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In brief: Provider of the Year, e-prescribing alliance, patent infringement

In brief: Provider of the Year, e-prescribing alliance, patent infringement

YARMOUTH, Maine – Medical Service Company and Stephens Pharmacy/Northeast Med-Equip have both been named HME Provider of the Year for 2021 as part of the HME Excellence Awards hosted by HME News. 

Ohio-based Medical Service Company and Pennsylvania-based Stephens Pharmacy/Northeast Med-Equip completed an initial application and a finalist application, providing information on their financials, quality control, staffing and community involvement. 

“Winning this award is a tremendous accomplishment,” said Liz Beaulieu, editor of HME News. “Both Medical Service Company and Stephens Pharmacy shined in a year like no other due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their commitment to their patients and community, and their determination to grow their businesses is admirable. They represent the best in the HME industry.” 

The judges were Miriam Lieber, president of Lieber Consulting, LLC; Jonathan Sadock, managing partner and CEO of Paragon Ventures; and Lisa Wells, founder of Naturally Able and a veteran online marketing and e-commerce consultant. 

Accolades from the judges: 

“Our winners embody the spirit and the heart of HME with meaningful, consistent efforts to support the people we serve and clinical providers who care for them as well,” Wells said. “As they strive to make a difference in the lives of their customers, these HME providers also set the mark in financially viable business practices, employee development programs, and community engagement.”   

"Your ability to understand the community you serve, as well as the community at large, coupled with a fine-tuned revenue cycle process, make you both uniquely qualified for this award,” Lieber said. “In addition, your financial stability and strength, along with your focus on the customer, all set you apart and are what make you this year's winners.” 

“All of the entries into this year’s HME Excellence awards exhibited the remarkable professionalism, clinical expertise, caring and compassion inherent in HME businesses,” Sadock said. “The two winners this year stood out with excellence in operations, fiscal management, marketing expertise and consistent involvement in the communities they serve. In addition, we note the focus on empowering staff to turn overwhelming adversity into a patient’s advantage as they work through the pandemic.”     

HME News has hosted the HME Excellence Awards since 2002. 

New alliance speeds up e-prescribing adoption  

INDIANAPOLIS – A group of investors that includes AAHomecare, VGM & Associates, AdaptHealth, Apria Healthcare, Lincare and Rotech Healthcare have aligned to form DMEscripts, an independent e-prescribe company. 

DMEscripts will use proprietary e-prescribe software to operate an open network for any DME supplier to join at no cost to prescribers and patients, the group says. 

“I am thrilled at the collective energy of fellow industry leaders in embracing this digital transformation, with an industry owned platform for electronically prescribing, tracking and fulfilling DME orders,” said Crispin Teufel, CEO of Lincare. “This has tremendously positive implications, particularly for the patients we serve.” 

The founding group is accepting investments from other industry partners in ownership of the software, which it says results in greater than 95% of orders being accepted the first time. 

The software, the group says, makes it simple to: 

  • Remove the rework of the current fax-based ordering process; 
  • Track orders from submission to delivery; 
  • Integrate with both electronic health records and billing systems; and 
  • Securely message between prescriber and supplier 

“Health care is transforming rapidly and digital access to care is becoming increasingly important,” said Dan Starck, CEO of Apria and chair of the DMEscripts board of directors. “Digital technology has implications for every aspect of health care, from the clinical to operational. Collaborating with our founding partners will help deliver leading-edge expertise and assistance to our members as they advance on the digital journey ahead.” 

Baxter, Hillrom ‘unite’ to accelerate connected care  

DEERFIELD, Ill., and CHICAGO – Baxter International announced on Sept. 2 that it has entered into a definitive agreement to buy Hillrom for $156 per share in cash for a total equity value of $10.5 billion and a total enterprise value of about $12.4 billion, including the assumption of debt. 

Baxter says the acquisition brings a highly complementary product portfolio and innovation pipeline that will enable the company to provide a broader array of medical products and services to patients and clinicians across the care continuum and around the world, facilitating the delivery of health care that is patient- and customer-centered and focused on improving clinical outcomes. It also accelerates the company’s expansion into digital and connected care solutions that are increasingly enabling patients with access to hospital-level care at home or in other home care settings. 

“Baxter and Hillrom share a common vision for transforming health care to better serve all patients and providers,” said José (Joe) E. Almeida, Baxter’s chairman, president and CEO. “Patients increasingly want to receive their care at home or nearby, while hospitals and other care providers are increasingly using digital health technologies to expand access, improve quality and lower costs. Baxter and Hillrom are uniting to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving global healthcare landscape, while also creating significant value for all the stakeholders we serve.” 

The purchase price represents a 26% premium to Hillrom’s closing stock price on July 27, 2021, the last trading day prior to media reports speculating about a potential transaction. 

The boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the acquisition. The transaction is subject to the approval of Hillrom shareholders and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. It is expected to close by early 2022. 

Study: CPAP therapy can improve lifespan 

LYON, France – Using PAP therapy can significantly increase sleep apnea patients’ chances of living longer, according to an abstract presented this week at the virtual European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress 2021 and supported by ResMed. 

The landmark ALASKA study, “CPAP Termination and All-Cause Mortality: a French Nationwide Database Analysis,” concluded people with obstructive sleep apnea who continued PAP therapy were 39% more likely to survive than OSA patients who didn’t. Researchers observed more than 176,000 people in France with sleep apnea over a three-year period. Study authors say the survival rate gap remained significant when accounting for patients’ ages, overall health, other pre-existing conditions and causes of death. 

“Treating sleep apnea with PAP therapy may help you live longer; that’s the key takeaway here for people with sleep apnea and their doctors,” said Adam Benjafield, study co-author and ResMed Vice President of Medical Affairs. “This finding underscores how critical it is to identify the hundreds of millions of people worldwide whose sleep apnea is undiagnosed and untreated.” 

An estimated 936 million people worldwide have sleep apnea – including more than 175 million Europeans – but more than 80% remain undiagnosed. 

The ALASKA study was conducted in partnership with Professor Jean-Louis Pépin; universities of Grenoble, San Diego, and Sydney; Sêmeia; and other researchers from ResMed’s industry-academia collaboration medXcloud. 

Infusion stakeholders send letter supporting infusion bills 

WASHINGTON – The National Home Infusion Association and more than 20 other organizations have sent a letter to Congress supporting legislation that would ensure access to home infusion therapy for Medicare beneficiaries. The Preserving Patient Access to Home Infusion Act, introduced in August in both the House of Representative and the Senate, provides important clarifications to the 21st Century Cures Act that will ensure Medicare recognizes the full spectrum of professional services that make home infusion a safe and effective option for patients — including the extensive pharmacist services that minimize the need for face-to-face interactions, which are integral to safe and effective treatment. Other organizations signed onto the letter include National Association for Home Care & Hospice National Community Pharmacists Association, American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition and Managed Health Care Associates. 

Invacare updates 3Q 2021 guidance 

ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare has updated its financial guidance for its third quarter 2021 to constant currency net sales of 0% to growth of 4% year-over-year, adjusted EBITDA in the range of $6 to $9 million; and free cash flow usage of $4 to $7 million. “When we reconfirmed full-year guidance at the end of 2Q21, we had assumed an improvement in external factors which have not materialized as expected,” said Matthew Monaghan, CEO. “These included moderation on cost and availability of freight and labor, which would have enabled us to capitalize on reducing backlog and generating higher revenue growth for the third quarter. Management is working with customers on price increases as appropriate to defray significantly higher input costs; however, the benefit of those actions will not be realized until 4Q21.” The company recently notified customers that it was implementing a 10% price increase on select bed and manual wheelchair spare parts, as well as freight surcharges ranging from $15 to $125. 

WellSky taps former Cigna exec 

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – WellSky has named Andy Eilert as president, emerging markets, where he will focus on enhancing WellSky’s provider software and analytics capabilities to optimize care and scale provider performance in emerging healthcare markets. Eilert has more than 25 years of experience in health care services and technology, most recently as president of post-acute, home, and emerging solutions at Evernorth, a division of Cigna. “Andy brings decades of experience and proven success in building solutions and businesses that transform healthcare, and WellSky is fortunate to have him join our leadership team,” said Bill Miller, WellSky CEO. “Our industry is at an inflection point with the shift to home and value-based care. Andy’s commitment to furthering WellSky’s technology and analytics capabilities will allow us to better partner with our clients to improve quality and thrive in the world of value-based care.” 

 Brown & Fortunato opens Dallas office 

AMARILLO, Texas – Brown & Fortunato has opened an office in Dallas to offer greater accessibility to clients and enhance its ability to provide legal services with a focus on the health care, construction and energy sectors. Brown & Fortunato has extensive experience representing DME providers, pharmacies, infusion companies, labs, manufacturers and other health care providers in regulatory compliance, licensure, program enrollment, reimbursement and administrative appeal matters. It also has a Government Affairs practice located in the Washington D.C., area focused on the health care industry that assists clients in navigating complex regulatory requirements and provides strategic access to Congress and federal agencies on important legislative and regulatory initiatives. 

AASM launches Student Sleep Health Week 

DARIEN, Ill. – The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has organized its second annual Student Sleep Health Week, Sept. 12-18, to encourage students, families and teachers to recognize that sleep is essential for health and learning. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, 78% of high school students and 34% of children don’t get sufficient sleep on an average school night, and studies show that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on sleep in children. “The pandemic altered our children’s daily routines, including sleep and wake schedules, screen time and physical activity, all of which can be harmful to their overall health and well-being,” said AASM President Dr. Raman Malhotra. “Now that most students are back in the classroom, it’s important that they establish new routines that include the proper amount of healthy sleep.” The AASM recommends that children from 6 to 12 years of age should sleep nine to 12 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health, while teenagers between 13 and 18 years of age should obtain eight to 10 hours of sleep per night. 

Option Care Health announces stock offering 

BANNOCKBURN, Ill. – Option Care Health announced that an affiliate of Madison Dearborn Partners, the selling stockholder, has agreed to sell 9.2 million shares of the company’s common stock at $26.90 per share in an underwritten public offering. This sale of shares represents approximately 5.1% of the current shares outstanding. Consistent with the August 2021 secondary offering, Madison Dearborn Partners and Walgreen Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., have agreed in principle to allocate all of the selling stockholder’s offering proceeds to affiliates of Madison Dearborn Partners and other equity holders of the selling stockholder. As a result, Walgreens will maintain its approximately 21% indirect financial interest in Option Care Health following this offering. The offering was expected to close Sept. 9. 

NYU charges ResMed with patent infringement 

NEW YORK – New York University has filed a complaint for patent infringement against ResMed. The complaint, filed in Delaware, alleges that ResMed commits acts of patent infringement through the manufacture, use, offer for sale, sale and/or importation of the company’s AirSense 10 AutoSet systems that include the AutoSet algorithm and AutoRamp features. The AutoSet algorithm monitors a patient's breathing pattern to determine the ideal pressure to use for treatment; the AutoRamp feature detects when a patient is asleep, monitors their breathing pattern, and administers increasing amounts of air pressure up to a specific level. NYU argues that David Rapoport, M.D., who currently serves as the director of the Sleep Medicine Research Program at Mount Sinai in New York, and Robert Norman hold seven U.S. patents, including a “System and method for diagnosing and treatment of a breathing pattern of a patient,” that are infringed upon by ResMed’s AirSense 10. The university requests the court to enter judgment in its favor by, among other things, awarding it damages and attorney fees. 

Quipt Home Medical rings bell 

CINCINNATI – The Quipt Home Medical team, including Greg Crawford, chairman and CEO, rang the Nasdaq opening bell on Sept. 2 in celebration of its listing on the exchange on May 27. “The Nasdaq listing is an incredible achievement for our over 600 employees and longstanding shareholders, as we continue our mission of providing superior patient care for at home respiratory patients across the United States,” Crawford said. “Joining an exchange that is home to some of the most disruptive companies in the world reflects the continued growth across our organization and our evolution as a publicly traded company over the last several years.” Quipt recently reported revenue of $26.2 million for the third quarter of 2021 compared to $18.6 million for the same period last year, a 41% increase, and a net income of $6.3 million vs. a net loss of $2.5 million.

RESNA revamps user portal 

ARLINGTON, Va. – RESNA has a new and improved portal that’s more welcoming and user friendly, the organization says. Enhancements to the portal include improved communication of upcoming events, mobile responsive and accessible design, and simple navigation with intuitive pathways to information. To access the new portal, RESNA members can keep their existing username but must create a new password. The organization says to reach out directly to [email protected] with questions. 

NCPA applauds president’s plan 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association says it support President Biden’s “Path out of the Pandemic” plan, which includes authorization for pharmacists to order and administer select COVID-19 therapeutics, including monoclonal antibody therapy, and expands testing to 10,000 additional pharmacies. “As the president made clear, this fight isn’t over,” said B. Douglas Hoey, CEO. “We’re at a critical point and bold action is necessary. Independent pharmacists are in this fight until we defeat the virus.” Independent pharmacies have been on the front lines of the pandemic, administering tens of millions of doses of vaccines, says Hoey. “Independent pharmacies are more than ready and able to administer millions of doses of the vaccine boosters once they are approved.”


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