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In brief: MSC expands, telehealth support grows, OM finances Apria acquisition

In brief: MSC expands, telehealth support grows, OM finances Apria acquisition

CLEVELAND – Medical Service Company has acquired Ascension St. Vincent’s Medical Equipment, a full-service DME provider located in Evansville, Ind. 

“As part of this exciting acquisition, MSC has expanded its partnership with Ascension from Central Indiana now down to Evansville,” the company stated in an announcement. “We are also thrilled to welcome the new team members joining the MSC family. We look forward to offering our industry-leading chronic care solutions and hospital-to-home coordination to more patients throughout the state of Indiana.” 

Medical Service Company also has locations in Indiana in Huntington, Indianapolis, Anderson, Forth Wayne, Kokomo and Mishawaka. 

Additionally, the company has locations in Ohio, where it is headquartered, New York, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Michigan, Illinois, Kansas and Wisconsin. 

Medical Service Company recently announced that its president and CEO, Darrel Lowery, will retire in July and will be replaced by Josh Marx as CEO and Dana McLaughlin as president. 

Owens & Minor seeks to finance Apria acquisition 

RICHMOND, Va. – Owens & Minor has launched a private offering of $500 million aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2030 subject to customary and market conditions. 

The company plans to use the net proceeds of the offering, together with cash on hand and proceeds from expected borrowings under one or more new term loans, to finance its acquisition of Apria Healthcare and other transactions contemplated by the agreement, as well as to repay Apria debt and related fees and expenses. It will use any remaining net proceeds for general corporate purposes. 

Unless the acquisition is consummated concurrently with or promptly following the closing of the offering, Owens & Minor will deposit the gross proceeds from the offering into a segregated escrow account until the date of certain escrow release conditions, including the consummation of the acquisition, have been satisfied. 

The company’s acquisition of Apria is subject to customary closing conditions, including the adoption of the acquisition agreement by the affirmative vote of holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of Apria common stock. 

OIG: ‘Telehealth was critical during pandemic’ 

WASHINGTON – More than two in five Medicare beneficiaries, or 28 million, used telehealth during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General. 

In total, beneficiaries used 88 times more telehealth services during the first year of the pandemic than they used in the prior year, the OIG found. 

“Telehealth was critical for providing services to Medicare beneficiaries during the first year of the pandemic,” the OIG stated. “Beneficiaries' use of telehealth during the pandemic also demonstrates the long-term potential of telehealth to increase access to health care for beneficiaries. Further, it shows that beneficiaries particularly benefited from the ability to use telehealth for certain services, such as behavioral health services. These findings are important for CMS, Congress, and other stakeholders to take into account as they consider making changes to telehealth in Medicare. For example, CMS could use these findings to inform changes to the services that are allowed via telehealth on a permanent basis.” 

Other findings from the OIG: 

  • Use of telehealth services by beneficiaries peaked in April 2020 but remained high through early 2021. 
  • Beneficiaries used telehealth to receive 12% of their services during the first year of the pandemic. 
  • Beneficiaries most commonly used telehealth for office visits, which accounted for just under half of all telehealth services used during the first year of the pandemic. 
  • Beneficiaries used telehealth for a larger share of their behavioral health services compared to other services.  

The OIG based the study on Medicare fee-for-service claims data and Medicare Advantage encounter data from March 1, 2020, to Feb. 28, 2021, and from the prior year, March 1, 2019, to Feb. 19, 2020. It used the data to determine the total number of services used via telehealth and in-person, as well as the types of services used. It also compared the number of services used via telehealth and in-person during the first year of the pandemic and those used in the prior year. 

AMA: Physicians support telehealth 

CHICAGO – Physicians have embraced telehealth and they expect to use it even more in the future, according to a new survey from the American Medical Association.   

Nearly 85% of physician respondents say they are currently using telehealth to care for patients, and nearly 70% say their organization is motivated to continue using telehealth in their practice, particularly for chronic disease management and ongoing medical management, care coordination, mental/behavioral health and specialty care.   

“Physicians view telehealth as providing quality care to their patients, and policymakers and payers have come to the same conclusion,” said Gerald E. Harmon, M.D., president, AMA. “Patients will benefit immensely from this new era of improved access to care. This survey shows adoption of the technology is widespread as is the demand for continued access. It is critical that Congress takes action and makes permanent telehealth access for Medicare patients.”  

Congress recently extended the availability of telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries beyond the current COVID-19 public health emergency, but additional action will be needed to provide permanent access.  

Also from the survey: Fewer than half of physician respondents report being able to access all of their telehealth platforms via their electronic health records, and more than 75% report their support technology does not automatically collect and deliver patient-reported data. Improving interoperability between platforms and support technology would improve and streamline telehealth services, according to the AMA.   

Additionally, only 8% of physician respondents report using remote patient monitoring at this time. Physicians perceive technology, digital literacy, and broadband internet access to be the top three patient barriers to using telehealth, according to the AMA. 

Going forward, the AMA will advocate for patient populations and communities with limited access to telehealth service, including but not limited to, supporting increased funding and planning for telehealth infrastructure such as broadband and internet-connected devices.  

Read the survey here.   

F&P: CPAP mask sales are tracking higher 

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – Fisher & Paykel expects full year operating revenue of $1.675 billion to $1.70 billion for its 2022 financial year, which ends March 31.  

“Our second half hospital consumables revenue is currently tracking to be similar to the hospital consumables revenue that we reported in the first half of the 2022 financial year,” said Lewis Gradon, managing director and CEO. “This is consistent with reports of the increasing prevalence of the Omicron variant over the last two months and its associated lower respiratory intervention requirements, as well as a relatively mild flu season in the Northern Hemisphere.” 

F&P says sales of CPAP masks are currently tracking above the first half of the year, despite continued supply constraints on CPAP devices.  

The company says freight rates remain elevated and are expected to impact its long-term gross margin target of 65% by approximately 250 basis points for the 2022 financial year. 

Fisher & Paykel previously reported total operating revenue of $900 million for the first six months of its 2022 financial year, which ended Sept. 30, 2021. 

FODAC sends supplies in Ukraine aid 

ATLANTA – Friends of Disabled Children and Adults has shipped more than $40,000 worth of mobility equipment, bandages and cots to Poland to aid Ukrainian refugees. The urgent assistance was requested from a Rotary International coalition to support the Lviv military hospital in Ukraine. The UPS Foundation is assisting with the shipment of the supplies to a collection point in Poland. Donations of equipment, resources and volunteer time were provided in conjunction with Rotary District 6900, The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army USA and Team Rubicon. FODAC is in the process of assembling a second shipment. 

RRI names new leader 

ST. LOUIS – Responsive Respiratory has named Steven Bannon as president and owner, taking over from Thomas Bannon, who will stay on as a business consultant for the company. “The board and I are confident that Steven is the right person to continue Responsive Respiratory’s focus on providing exceptional service and high-quality respiratory products to the home care, emergency services and welding markets,” said Thomas Bannon. “Steven is a seasoned leader with experience growing both sales channels and managing the intricacies of today’s global supply chain fragility. We are pleased to have him take the helm to lead RRI.” Before joining Responsive Respiratory, Steven Bannon held a number of project management and operations roles at Caterpillar Inc. During his time with the company, he championed supply chain and cost reduction initiatives focused on developing efficiencies throughout the sourcing and logistics process. His expertise in global supply chain management has been integral to RRI’s responsiveness to customer needs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Medical Supply Depot overhauls website 

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Medical Supply Depot, an e-commerce provider of durable medical equipment and disposable medical supplies, including incontinence, enteral and diabetes, along with walking aids, wheelchairs and over-the-counter meds, recently launched a new, full-featured website, its first redesign since 2011. The refreshed site offers a clean, easy-to-navigate responsive design, clear product images and live chat feature. “Medical Supply Depot and our parent company TwinMed are here to serve you by revolutionizing the shopping experience,” said Meir Tsinman, vice president, e-commerce. “You'll find ordering from our website fast and easy. We know that behind every order is a person (you!) who is trusting us to get it right – the first time.” Medical Supply Depot was founded in 2005 by Tsinman and was acquired by TwinMed in December 2018. 

Virtual diabetes clinic now offers Contour Next 

SAN DIEGO – 9am.health, a virtual diabetes clinic, now offers the Contour Next One blood glucose meter and Contour Next test strips to its patients with Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes to complement its care offering. “We are excited to team up with 9am.health to bring the benefits of our products to more people with diabetes,” said Frank Held, head of BGM marketing and strategy at Ascensia Diabetes Care. “Our remarkably accurate Contour Next One glucose meter is a great addition to their virtual diabetes clinic. We look forward to working together to help make it as simple and affordable as possible for people to manage their diabetes.” The meter is offered free of charge to all patient care plans. The test strip add-on is available through a monthly or quarterly subscription, alongside their existing care plan for diabetes medications and ongoing medical care. Patients can further supplement their plan with a one-time order of a lancing device and lancets.  

Signifier receives significant investment 

BOSTON – Signifier Medical Technologies, a Boston-based medical technology company, has announced that Waha Capital PJSC, Angelus Sano Fund L.P., Segulah Medical Acceleration AB and certain other individual investors have collectively invested approximately $49 million in the purchase of existing shares in the company from shareholders unrelated to the board and management. Signifier's eXciteOSA medical device for the treatment of sleep disordered breathing has been launched in key markets, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany. “Signifier has made a tremendous amount of progress since receipt of FDA approval for eXcite,” said Hitesh Gupta, managing director, Waha Capital. “We are pleased with the successful commercial launch and are impressed by the positive patient outcomes and growth potential of this innovative technology. We are thrilled to be investing alongside domain experts in the medical technology space.” By using neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) to “exercise” the upper airway muscles, eXciteOSA works the intrinsic and extrinsic tongue muscles to improve endurance and prevent airway collapse during sleep. Unlike other devices which are used while patients sleep, Signifier says eXciteOSA is the first commercially available device used while awake. 

CareCredit partners with Conformis 

BILLERICA, Mass. – CareCredit has joined with Conformis, a maker of fully personalized knee and hip replacement systems, on a strategic marketing partnership with Synchrony that will add the Image-to-Implant Platinum Services Program to Synchrony’s successful CareCredit offering. The CareCredit credit card is accepted at more than 250,000 providers and health-focused retail locations, including 20 health systems, and has more than 11 million cardholder accounts. CareCredit and Conformis will promote the availability of the CareCredit program to orthopedic surgeons and medical facilities across the United States. The strategic partnership is designed to provide an easy-to-use financing option for health facilities to offer to patients to help pay out-of-pocket costs related to knee replacement using Conformis systems. 

Committee launches disaster resources page  

YARMOUTH, Maine – The Durable Medical Equipment Community Emergency Response Committee has launched a landing page that features resources for suppliers in the event of a disaster. The information has been collected from state associations resources, as well as CMS and federal groups like FEMA and ASPR. One of the main goals of the committee is to help suppliers receive necessary reimbursement and funding in the event of a natural disaster. Following a disaster, the committee reaches out to CMS, as well as suppliers in the affected areas, asking to discuss the immediate and long-term needs of the suppliers and of the industry as a whole. The committee consists of state association leaders from across the country, as well as representatives from VGM and AAHomecare.   

Invacare appoints Aron Schwartz to board 
ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare has appointed Aron Schwartz to its board of directors. Schwartz, who currently serves as managing partner of Washington D.C.-based private equity firm ICON Investments, has a wide range of financial experience overseeing and managing companies. “We are pleased to further strengthen our board with the addition of Aron,” said Matt Monaghan, chairman, president and CEO. “His depth and breadth of financial and operational experience will be invaluable to Invacare as we continue to drive our business transformation and enhance our profitability.” Schwartz will serve on the company’s Audit Committee and its Nominating and Governance Committee. His appointment brings the number of Invacare directors to a total of nine, eight of whom are independent.  

RESNA seeks nominations 

ARLINGTON, Va. – The RESNA board of directors is seeking nominations for its annual awards recognizing individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the field of assistive technology and rehabilitation engineering or RESNA. Members and non-members are eligible, depending on the award category, and award recipients are honored at the RESNA Annual Conference, which takes place virtually this year on July 13-15. Award categories include the Leadership Award, the Emerging Leader Award and the Sam McFarland Memorial Mentor Award. The deadline for nominations is April 15. For more information, contact Doug Weinbaum at [email protected] 

U.S. Rehab helps with ATP prep 

WATERLOO, Iowa – U.S. Rehab has launched new online courses on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). AAC education is part of the training process to become an ATP and is included on the RESNA exam for certification “We receive frequent feedback from our members asking for additional education on AAC and we are excited to be able to provide an updated option,” U.S. Rehab in a press release. “ATPs and people who are preparing for the ATP exam can purchase and take these courses as a way to learn about AAC or brush up on their skills online.” The three new courses, which each offer 0.1 continuing education units, were written by M. Claire Campbell, M.A., CCC-SLP, ATP, a speech language pathologist II and LAMP Certified Provider for AAC based at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Pediatric Speech Clinic. They include background and assessment of need, access considerations, and intervention and progress monitoring. They can be purchased individually or in a bundle. 

Better Living Now: ‘This helps transform journey’ 

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. – Better Living Now has launched a new Diabetes Health Improvement Program with health plans, health systems and employer groups that it says results in increased member retention, higher engagement and improved operational efficiencies. As part of the program, Better Living Now works closely with providers and health plans, combines a pharmacy and medical supply delivery service, and offers educational materials and clinical support to assist members with managing their diabetes. “Diabetes is perhaps the most expensive chronic condition in our nation, costing $327 billion, according to the most recent statistic from the ADA,” said Patrick Guiney, vice president of partnerships for Better Living Now. “This helps transform the health care journey for those living with diabetes via increased collaboration with their health plan, hospital or health system, and most importantly, their practitioner.” Better Living Now, founded in 1992, is a full-service mail-order and e-commerce medical supplier specializing in DME and disposable medical supplies. It is also a licensed pharmacy provider. It holds contracts with more than 500 health plans and programs in all 50 states. 

Sunset Healthcare Solutions adds StrongArm Cane to portfolio 

CHICAGO – Sunset Healthcare Solutions will be StrongArm Comfort Cane’s main distribution partner in the home care market. The distributor will feature the cane at its booth at Medtrade West, April 4-6 at the Phoenix Convention Center. “We are excited to provide this new, unique and innovative product for our customers,” said Tom Munar, business and product development at Sunset Healthcare Solutions. “We’ve been strategically targeting distribution partners in new areas to grow our business.  StrongArm Cane brings that uniqueness, and we’re excited to work with Chris Pesek and his team at StrongArm Cane.  We feel that their product can make a difference in the market.” The StrongArm Comfort Cane is an FDA-approved ergonomic cane that can be used on both right and left arms. 

Home Care Alliance seeks to expand network 

HALIFAX, Va. – The Home Care Alliance of Virginia seeks to expand its DME provider network to serve patients of the United Mine Workers of America Health and Retirement Funds. HCAV is one of seven contractors serving UMWA beneficiaries nationwide and is currently seeking providers in multiple areas, including Utah, Wyoming, Illinois, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Missouri. HCAV provider members can serve UMWA patients in their service areas under the HVAC contract. HCAV receives the referrals, processes billing and then pays providers. HCAV, which has more than 30 provider locations in 11 states, also has contracts with managed care organizations serving Virginia Medicaid and is accepting providers in the state interested in serving those patients under its contracts with Virginia Premier, Optima Health, Aetna Better Health and Molina Healthcare. 

Owens & Minor donates supplies to Ukraine 

RICHMOND, Va. – Owens & Minor has donated $500,000 worth of medical-grade personal protective equipment, including exam gloves, masks and isolation gowns, to support humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine. The company’s staff coordinated across multiple distribution centers, including Chicago, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, to fast-track packaging and shipping, making it possible to expedite the transfer of more than 30 pallets of PPE – the equivalent of two full truckloads – for delivery and distribution in Ukraine and other impacted countries via a global nonprofit partner. “Owens & Minor is proud to support the hard work of health care providers in and around Ukraine who are working in extraordinary and traffic circumstances to provide patient care,” said Jeff Jochims, executive vice president, COO and president of products and healthcare services. “This is just one more example of how the drive and passion of our teammates helps us deliver on our unyielding commitment to support health care whenever and wherever it’s needed most.” The donation was made through a collaboration with MedShare, a humanitarian aid organization that directly sources and delivers available medical supplies and equipment to communities in need around the world. MedShare is currently mobilizing a special effort to provide aid to Ukraine. 

Biofreeze, TheraPearl sold to RB 

WARRENVILLE, Ill. – Performance Health has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Biofreeze and TheraPearl brands to Reckitt Benckiser Group, a consumer brands company that includes Enfamil, Woolite, Scholl and Clearasil. The transaction allows Performance Health to focus on its growth strategy for rehabilitation, physical therapy and sports medicine. Madison Dearborn Partners, which holds a majority ownership position in Performance Health through its affiliated funds, says the transaction allows Performance Health to focus on its “core mission.” RB, the trading name of the Reckitt Benckiser group of companies, says more than 20 million of its products are bought each day by consumers globally.  

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