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In brief: Post-election push, ResMed Venture, Best Buy investment

In brief: Post-election push, ResMed Venture, Best Buy investment

WASHINGTON – Stakeholders are urging the HME industry to press lawmakers to include reimbursement relief in any end-of-year legislation. 

With the mid-term elections over, Congress is turning its attention to a year-end omnibus bill that will include language to extend the debt ceiling and keep the government funded. 

As leadership on key committees of jurisdictions negotiate on what measures to include in the bill, it is critical that the HME industry make its collective voice heard in support of reimbursement relief in former CBAs and in non-rural, non-CB areas, says AAHomecare in a bulletin. 

A small group of HME stakeholders in October met with Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., the Republican leader on the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, to advocate for H.R. 6441, which would extend a 90/10 blended reimbursement that’s currently in place for competitive bidding items in competitive bidding areas. The bill currently has 25 co-sponsors. 

Stakeholders also seek to extend the 75/25 blended reimbursement rate that’s currently in place in rural areas for a set time beyond the public health emergency, which currently expires in mid-January. 

Cardinal Health address complexities of hospital-at-home 

DUBLIN, Ohio – Cardinal Health has launched Velocare, a supply chain network and last-mile fulfillment solution that the company says is capable of reaching patients in one to two hours with the critical products and services that are required for hospital-level care at home. 

Cardinal Health’s at-Home Solutions division is piloting Velocare with a health system customer of Medically Home. 

"We're excited to further expand our at-Home Solutions supply chain and logistics excellence to now reach patients receiving hospital-level care at home," said Rob Schlissberg, president, at-Home Solutions. "With their mission of putting the patient at the center of care, combined with their differentiated supply chain network, Medically Home leads the way in bringing the hospital home. Our collaboration is driving scale and efficiency, and ultimately provides positive patient outcomes." 

Cardinal Health was one of a handful of companies that became strategic investors in Medically Home earlier this year to advance hospital-at-home care. 

Velocare builds on Cardinal Health’s legacy capabilities, which include global logistics and distribution expertise, management of a large network of suppliers and vendors, and access to a wide range of home care providers, by adding new technology and order handling processes, small-format depots and short-haul delivery vehicles. 

The complexity of supply chain logistics is one of the significant barriers to health systems adopting hospital-at-home care for their patients, says Rami Karjian, CEO of Medically Home. 

"The ability to further scale the delivery of goods to the home will advance the rapidly growing hospital-at-home market, driving scale and efficiency for Medically Home's high-acuity care model," he said. “This collaboration with Cardinal Health further enables the transformation of the delivery of patient care, which is at the heart of everything we do."  

How Velocare works: 

Order: Orders are placed through the Velocare platform for specific goods and/or services to be delivered to patients receiving care in hospital-at-home programs. Common items available through delivery include medical waste containers, medically tailored meals, medical supplies and devices, and remote patient monitoring (RPM) technology. All contracting, credentialing and integration within the Velocare supplier network is managed by Cardinal Health. 

Route: When an order is placed, a care coordinator team reviews and routes that order to the nearest local Cardinal Health depot or warehouse for immediate service. 

Deliver: The depot team then loads the ordered items into a Cardinal Health vehicle and promptly delivers them to the home in coordination with the patient and/or their care team. Throughout this process, Velocare technology provides visibility to ensure care is delivered to patients on time. 

Collect: Once a hospital-at-home stay is complete, Cardinal Health will arrange for the collection of remaining medical supplies. Any RPM technology will be cleaned, tested and reconditioned in a facility registered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to then be redeployed. Cardinal Health will also consolidate all billing and invoicing across its network of suppliers to streamline the payment process. 

Primasun debuts ‘efficient, equitable solution’ 

LAS VEGAS – Primasun, a solution to address complex sleep disorders that was formed as a joint venture between ResMed and Verily, launched at the HLTH 2022 event on Nov. 13. 

Through its preventative care model, Primasun works with employers and health care providers to identify populations at risk and connects patients to certified sleep physicians who guide them from diagnosis to treatment in a matter of weeks. 

"Sleep is the foundation of physical and mental health, and at Primasun, we believe there's an opportunity to build a more efficient, equitable health care solution that helps patients clinically improve their sleep, and in turn, their quality of life," said Jonathon Lobbins, CEO of Primasun. "We're proud to offer a solution that lowers barriers to care, empowers patients to take control of their health, and helps reduce poor sleep's strain on the home, workplace, and healthcare system." 

Primasun's initial product offering connects patients with certified sleep physicians who diagnose and treat obstructive sleep apnea, clinically evaluate patients with insomnia symptoms, and provide guidance to improve sleep hygiene. 

ResMed announced in 2018 that it was partnering with Verily, an Alphabet precision health company, on a new joint venture to study the health and clinical impacts of undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea, and to develop software solutions to enable providers to more efficiently diagnose, treat and managing individuals with sleep apnea and other breathing related sleep disorders. 

AmeriCare buys home care agency 

TROY, Mich. – AmeriCare has acquired QCN Home Health Care to expand its line of home health care businesses to include skilled nursing services for Medicare recipients.  

The Troy, Mich.-based QCN has more than 20 years of experience delivering services throughout the southeastern part of the state. 

“Having a Medicare-certified home care agency allows us the opportunity to care for even more people needing home care services,” stated Greg Jamian, AmeriCare Medical president and CEO. “Studies have shown that individuals who are ill or injured prefer to recover in the privacy and comfort of their home, and QCN joins our network of companies that provide fully integrated home care services to the aging population.” 

AmeriCare Medical, Inc. is a locally owned and operated company that provides integrated health care solutions to hospitals, assisted care facilities and private homes throughout Michigan. It now has six divisions: QCN, AmeriStaff Nursing Services, Sun Medical Equipment, Private Reserve Home Care, Rx iV Infusion Pharmacy, and Oak Bridge Case Management. 

Great Elm’s DME companies see increase 

WALTHAM, Mass. – Great Elm Group’s DME companies grew total revenue for the first quarter by 7% to $16.7 million compared to the prior-year period. 

Adjusted EBITDA was $3.4 million vs. $5.1 million. 

“The increase in revenue was primarily attributable to organic growth in resupply revenue, a full quarter of contributions from the MedOne acquisition and improved revenue reserves,” the company stated. “This revenue growth was achieved despite ongoing global supply chain issues impacting the durable medical equipment market.” 

Great Elm Group acquired MedOne in August 2021. 

Net income was $6.8 million in the first quarter vs. $2.1 million for the prior-year period. 

“The prior-year period benefited from a $2.3 million in government stimulus whereas no benefit was received during the first quarter,” the company stated. “Absent these items, net income increased by $500,000, primarily driven by revenue growth, despite ongoing supply chain challenges.” 

ResMed opens APAC hub 

SAN DIEGO – ResMed has more than doubled its footprint in Singapore with a new 270,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. 

The new facility will serve as ResMed’s key manufacturing hub in Asia-Pacific.  

“Singapore’s strategic location and support for business investment, coupled with ResMed’s world-leading devices and digital health offerings, provides the perfect opportunity to expand our manufacturing capabilities, while supporting local jobs and the region’s economy,” said Mick Farrell, CEO. “The opening of this facility supports the continued growth of ResMed’s product portfolio to meet the needs of millions of people across Singapore, Asia-Pacific and the world.” 

The facility, which features smart dashboards that integrate real-time data to monitor the performance of production lines, has the manufacturing capacity and footprint to scale production for connected devices and mask systems. 

ResMed’s AirSense 11, the company’s latest PAP device that allows users to monitor their own sleep apnea treatment via the myAir app, will be produced in this facility. 

OPGA honors providers 

WATERLOO, Iowa – The Orthotic and Prosthetic Group of America (OPGA) recently honored 31 O&P providers with a 2022 Freedom Award for their exceptional care of military personnel. “We’re excited and honored to recognize these O&P providers for the exceptional care they provide to the men and women who have sacrificed for our freedom,” said Adam Miller, president of the OPGA. “These dedicated professionals blend patient care with precision design to ensure our military heroes can have the increased mobility and independence they deserve.” The recipients, who received a framed award to showcase in their facilities, are: 

  • Lima Brace & Limb – Lima, Ohio 
  • Sierra Prosthetics-Orthotics – Grass Valley, Calif.  
  • NovaCare Prosthetics & Orthotics – Sheboygan, Wis.  
  • NovaCare Prosthetics & Orthotics - Green Bay, Wis. 
  • NovaCare Prosthetics & Orthotics – Fond du Lac, Wis.  
  • NovaCare Prosthetics & Orthotics – Oshkosh, Wis. 
  • NovaCare Prosthetics & Orthotics – Poplar Bluff, Mo.  
  • Central Brace & Limb Co Inc. – Indianapolis 
  • Carolina Prosthetics and Orthotics, Inc. – Greenwood, S.C.  
  • Limbcare Prosthetics and Orthotics of Georgia – Albany, Ga.  
  • Limbcare Prosthetics and Orthotics of Georgia – Americus, Ga.  
  • Limbcare Prosthetics and Orthotics of Georgia – Cordele, Ga. 
  • Limbcare Prosthetics and Orthotics of Georgia – Americus, Ga.  
  • Limbcare Prosthetics and Orthotics of Georgia – Valdosta, Ga.  
  • Total Rehab Orthotics and Prosthetics – Fayetteville, N.C. 
  • LeTourneau Prosthetics – Beaumont, Texas  
  • Georgia Prosthetics – Atlanta 
  • Tillges Orthotic & Prosthetic – Maplewood, Minn. 
  • Leimkuehler Inc. – Cleveland, Ohio 
  • Decker Integrated O&P – Overland Park, Kan.  
  • MedEast Post-Op & Surgical Inc – Mt. Laurel, N.J.  
  • Miller Prosthetics & Orthotics – Belpre, Ohio 
  • Syracuse Prosthetic Orthotic Center – Syracuse, N.Y.  
  • Transcend Orthotics and Prosthetics – South Bend, Ind.  
  • Transcend Orthotics and Prosthetics – Fort Wayne, Ind.  
  • Transcend Orthotics and Prosthetics – Indianapolis, Ind.  
  • Transcend Orthotics and Prosthetics – Greenwood, Ind.  
  • Transcend Orthotics and Prosthetics – Jackson, Mich.  
  • Transcend Orthotics and Prosthetics – Merrillville, Ind.  
  • Transcend Orthotics and Prosthetics – Burr Ridge, Ill.  
  • Valley Prosthetics and Orthotics, Inc. – Allentown, Pa. 

Stakeholders oppose wheelchair bill 

BOSTON – AAHomecare, NCART and HOMES have joined forces to send a letter to leaders in the Massachusetts legislature opposing S. 3136, a bill aimed at expanding wheelchair warranty protections in the state. “While AAHomecare and our partners are committed to improving the wheelchair repair process to ensure consumers receive timely and quality repair services, the bill as currently written would place undue burdens on providers and manufacturers and, ultimately, reduce patient access to high quality mobility products,” states the association in a bulletin. The letter suggests alternate language to differentiate between legitimate warranty issues and normal wear-and-tear, overly prescriptive repair timeframes and length of warranty protections. 

Medela enlists sales support 

McHenry, Ill. – Medela has partnered with MedPro, a nationwide contract medical sales organization, to expand access to its suite of wound care devices. “As a company, we remain committed to the patients and clinicians in the wound care space,” said Jeff Castillo, executive vice president of the Americas for Medela. “Medela’s wound care systems improve patient comfort and mobility, increase clinical flexibility and confidence, and allow for better management of patient care. We are excited that our partnership with MedPro will allow us to extend our support to areas that previously did not have coverage and provide even better support to our customers, ensuring that all patients in need have access to Medela products.” Medela also announced it had hired Todd Harris as general manager for Medela wound care. 

Best Buy invests in Coeus h3c to expand access to home health 

LAS VEGAS – Best Buy has made an investment in Coeus h3c and will use the Home Health Hybrid Cloud (h3c) to accelerate customer access to the full benefits of its home health devices and solutions. h3c is an end-to-end solution that manages the procurement, provision, delivery, installation and maintenance required for a successful home health experience. “Living independently, living well and accessing health care at home have clear and compelling benefits for people,” said Deborah DiSanzo, president of Best Buy Health. “We’re committed to enabling care at home for everyone, and we’re continually seeking new ways to apply our core capabilities in omnichannel retail, in-home services, logistics, caring centers and technology with our leading home health solutions for wellness, aging in place and managing health conditions at home.”Coeus h3c offers a cloud-based IT and logistics platform that it says eliminates more than 30 friction points associated with ordering, customization and kitting; delivering, installing and go-live support; establishing connections to ensure health data is easily accessible to providers; ongoing monitoring to support device health and connectivity; and returning devices. In a pilot study, h3c was shown to improve use of in-home health devices and solutions by up to 50% and decrease abandonment by 30%, according to the company. “Millions of Americans trust Best Buy for their technology needs, and technology for care in the home is no exception,” said Oran Muduroglu, CEO of Coeus h3c. “We’re grateful for their initial financial backing, as well as their expertise in creating personalized home health solutions. We believe our collaboration will help the largest group of Americans access the full benefits of home care. The cost benefits that follow are second only to the enormous quality of life gains that individuals, patients and their caregivers can experience from staying at home.” 

AAHomecare: Supplier numbers dip below 9K 

WASHINGTON - AAHomecare’s latest quarterly supplier number tracking sheet shows a continued decrease in traditional DMEPOS suppliers, with approximately 8,960 locations across the country. AAHomecare monitors the DMEPOS industry by reviewing the list of Medicare registered suppliers. The updated tracking sheet shows a decrease in the number of locations compared to a year ago. It is the first time the reported number is below 9,000. The association’s updated analysis shows about a 31% decrease in traditional DME supplier locations since 2013.  
Senate votes to end PHE 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate voted this week to end the public health emergency, but it’s unclear whether the House of Representatives will also take up the measure, according to news reports. The Senate voted 62-36 to end the PHE, which allows certain waivers and flexibilities. Of particular impact for the HME industry, the PHE includes a 75-25 blended reimbursement rate for providers in non-rural areas. Currently, the PHE is set to expire in mid-January, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services saying it will give at least 60 days advance notice before ending the PHE. President Biden has threatened to veto any congressional efforts to end the PHE, according to reports. 

Better Health joins Cigna network 

SAN FRANCISCO – Better Health, a national chronic condition support and medical supply provider, is now in-network for Medicare Advantage customers of Cigna. "We are thrilled that Better Health is now available as an in-network provider for Cigna’s Medicare Advantage members,” said Naama Stauber Breckler, Better Health co-founder and CEO. “Identifying the unique needs of people with chronic conditions who are dependent on medical supplies, we modernized the entire process of discovering, choosing, and receiving medical supplies and care.” With this new agreement, more than 540,000 Cigna MA customers can make use of Better Health’s offerings. Better Health currently operates in 46 states and its services are covered by insurance for more than 185 million lives across the country. Its care model is designed for patients with multiple chronic needs, including ostomy, tracheostomy, wound care, chronic urinary retention, incontinence and, most recently, diabetes supplies

AMA recommends oversight of TPAs 

HONOLULU – The American Medical Association decided at its interim meeting here to recommend that third-party administrators of specialty pharmacy benefits be included in state and federal oversight efforts of prescription drug middlemen. Regulation of pharmacy benefit managers is on the rise in response to concerns that they can have a detrimental impact on the ability of patients to access affordable prescription drugs and, for specialty pharmacy benefits, TPAs provide many of the same services, including developing and maintaining formularies, processing claims, and negotiating discounts and rebates between payers and manufacturers “Given that TPA services can have a negative impact on access and affordability for specialty drugs, the AMA will remind state and federal regulators not to ignore TPAs in their oversight of drug middlemen,” said AMA Board Member Marilyn Heine, M.D. “Specialty drugs are often a critical part of a patient’s care for cancer, certain forms of arthritis, and other medical conditions. As such, the AMA believes TPAs should be subject to the same licensing, registration, and transparency reporting requirements that regulators mandate for PBMs.” 

CMS issues corrected fee schedules 

WASHINGTON – CMS has identified errors in the fee schedule amounts for certain items furnished in non-contiguous areas and has released revised public use fee schedule files. Most of the corrections to the fee schedule amounts were minor, resulting in an estimated aggregate underpayment of about $3,200 dollars in 2022 with percentage fee adjustments ranging from 0.5% to 5.1% for certain items. Fewer than 3,000 claims are affected by these errors and will be automatically reprocessed by the DME MACs. A list of 179 HCPCS code and modifier combinations affected by the revisions is included as a separate public use file. The revised 2022 public use files are now available here

 ISS registration opens 

PITTSBURGH – Registration is live for the 38th International Seating Symposium, which will be held in person at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh on April 13-15. Early bird registration is $779; standard registration, after Feb. 28, is $859. Pre-conference workshop rates are also available: $199 for a half-day and $379 for a full day. The event offers a comprehensive education program with topics like “Denials: Evidence for Practice and Policy Change” and “Standards: It’s not About Where we are, it’s About Where we are Going.” Attendees can receive offering continuing education units (CEUs) for all sessions. The event also offers an exhibit hall. Those who should attend include assistive technology professionals (ATPs) and occupational and physical therapists. 

Tandem backs use of insulin pump 

SAN DIEGO – Tandem Diabetes Care has announced the results from a prospective, multi-center, single-arm study of adults living with Type 2 diabetes who achieved improvement in all clinical endpoints with the use of the t:slim X2 insulin pump with Control-IQ technology. Data from the study, which was presented at the 22nd Annual Diabetes Technology Meeting, demonstrated the system to be safe during six weeks of use, with a substantial improvement in time in range and mean glucose related to a reduction in hyperglycemia and no increase in continuous glucose monitor-measured hypoglycemia. Both prior multiple daily injection users and prior basal insulin only users showed similar levels of improvement. “Our goal with this study was to show Control-IQ technology was safe and could offer considerable benefit to individuals with Type 2 diabetes, and we accomplished that,” said Carol Levy, MD, CDCES, protocol chair for the study and professor of medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “The 15% time in range improvement from prior therapy represents a 3.6 hour/day increase in time in range, with no hypoglycemia events.” The study included 30 adults with Type 2 diabetes from three clinical centers: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City, NY; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; and Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology, Austin, Texas. The study was coordinated by the JAEB Center for Health Research, in Tampa, Fla.  

Better Health extends care model to diabetes 

SAN FRANCISCO – Better Health, a national chronic condition support and medical supply provider, has expanded its offerings to those living with diabetes. “Living with a chronic condition can be expensive,” said Greg Bokar, Better Health’s newly appointed general manager of expansion, who is at the forefront of the company’s initiative. “With our expansion, we are broadening our offering to provide peer support, patient education, insurance management and home delivery of medical supplies for people living with diabetes.” Better Health’s care model is designed for those with multiple chronic conditions, such as ostomy, tracheostomy, wound care, chronic urinary retention, incontinence and/or diabetes, among other categories. The company takes a modernized approach to ordering, product fitting and delivering medical supplies, and simplifies the process of provider referrals, insurance handling and paperwork. It also offers peer support coaching. "We are pleased that Better Health is now able to provide services and medical supplies to those living with diabetes,” said Better Health Co-founder and CEO Naama Stauber Breckler. “We modernize the entire process of discovering, choosing, and receiving medical supplies. But getting the right supplies is just half the challenge for people living with chronic conditions. We also educate, coach, and support people to improve their lives, reduce their stress, and save them money along the way.” Better Health currently operates in 46 states and its services are covered by insurance for more than 185 million lives across the country.


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