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In brief: Provider of the Year, DMEscripts C-suite, Advent’s buy, new enrollment contractor

In brief: Provider of the Year, DMEscripts C-suite, Advent’s buy, new enrollment contractor

YARMOUTH, Maine – Bellevue Healthcare, based in Bellevue, Wash., was named the 2022 HME Provider of the Year at the HME News Business Summit in Nashville on Sept. 19.  

As part of the HME Excellence Awards hosted by HME News, Bellevue Healthcare completed an initial application and a finalist application, providing information on its financials, quality control, staffing and community involvement.  

“Congratulations to Joel Gallion and the whole team at Bellevue Healthcare,” said Liz Beaulieu, editor of HME News. “The judges were very impressed with the company’s financial growth and their approach to everything from leadership to patient satisfaction to diversification.”   

The judges were Miriam Lieber, president of Lieber Consulting, LLC; and Jonathan Sadock, managing partner and CEO of Paragon Ventures.   

During the judging process, Lieber and Sadock highlighted, among other things, Bellevue Healthcare’s double-digit improvement in EBITDA from 2020 to 2021, its investment in leadership training, its commitment to patient satisfaction, and its use of technology as part of the delivery process.  

Bellevue Healthcare provides a full line of HME across Washington, Oregon and Idaho. It has been locally owned and operated since 2000.  

DMEScripts names CEO, CFO 

INDIANAPOLIS – DMEscripts LLC, an industry-owned e-prescribing platform, has announced the addition of John Brady as CEO and Frank Schools as CFO.   

Brady, a 25-year veteran of the health care industry, including two startups, brings extensive experience in digital health transformation with an emphasis on product and innovation. Schools joins DMEscripts following a 43-year career in finance, including a broad background in venture capital, private equity, mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings.  

“As digital care continues to drive rapid transformation in health care services, the addition of John Brady and Frank Schools could not come at a better time,” said Thomas Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare and DMEscripts board member. “They are two remarkable leaders who bring growth and corporate strategy acumen in addition to a wealth of knowledge of health care organizations. Their collaboration with the founding partners and all industry stakeholders will deliver leading-edge solutions as we progress on the digital journey ahead.”   

Brady and Schools join DMEscripts Vice President of Product Ken Hodel, with a charge to accelerate further market adoption and network growth.  

“DMEscripts, as a company, a network, and digital platform, is quickly becoming an industry asset,” said Schools. “Our collaboration is among the industry’s top minds and organizations, and I am excited to work with our team as we best ensure patients, providers, suppliers and payers have digital access to information enabling a much-improved quality of care experience.”  

DMEscripts was formed by a group of industry investors that includes AAHomecare, VGM & Associates, AdaptHealth, Apria Healthcare Group, Lincare and Rotech Healthcare.  

Advent acquires Aeratech  

Chicago, Ill. – Advent Home Medical, a portfolio company of New Harbor, has acquired Aeratech Home Medical, a provider of home respiratory care and respiratory equipment technology.  

Aeratech was founded in 1999 by Roy Neely, a respiratory therapist who wanted to reduce prolonged hospital stays for patients with complex respiratory conditions. Today, it serves approximately 1,000 patients through nine offices across Ohio and Indiana.  

“This partnership is a perfect fit,” said Rob Hensley, CEO of Advent. “Aeratech’s commitment to patient care and focus on high-tech respiratory home care are perfectly aligned with Advent and Life Tech. We plan to continue to expand into new geographies, and we were able to quickly enter these contiguous states with this acquisition.” 

Aeratech marks Advent’s second acquisition in partnership with New Harbor, which completed a majority equity investment in Advent in March 2021. Earlier this year, Advent acquired LifeTech. 

The partnership with Aeratech meaningfully advances the goal of both businesses to provide the highest quality home health care to more patients across the Midwest and beyond.   

“We are thrilled to join the Advent team,” Neely said. “This partnership will help us spread our mission of helping even more respiratory care patients receive expert care in their homes.”  

McDermott, Will & Emery LLP, and RSM US LLP provided counsel and advice to New Harbor Capital and Advent. Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP served as counsel, and Signet Capital Advisors LLC acted as advisors to Aeratech on the transaction. Maranon Capital, L.P., provided financing support and was advised by Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. 

Medline boosts inventory 

NORTHFIELD, Ill. – Medline has invested an additional $500 million in incremental medical supply inventory to ensure product availability and timely delivery to the health care providers it serves.  

The investment, completed at the end of the second quarter of 2022, brings the company’s total on-hand inventory to more than $4 billion and marks another step taken by Medline to help health care run better despite continued industry-wide global supply chain challenges. 

“Our inventory management strategy has always been designed with one goal in mind – ensure that the right products are available at the right time to meet the demands of our customers and the patients in their care,” said Jim Pigott, Medline Group president. “This latest investment reflects our ongoing pledge to provide reliable, superior service to healthcare systems across the continuum of care.” 

Since 2018, Medline has invested $2 billion in its U.S. distribution centers, manufacturing capabilities and IT upgrades to further its commitment to delivering superior customer service. 

Throughout the pandemic, Medline has focused on implementing new ideas to address the significant increase in demand for medical supplies nationwide, including expanding its U.S. manufacturing capabilities. The company’s latest North American manufacturing expansion is the addition of Micro-Kill disinfectant wipes to its Hartland, Wis., facility operations, with production beginning in the fourth quarter of 2022. 

CMS switches provider enrollment contractors 

WASHINGTON – The National Suppliers Clearinghouse will no longer process new DMEPOS provider enrollment applications starting Oct. 29, CMS officials announced during a Sept. 21 Open Door Forum. After that date, Palmetto will process applications for the west half of the country and Novitas for the east half. At this time, suppliers don’t need to take any action, but they should continue working with the NSC, officials said. Any in-process applications will automatically be transferred to the new contractors. CMS will release more information next week, including a map that shows how the two regions are split. The agency is also working on getting contractor websites up and running. 

Belluscura signs distribution agreement 

LONDON and PLANO, Texas – Belluscura has signed a distribution agreement with a leading DME provider and distributor in the United States, it has announced. Belluscura, which makes the X-PLOR portable oxygen concentrator, says the DME provider has been supplying home oxygen therapy for more than 50 years through 1,000 brick-and-mortar locations throughout the country, as well as online. “This agreement, with one of the largest supplemental oxygen providers in the U.S., significantly increased our coverage across the country and will give more patients access to our best-in class devices,” said Robert Rauker, CEO of Belluscura. The agreement is for distribution of the next-generation X-PLOR, which features the company’s new Nomad Biometric app. The app allows patients to connect other Bluetooth devices, pulse oximeters and wearables. 

FDA to discuss pulse oximetry concerns 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will hold a virtual meeting on Nov. 1 to discuss ongoing concerns that pulse oximeters may be less accurate in individuals with darker skin pigments. The CDRH Anesthesiology and Respiratory Therapy Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee will also discuss factors that may affect pulse oximetry accuracy and performance, the available evidence about the accuracy of pulse oximeters, recommendations for patients and health care providers, and the amount and type of data that should be provided by manufacturers to assess pulse oximetry accuracy and guide other regulatory actions as needed.  

GF advances manufacturing capabilities 

ATLANTA – Graham-Field is making a multi-million dollar investment in an advanced 3D fiber optic laser tube cutting system. The next-generation system will run 24/7 at the company's 156,000-square-foot steel fabrication facility in Wisconsin. “The high performance and flexibility to process round, square, rectangular and special shaped tubing, plus angle iron, channel and flat bar steel will allow us to manufacture a wide variety of components that make up several of our critical product lines,” said Kurt Hellman, senior vice president of manufacturing. GF expects the new system to be operational by mid-2023. Headquartered in Atlanta, with more than 300 U.S.-based employees, Graham-Field has wholly owned domestic factories in Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina and Rhode Island, with additional distribution facilities in Missouri, Georgia and California. The company’s product brands include Basic American Medical Products, Everest & Jennings, Gendron, Grafco, Hausted, Intensa, John Bunn, Labtron, Lumex and Lumiscope. 

Walgreens to take full ownership in Shields Health Solutions 

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreens Boots Alliance has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the remaining 30% stake in Shields Health Solutions for approximately $1.37 billion, giving WBA full ownership of the company. Shields is a health system-owned specialty pharmacy integrator. “Our full acquisition of Shields will complete another major milestone as part of our consumer-centric health care strategy to drive sustainable long-term growth, and we are very pleased with our partnership and integration with Shields,” said Roz Brewer, CEO, WBA. “We can now make further progress on our strategy through Shields’ integrated model, increasing our value to health systems, expanding access to payor partners and supporting improved outcomes and lower costs.” WBA in 2021 announced it would invest $970 million in Shields for approximately 71% ownership. This latest transaction is expected to close by the end of 2022. 

Motion returns with rehab expo 

TORONTO – Motion, formerly Motion Specialties, will once again host the Motion Rehab Expo following a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Motion Rehab Expo is a complimentary full-day education and networking event for Canadian health care and industry professionals, including therapists, long-term care administrators, funding providers and many others. Attendees can expect 15-minute round robin presentations from equipment manufacturers for both adult and pediatric streams. They can also trial and review the latest and greatest in rehab mobility, seating and home accessibility products, participate in an International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET)-recognized Certified Education Unit (CEU), and enjoy a complimentary lunch, as well as refreshments throughout the day. Attendees can register for a Motion Rehab Expo event in their area via Motion’s website at 

Intuity’s POGO system available through Costco program 

FREMONT, Calif. – Intuity Medical, Inc., a medical technology and digital health company focused on making life with diabetes easier, has announced that the POGO Automatic Blood Glucose Monitoring System and POGO Automatic Test Cartridges are now available with discount pricing through the Costco Member Prescription Program (CMPP). The CMPP is a prescription discount card program that provides Costco members and their eligible dependents with the ability to obtain lower prices on prescription products. “We are excited Costco is making POGO Automatic available through the CMPP because — just like POGO Automatic itself — the CMPP is another big stride forward in easing the burden of blood glucose testing for people with diabetes,” said Emory Anderson, president and CEO of Intuity Medical, Inc. “As the first and only FDA-cleared automatic blood glucose monitor with 10-test cartridge technology that automatically lances, collects blood and produces a glucose result in just one step, POGO Automatic is all about removing barriers in the glucose testing procedure itself. That is why we are so glad there is a program like the CMPP — because its discounts help reduce the cost to ensure that pricing is also not a barrier to glucose testing.” Intuity launched POGO in the U.S. in 2021. 

NCPA ‘disappointed’ in decision to allow mega deal 

WASHINGTON – The National Community Pharmacists Association said it was “deeply disappointed” that UnitedHealth's $13.8 billion bid for Change Healthcare would be allowed to move forward. “We would like to thank the Department of Justice for meeting with us, listening to our concerns, and fighting to block two dominant companies from becoming even more dominant,” said B. Douglas Hoey, CEO. “We are deeply disappointed in Judge Carl Nichols’ decision, which we believe will ultimately lead to less competition and consumer harm in the form of patient steering, less access, and higher costs.” Nichols on Sept. 19 refused to block the deal, rejecting a DOJ challenge alleging the deal creates a monopoly for key insurance claims-processing technology and gives UnitedHealthcare too much data from rival insurers. “With its insurance business, its pharmacy benefit manager business, and its mail-order pharmacy business, UnitedHealthcare is already a three-headed dragon and one of the worst actors in the market,” said Hoey. "The acquisition of the Change Healthcare will give it a massive advantage over its competitors, and it will create an irresistible incentive for the insurance company to use patient data to steer business to its own pharmacy, and away from local, small-business pharmacies.” 

Mahncke moves into VP role at U.S. Rehab 

WATERLOO, Iowa – Tyler Mahncke has been promoted to vice president of U.S. Rehab. Previously, Mahncke served as operations and business development manager for U.S. Rehab, where he became a trusted leader in the industry and a valued partner to U.S. members and vendors alike. "I am humbled and excited to continue my work in the complex rehab technology industry with the great members and vendor partners that we have," said Mahncke. "Our team at U.S. Rehab and VGM & Associates is as strong as it has ever been, and with their support, I look forward to continuing to build programs that benefit our membership and the continued growth of relationships with our great vendor partners." Mahncke will continue with many of the same responsibilities from his previous role but will be much more involved in contracting, business development and growth, strategic planning, and day-to-day business decisions. 

Repair Authority joins CAIRE Authorized Service Center network 

BALL GROUND, Ga. – CAIRE has tapped Strongsville, Ohio-based Repair Authority, an HME repair company, to become part of the company’s Authorized Service Center network. Through this new agreement, Repair Authority will be able to support CAIRE customers with in-warranty repairs, which is critical support needed by some of the largest HME providers. “We’re honored to have been selected by CAIRE as an authorized service provider for its stationary and portable oxygen concentrator lines,” said Jesse Keirn, CEO of Repair Authority. “CAIRE’s reputation for quality and innovation is second to none, and we are proud to partner with them to keep their devices working properly and in patients’ homes where they belong.” Founded in 1990, Repair Authority has repaired nearly a million units over its history, serving HME dealers ranging from large national companies to smaller independent providers. In addition to stationary and portable oxygen concentrators, the company also repairs continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices, ventilators and other home respiratory equipment at its 53,000-square-foot headquarters.  

Quipt closes on financing 

CINCINNATI – Quipt Home Medical Corp. has announced the closing of $110,000,000 in senior secured credit facilities with CIT Bank, N.A., a division of First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company. The senior secured credit facilities are in the aggregate amount of $110,000,000 (comprised of a term loan facility in an aggregate principal amount of $5,000,000, a delayed draw term loan facility in an aggregate principal amount of $85,000,000 and a revolving credit facility in an aggregate principal amount of $20,000,000). The company originally announced this transaction on Aug. 15, 2022, when it executed a binding commitment letter with CIT for up to $80,000,000 in senior credit facilities. However, as a result of strong demand from CIT and its syndicate of lenders the senior credit facilities were increased. “We continue to source opportunities across the United States in attractive markets and believe the ability to access meaningful additional funding leaves us well positioned to capitalize on opportunities as they present themselves,” said Greg Crawford, chairman and CEO. “As always, we will continue to remain very disciplined in our capital allocation strategy, maintaining a very healthy balance sheet with a conservative leverage structure.” 

Longtime industry vet Downing to join VGM & Associates 

WATERLOO, Iowa – Jamie Downing, a longtime veteran in the HME industry, has joined VGM & Associates as the senior vice president of program development, where he will focus on the creation and implementation of Peer Learning Communities that will soon be offered by VGM. For the past 12 years, he has been the president and part-owner of the Sleep Wellness Institute, a clinical diagnostic sleep and respiratory DME company, where he grew the business to 75 employees, including six clinic multiple diagnostics and nine retail/clinic CPAP locations throughout Southeastern Wisconsin before selling it in 2021. “In my new role at VGM & Associates, I am enthusiastic about combining my extensive business background and experience with the industry leader in DME,” Downing said. “Specifically, building and facilitating program development in new member peer groups will be a main function of my role.”


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