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In brief: Inogen revenues, UnitedHealth merger, Heartland registration

In brief: Inogen revenues, UnitedHealth merger, Heartland registration

GOLETA, Calif. – Inogen reported revenue of $76.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2021, an increase of 3.3% over the same period in 2020, driven by a 23.3% in domestic direct-to-consumer sales to $33 million. 

Domestic business-to-business sales in the fourth quarter of 2021 decreased 57.6% to $10.3 million compared to $24.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, primarily due to the supply chain constraints that limited product availability in this channel. 

Rental revenue was $13 million, up 39.4% from the same period in 2020. 

“Over the past year, our team has made steady progress to advance our overall strategy, working to expand our sales footprint in the prescriber channel and implement initiatives aimed at driving productivity of our overall commercial operations,” said Inogen’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Nabil Shabshab. “We have been nimble and decisive in looking to meet steady customer demand in the face of significant supply chain headwinds, including semiconductor availability and the resulting cost impact. At the same time, we are focused on investing in the business to strengthen our clinical research and R&D capabilities and commercial strategies that will position us for long-term, sustainable growth and profitability in the years to come.” 

Other highlights: 

For the full year, Inogen reported total revenue of $358 million, up 16.1% versus 2020. 

An increased focus on rentals lead to a 63.5% increase in rental revenue, primarily due to a 33.2% increase in patients on service and an improved rental gross margin of 57.4% in 2021 compared to 52.1% in 2020. 

International business-to-business sales in the fourth quarter of 2021 increased 47.6% to $20.1 million compared to $13.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2020.  

DOJ files lawsuit to stop UnitedHealth acquisition 

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice, along with attorneys general in Minnesota and New York, have filed a lawsuit to stop UnitedHealth Group’s proposed $13 billion acquisition of Change Healthcare. 

The civil complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges the deal would harm competition in commercial health insurance markets, as well as in the market for a technology used by health insurers to process health insurance claims and reduce health care costs. 

“Quality health insurance should be accessible to all Americans,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “If America’s largest health insurer is permitted to acquire a major rival for critical health care claims technologies, it will undermine competition for health insurance and stifle innovation in the employer health insurance markets. The Justice Department is committed to challenging anticompetitive mergers, particularly those at the intersection of health care and data.” 

The complaint alleges the proposed transaction would give United access to a vast amount of its rival health insurers’ competitively sensitive information, giving it an unfair advantage and harming competition in health insurance markets. The proposed transaction also would eliminate United’s only major rival for first-pass claims editing technology — a critical product used to efficiently process health insurance claims and save health insurers billions of dollars each year — and give United a monopoly share in the market. 

UnitedHealth Group’s subsidiaries include UnitedHealthcare, the largest health insurer in the United States. United’s revenues were $288 billion in 2021. 

Change Healthcare is an independent health care technology company providing health care analytics, software, services and data to health care providers, health insurers and other software and services firms in the health care industry. Its revenues were $3.4 billion in 2021. 

VGM opens registration for Heartland Conference  

WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM has opened registration for its Heartland Conference, June 13-15 in Waterloo, Iowa.  

Special Early Bird pricing is available to those who register for passes prior to April 15. Passes are all-inclusive and provide access to all education, including four pre-conference sessions, as well as meals, entertainment and an exhibit hall.   

“Heartland has always been about bringing people together to be part of something bigger—a community,” said Clint Geffert, president of VGM & Associates. “That’s why we’re so excited to have Heartland 2022 live and in person again. Each year, we work hard to make Heartland even better than the last. With our outstanding lineup of speakers, education and social events, Heartland’s 21st year is going to be one of the best experiences yet.”  

The Heartland Conference features educational sessions covering topics like respiratory, accessibility, regulatory and audits, rehab, operations, sales and marketing, billing and reimbursement, and retail. This year’s education offers more than 60 options for earning an estimated 14.75 contact hours/CEUs.  

The event also features opportunities for networking and fun, including HME community dinners, the Heartland hog roast with fireworks, and a special event for first-time attendees.   

“Heartland has something for every HME professional,” said Jill Blaser, Heartland Conference chair. “There’s going to be so much to learn, see, and experience. We can’t wait to welcome our members back and show off our community’s recently renovated hotel and convention center.”    

To learn more and register, visit

NCPA denounces FTC decision on PBMs 

WASHINGTON – The National Community Pharmacists Association criticized the Federal Trade Commission after it deadlocked on a vote to investigate pharmacy benefit managers. 

“Two members of the FTC just let the worst actors in the market off the hook. After hearing hours of testimony by community pharmacists and patients, all of whom painted the same shocking picture about PBM abuse, and not a single witness there to defend the PBM industry, it is inexplicable that two members of the commission could vote against the study,” stated NCPA. 

The association and other pharmacy stakeholders on Feb. 17 testified at an FTC hearing on whether the agency should order PBMs to provide information about their anti-competitive practices. NCPA has called on the FTC for an investigation multiple times in the past year. PBM practices result in restricted access to patients; clawbacks in the form of DIR and GER fees; patient steering away from community pharmacies; below-cost reimbursements; and punitive audit practices, says NCPA. 

In September 2021, NCPA partnered with five other organizations to form the Coalition for PBM Reform to bring transparency to a part of the health care system that they say is dominated by a few giant corporate middlemen.

Insulet surpasses $1 billion milestone 

ACTON, Mass. – Insulet Corporation reported revenue of $307.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2021, and full year revenue of $1.1 billion. Total Omnipod revenue was $275.8 million for the quarter and $1 billion for the full year. Of that, U.S. Omnipod revenue for the year was $651.5 million and international Omnipod revenue of $359.9 million. “2021 was another successful year for Insulet, as we reached an important milestone of over $1 billion in revenue and advanced our strategic priorities,” said Shacey Petrovic, president and CEO. “We entered 2022 with significant momentum and expect continued strong growth. We are incredibly excited about the commercial launch of Omnipod 5, which is a transformative technology offering users award-winning innovation, improved outcomes and quality of life. Our commitment to improving the lives of people with diabetes has never been stronger.” 

VGM’s Kazynski retires 

WATERLOO, Iowa—Dave Kazynski will retire from VGM Group, Inc., Feb., after 30 years in leadership roles with the company. Kazynski served as president of VGM HOMELINK from its inception in 1993 until March 2021. Since that time, he has overseen a structured transition in leadership, with Matt Waller ascending to the role of HOMELINK president. In the past year Kazynski also oversaw VGM Forbin, Strategic Imaging, corporate IT and other VGM investment initiatives. Part of founder Van G. Miller’s original leadership team, Kazynski built HOMELINK— from just an idea to give medical equipment providers access to closed insurance networks—into a vibrant VGM business unit employing more than 550 people. Today, HOMELINK provides a healthcare network and coordination of care for more than 30 million covered lives served by 100,000 healthcare providers and is part of 1,200 payer networks. HOMELINK’s mission is to improve the lives of everyone it serves. 

Morten Hansen joins AAH board 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The AAHomecare Board of Directors has approved the appointment of Morten Hansen to an at-large seat for 2022-2023. Hansen is vice president, Channel Sales & Marketing for Comfort Medical with more than 10 years of experience in health care sales and operations. “We look forward to Morten joining the Board of Directors for AAHomecare and sharing his vast sales expertise and medical supplies knowledge with the Association,” said Tom Ryan, president of AAHomecare. “He will be a great asset to our leadership and brings further diversity of the DME products represented by the Board.” 

HighMark launches virtual diabetes program 

PITTSBURGH and BOSTON – Highmark Health is launching Well360 Diabetes Management, a virtual care program powered by Onduo, a Verily company, for adults with type 2 diabetes. Available to most Highmark health insurance members with type 2 diabetes and are over 18 years of age, the program, part of the Living Health model, offers members personalized, proactive support to manage their diabetes, improve health outcomes and reduce costs. "We're thrilled to be offering our first Living Health solution to a broad population of Highmark members," said Karen Hanlon, executive vice president, chief operations officer, Highmark Health. "As an on-demand access point to care, Well360 Diabetes Management is one milestone on Highmark Health's journey to unite payers, providers, tech innovators, and the community to build a health ecosystem that works better for everyone." The joint pilot of Well360 Diabetes Management conducted by Highmark Health and Onduo saw 92% of participating members with a baseline A1C of 9% or greater improve their A1C by an average of 2.7 points upon follow-up. Additionally, members who reported losing weight lost an average of 13.3 pounds, or 5.7% of their starting weight. 

Study: CPAP for elderly patients not as effective  

COLUMBIA, Mo. – CPAP therapy may not be as effective for patients older than 80, say researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine. In a study published in Sleep Medicine, researchers studied 369 participants over the age of 70 with OSA and assigned roughly half to receive CPAP therapy for three months. Researchers used several metrics to compare both groups, including a subjective measure of a patient’s sleepiness, the effect of CPAP on sleep-related quality of life, the effect on anxiety and depression, and impact on blood pressure levels. They further subdivided the results by those older and younger than 80. “Our findings suggest that CPAP treatment is not as effective in patients over 80 years of age with OSA when compared to younger patients,” says Dr. David Gozal, senior author, and the Marie M. and Harry L. Smith Endowed Chair of Child Health at the MU School of Medicine. “We did not see any improvements in OSA-related symptoms, quality-of-life metrics, mood-related symptoms, or blood pressure compared to the group that did not receive CPAP treatment.” 

NHIA names infusion fellows 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Home Infusion Association has announced the 2022 Fellow Program (FNHIA) cohort, made up of highly accomplished home and alternate site infusion professionals. Those selected for the FNHIA program include: Brett Benfield, Penny Allen, Cheryl Gast-Whitaker, Cynde Derryberry, Robert Buzas, Pammi Jo Farren, and Glenel Tillich. “Congratulations to this year’s fellows,” said Connie Sullivan, NHIA president and CEO. “This program was created to recognize individual contributions, accomplishments, and expertise in home and alternate site infusion and once again, we are impressed with the caliber of experience, leadership, and commitment embodied in the 2022 group of FNHIA recipients.” The program is administered and funded by the National Home Infusion Foundation (NHIF), thanks to a generous contribution from Integrated Medical Systems, Inc., the 2022 sponsor of the NHIA Fellow Program.

Senators weigh in on Medicare Advantage plans 

WASHINGTON – A recent letter signed by 63 members of the U.S. Senate urges CMS to “ensure that payment or policy changes allow Medicare Advantage plans to continue to provide the patient-centered care that 43% of Medicare-eligible Americans rely on every day.” The letter, led by Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., comes as CMS prepares to finalize its Medicare Advantage rate announcement for 2023, expected by April 4. “Today, in a historic showing of bipartisan support, nearly two-thirds of the Senate put beneficiaries first by declaring their support for the Medicare Advantage coverage their constituents actively choose and need,” said Mary Beth Donahue, president and CEO, Better Medicare Alliance. “That such ideologically, geographically diverse members of the Senate would find common ground on this issue is a testament to their steadfast commitment to seniors and to what Medicare Advantage is already doing: delivering better health outcomes, more benefits, lower consumer costs, and marking a path to a more equitable health care future. With ongoing bipartisan support in Washington, this work will continue.” A similar letter was sent in January by the House of Representatives. 

Medtrade East calls for speakers 

ATLANTA – Show organizers have put out a call for speakers for Medtrade East, Oct. 24-26, at the Georgia World Congress Center. The educational advisory board (EAB) has changed the format for this year to better address the hottest topics within the HME and supply industry and to better serve the needs of attendees. Prospective speakers are asked to select specific topics within the following suggested categories: audits, business operations, contractor updates, federal legislative and regulatory, leadership, legal, payer relations, products, services, sales and marketing, state legislative and regulatory, retail and technology. The deadline is March 25. FMI: 

OIG: Eight drug codes up for price substitutions 

WASHINGTON – Eight codes for Part B drugs in the third quarter of 2021 met CMS’s price substitution criteria by exceeding the 5% threshold for two consecutive quarters or three of the previous four quarters, according to an update from the Office of Inspector General. If the OIG finds that the average sales price for a drug exceeded the average manufacturer price by a certain percentage – currently 5% – the Social Security Act directs the secretary of Health and Human Services to substitute the ASP-based payment amount with a lower calculated rate. The OIG is providing the eight drug codes to CMS for review. It says CMS should review the information to determine whether to pursue price substitutions that would limit excessive payments for Part B drugs. The OIG found seven drug codes met CMS’s price substitution criteria in the second quarter of 2021. 

AZ MediQuip promotes Evan Conlon 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – AZ MediQuip of Arizona has promoted Evan Conlon to director of procurement. In his new role, Conlon, who has moved from relationship associate to store manager to new store opening manager and to procurement manager, will lead the company’s partner relationships and purchasing agreements. “With a proven track record of achievement and a strong desire to make a positive impact on our brand and our customers, Evan is a valuable asset as we continue to grow and develop our business,” said Mark Belanger, COO of AZ MediQuip. “We are pleased to promote Evan to this leadership role and look forward to his continued contributions as we remain focused on our brand transformation.” Conlon will serve as a member of the AZ MediQuip leadership team and will report directly to Belanger. He will be based out of the company’s headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz. 

Home Care Specialists streamlines 
HAVERHILL, Mass. – Home Care Specialists Inc. is planning to buy its own building in the Ward Hill Business Park here and to create 10 additional full-time jobs and five part-time jobs in the next three years, according to The Eagle-Tribune. The company’s CEO, Brian Desmarais, told the newspaper the move will allow it to reduce expenses and streamline services. "The building we've been leasing at 113 Neck Road has more office space than we need, as more of our employees have been working from home," he said. "The building at 63 Neck Road that we plan to purchase offers us more warehouse space, as we run our own fleet of trucks for deliveries to where patients are, including homes, hospitals and nursing homes, as well as hospice and assisted living facilities." Home Care Specialists also has locations in Concord, N.H., and Eliot, Maine. 

Braze Mobility, Sunrise Medical partner 

TORONTO – Braze Mobility’s blind spot sensor technology is now available on Sunrise Medical’s Quickie line of power wheelchairs in Canada as a result of a new partnership between the two companies. “Sunrise Medical Canada is very proud to be partnering with Braze Mobility,” said Mike Longo, senior director, commercial operations. “This partnership will give us first-to-market OEM access to their innovative, blind spot sensor technology on our line of Quickie power wheelchairs. Client safety and independence are core values at the heart of our mission of ‘Improving People’s Lives.’” The sensors, which can be added to any manual or power wheelchair, transforming it into a “smart wheelchair,” detects obstacles and provides feedback to users through lights, sounds and vibrations. “We have really enjoyed working with the Sunrise team to provide Braze blind spot sensors to Quickie users across Canada, helping them navigate boldly, independently and safely.”


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