Skip to Content

In brief: Medline’s growth, ACMESA meeting, oxygen utilization

In brief: Medline’s growth, ACMESA meeting, oxygen utilization

NORTHFIELD, Ill. – Medline opened five newly constructed distribution centers in 2021, with two more scheduled to be completed in 2022, as part of its $1.5 billion Healthcare Resilience Initiative. 

The newest LEED-certified distribution center, set to open in the first quarter of 2022, is in Richmond Hill, Ga., less than 30 miles from the Port of Savannah. It will provide an additional 1.2 million square feet of space to stockpile supplies for customer distribution centers throughout the region, bringing Medline’s total medical-grade warehousing footprint to more than 27 million square feet in the United States. 

“Throughout 2021, the Medline team remained laser-focused on supporting our customers through another challenging year and strengthening the resiliency of the healthcare supply chain,” said Doug Golwas, executive vice president of acute care sales for Medline. “Heading into 2022, that commitment remains as we continue to partner with our customers and together identify new strategies to enhance operational and clinical efficiencies.”   

Medline says its expanded warehouse footprint enhances its nationwide disaster preparedness capacity, allowing it to provide inventory management services, expand customized third-party logistics capabilities and further support its CERT (Customer Emergency Response Tools) program. 

The company also grew its prime vendor partnerships in 2021 to include more than 230 additional health care providers and health systems, worth nearly $2 billion in annual, incremental medical supplies and solution sales that span the continuum of care.  

ACMESA hosts meeting, names board members 

CARY, N.C. – The Atlantic Coast Medical Equipment Services Association held its Winter Meeting in person at the Durham Convention Center in Durham, N.C., on Feb. 2-3 for two days of education and connection. 

The event featured live and remote speakers, including Ashley Thomas, the founder and CEO of Bridge2Sports, and a vendor reception with a magician. At the meeting, ACMESA also handed out the Tart Advocacy Award to AAHomecare’s Laura Williard and David Chandler and named the 2022 lineup for its board of directors, including Brian Wilson of Commonwealth Home Health Care as president. 

“ACMESA has quite a bit to offer medical equipment companies in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, so one of our goals is to get the word out and have them come and join us so we can put protections in place for our patients that we have the honor of taking care of in their homes,” he said. “It’s going to be an exciting year.” 

In addition to Wilson, the board now comprises Chris Burgess of Med Emporium (vice president), Kimberly Lynn of Carolina Apothecary (secretary), Frank Trammell of Carolinas Home Medical Equipment (treasurer) and Craig Rae of Penrod Medical Equipment (immediate past president). It also includes the following at-large directors: Brad Heath of AdaptHealth, Tina Robertson of Freedom Mobility, Laura Williard of AAHomecare, Scott Dinning of Carolina’s Home Town Respiratory, Ronnie Rankin of Culpeper Home Medical and Tyler Kiser of TLC Group Medical. 

The board is rounded out with Jeff Powell of ResMed (associate director), Ashley Latva of McKesson (associate director), Kim Brummett of AAHomecare (honorary seat) and Beth Bowen of ACMESA (executive director). 

Aspirus Home Medical sees nine times greater utilization of home oxygen therapy 

WAUSAU, Wis. – Aspirus Home Medical Equipment has seen a steep increase in patients requiring home oxygen therapy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The company has reported the number of new oxygen patients spiked to 172 in January of this year compared to about 40 per month earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic and about 20 per month prior to the pandemic. 

“Pre-pandemic to today, we’re seeing nine times greater utilization of our oxygen concentrators,” said Cindy Rider, vice president of post-acute care for Aspirus Health. “We also have noticed that 81% of those utilizing (home oxygen therapy) are unvaccinated.” 

Overall, Aspirus Health has seen its daily census for home care services increase from about 500 to 800, on average, during the pandemic. 

Aspirus Health is a nonprofit, community directed health system with 13 hospitals in Wisconsin and four hospitals in upper Michigan and 75 clinics. The system, which employs about 11,000, also offers services in home health and hospice care, pharmacy, critical care and aid-medical transport, medical goods and nursing. 

Foundation Wellness buys Doctor Hoy’s 

WADSWORTH, Ohio – Foundation Wellness, a manufacturer of insoles and orthotics, recently acquired Doctor Hoy’s National Pain Relief to expand its portfolio of leading brands. Doctor Hoy’s is a topical analgesic company focused on safe and natural pain-relieving products. “We believe the brand is a great fit in our portfolio, along with PowerStep and Foot Petals, and will strengthen our ability to empower customers to lead active and pain free lives,” said Sean Williams, CEO of Foundation Wellness. Foundation Wellness, which has been in business for 85 years, positions itself as a “house of wellness brands” that includes PowerStep, Foot Petals and FLAT SOCKS. Its leading brand, PowerStep, is a podiatrist recommended orthotic insole that offers foot support, pain relief and prevention. The company also sells branded products direct to consumers through sports and specialty retailers and offers private label products to OEMs and distributors in the foot care, orthopedic soft goods, safety and military markets. 

Motion acquires Sage Seniors’ Resources 

TORONTO – Motion, a provider of mobility and home accessibility solutions, has acquired Sage Seniors’ Resources in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Founded in 1997 by Shirley Porter, Sage Seniors’ Resources offers medical supplies and mobility equipment. “It has been a great honour to serve my community along with the Sage Seniors’ Resources team over the last 25 years and I couldn’t be more excited to work with Motion to enhance the infrastructure and resources of this business in support of our valued clients,” said Porter. “As it remains my passion to provide help to those in need, I look forward to exploring how I can redirect my expertise, knowing that the business will now be a part of Motion’s network of skilled and caring experts.”  Motion has made several acquisitions in the past few years, most recently Golden Mobility & Rehab. 

CareCentrix hires health care exec 

HARTFORD, Conn. – CareCentrix has named Dr. Jonathan Gavras as a senior strategic clinical advisor. Gavras joins CareCentrix with more than 20 years of experience as an innovator in the health care space, most recently as president of the Florida market at Bright HealthCare. He was also previously the chief medical officer of Florida Blue and president of Guidewell Health. “As we drive toward the next phase of CareCentrix’s growth, we are excited about adding Dr. Gavras’ deep understanding of clinical strategy, health plan operations and pharmacy benefit management to our team,” said John Driscoll, CareCentrix CEO. “Additionally, Dr. Gavras brings the unique experience of having been a health plan customer of CareCentrix, which will help our team continuously improve how we serve our plans, providers and most importantly our patients.” As part of his role at CareCentrix, Gavras will help build and optimize strategic partnerships as CareCentrix continues to expand access to value-based care in the home. 

Better Health appoints Mecier 

SAN FRANCISCO – Better Health has appointed Alisha Mecier as vice president, strategic partnerships.  She will develop partner relationships with national and regional payers, while expanding partnerships with health systems and provider groups. “Better Health is at the tip of the spear creating a comprehensive care model that empowers consumers to purchase their medical supplies with dignity and transparency,” said Mecier. “It delivers tremendous value for patients, providers and payers alike by enhancing the clinical care journey, improving patient outcomes and lowering payer cost. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to apply my experience in this space to further Better Health’s mission. I am truly honored to join the team and serve the market.” Mecier has more than 20 years of experience in business development, sales and marketing with insurance carriers, health systems, provider groups and pharmacies. 

Motion Composites promotes Forrester 

QUEBEC – Motion Composites has named Nicholas Forrester, a 20-year veteran of the rehabilitation and mobility industry, as vice president of sales. Forrester has overseen Motion Composites’ Canadian sales for the past seven years and his deep understanding of the various levels of the industry has enabled him to build a strong presence in the Canadian market for Motion Composites products. “With his strong business acumen, successful track record of building new markets and his global knowledge of the custom wheelchair market, Nicholas is well positioned to continue Motion Composites’ growth in the U.S. market,” said Eric Simoneau, CEO of Motion Composites. Todd Richardson, US Eastern regional sales manager, and Brian Rourke, US West and Midwest sales manager, will continue in their roles as part of the sales management team. 

The Scooter Shop relocates 

HANOVER, Md. – The Scooter Shop has a new 2,500-square-foot space in a retail center in the Perry Hall section of Baltimore County, according to the Commercial Observer. The company is relocating its showroom and corporate headquarters there from a 3,000-square-foot space in Elkridge, Md. “We expanded into Baltimore County at the 9810 Belair Road location to cover Baltimore County, Harford County, Cecil County, Southern Pennsylvania and Western Delaware,” Jim Luttrell, owner of The Scooter Shop, told Commercial Observer. “There is not enough support for seniors in these areas who require mobility equipment.” Other tenants in the retail center include CVS Pharmacy and Family Pet Hospital. The Scooter Shop offers a variety of travel mobility scooters, power wheelchairs, manual wheelchairs, power lift recliners and other durable medical equipment.     

RESNA seeks comments on ultralight manuals 

ARLINGTON, Va. – RESNA has posted a draft position paper called “RESNA Position on the Application of Ultralight Manual Wheelchairs: Literature Update 2021” for a required 60-day public comment period. All RESNA members and stakeholders in the assistive technology community are invited to submit comments. “This paper intends to contribute to the evidence-based practice that we all try to implement on an every-day basis,” RESNA states. “We are combining lived experiences through clinical examples, research evidence and professional expertise to synthesize the current body of evidence supporting the provision and recommendation of ultralight MWCs.” The updated paper was initiated in April 2020, following approval by the RESNA board of directors. It’s meant to build on a previous position paper finalized in 2012. RESNA’s position papers are an official statement by the organization that, based on the consensus of experts and evidence, summarizes current research and best-practice trends in relevant areas of assistive technology. They undergo a rigorous process of development, review and approval. For more about the position paper process and to see other papers, go here.   

NHIA honors Masood’s advocacy 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Home Infusion Association has announced that Sohail Masood, PharmD, is the recipient of the 2022 Gene Graves Lifetime Achievement Award. The award, which is the highest honor that NHIA bestows on a member of the home and alternate site infusion profession, is given to an individual who has dedicated significant time, energy and resources to advocating on behalf of patients and the industry. “I am humbled and honored that NHIA selected me for the most prestigious Gene Graves Award,” said Dr. Masood. “For 35 years I have been involved in the home infusion industry in one way or another and it has been rewarding as I have been able to make a difference in so many of my patients’ lives.”  Dr. Masood will receive the award at NHIA’s 2022 Annual Conference on March 15. Masood is the founder and CEO of KabaFusion, which has 22 pharmacies strategically located across the country. He was instrumental in establishing home infusion as a preferred site of care for IVIG infusion by educating physicians on its clinical benefits in neuromuscular disorders. He has contributed to the growing body of knowledge through research that has led to many new uses for IVIG, including Multifocal Motor Neuropathy (MMN), Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS), Small Fiber Neuropathy and other diseases. In 2001, Dr. Masood assisted a landmark study of IVIG use in Stiff Person Syndrome by donating product that was in severe shortage to allow the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to complete the project. More recently, his non-profit, Dysimmune Diseases Foundation, initiated novel research on the use of IVIG in Diabetic Neuropathy.  

Ken Spett named to District Export Council 

ATLANTA – Ken Spett, CEO of Graham-Field, has been appointed by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce to the District Export Council for a four-year term. The department established the council in 1974 to support the expansion of export communities for U.S. companies. Council members are a part of a select corps of trade experts dedicated to providing international trade leadership and guidance to the local business community and assisting the department on export development issues. Graham-Field offers more than 50,000 items used in hospitals, extended care facilities, clinics and in the home. The company’s well-known brands include Everest & Jennings wheelchairs, Lumex patient aids and healthcare seating, and Gendron bariatric equipment. Spett recently spoke with HME News about supply chain constraints

AscellaHealth makes case for alternate sites 

BERWYN, Pa. – AscellaHealth has released a white paper* that details the value of site of care (SOC) optimization for infusion therapies, a leading strategy for reducing the cost of specialty biologic medications, improving outcomes and enhancing access to more convenient, quality focused settings. “Recognizing the importance of SOC optimization, AscellaHealth offers a Home Infusion Pharmacy Network as part of our overall strategy to cut costs without compromising quality of care,” says Dea Belazi, president and CEO, AscellaHealth. “Our pharmacy providers were chosen for their national reach, high-touch capabilities and thorough home infusion expertise, enabling care delivery in the highest-quality, lowest-cost care settings and enhancing outcomes via increased compliance rates.” In the four-page paper, “Site of Care Optimization Lowers Specialty Drug Costs, Reduces Hospital Visits, Ensures Care Quality,” AscellaHealth makes the case that the exact same medications, administered using the same method, can be more than two- to three-times more expensive in the hospital setting vs. a standalone infusion center. “Insurance companies, self-funded companies and other stakeholders will find significant value in applying a high level of expertise to the management of these specialty drugs by working with AscellaHealth and its partners in SOC optimization,” Belazi said. “Flexibility of alternate sites also contributes to a higher quality of life by improving patient access to care, reducing time away from work or school, and offering a degree of independence to patients living under otherwise rigid medical parameters.” 

Invacare ups its power assist game 

ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare has launched the next generation of its power assist devices: the Alber e-fix eco Power Assist. The next generation device, which transforms a manual wheelchair into a portable power wheelchair using a joystick, battery and in-wheel motors, features a modern design for the wheel hub and color display. “The new e-fix eco, our third new product in less than two years, follows successful launches of our award winning SMOOV and e-motion Power Assist products,” said Michael Salvi, director of manual mobility & seating. “We are excited to showcase the e-fix eco’s improvements as we continue helping end-users in Making Life’s Experiences Possible.” The e-fix family offers numerous benefits to end-users, including enhanced mobility and independence (easy to take on and off for travel and more compact vehicles), convenience (power when needed, or use the free-wheel mode to propel manually) and attendant control (simple unit mounts to the back canes to give a caregiver control). 

Humana names Dr. Agwunobi to lead home business 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Humana has named Andrew Agwunobi, M.D., MBA, as the new president of the company’s Home Solutions business effective Feb. 21. He comes to Humana from the University of Connecticut, where he serves as interim university president and CEO of the UConn Health System. “Andy is just the person we need for this critical Humana role leading our Home Solutions business,” said Bruce Broussard, president and CEO of Humana. “He has a real passion for care in the home. He has been responsible for a home health care organization as part of an integrated system. He has extensive operational experience with for-profit and nonprofit organizations, and he’s a doctor – he understands the value of care in the home, why seniors want more of it, and our vision at Humana for making it much easier for people to get the care they need at home.” Agwunobi will report directly to Broussard. Prior to UConn, he led the 14-hospital St. Joseph Health System as COO and the five-hospital Providence Health Care System as CEO. He has also served as secretary for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. 

One Drop honored for digital health 

NEW YORK – One Drop has been named to the NYC Digital Health 100 by New York City Health Business Leaders (NYCHBL) for being an innovative startup in New York dedicated to transforming health care. "This year, the NYC Digital Health 100 is comprised of an incredibly diverse set of companies and leaders who are working to innovate and solve some of the most complex challenges across all facets of the health care ecosystem," said NYCHBL co-founder and CEO Bunny Ellerin. "We are delighted to recognize these companies and celebrate and support their growth in the New York area." The NYC Digital Health 100 was released in conjunction with the NYCHBL Healthcare Innovation Report 2022, an in-depth look at the data, trends and insights that define the health care industry in New York. A company qualified for consideration if it maintained headquarters or an office (more than 10 people) in the New York region. In addition, companies were judged on factors like strength of leadership, number of employees, funding, revenue, market fit, differentiated offerings, approach to diversity and equity and community engagement. 

NCPA doubles down on UnitedHealth, Change deal 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association reiterated its call to the Federal Trade Commission to block UnitedHealth Group’s acquisition of Change Healthcare in a recent letter. UHG owns United Healthcare, a major health insurer, and Optum, a pharmacy benefit manager and mail order pharmacy. NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey has warned the merger would create a massively unfair advantage in the marketplace for a company that is already dominant and would threaten fair competition, independent pharmacies and patient choice. “The proposed acquisition by UnitedHealth Group’s Optum of Change Healthcare will exponentially increase the ability of vertically integrated UHG-Optum-OptumRx to exploit competitor data to its advantage, including targeting specific patients and steering business to OptumRx,” he said. The NCPA has called on the FTC to work with the Department of Justice to address the anticompetitive practices of PBMs, including transactions like UHG/Optum-Change that impact markets where both agencies have expertise, and to use its 6(b) authority to investigate PBM anticompetitive practices. Change’s eRx “switch” – which is currently a neutral information collection and routing tool – would be “a gold mine of competitor information – the keys to the kingdom,” Hoey says. “The trove of competitively sensitive information that Change collects every day about patients and competitors would not be protected by firewalls, which the FTC and DOJ have both acknowledged are difficult to monitor and enforce,” he said.


To comment on this post, please log in to your account or set up an account now.