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In brief: Screening calls, C-suite changes, scholarship

In brief: Screening calls, C-suite changes, scholarship

WASHINGTON – CMS is having a subcontractor of the National Supplier Clearinghouse call supplier locations to make sure they’re open and available for inspection, according to AAHomecare. 

Early in the COVID-19 public health emergency, CMS waived the requirement that suppliers be open at a physical location a minimum of 30 hours per week (supplier standard No. 7). The waiver was lifted in July and CMS announced it would move forward with physical inspections. The agency assured that inspectors would follow state and local guidelines. 

The subcontractor, Overland Solutions, has been instructed to call suppliers and ask them questions about their current company address and if they're operating from their physical location or from home, according to a bulletin from AAHomecare. 

VGM has ‘proactive’ meeting with new member of Congress 

WATERLOO, Iowa – The VGM Group hosted a socially distanced and masked-up meeting with newly elected member of Congress, Ashley Hinson, at its corporate headquarters on Jan. 25. Rep. Hinson, R-Iowa, met with VGM senior leadership, as well as John Gallagher, Tom Powers and Emily Harkin of the Government Relations team. The group discussed concerns within the HME industry, primarily decreased reimbursement rates and regulatory burdens. “The discussion was constructive, and both parties were committed to building a collaborative relationship for the good of Iowans, providers and the constituents in her district,” the team wrote in a bulletin. “Building these relationships with members of Congress must be done proactively instead of reactively. We must educate them on our issues and establish relationships with their offices prior to reaching out asking them to sign on to legislation.” Hinson won the seat held by first-term Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer in November. She has been assigned to the Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives. 

Inogen names new CEO 

GOLETA, Calif. – Inogen’s board of directors has appointed Nabil Shabshab as president and CEO effective Feb. 8. 

Shabshab will replace Scott Wilkinson, who announced that he would be retiring in June last year. 

Shabshab will also serve as a Class II director, with a term expiring at the annual stockholders meeting in 2022. 

Shabshab, 56, has most recently served as worldwide president of diabetes care and digital health at Becton Dickinson and Co., since August 2017. Previously, he served as the company’s chief marketing officer and executive vice president of strategic planning. He’s also worked at Diversey, The Zyman Group, Symphony IRI, Waner Lambert/Pfizer, the Coca-Cola Co. and Fronterra. 

Shabshab’s employment agreement provides for an annual base salary of $650,000, a target annual bonus opportunity of 85% of his base salary and a cash sign-on bonus of $1.7 million, according to a Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

The agreement also provides for an equity award of restricted stock units (RSUs) covering shares of Inogen’s common stock, with an initial value of about $1.8 million; and for an equity award covering shares of the company’s common stock, with an initial value of about $2 million, according to the form. 

Wilkinson has agreed to provide transition services to Inogen as a non-executive employee until, at the latest, June 4, 2021. He will continue to receive his current base salary and other benefits, according to the form. 

Hanger Foundation creates scholarship to increase diversity 

AUSTIN, Texas – The Hanger Foundation has created the Hanger Foundation Diversity Scholarship to attract more diverse candidates to O&P graduate programs. Hanger Inc., which launched the foundation in 2009, says it is committed to addressing racism and creating a more inclusive profession. “Research has shown that clinicians of color are underrepresented within the O&P industry,” said Gloria Gonzales Dholakia, PhD, executive director of the Hanger Foundation. “It is our vision to help equip students from more diverse backgrounds with the tools they need to pursue a career in O&P.” The scholarships will supplement the cost of the two-year Masters of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics program and will offer a two-year mentorship, with the option of pursuing a residency with Hanger Clinic. Since 2015, the foundation has donated nearly $1.4 million to local and national organizations serving a variety of communities, including people with limb loss and limb difference and other physical challenges. 

OptiPillows to be distributed in Canada 

PHOENIX – OptiPillows EPAP Mask has signed an agreement with McArthur Medical to distribute its EPAP Mask in Canada.  OptiPillows, which provides expiratory positive air pressure (EPAP) using a proprietary valve, nasal pillows and headgear to alleviate snoring, is a solution for those who don’t qualify under CPAP guidelines or who don’t tolerate CPAP therapy. “After 37 years as a Canadian medical distributor, McArthur has built their clientele to come to expect innovative, high quality products at affordable prices and excellent customer relationships,” said Michelle Skimas, director of sales & business development at OptiPillows. “That aligns with the values of OptiPillows and our founder, Dr. T.S. Hakim. Dr. Hakim spent many years of his life involved in teaching and medical research in both the United States and Canada.” 

NSM launches education for nurse case managers 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – National Seating & Mobility has developed a new NSM University course to educate nurse case managers about complex rehab technology and mobility products. The one-hour course, “Introduction to Complex Rehab Technology & Accessibility Products for Persons with Disabilities,” outlines the differences between standard DME and CRT equipment, and introduces various types of wheelchairs, seating systems and accessories. “Broadening the scope of understanding about CRT and mobility solutions is key as our industry continues to strengthen its position in the overall health care spectrum,” said Bill Mixon, NSM CEO. “We are committed to investing in educational programs in support of this objective.” The course has received the Pre-Approved Continuing Education (PACE) seal of approval by the Commission for Case Manager Certification to provide continuing education credits to certified case managers. The first presentations are scheduled for Jan. 27 and Feb. 11, with additional dates to be provided throughout 2021. For information about access to the course, email [email protected]

MAMES seeks feedback on prior auth delays 

MADISON, Wis. – MAMES requests examples from Michigan-based providers on situations were a prior authorization submitted for a traditionally non-covered item required more information, causing delays in patient access. As of Aug. 1, 2020, Wisconsin Medicaid removed the list of non-covered items from the DME service area of the Online Handbook in accordance with a federal statute. Since then, the MAMES Insurance Committee has been working on issues related to this change and has shared its feedback with ForwardHealth, which provides a web portal for the state’s Medicaid program. The state’s Department of Human Resources recently told MAMES: “FH will work to be transparent on the items and coverage criteria, however, cannot in good faith, provide coverage criteria for each individual piece of equipment that is available or becomes available in the consumer market. FH will review every case that comes in with efficiency and integrity, while working to get a timely response to providers and members about the outcomes and coverage of all equipment being submitted for review.”  Please send examples to the MAMES office, [email protected] 

Pharmacy groups call for expanding network of vaccine providers 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association and the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists have called on the country’s state governors to enlist independent long-term care pharmacies in their COVID-19 vaccination efforts by leveraging the new Federal Transfer Program, which allocates vaccines to independent pharmacies. In a joint letter to the National Governors Association, the two groups point to the bumpy rollout of vaccinations provided by CVS and Walgreens to long-term care facilities. “By requesting a transfer, states will be able to deploy all existing local and LTC pharmacies that have signed up with the CDC, which is critical to ensuring vaccine access in rural, isolated and smaller skilled-nursing facilities (SNF), assisted-living facilities (ALF), and congregate care environments,” states the letter. “Currently, the large national pharmacy chains have vaccinated a critical mass of larger SNFs, but there are still thousands of federally governed SNFs and close to 37,800 state run ALFs that require inoculations.” 

NSM taps new CFO 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – National Seating & Mobility has appointed Allan Villegas chief financial officer. Villegas has more than 20 years of experience in financial leadership positions at private equity portfolio companies focused on the execution of growth and operational improvement initiatives. “Allan’s extensive financial background, combined with his deep acquisition and integration experience to drive growth opportunities for industry leading companies in a variety of sectors, will be an asset to NSM,” said Bill Mixon, CEO of NSM. Most recently, Villegas was the CFO of Impark, an industry leader in parking management and transportation services, and prior to that, WASH Mutifamily Laundry Systems, a leading provider of laundry facilities management services in North America. He began his career in public accounting at Ernst & Young. “NSM’s mission-oriented busines model is unique,” said Villegas. “I am excited to be part of the NSM team dedicated to improving the lives of others. I look forward to working with the team as NSM enters its next phase of transformative growth and expansion.” 

Motif, VGM partner 

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Motif Medical and VGM & Associates have executed a program agreement to provide breast pumps, maternity compression and more to VGM members. “Being part of the VGM family allows us to help DME partners expand their product line and grow their businesses, while bringing our award-winning products to moms,” said Brandon Fonville, director of Motif Medical. VGM members will have access to Motif Medical’s full line of double-electric breast pumps, like the flagship Luna, and maternity compression products designed to support the modern mom for pregnancy through post-partum. Also included in the program is Motif’s line of resupply, milk storage bags, backpacks and more. “There are many options in the ever-growing women’s health care space, as it relates to breast feeding moms,” said Scott Owen senior vice president of contracting for VGM & Associates. “Through our diligent research and listening to our members’ needs, Motif Medical fills an array of offerings, while not focused on the breast pump space alone. As VGM continues to grow in this area, Motif Medical offers a full spectrum of solutions to our membership enhancing the product offerings and value to this important area of care.” 

National HME names new CEO  

IRVING, Texas – National HME, a provider of DME solutions to the hospice market, has appointed Andy Ingram as CEO. Before joining National HME, Ingram spent 11 years at Encompass Health in senior leadership roles, including executive vice president of operations. In this role, Ingram was responsible for the organization’s hospice service line, which generated about $200 million in annual revenues throughout 85 locations across 18 states. Prior to Encompass, he served as regional vice president of operations for Apria Healthcare, where he led 385 employees and helped to generate about $100 million in annual revenues. “With more than 30 years in leadership roles in the hospice and health care industries, Andy has demonstrated a strong track record in initiating and leading change, driving results and building a culture of excellence,” said Josh Porter, managing director at New Mountain Finance Corp., which partnered with National HME in 2018. “This experience will help us continue to grow National HME’s world-class service and continue to transform our market.” National HME serves thousands of hospices through its 50-plus owned and operated locations around the country, and a robust partner network. Through its Hospice Cloud Pro web-based technology, the company provides its customers with consolidated ordering and invoicing, as well as utilization data, cost trends and network management for reporting and analytics. 

NCPA eager to work with Biden administration 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association and its more than 21,000 independent pharmacies applaud President Joe Biden on his COVID-19 strategy and are eager to work with the administration going forward. “We’ve shared with the administration how, when engaged by local health departments, community pharmacies are successfully battling the COVID-19 disease,” Douglas Hoey, CEO of the NCPA, stated in response to Biden’s “National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness.” “As demonstrated in the success of vaccine rollout plans in places like West Virginia, Arkansas and Alaska, small business independent pharmacies must be included in COVID-19 immunization strategies, whether federal or local, if these plans are to be realized.” The NCPA highlighted the efforts of neighborhood pharmacies to date: installing plexiglass barriers, upping their delivery services, starting curbside pickups, compounding hand sanitizer, and offering testing and when possible the COVID-19 vaccines.  

DMEhub partners with Kno2, allowing it to integrate with virtually any EHR 

LAKE FOREST, Calif., and BOISE, Idaho – DMEhub, an e-prescribe platform for ordering medical equipment and supplies, has partnered with Kno2 to enhance and further automate the DME ordering process. With Kno2’s interoperability as a service, DMEhub integrates with virtually every electronic health record system to save time, support the evidence for medical necessity and avoid duplicate orders. “This partnership with Kno2 gives DMEhub a greater ability to meet prescribers where they are technologically and to seamlessly integrate into their workflows,” said Ken Hodel, vice president of business development for DMEhub. “Now, DMEhub can use a variety of standards to integrate providers’ systems, reducing manual effort and rework, and replacing them with data and automation.” DMEhub reduces rework by automating the process of collecting and generating the exact documentation needed to submit complete and accurate orders and, sending it to the DME supplier in one digital package. This is accomplished using standards-based exchange methods like Direct secure messaging via the Direct Trust framework, query-based record exchange via Carequality and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR).  

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