Skip to Content

In brief: Rotech financing, Kubat merger, Merits president

In brief: Rotech financing, Kubat merger, Merits president

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rotech Healthcare has obtained $425 million in new financing via an amended and reinstated credit agreement with a diverse group of lenders.

The provider used part of the proceeds to pay a $100 million dividend to its holding company and will use the remainder to support growth through strategic acquisitions.

“This new credit agreement provides Rotech with sufficient capital over the next five years to continue our growth strategies, as well as to provide a $100 million special dividend to our holding company,” said CEO Tim Pigg. “2020 has been a very challenging and successful year for Rotech as we continue to focus on being part of the solution to the COVID-19 public health emergency.”

The credit agreement is comprised of a $335 million, five-year loan; a $15 million revolving credit facility; and a $75 million acquisition credit facility.

Over the last four years, Rotech has acquired and integrated more than 65 businesses, building its footprint to approximately 300 locations in 50 states.

AAH comments on rates

WASHINGTON – Rates in former competitive bidding areas should be based on a 90/10 blended payment formula, AAHomecare argues in its comments to CMS’s recent DMEPOS Proposed Rule.

“The 90% should be based on the current payment rates in former CBAs, and the 10% should be based on the 2015 unadjusted fee schedule,” the association says.

Non-rural, non-CBAs should be based on a 75/25 blended payment formula, with the 75% based on the current rates in the former CBAs and the 25% based on the unadjusted fee schedule, AAHomecare also argues.

Other recommendations in the association’s comments:

  • CMS should eliminate its proposed limit on the number of times an applicant can resubmit applications for new or revised Level II HCPCS codes, as long as the applicant includes new data/information to support the request.
  • CMS should add to its HCPCS code panel representatives from state Medicaid programs, and/or representatives from the National Association of Medicaid Directors, and representatives of commercial payers.
  • CMS should incorporate into its HCPCS code application process a public notice and comment for its gap-filling and compatibility analyses after a positive preliminary HCPCS code decision.
  • CMS should permanently exempt accessories used with complex manual wheelchairs from competitive bid-derived pricing.
  • CMS should address a number of outstanding implications related to its proposal to expand coverage for adjunctive continuous glucose monitors and should allow for public comment on those issues.

To read AAH’s comments in full, go here.

To read a summary of the proposed rule, go here.

Upstate HomeCare to aid in COVID-19 fight

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Upstate HomeCare is partnering with Nascentia Health, a local health care services provider, to participate in the Special Projects for Equitable and Efficient Distribution (SPEED) pilot to fight COVID-19 in local, non-hospital facilities. The pilot will assist in allocating monoclonal antibodies to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions and prevent progression of the disease. “Upstate is proud to stand on the front lines to take part in helping those in our community most in need by participating in this new pilot; decreasing avoidable hospital admissions is priority one,” said Upstate CEO Greg LoPresti. The antibodies mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful antigens such as the virus. The SPEED pilot is a new federal allocation program in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Responses and the National Home Infusion Association.

Kubat Pharmacy merges with Vital Care Pharmacy

OMAHA, Neb. – Kubat Pharmacy has merged with Norfolk, Neb.-based Vital Care Pharmacy, according to local news reports. It’s the second merger announced this month by Kubat, one of the largest independent pharmacies in Omaha. In addition to prescription drugs and compounding, Kubat offers home medical equipment, respiratory and mobility services. “Vital Care Pharmacy is a great partner with Kubat,” Mitch Deines, vice president of strategic business development at Kubat Health Care told the Norfolk Daily News. “This merger will benefit the residents of Northeast Nebraska already being served by Vital Care while offering some expanded services provided by Kubat.” Vital Care will retain its name and current location.

AARC appoints interim executive director

IRVING, Texas – The American Association of Respiratory Care has named Paul Davis as interim executive director. Davis, a former Army officer, has a background that includes finance, business and leadership, most recently as business development director at Pratt & Whitney. “We are confident with Paul’s leadership and drive that AARC will continue to obtain and exceed organizational goals and objectives with a commitment to transparency and a forward-thinking,” said Sheri Tooley, AARC president. “We are encouraged and enthusiastic about 2021 as we begin a national search for a permanent executive director for the AARC.”

Hart Medical expands in Michigan

CHEBOYGAN, Mich. – Hart Medical Equipment has acquired McLaren Home Medical Equipment, formerly known as VitalCare, which has locations in Cheboygan, Gaylord and Petoskey in northern Michigan. “Hart concentrates on patient outcomes, integrative technologies, timely delivery and customer satisfaction, which has helped build trust within our communities,” said Allen Hunt, president of Hart Medical. “We look forward to bringing Hart’s focus on continuity of care, reduced readmissions and long-term patient outcomes to the northern Michigan community.” The acquisition furthers Hart’s strategic plan to expand its geographical reach, while leveraging additional scale to benefit partners, referrals and customers. It also allows Hart to bring its TeleHart live streaming training service to northern Michigan. The service educates customers remotely on CPAP/BiPAP, oxygen, glucometers and nebulizers from the safety of their own homes. Hart offers ventilators, cough assists, percussive vests, speech generating devices, continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps, and offers an e-commerce website for medical equipment and supplies.

McKesson tapped to distribute Moderna vaccine

IRVING, Texas – McKesson has been distributing Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine and the ancillary supply kits needed to administer it as part of Operation Warp Speed and under the direction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the company announced recently. The company undertook months of preparation for the distribution, including establishing dedicated centers and assembling the kits. “We are honored to be a partner with the U.S. government and other private-sector companies, such as Moderna, to support in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and the ancillary supply kits,” said Brian Tyler, CEO. “In March, our world seemed to change overnight. But with a renewed sense of commitment and intensified focus, we’ve come together across industries and forged public and private partnerships to help restore and protect the health and wellbeing of people around the world. With our exceptional group of employees managing the effort, we stand ready to meet this historical moment.” McKesson has partnered with FedEx and UPS to deliver the vaccines and ancillary supply kits throughout the country. The company is not distributing the Pfizer ultra-frozen vaccine.

Reliable Medical Supply shifts leadership

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. – Reliable Medical Supply’s Debbie Kalk will be moving from CEO to culture and advocacy ambassador, and Katie Stevens will become the company’s new CEO. Stevens has overseen operations at RMS and has led the company’s integration efforts as it has expanded its geographic footprint into three new states over the past 18 months. “I am very happy to see Katie Stevens step into the CEO role,” Kalk said. “When determining my successor, I selected Katie based not only on her skillset and experience, but also her dedication to our people, clients and core values.” Stevens joined RMS in January 2020, working closely with Kalk, the company’s growing management team and strategic industry partners to develop growth plans, solve operational challenges stemming from COVID-19 and maintain a strong company culture as a Top Workplace in Minnesota for six consecutive years. Kalk will also continue advocacy efforts for complex rehab as an active member of NCART’s board of directors.

The van Halem Group joins two state association boards

WATERLOO, Iowa – Wayne van Halem and Kelly Grahovac of The van Halem Group, have joined state association boards. van Halem, president, was named to the board of the Georgia Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers; Grahovac, general manager, was named to the board of directors for the South Carolina Medical Equipment Services Association. van Halem and Grahovac have both been speakers at their association meetings. “I have worked with GAMES for many years, and I am looking forward to working with the board to help build membership by illustrating the value GAMES brings to HME suppliers in the state of Georgia,” said van Halem. The van Halem Group is a division of VGM.

Merits names new president

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Merits USA and its sister brands Avid Rehab, Precision Comfort and Pilot have named Mike Laiman as their new president. “As Merits continues to grow, we are excited to bring Mike on board,” said Dave Jones, executive sales director, Merits. “I believe his experience and goals align with the vision we have had for Merits.” Laiman, who is coming out of retirement to take the position at Merits, has a long history in manufacturing, including more than six years as the senior vice president of operations at Pride Mobility. “I’m excited to be here at Merits and back in the DME industry,” Laiman said. “It’s always been a passion of mine to assist and improve mobility technology and improve quality of life.”

State news: Minnesota pauses recoupments

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Human Services has temporarily suspended its plans to recoup payments where the state Medicaid program paid more for DME than Medicare did in 2018 per the 21st Century Cures Act, MAMES reports. In December, the state association received a letter from the state saying, “DHS has temporarily suspended our processes for these recoveries.” MAMES believes the pause is due to the current public health emergency. “There is not a clear date as to when DHS will move forward,” the association stated in a bulletin. “(But) what this suspension does is allow MAMES the time to continue the work being done to stop recoupment from happening.” MAMES emailed DHS on Nov. 25, asking for an immediate response to its request that the recoupments not go forward. The email was followed by two meetings in December, one with governor’s staff and one with DHS staff.  MAMES highlighted the work of its lobbyist, Nick Zerwas, for getting the governor involved and for getting DHS to respond to MAMES.

Great Elm receives financing, rebrands

WALTHAM, Mass. – Great Elm Capital has received a preferred equity investment of $37.7 million from an affiliate of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Proceeds will be used to refinance Great Elm’s DME business and to provide the business with growth capital, the company says. “This financing transaction enables the firm to accelerate the growth of our existing businesses and at the same time provides incremental capital to acquire additional businesses,” said Peter Reed, Great Elm’s CEO. “The transaction will immediately lower the cost of capital for our DME business and provide growth capital to take advantage of organic growth and acquisition opportunities. Longer-term, our goal is to strengthen the relationship with JPM and seek additional means of enhancing shareholder value.” As part of the transaction, Great Elm is also creating a new parent company, Great Elm Group, and executing a new ticker symbol, GEG. The transaction is expected to be completed by Dec. 29.

DarioHealth provides RPM to health system

NEW YORK – DarioHealth has entered into an agreement to provide its remote patient monitoring solution to Presbyterian Medical Services, an integrated health care system in New Mexico, starting Jan. 1. The partnership will provide patients living with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, to access Darion’s AI-powered digital therapeutic tools and care. “Adding Dario’s RPM solution with personalized digital journeys can engage patients and help them manage their chronic conditions, while giving providers tools that enable remote patient monitoring, greater data and interaction with their patients,” said Rick Anderson, president and general manager of North America. “Dario’s solution has demonstrated that it can assist patients in achieving improved health outcomes.” Financial conditions of the agreement were not disclosed. The partnership is the result of a request for proposal process to evaluate several digital therapeutic platforms.

Soleo Health adds new drug

FRISCO, Texas – Soleo Health, a provider of complex specialty pharmacy and infusion services, is now offering SEVENFACT, a newly released drug by HEMA Biologics for the treatment and control of bleeding disorders in adolescent and adult patients with Hemophilia A or B with inhibitors. Soleo Health is among the first to offer the drug, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April and which was made available to the marketplace on Dec. 10. “Soleo Health is on the cutting edge in terms of forging manufacturer relationships and bringing the latest in clinical advancements to our patients and prescribing physicians,” said Craig Vollmer, chief commercial officer. “We continue to enhance and expand our portfolio by including new pharmaceutical treatments.” Soleo Health operates 20 locations throughout the U.S. with national nursing coverage and pharmacy licensure in 50 states.



To comment on this post, please log in to your account or set up an account now.