 billion lives a year by 2030 through meaningful innovation. We have been addressing climate change for many years, teaming up with our partners, including our customers and suppliers. We applaud this new HHS/White House initiative and are confident that this pledge will inspire others to commit to take action against this significant threat.” Philips has been carbon neutral since 2020, and it was one of the first health technology organizations to have its emission reduction targets approved by the Science Based Target Initiative in 2018.  

Health Care Fraud and Abuse program celebrates billions recovered 

WASHINGTON – The national Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control program is marking 25 years of operation and continued success in identifying and prosecuting the most egregious instances of health care fraud, preventing future fraud and abuse, and protecting program beneficiaries. During fiscal year 2021, the federal government won or negotiated more than $5 billion in health care fraud judgments and settlements, in addition to other health care administrative impositions. The program’s efforts include the president of a purported telemedicine company pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud for his role in defrauding Medicare through the submission of false and fraudulent orthotic brace orders in March of 2021. Because of efforts like these, as well as those of preceding years, almost $1.9 billion was returned to the federal government or paid to private persons in FY 2021. Read the 2021 report here. 

WellSky breaks ground on new HQ 

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – WellSky recently broke ground on its second world headquarters building, adjacent to its current headquarters here. Five hundred WellSky teammates, their families and local officials attended the groundbreaking, where WellSky CEO Bill Miller reaffirmed his commitment to the company’s clients and the region and shared his vision for WellSky’s future growth, which includes hiring an additional 1,000 teammates in the coming years. Also in attendance: U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, whose district includes Overland Park, Overland Park Mayor Curt Skoog and Overland Park Chamber of Commerce CEO Tracey Osborne Oljten. WellSky will lease four floors of the 188,960-square-foot building, which is scheduled to be completed in Fall 2023.  

Fisher & Paykel board director to retire 

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Director Geraldine McBride will retire from the board at the close of the company’s annual shareholders meeting in August. She has served as an independent director on the board since August 2013. “Geraldine has been a valuable presence in the boardroom throughout a period of significant growth for our company,” said Scott St John, board chair. “We have benefitted greatly from her experience, drawn from a successful career working with some of the world’s largest technology players.” The announcement follows the appointment of Cather Simpson to the board as an independent director, effective June 1. 

EZ-Access expands in Kentucky 

AUBURN, Wash. – EZ-Access, a division of Homecare Products, has added a new manufacturing and distribution facility in Hopkinsville, Ky. It has also relocated its corporate headquarters to Auburn, Wash., and opened an office in Madison, Tenn. Situating all of the company’s manufacturing and distribution in Kentucky consolidates resources, increases coordination and creates a central hub for receiving raw materials and efficiently deploying finished goods across the United States, the company says. “We are very excited about this expansion and are eager about the opportunity to elevate our capabilities,” said Don Everard, CEO and part-owner. “Many thanks to our internal teams for their impressive collaboration and the execution of an opening and relocation of this caliber. After 38 years in business, it’s thrilling to keep moving forward, breaking through barriers and enriching lives by providing access solutions to those who need it most.” The company’s Washington headquarters will continue to support departments such as finance, HR and customer service. The office in Tennessee will primarily offer operations and sales personnel with a place to work and gather for strategic meetings and training. 

Miller’s named top workplace 

CANTON, Ohio – Miller’s Rental and Sales has been named one of Northeast Ohio’s Top Workplaces 2022 by The Plain Dealer/ The company was ranked 23rd out of 137 companies in the Small Business Category for 149 employees or fewer. “This achievement is very exciting and shared by all of the members of the Miller’s team,” said Johnny P. Miller, president. “I am especially proud of the fact that we ranked in the top 5% of all companies based on our staff’s belief that Miller’s Rental and Sales operates by strong values. We also ranked in the top 5% for work life balance. Congratulations to each and every member of our team. Thank you for all that you do, and thank you for this special recognition.” Miller’s, a third-generation, family-owned company, serves northeast Ohio with four retail showrooms in Canton, Akron, Cleveland and Youngstown.  

Traccom signs remote patient monitoring agreement 

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – Traccom has signed an agreement with Diabetic Direct to be a primary supplier of its MedicalPro remote patient monitoring device. Diabetic Direct provides a fully automated life insurance portal specifically for people with diabetes, making it easy for them to acquire same day, full coverage. “This supply agreement letter of intent represents a significant opportunity for the company to gain a presence in this critical segment of the U.S. health care market that is comprised of 37 million diabetic patients,” said Harry Steck, CEO of Traccom. Traccom MedicalPro consists of a communications hub and seven ancillary devices that monitor health conditions from the patient’s home. The monitoring devices are blood pressure, weight, temperature, glucose, oxygen, EKG and spirometer. Each time a person uses one or more of the devices, the results are immediately uploaded to their portal, where physicians/pharmacists have full access to their readings.


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