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In brief: Medline acquisition, BOC honor, Brightree integration

In brief: Medline acquisition, BOC honor, Brightree integration

NORTHFIELD, Ill. – Medline plans to acquire a significant portion of the Hudson RCI brand of respiratory products from Teleflex, in a bid to strengthen its offerings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hudson RCI’s oxygen and aerosol therapy, active humidification and pulmonary hygiene products will complement Medline’s respiratory portfolio; will add two manufacturing facilities in Arlington Heights, Ill., and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico; and will add 1,000 employees.

“Hudson RCI is a natural addition to Medline,” said Andy Mills, president. “Medline has a long history of investing in key market areas to deliver new opportunities and efficiencies to health care providers. The acquisition brings one of the most admired respiratory brands into our world-class portfolio of products.”

The Hudson RCI corporate and manufacturing teams will become part of Medline’s Respiratory Division, reporting to Division President Tim Finnigan through Division Vice President Donna Mosakowski. In the United States, more than 30 sales specialists and clinical specialists will join the Acute Care Specialty Sales Group, reporting to Patrick Griffin, vice president of national field sales.

The acquisition also extends Medline’s European offerings and opens additional opportunities for development and support of customers in Europe.

The deal is expected to close later this year, pending regulatory reviews.

ResMed 'stands strong’ with India

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – ResMed has shipped more than 8,000 ventilators to hospitals in India since April and plans to ship more in the coming weeks, it says.

“ResMed stands strong with all the people in India as we provide support to mitigate the effects of its latest wave of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations,” said Justin Leong, Asian and Latin American president. “We continue to work closely with our partners on the ground to gauge demand, and our global teams are working together to build and send thousands more ventilators over the coming weeks.”

ResMed has expanded AirView for ventilation in India, Europe, Latin America, and the United States over the past year to enable monitoring patients remotely, and has hosted more than 50 webinars for physicians in India.

“I truly wish to thank our India-based team, who are working tirelessly each day to keep delivering our products and services to their communities,” said Leong. “Our team’s safety and wellbeing is a top priority for us, and we are providing additional support and benefits, such as increased insurance coverage and paying for vaccination costs to keep them and their families safe during this time.”

Medicare Advantage leads the way, according to report

WASHINGTON – Enrollment in Medicare Advantage programs has nearly doubled in the past decade to 26 million Americans or 42% of all Medicare beneficiaries, according to the Better Medicare Alliance’s 2021 “State of Medicare Advantage” report.

The annual report shows near-universal satisfaction, greater consumer savings, and better health outcomes in Medicare Advantage programs compared to traditional fee-for-service Medicare. This year’s report also includes a snapshot of the Medicare Advantage community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This report is a testament to the importance of continued stability and support from policymakers – both for the 26.5 million beneficiaries who choose Medicare Advantage now, and the additional 10,000 Americans who age into Medicare each day,” said Allyson Schwartz, president and CEO. “As Congress and the Biden administration work to address health disparities, lower consumer costs and accelerate the move to value-based care, our research shows how Medicare Advantage is leading the way and is a critical partner in these efforts to modernize and improve health care delivery.”

Key findings in the report include:

98% of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are satisfied with their coverage, while 97% are specifically satisfied with their network of physicians, hospitals, and specialists;

Medicare Advantage beneficiaries had 41% and 18% fewer avoidable acute and chronic hospitalizations, respectively, than traditional FFS Medicare beneficiaries;

Medicare Advantage beneficiaries spent less, with cost savings of $1,640, resulting in a 40% lower rate-of-cost burden than FFS Medicare.

The Better Medicare Alliance is a research and advocacy organization supporting Medicare Advantage.

Vent bill moves forward in Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana House of Representatives last week passed HB 594, a bill that would prevent insurers, managed care organizations and other payers from setting reimbursement caps for ventilators, according to AAHomecare. The association joined HME stakeholders in the state to support the bill, helping to convince key legislators to remove proposed amendments that would have capped costs for non-invasive ventilators and would have restricted the ability of HME providers to provide important service and maintenance for these specialized products. “This is a very positive development for Louisiana respiratory providers and patients who depend on what are, in most cases, life-support systems,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare. “HME leaders in Louisiana have done a terrific job moving this bill forward in a challenging legislative environment.” David Chandler, senior director of payer relations for AAHomecare, testified in person before the House Insurance Committee on May 12 to support the bill. HB 594, which passed 84-14, now moves to the Senate.

NCPA weighs in on legislation

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association supports a bill in the New York state legislature that would require reimbursement to be no lower than the Medicaid fee-for-service program. Under the proposed bill, SB 6603, what a PBM reimburses pharmacies must be based on the national average drug acquisition cost (NADAC)- a simple average of the drug acquisition costs submitted by pharmacies - plus a professional dispensing fee. The professional dispensing fee is established by the state and is supported by New York-specific data. “These two benchmarks are evidence-based and accurately reflect a pharmacy’s true cost of dispensing a drug,” wrote Anne Cassity, vice president, federal and state government affairs, for the NCPA in a *letter to the New York State Senate Committee on Health. “By basing pharmacy reimbursements on NADAC plus the state- established professional dispensing fee, this bill will allow the state, taxpayers, and patients to rest assured that the amount they are paying for their medications is an accurate reflection of the true cost of those drugs.”

Ability Members Group now touches both coasts

TORONTO – Ability Members Group has added Eastern Medical Supplies to its network of providers. Eastern Medical has served Newfoundland and Labrador since 1987. “Adding Eastern Medical Supplies to our membership gives us the ability to support the home health care needs of Canadians across the country,” says Jamie Church, CEO of Ability Members Group. “Bill and his team have over 30 years of experience to share with our members and we look forward to helping them adopt additional programs and tools to serve their communities.” Ability Members Group, which has a goal of 100 members, added Align Home Health Care to its network in March.

BOC honors top O&P professional

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – BOC has named Michael Arnette, BOCO, BOCP, as its Certificant of the Year for, among other achievements, his prosthetic care work in Nigeria.

The award recognizes an individual for outstanding contributions to their profession, including commitments to service, research and outreach.

“I am honored to be named BOC’s Certificant of the Year,” said Arnette. “I am proud to accept as a representative of the many clinicians who strive to improve the lives of others. It has been extremely rewarding to play a part in the recovery process for individuals experiencing limb loss and I am thankful to my team and family members at Progressive for their continued dedication and support.”

Arnette, a BOC-certified orthotist/prosthetist since 2010, has provided prosthetic care to more than 500 amputees in Nigeria through outreach performed by Progressive Prosthetics and Orthotics, the family-owned business where he works alongside his father and brothers. Arnette and his team have also trained local Nigerians, helping to pave the way for establishing a clinic there that provides patient care.

BOC-certified Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Specialists, Mastectomy Fitters, Orthotic Fitters, Orthotists, Pedorthists and Prosthetists are eligible to be named BOC’s Certificant of the Year.

The nomination period for the next award will open in September 2021. 

Abilitech Medical seeks participants for study

MINNEAPOLIS – Abilitech Medical,which makes an assistive technology device that helps restore use of weak upper arms called the Abilitech Assist, has begun recruiting people with muscular dystrophy for a study. “The amount of progress in research and the increase of clinical treatments for neuromuscular diseases in the last 15 years has been incredible,” said Dr. Molly Stark, physical therapist at the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Center at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis. “Every day, we focus on current treatments and finding an eventual cure. Doing clinical trials like this will be another step forward to maximize independence and minimize functional impairments of muscular dystrophy in adults and children.” The study will include 35 people and take place at the University of Minnesota and the Gillette Children’s Specialty Care Hospital in St. Paul, Minn. The objective of the study is to measure how the Abilitech Assist can help people living with MD independently complete activities of daily living.

Ascensia launches browser-based platform

BASEL, Switzerland – Ascensia Diabetes Care has launched, a browser-based diabetes management and analytics platform that enables data driven care for people using one of the meters in its CONTOUR portfolio. Through a single platform, people with diabetes can now access their diabetes data online and share it with their health care providers and caregivers through dedicated web apps. “Simplifying and improving the lives of people living with diabetes through innovative solutions is at the heart of all we do at Ascensia and the platform is a step toward achieving that,” said Robert Schumm, president. “It has been borne out of clearly defined unmet needs from both healthcare professionals and people with diabetes.” The platform incorporates the ability to instantly onboard patients through QR codes or a simple one-click invitation; the option for people with diabetes to store data in their own personal cloud drive or offline storage; and the ability to generate easy-to-read color-coded charts and reports to speed up and make it easier for HCPs to analyze the data, alongside interactive aggregations or groupings.

Brightree integrates with MedEdge

ATLANTA – Brightree has integrated its Brightree Business Management Solution for Pharmacy with 340B Validation Services from MedEdge Solutions. The integration creates a robust web-based tool for managing 340B data, submissions to third-party administrators and reporting. “This integration emphasizes Brightree’s continued commitment to providing a robust and customizable software experience for our customers,” said Jen Keiser, senior director of pharmacy product management at Brightree. “The strong real-time connection between Brightree and MedEdge will streamline workflows, automate the important 340B filing process and shorten time between claims and payment, all with user-friendly access to data and analytics to improve decision making.” The Brightree 340B Reporter, which directly integrates with Brightree dispensing data, enables the company’s pharmacy and home infusion customers to: review and edit their 340B data before submitting, automatically schedule submissions on a customized timeline, track claims validations and payments, and easily identify trends based on payer, item or physician. It also allows them to set specific rules for various 340B contracts and validates each submission ahead of time so providers can address any issues, such as errors or incomplete documentation, before submitting for increased efficiencies and more streamlined operations.

Rehab Medical enters Nashville market

INDIANAPOLIS – Rehab Medical is now offering its products and services in the Nashville area, marking the first time the company has entered a new market without a pre-established presence or an acquisition of an established company. “Our vision is to be the national leader of complex rehab technology and to do that, we must increase the number of states where we have a presence,” said Kevin Gearheart, president. “Tennessee is a logical location for us because it connects two regions of the country where we have a strong footprint: the Midwest and Southeast.” Rehab Medical is starting off with three mobility experts to serve Nashville, with plans to expand the team by the end of June. The company now has 25 locations nationwide. Rehab Medical’s growth was boosted in 2020 by the acquisitions of Wheelchairs Plus of San Antonio, Texas, and Mobility Specialists of Winter Haven, Fla., as well as office expansions in Ohio and Indiana.

EMBRACE fills trailers with donated DME

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – EMBRACE Foundation hosted a donation pick-up event in May, filling two enclosed trailers with items ranging from hospital beds to wheelchairs to walkers to braces to supplies. Samaritan’s Purse World Medical Mission will distribute the equipment and supplies to their partner hospitals worldwide. “Seeing all the donations together was extraordinary,” said Carrie Chi, a board member of the EMBRACE Foundation. “The amount collected is truly remarkable. To know that these donations will be repurposed for those in need versus going to landfills or stagnating in someone’s closet is an amazing feeling.” About 20 volunteers from area health care businesses and other businesses participated. EMBRACE Foundation is actively seeking donations of gently used DME or unused medical supplies from private individuals, medical practices or hospitals, assisted-living facilities and community or church organizations.

Simplex tapped by network for enteral nutrition

Company will work alongside AdaptHealth to care for patients

AMBLER, Pa. – Simplex Health, a provider of medical nutrition therapies, and Axia Women’s Health, an independent women’s health group, have expanded their partnership to support gestational diabetes patients across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. As Axia’s trusted partner, Simplex will support gestational diabetes patients by offering nutrition counseling to lower glucose and insulin levels, manage carbohydrate and sugar intake, and more. Simplex will also work alongside AdaptHealth to help patients safely and conveniently manage their condition from home. “The enormity of this partnership cannot be overstated,” said David Rambo, CEO and founder of Simplex. “Introducing Axia’s entire patient population to our powerful, clinically based nutrition interventions furthers our mission to provide patients of all populations access to our progressive therapies – bringing us that much closer to healing our population from the inside out.” Axia Women’s Health is a growing network of nearly 400 providers and 150 women’s health centers across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

CMS further delays new technology pathway

WASHINGTON – CMS in a final rule filed last week further delayed the effective date for a Medicare coverage pathway to provide beneficiaries access to new, innovative medical devices designated as breakthrough technology by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The effective date for Medicare Coverage of Innovative Technology, as well as implementing regulatory standards to be used in making reasonable and necessary determinations under the Social Security Act for items and services that are furnished under Medicare Part A and B, has been delayed until Dec. 15, 2021.

“The final rule would further delay the effective date of the MCIT/R&N final rule until Dec. 15, 2021, to provide CMS an opportunity to address all of the issues raised by stakeholders, especially Medicare patient protections, evidence criteria and lack of coordination between coverage, coding and payment as noted previously,” CMS states. “During the delay, we will determine appropriate next steps that are in the best interest of all Medicare stakeholders, and beneficiaries in particular.”

Earlier this year, CMS filed an interim final rule delaying the effective date of the MCIT/Ramp;N final rule for 60 days to ensure that the rulemaking process was procedurally adequate; that it properly considered all relevant facts; that it considered statutory or other legal obligations; and that it had adequately considered public comments objecting to certain elements of the rule.

CMS says it received about 215 comments in response to the IFR delaying the effective date of the MCIT/R&N final rule.

SuperCare Health gives back

DOWNEY, Calif. – SuperCare Health is coordinating the donation of oxygen equipment and supplies to help with the catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic in India. The company understands the impact firsthand when equipment and supplies are not readily available – it faced oxygen and ventilator shortages during multiple COVID-19 surges last year in the United States. “In addition to working together with our referral sources and payer partners to respond to the public health crisis in India, SuperCare Health is also donating life-saving oxygen equipment, related supplies and protective gear that assisted us through our own country’s pandemic surges,” said John Cassar, CEO of SuperCare Health. During the peak of the pandemic in the U.S., SuperCare Health was able to work closely with their payer partners and medical community to manage those impacted by COVID-19 and those with chronic respiratory diseases by implementing monitoring programs in the home and working with its supply chain to keep oxygen concentrators available to those in critical need. The company has been awarded exclusive contracts based on its positive clinical and financial outcomes to provide a broad range of therapies, including ventilation, oxygen, nebulizers and medications, CPAP, airway clearance and mobilization, and HME.

Healogics draws $240M investment 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Healogics, a provider of wound care therapy, has announced a new $240 million equity investment, positioning the company for growth. As part of the transaction, a group of new and existing investors, led by Clayton Dubilier & Rice, Partners Group and Northwestern Mutual invested $75 million of common equity, and Marathon Asset Management invested more than $165 million in new preferred stock. “This transaction demonstrates strong support and confidence in Healogics’ business and long-term growth plan,” said David Bassin, CEO of Healogics. “With this new capital we are well-positioned to further improve our operational capacity to expand the reach of our essential care to patients in need.” Healogics has also secured a new $30 million revolving credit facility and a new $370 million first lien term loan, both led by J.P. Morgan’s Strategic Situations. The financing resulted in an extension of the company’s debt maturity schedule, with no significant maturities prior to 2025.

Quipt Home Medical files form with SEC

CINCINNATI – Quipt Home Medical has filed a Form 40-F Registration Statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, marking a significant milestone in the process of the company listing its common share on the Nasdaq. “Quipt’s rapidly growing operations are completely based in the United States, making the filing of our Form 40-F a significant steppingstone for the company,” said Greg Crawford, CEO and chairman of Quipt. “We are striving to become a national leader in respiratory home care in the United States and are excited to utilize a Nasdaq listing to meaningfully increase our company’s awareness. With our robust balance sheet, continued operating momentum and pipeline of acquisitions, we are excited to share our vision with a broader audience of investors.” Quipt will become a reporting issuer in the United States following effectiveness of the Form 40-F, in addition to being a reporting issuer in Canada. The company’s common shares began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange TSX Venture Exchange under its new name on May 13.


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