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In brief: Permobil white paper, Walgreens investment, new partnerships

In brief: Permobil white paper, Walgreens investment, new partnerships

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Permobil has published a new white paper on the benefits of standing power wheelchairs that draws from reviews from 41 publications, usage data from Permobil Connect and an internal survey. 

Top takeaways include: 

  • The positive effects on pressure relief for skin, bone mineral density and bowel/bladder function in users. 
  • Improved mental health and self-esteem, and the increased ability to communicate and perform daily activities. 
  • Ability to better participate in social and educational activities for children, and work and community settings for adults. 

“We are pleased to share the results of this comprehensive review with the industry,” says Chuck Witkowski, president of Permobil Americas.  “This research clearly summarizes how standing functionality positively impacts the everyday life of our end users.” 

The last position paper on wheelchair standing devices was published in 2013 by RESNA. 

Permobil’s white paper adds further value by including: 

  • Evidence from power standing wheelchair research (not standing frames/devices). 
  • Data on standing function usage from Permobil Connect collected from a large group of users worldwide. 
  • Global consensus and input from 120 Permobil representatives involved in sales and clinical education. 
  • Recent research from the last decade. 
  • Pictures and quotes from a F5 Corpus VS user in his teens that helped to visualize and explain the scientific evidence provided. 
  • Addresses user conditions such as cerebral palsy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury. 

Costly OSA: CDC enlists AASM in raising awareness 

DARIEN, Ill. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded a grant to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for a new awareness program focused on improving recognition of obstructive sleep apnea. 

Nearly 30 million American adults have OSA and 80% are undiagnosed, costing the U.S. more than $149 billion annually in increased health care and mental health care costs, lost work productivity and increased accidents, according to a press release. 

“Millions of Americans don’t even know they have sleep apnea, which puts them at greater risk for other health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and depression,” said Dr. Raman Malhotra, president of the AASM. “This grant from the CDC will support education and outreach to improve sleep apnea awareness so that people can get the treatment they need to sleep better and enhance their quality of life.” 

The grant was awarded through the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion as part of the “Expanding the National Approach to Chronic Disease Education and Awareness” funding opportunity. The AASM will receive approximately $327,000 in the first year of funding. 

The project, which will span three years, aims to increase awareness of obstructive sleep apnea among public health professionals, health care providers and the public, and to support the sleep health objectives of Healthy People 2030, the nation’s 10-year public health plan, which includes the objective, “Increase the proportion of adults with sleep apnea symptoms who get evaluated by a health care provider.” 

The AASM is partnering with several other specialty medical societies that have members who are active in the delivery of clinical care for obstructive sleep apnea, including the Alliance of Sleep Apnea Partners and the National Sleep Foundation. 

Survey: Seniors want to stay put 

IRVING, Calif. – A vast majority of American seniors (82%) have no plans to sell their homes, preferring to age in place, according to a new *survey from American Advisors Group (AAG). 

AAG surveyed more than 1,500 participants ages 60-75. 

“Our studies have shown that seniors in this country have a strong attachment to their home and the pandemic only strengthened that bond,” said Martin Lenoir, chief marketing officer. “It’s no secret that many seniors have built substantial equity in their homes after years of ownership, but what is interesting is that very few want to sell their house to obtain that money. For seniors, the comfort, safety and independence of their home outweighs the desire to move.” 

Highlights from the survey: 

  • More than four in five seniors (83%) say they feel safer at home than anywhere else. 
  • Half (50%) say the COVID-19 pandemic made their desire to live at home stronger. 
  • Nearly two in three (62%) say they have an emotional attachment to their home. 
  • More than one-third (40%) say their “independence” is the most important benefit of living in their home. 
  • Over half (56%) say their home reminds them of their family.  
  • More than two in three (68%) have told their families where they would like to live for the rest of their lives. 

UnityPoint at Home partners with WellSky on care coordination 

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — UnityPoint at Home, a subsidiary of UnityPoint Health that supports UnityPoint Accountable Care, will use WellSky’s care coordination platform and network of more than 4,000 personal care agencies to provide personal care as part of its Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)-at-home program. UnityPoint at Home provides comprehensive in-home care, including home health, hospice, infusion therapy, rehabilitation and HME services in Iowa and Illinois. “We know that more and more patients want to recover at home,” said Mag VanOosten, president and chief clinical officer of UnityPoint at Home. “With SNF-at-home, patient-focused coordination among providers is vitally important and can be among the most challenging aspects of the care-at-home model. This partnership allows us to apply best practices with personal care partners using common WellSky platforms, enabling the coordination, coverage, and transitions that SNF-at-home requires.” Since initiating the hospital-at-home 30-day bundle, UnityPoint has decreased its 30-day ED visit escalation from 27% to 6%, averted $904,000 in ED/hospitalization costs, and reached 99.2% patient satisfaction. In addition, it has seen its 30-day hospital admit escalation rate improved from 22% to 12.6%. 

Ventec adds Parachute Health’s e-prescribing platform 

BOTHELL, Wash. – Ventec Life Systems has integrated its VOCSN group of ventilators with Parachute Health’s e-prescribing platform. “Streamlining care for patients is at the heart of Ventec Life Systems, and we are proud to support innovative technology such as the Parachute Platform to provide greater access to the benefits of integrated respiratory care provided through the VOCSN group of ventilators,” said Jim Alwan, president and CEO of Ventec Life Systems. “And with the addition of our V+Pro ventilator to our product portfolio, billable under reimbursement codes E0465 and E0466, providers have access to alternative respiratory products which they have not had before.” The Parachute platform improves business outcomes for care providers, and maintains a simple way to order medical equipment and supplies, according to a press release. It streamlines all elements of the ordering process for health care companies and physicians, including eSignatures, billing codes, patient eligibility and chart notes, the release states. 

Allegiance Group, Curasev sign agreement 

SKILLMAN, N.J. and OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – A new agreement will combine Curasev’s strengths in automating the end-to-end HME/DME supply chain with Allegiance Group’s expertise in patient-pay billing and collections. “By integrating COLLECTPlus and Curasev’s innovative patient management solutions, both companies agree the collaboration will increase productivity and allow our providers to capture more of their patient pay dollars more efficiently and cost effectively,” said Bruce Gehring, senior vice president, business development manager for Allegiance Group. As a part of the agreement, Curasev will offer their customers access to Allegiance Group’s COLLECTPlus, a proprietary patient pay billing collections solution that will allow them to achieve better financial results. 

Better Medicare Alliance touts low premiums for 2022 

Washington, D.C. – Better Medicare Alliance, a research and advocacy organization supporting Medicare Advantage, says CMS’s 2022 Medicare Advantage premiums and cost-sharing information show that Medicare Advantage delivers high-value care for beneficiaries. Medicare Advantage average premiums will fall again to $19 a month, down from $21.22 in 2021, according to CMS. Additionally, Medicare Advantage enrollment will swell to 29.5 million beneficiaries in 2022, the agency expects. “With the lowest average monthly premiums in 15 years, Medicare Advantage continues to deliver high-value care for beneficiaries going into 2022,” said Mary Beth Donahue, president and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance. “More than half of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries live below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, as compared to 39% in fee-for-service Medicare. Today’s CMS announcement shows how Medicare Advantage continues working to maintain low costs and robust benefits for those it serves. This is welcome news for the 29.5 million Americans who will entrust their care to Medicare Advantage in the year ahead.” Medicare’s Open Enrollment season begins on Oct. 15, 2021, and ends on Dec. 7, 2021. 

Walgreens Boots invests $970M in Shields Health Solutions 

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreens Boots Alliance is making a majority investment in Shields Health Solutions, an integrated, health system-owned specialty pharmacy. The approximately $970 million investment will support the continued growth of Shields’ strategy and build on a minority equity investment that WBA announced in July 2019. “Delivering pharmacy and health care services in the local community is one of many ways WBA is working to improve access and health outcomes, as well as to lower the total cost of care,” said Roz Brewer, CEO, Walgreens Boots Alliance. “We’re continuing to make strategic investments in pharmacy and health care solutions that can build on our core pharmacy business, and further expand our health care reach in communities. The Shields model has shown to improve patient care and will be complementary to our existing specialty pharmacy offering, further expanding our capabilities to best meet the needs of health system partners and patients.” The new investment gives WBA approximately 71% ownership of Shields, with an option to acquire the remaining equity interests in the future. Under the agreement, Shields’ other equity holders will also have the option to require WBA to purchase the remaining equity interests.  

ExtriCare names new director of clinical services 

PHILADELPHIA –ExtriCare USA, a manufacturer of negative pressure wound therapy devices, has hired Matthew Cranfill, RN, BSN, WOCN, as director of clinical services. “I’m thrilled to be joining ExtriCARE USA’s forward-thinking team at such a pivotal time in wound care,” said Cranfill. “There’s a lot of potential for growth and innovation in the NPWT market, and I look forward to applying my clinical perspective to enhance the outcomes for the clients, clinicians and patients who use our products.” Cranfill, who has more than 23 years of clinical experience in wound healing, will oversee the company’s clinical services, focusing on product development and wound care education.  

OptiPillows launches new website 

PHOENIX – OptiPillows has launched a new website,, that features information about its namesake product and studies about expiratory positive airway pressure therapy. Visitors to the site can also connect with industry partners, watch videos and hear user testimonials about the efficacy of OptiPillows. OptiPillows use EPAP to prevent the collapse of the upper airways by maintaining a positive expiratory pressure during expiration. 

CareCentrix recognized for employee wellness 

HARTFORD, Conn. – CareCentrix has been named a recipient of the annual Cigna Well-Being Award for demonstrating a strong commitment to improving the health and well-being of its employees through a workplace wellness program. Cigna Well-Being award winners are evaluated based on the quality of several factors of their wellness program, including leadership engagement, company culture, strategy and goals, implementation and employee engagement. “We believe that at its best, a business can be a people-growing machine, and that starts with engaging and supporting our employees, especially in the middle of a pandemic,” said John Driscoll, CEO.  The company has also been recognized by The Hartford Courant as part of its 2021 Top Workplaces and by FORTUNE as part of its 2021 Best Workplaces for Aging Services. CareCentrix’s wellness program includes CareCentrix Cares Fund to meet the critical needs of employees going through difficult challenges and The Women’s Network to support and promote the growth and development of its female team members. 

BOC promotes Gruskin  

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) has promoted Matthew Gruskin, MBA, BOCO, BOCPD, CDME, from credentialing director to COO. In his new role, Gruskin’s expanded responsibilities include oversight of BOC’s internal systems and external vendor relationships, as well as management of the organization’s operations staff. He retains all previous duties relevant to the direction, strategies, policies and day-to-day activities of BOC’s facility accreditation and individual certification programs, with a focus on providing exceptional customer service. “Matt’s knowledge and forward thinking continues to enhance BOC’s operations and organizational expertise, which benefits our staff and valued customers,” said Claudia Zacharias, BOC’s president and CEO. Gruskin holds an MBA with a focus in healthcare from Florida International University, post-graduate certificates in O&P from University of Hartford and a post-graduate certificate from the International School of Pedorthics. 

Hospice Source adds executive vice president of sales 

DALLAS – Hospice Source, a provider of DME to the hospice market, has appointed Andrew Johnson as executive vice president of sales. He joined the team Sept. 1. Most recently, Johnson worked for Amedysis and St. Croix Hospice. He brings industry knowledge, relationships and strategy to Hospice Source. Hospice Source currently provides services to patients and hospice providers from 64 locations throughout Texas, California, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, Oklahoma, Missouri and Virginia. 

Breg debuts new online store 

CARLSBAD, Calif. – Breg has partnered with Intershop Communications, a provider of omni-channel commerce solutions, on a new modernized online store for its orthopedic bracing and cold therapy products. The new online store allows Breg to process orders transparently and efficiently, and to offer training documents and product usage instructions 24/7. Additionally, it allows Breg to provide key customers with their own sales portal featuring individual branding and simplified billing. “Our goal at Breg is to provide support at every step of the orthopedic journey for our customers and their patients,” said Taylor Fitzpatrick, customer experience manager at Breg. “Intershop helps us achieve that goal by providing a platform that is feature-rich and customer-centric, giving our customers individualized, transparent and flexibility solutions, while delivering the highest quality. It also helps us comply with specific requirements and regulations demanded in our industry.” Breg is a partner to 2,500 clinics, more than 6,000 orthopedic surgeons and 1,500 integrated delivery networks, providing DMEPOS to more than 5 million patients annually, according to a press release. 

NCPA launches podcast 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association and Pharmacy Times are teaming up to launch the Independent Rx Forum, a new national podcast focused on independent pharmacy issues. Each month, a host from Pharmacy Times will be speaking with NCPA staff, leadership or other independent pharmacy experts about how the industry is changing, what these pharmacies need to do to stay cutting-edge and sustainable into the future, and how the NCPA works to support their success. “Pharmacists have more contact with patients than any other health care provider; that’s especially true when it comes to independent community pharmacists, who are agents of change in offering patient-based services that differentiate their pharmacies from others,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist, MBA. “We’re grateful for this opportunity to partner with Pharmacy Times and highlight ‘show-me’ practice transformation tips, priority advocacy efforts, and other ways to take pharmacy and patient care to the next level.” Find the Independent Rx Forum under the Pharmacy Focus umbrella available on major platforms, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. 

Etac debuts new website 

TORRANCE, Calif. – Etac-North America will go live with a new website,, on Sept. 29. “The new website reflects our corporate rebranding and makes it easier to navigate and access our complete brand assortment,” the company says. “Instead of having to navigate through multiple websites, you will be able to find all of Etac’s brands, products and resources in one place.” New features include complete product assortment, including Convaid, R82, Molift, Immedia, Star and Etac; user-friendly product pages for standard specifications, options, accessories, user guides, parts and videos; new education resources to access accredited CEUs; easier navigation to order forms, literature, media gallery and support; and more. Convaid sold to Etac in 2015 and took the company’s name in 2020

Lunch and meet at Medtrade East 

ATLANTA – Medtrade East will offer a Power Lunch, presented by The VGM Group, on Wednesday from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. in Room C108/109. Attendees will be able to choose from seven hot topics, including billing and reimbursement, leadership through a public health emergency, health care at home, respiratory, retail, wound care and audits…Medtrade East is also offering MedtradeMeet, a matchmaking platform designed to facilitate product discovery and new connections between exhibitors, speakers and attendees. Attendees create a MedtradeMeet account when they register.


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