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In brief: Journey Health buy, Philips complaint count, AI-based HST

In brief: Journey Health buy, Philips complaint count, AI-based HST

RICHMOND, Va., and SAN DIEGO – Journey Health & Lifestyle Brands has acquired LifeWalker Mobility Products, the manufacturer and distributor of the UPWalker family of products. 

The acquisition, as well as additional growth capital for the combined companies, was funded by Peloton Equity and other existing investors in Journey Health, including Escalate Capital. 

“We are excited to bring LifeWalker's revolutionary UPWalker products into the Journey family,” said Journey Health CEO Mitch Yoel. “This acquisition will enable us to broaden and deepen our product portfolio with a world-class product line that can now scale using Journey’s robust marketing, sales and distribution channels. Ultimately, the two companies together allow us to positively impact more consumers’ lives and bring more value to our retail partners.” 

The UPWalker family of products includes the original UPWalker, UPWalker Lite and UPWalker Premium Lite. They’re all available online, as well as through health care providers and distributors throughout the United States, including Veterans Affairs. 

Journey Health has its roots in a partnership between Peloton Equity and Yoel, Harvey Diamond and Richard Kolodny, all formerly of Drive Medical, as well as Charles Valentine. Together, they acquired firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond and relaunched it as Journey Health & Lifestyle in 2021.  

The company says it develops and distributes direct-to-consumer, premium mobility, sleep, comfort and safety products and services for seniors. 

Philips updates complaint count 

AMSTERDAM – Philips says it filed about 78,800 complaints with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration between April 2022 and December 2022 that were allegedly associated with possible foam degradation in recalled CPAP, BiPAP and ventilator devices. 

The company says most of these medical device reports (93%) were due to alleged technical malfunctions that do not involve serious injury. 

“It is important to note that the submission of an MDR itself is not evidence that the device caused or contributed to the adverse outcome or event, and that the cause of an event cannot typically be determined from this reporting system alone,” the company stated. “Philips Respironics investigates all allegations of technical malfunction serious injury or death. Based on the investigations to date, Philips Respironics has found no conclusive data linking these devices and the deaths reported in certain of these MDRs.” 

Previously, from April 2021 to April 2022, Philips filed about 20,500 MDRs, it says. 

In its own update*, the FDA says Philips filed more than 77,000 MDRs that included 223 reports of deaths from May 1, 2022, through Dec. 31, 2022. 

NHIA announces Optum exec as award recipient 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Home Infusion Association has named Penny Allen, RD, CNSC, FASPEN, FNHIA, as the recipient of the 2023 Gene Graves Lifetime Achievement Award. 

As vice president of nutrition support for Optum Infusion Pharmacy, Allen leads clinical programs focused on achieving better health outcomes for patients with malnutrition. With more than 30 years of experience in the industry, her clinical expertise and unwavering commitment to patient care has put her in the forefront of clinical excellence, patient advocacy and earned her a reputation as a trusted and respected leader, the NHIA says. 

“To have the opportunity to witness the impact of home infusion, specifically nutrition-related therapies in patient lives, is what has kept me in this incredibly complex business for almost 35 years,” Allen said.  “My career in home infusion has, honestly, been such a blessing in my life. I have worked with some of the greatest people on the planet, many of whom are my best friends in life. Receiving the NHIA Lifetime Achievement Award is beyond humbling and I’m incredibly honored.” 

Allen’s work with NHIA and the American Society of Parenteral Nutrition (ASPEN) was instrumental in changing Medicare’s coverage policy for home parenteral nutrition (HPN) to reflect current clinical practices, an advocacy effort spanning 20 plus years and multiple reconsideration requests, the NHIA says. The revised local coverage determination was the first change to the HPN policy since it was created in 1984 and has resulted in significantly improved access to this therapy for beneficiaries.  

The award is the highest honor that NHIA bestows on a member of the home and alternate site infusion profession who has dedicated significant time, energy and resources to advocate on behalf of patients and the industry. It is named after Gene Graves, a home infusion pioneer who was instrumental to the founding of NHIA in 1991. 

Royal Philips recognized as global innovator 

AMSTERDAM – Royal Philips has once again been recognized as a Clarivate Top 100 Global Innovator for the 10th consecutive year. Clarivate Analytics measures excellence focused on consistency and scale in innovativeness. “Our innovations empower people to take care of their health and well-being and help doctors and nurses to provide better, more sustainable and more convenient care,” said Roy Jakobs, CEO of Royal Philips. “It’s a great honor to be recognized as a Top 100 Global Innovator for the 10th consecutive year, along with so many esteemed companies. Building on our more than 130 years of delivering meaningful innovation, we will continue to innovate with great passion, with our goal to improve 2.5 billion lives a year by 2030.” Philips invests more than EUR 1.7 billion annually in research and development to deliver patient- and people-centric innovation. In the consumer domain, Philips develops innovative solutions that support healthier lifestyles, prevent disease and help people to live well with chronic illness.  

Aeroflow names new VP of sleep 

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Aeroflow Healthcare has named Lauren Bennett vice president of Aeroflow Sleep, where she has worked since 2019 as director of sales operations. “I’m extremely excited to continue growing with Aeroflow Sleep in this new position, and am looking forward to leading our strong, hardworking team” says Bennett. “I’m honored to be a part of a company that is working diligently to improve the lives of individuals and provide them with the tools to receive the necessary medical supplies through insurance, especially as recalls and shortages have greatly impacted access to care.” In her new role, Bennett will be responsible for driving Aeroflow Sleep’s success in new markets and will ensure increased access to CPAP supplies through insurance for Aeroflow’s customers. 

FDA approves AI-based at-home sleep test 

NAMUR, Belgium – Sunrise has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for its second generation at-home sleep apnea test that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea and sleep-related breathing disorders. The technology captures Mandibular Jaw Movements (MJM) with one point of contact - a lightweight sensor placed on the chin that records the jaw’s movements. Data is collected through an app, analyzed with an algorithm using AI and made available to health care providers through a secure online portal. “We have clinically validated our sensor against the gold standard of polysomnography on thousands of patients to measure sleep-disordered breathing,” said Laurent Martinot, CEO and co-founder of Sunrise. New features on the at-home sleep apnea test include the ability for patients to complete multi-night testing. 

DarioHealth, Dexcom partner on integration 

NEW YORK – DarioHealth is integrating Dexcom’s CGMs into its multi-chronic condition platform, making it easy to use clinical, engagement and behavioral data to adapt a user's experience over time. "Nearly 2 million people use a continuous glucose monitor today, and the ability to capture that data in Dario's platform expands our ability to deliver a dynamic, highly relevant experience to more people living with diabetes,” said Rick Anderson, president, Dario. “It's an exciting development that will, ultimately, benefit every Dario member as the CGM data enriches our overall data ecosystem.” The integration with Dexcom builds on an existing collaboration between Dario and Sanofi US that aims to establish an ecosystem of dedicated technology partners and industry-leading digital therapeutics solutions. 

MasVida receives investment from Brixey & Meyer 

CINCINNATI and FORT WORTH, Texas – MasVida has received a capital investment from Brixey & Meyer Capital. MasVida provides respiratory, oxygen, wound therapy and other medical equipment, along with hygiene products, to post-acute care facilities across Texas. Josh Robertson will continue as the CEO of MasVida and both Josh and George Robertson will remain as owners of the business. "We are excited to partner with BMC as they share the entrepreneurial spirit that George and I have operated the business with over the years," said Josh Robertson. "BMC's partnership is merely a continuation of our mission of providing best-in-class equipment and hygiene products when our customers need them the most." Brixey & Meyer Capital is a lower middle-market private investment firm located in Cincinnati. Since its founding, BMC has closed 12 investments and raised more than $124 million in committed capital to invest in lower middle-market companies. It manages seven different platforms across a variety of industries.   

OIG to report eight drugs to CMS for review 

WASHINGTON – Fifteen drug codes met CMS's price-substitution criteria by exceeding the 5% threshold for two consecutive quarters or three of the previous four quarters, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General. The OIG is providing the 15 drug codes to CMS for its review. The agency should review this information to determine whether to pursue price substitutions that would limit excessive payments for Part B drugs. The Social Security Act mandates that OIG compare ASPs with average manufacturer prices. If the OIG finds that the ASP for a drug exceeds the AMP 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. Through regulation, CMS outlined that it would make this substitution only if the ASP for a drug exceeded the AMP by 5% in the two previous quarters or three of the previous four quarters. 

Do you know the next Homecare Champion? 

WASHINGTON – AAHomecare seeks nominations for the 2023 Van Miller Homecare Champion, an award recognizing a member of the HME community who has made an exceptional contribution to the home care sector throughout their career. AAHomecare seeks nominations for individuals who have a longstanding record of service within the community, who embody the spirit of caring and generosity that are hallmarks of the profession and who are actively involved in the association through membership and engagement. Send nominations to Sue Mairena at by Feb. 24. Jim Walsh, chairman of the board for the VGM Group, was named the 2022 Van Miller Homecare Champion during the AAHomecare Update at Medtrade East in October. 

Stakeholders, including PAMES, push for complex rehab carve-out 

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Pacific Association of Medical Equipment Services (PAMES) and providers in Washington state are working closely with patient advocates to build support for legislation to create a sales and use tax exemption for complex rehab technology products, according to AAHomecare. Providers and patient and disability advocates recently testified in support of S-5218 during a hearing before the Ways & Means Committee of the state Senate. In addition, PAMES and patient advocates got 95 people and organizations to register their support for the bill with the committee prior to the hearing. AAHomecare shared a letter of support, as well as written testimony and documentation from groups like NCART, U.S. Rehab and National Seating & Mobility. Testifying at the meeting were Don Whitney of Inland Medical and Rehab, Bryce Schaffner of Bellevue Healthcare and Shawn Latham of Allies in Advocacy. 

OPGA members receive discounts 

WATERLOO, Iowa – OPGA, PEL and PVA Med have announced a three-party marketing and distribution agreement to make certain products and accessories available for purchase through PEL and PVBA Med. Per the agreement, OPGA members receive exclusive member discounts on the Emergence PRO 3D Printer and Carver PRO-S packages. "This agreement is another example of OPGA members receiving exclusive discounts on technology solutions that help them improve productivity and profit," said Adam Miller, president, OPGA. The agreement focuses on fully integrated, turnkey solutions for 3D printing check sockets and carving lamination molds for lower extremity patients. Specifically, the Emergence PRO and Carver PRO-S enable practices to drive down fabrication costs and delivery times, without sacrificing patient outcomes, the companies say. 

React Health partners with SleepRes 

SARASOTA, Fla. – React Health has a new distribution agreement with SleepRes to provide V-Com with new CPAP orders in the United States. V-Com is placed between the CPAP mask and hose to reduce inspiratory pressure and flow, providing comfort with minimal to no reduction in expiratory pressure (EPAP). “React Health is committed to providing innovative options to improve comfort and patient tolerance to PAP therapy,” said Clint Geffert, president, commercial operations, Reach Health. “The V-Com is a novel approach that is focused on solving the adherence issues that the industry has struggled with due to patients not being able to tolerate their PAP. As a manufacturer, we are in a unique position to complement the efforts that our DME and physician partners utilize daily to improve patient compliance.” V-Com launched in June 2022. 

JQ Medical appoints new CEO 

SALT LAKE CITY – JQ Medical’s board of directors has appointed Matt Gallagher as its new CEO, succeeding Jon Zalk, who will continue to serve in an advisory capacity to the company. Gallagher has more than 15 years of health care and leadership experience, most recently as chief commercial officer of Breg, a non-surgical orthopedic company. “Matt is a proven healthcare leader with a distinguished track record of market-leading growth, customer service, talent development, and a deep knowledge of the home medical equipment market,” said Matt Komenda, chairman of the JQ Medical board and managing partner of Tacoma Holdings. “He will continue JQ Medical’s legacy of providing a world-class customer experience and industry-leading therapy adherence of its customers managing chronic conditions, while accelerating the company’s expansion into other markets.” Gallagher also spent 10 years at Apria Healthcare, where he served in various roles, including as regional vice president of California. JQ, founded in 1994, is an HME supplier that serves people with chronic conditions, particularly those with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. 

NMEDA searches for new CEO 

TAMPA – The board of directors of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association has announced that CEO Danny Langfield will step down on July 1, 2023, to transition to a new role as the executive director of the company’s recently formed 501c3 nonprofit research foundation. The board has appointed a search committee, co-chaired by NMEDA past presidents Sam Cook and Chad Blake, and engaged a national executive search firm to assist in identifying Langfield’s successor. “NMEDA has thrived under Danny’s leadership, and we are all grateful for his service,” Blake said. “While it is bittersweet to see his transition out of the NMEDA CEO role, the entire organization is excited about the possibilities of our new research foundation. We are optimistic that we will find the right candidate to lead NMEDA into the next phase of our industry.” In his new role at the foundation, Langfield will be charged with establishing a board structure, bylaws, budget, mission, vision and strategic plan, as well as a web and social media presence. Per the company’s three-year strategic plan, the foundation is expected to issue its first formal report, “The State of the Auto Mobility Industry,” in the second quarter of 2024 using anonymous data aggregated from the QAPx and Docutrack administration systems. 

NCPA releases new episode 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association has released the fourth episode of its “Show Me” educational reality series. This episode, called “Jumpstart My Travel Vaccine Program,” features Laks Pudipeddi and the staff at Bridgeport Pharmacy in Bridgeport, Conn., who are looking to start a travel immunization program to meet the needs of the people in their community who travel outside of the country. Coach Beverly Schaefer, RPh – “the queen of travel vaccines” – flies in from Katterman’s Sand Point Pharmacy in Seattle to help the Bridgeport team get started with expanding their immunization services and marketing the new offerings to patients. The NCPA Innovation Center announced the “Show Me” series, which is sponsored by Pfizer, at the NCPA Annual Convention in October 2022. The first four episodes are available on the NCPA’s YouTube channel, NCPAvids. The final episode of this season will be released in the coming weeks.  

Somnoware enhances sleep studies 

DANA POINT, Calif. - Somnoware Healthcare Systems has integrated Cerebra Medical’s autoscoring technology, MY Autoscoring, into its platform. The integration enables automated sleep study scoring directly within the Somnoware platform, resulting in polysomnogram (PSG) scoring in less than five minutes, the company says. “Somnoware and Cerebra are a natural fit,” said Subath Kamalasan, Somnoware CEO. “Somnoware’s platform automates diagnostic testing workflows and patient therapy interventions. With MY Autoscoring, clinicians will now be able to automate sleep study scoring within the Somnoware platform. The combined time-savings for clinicians using the integrated platforms is enormous and will reduce costs, decrease testing backlogs, and free up time for patient care.” MY Autoscoring includes Odds Ratio Product (ORP), a Cerebra-patented algorithm that goes beyond conventional scoring by micro analyzing the EEG signal, determining a patient’s sleep depth in each sleep stage. This information is used to better understand a patient’s sleep quality and aid in the diagnosis of sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea.


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