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In brief: Woman of the Year, new Inogen CFO, Bleep funding

In brief: Woman of the Year, new Inogen CFO, Bleep funding

WATERLOO, Iowa – Katie Stevens, CEO of Reliable Medical Supply, was named the 2021 HME Woman of the Year during a virtual presentation hosted by VGM on Thursday. 

“There is no better recognition,” said Stevens, who became CEO of the Minneapolis-based company in 2020 following a long career with a national complex rehab provider. 

HME News featured Stevens and Reliable Medical Supply in this story in September. 

This year’s award drew 64 nominations for 38 nominees from 19 states. 

In addition to Stevens, this year’s finalists were: 

  • Trisha Bailey, CEO, Medical Hotspots Inc./Bailey’s Medical  
  • Neidi Mack, Vice President for Ancillary Services, Prism Health Care Services/The Alden Network  
  • Victoria Peterson, Administrator, RespMed  

Finalists were selected by an honorary selection committee that included 2020 HME Woman of the Year Patty Mastandrea, CEO of MedCare Equipment Co.; Liz Beaulieu, editor at HME News; Andrew Miller, regional vice president of AdaptHealth; Jeff Bowman, vice president of HME sales at McKesson; and Jack Hogan, president and CEO of Health Complex Medical. 

The committee chose the finalists using criteria that included implementing new business processes, advocating on behalf of the industry, improving the lives of patients, and impacting their community through volunteerism.   

A recording of the presentation will be available here. 

Quipt 'propels’ patient count to more than 150K 

CINCINNATI, Ohio – Quipt Home Medical reported revenues in the range of $27.6 million to $28.1 million for its fourth quarter 2021, which ended Sept. 30, according to preliminary financial results. 

It also reported adjusted EBITDA in the range of $5.3 million to $5.6 million and cash on hand of $34.6 million. 

“Our efforts in building a national clinical respiratory organization focused on superior patient care are being realized, and our continued robust preliminary financial results are a testament to the ongoing operational progress made throughout the year,” said Greg Crawford, chairman and CEO.  “During the second half of the year, we have continued to strategically scale our business throughout the United States with seven completed acquisitions representing combined revenue of over $17.5 million since July, propelling our active patient count to well over 150,000.”  

Quipt most recently executed a non-binding letter of intent to acquire an “arm’s length” private respiratory care company servicing seven states throughout the U.S. reporting unaudited trailing 12-month annual revenues of about $14 million, $1 million in net income and positive adjusted EBITDA.  

The company is reiterating its outlook for annual run-rate revenue of $180 million to $190 million and adjusted EBITDA of $38 million to $43 million by the end of calendar year 2022 (fiscal Q1 2023). 

Quipt also stated that it will miss the Dec. 29 deadline to file the company’s audited annual financial statements and management discussion and analysis for the financial years ended Sept. 30, 2021, and 2020, and the CEO and CFO certificates, all as required by National Instrument 51-102 and National Instrument 52-109. 
The delay is due, in part, to the accelerated deadline for the company to complete the documents as a result of it listing its common shares for trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market and the expedited basis in which the company’s auditors had to complete the audit.  

Inogen paves way for new CFO 

GOLETA, Calif. – Inogen has appointed Mike Sergesketter as interim CFO effective immediately, succeeding Alison Bauerlein, who will be staying with the company in a transitional role through the first quarter of 2022. 

“The changes we have made to our executive team support our continued strategic evolution and our goal of transforming Inogen into a more prominent player in respiratory care,” said Nabil Shabshab, president and CEO. “I’m confident Mike’s strong experience in finance, strategic manufacturing and M&A, as well as his global perspective, will be a tremendous asset as we continue to execute against our plans. I am grateful for the time and collaboration I have had with Ali and want to thank her for her many contributions as a key member of the team that launched and grew Inogen. I wish her well in her future endeavors.” 

Inogen has retained a leading executive search firm to help with the search for a permanent replacement. 

Sergesketter most recently served as the CFO of Kimball Electronics, where he was instrumental in helping to develop and execute the company’s globalization strategy, while also building a robust finance function designed to support the company’s growth.  

NCPA launches boot camp 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association Innovation Center is teaming up with PharmFurther to launch the Diabetes Accreditation Boot Camp, a new online course that will prepare pharmacy teams to provide diabetes self-management education (DSME) and support for patients with diabetes.  

DSME is a billable, evidence-based service that allows pharmacy teams to improve patients’ clinical outcomes and quality of life. 

As part of the course, Travis Wolff, PharmD, will provide guidance on how to prepare for DSME accreditation and how to integrate the program into the pharmacy’s workflow. Wolff successfully launched a DSME program in his pharmacy and has helped more than 300 pharmacies with DSME accreditation.  

“With an estimated 13% of adults in the United States having diabetes – and nearly 27% of adults over 65 – independent pharmacy teams have plenty of opportunities to help patients improve their health through Diabetes Self-Management Education,” said Kurt Proctor, PhD, RPh, president of the NCPA Innovation Center. “Not only is this service beneficial to patients, but it can also bolster pharmacies’ bottom line. With the right tools and support, which you’ll gain from our Diabetes Accreditation Boot Camp, getting started can be simple.” 

Registration for the Diabetes Accreditation Boot Camp closes on Jan. 16, 2022, with the six-week course to begin on Jan. 19. Click here for more information and to register via PharmFurther. 

Maryland expands reuse program 

BALTIMORE – Executives from the Maryland Department of Health, the Maryland Department of Aging and the Maryland Department of Planning recently visited the new headquarters of the Durable Medical Equipment Reuse Program in Cheltenham, Md.  

The new headquarters opened earlier this year, giving the program 55,000 square feet to process tens of thousands of items each year. 

“The DME program allows thousands of Marylanders to enjoy much fuller lives by enabling them to participate in employment and social activities that they would not otherwise have the ability to enjoy,” said Rona Kramer, MDoA secretary. 

The MDoA developed the program to repair and sanitize DME, including walkers, wheelchairs and other reusable equipment, and provide it in like-new condition and at no cost to people in need. 

In addition to the new headquarters, the program has sites providing DME in 11 counties across the state. 

“Maryland is the first state in the national to develop a medical equipment reuse program of this magnitude,” said state officials in a press release. 

Kubat realigns exec team 

OMAHA, Neb. - Kubat HealthCare has realigned its executive team to position itself for further growth in 2022. Tony Schmid has been promoted to vice president of pharmacy operations; Brian Daniel has been named executive vice president of medical operations; and Dawn Wierzbicki has been named executive vice president of growth. Newly appointed marketing director Bree Bain will report to Wierzbicki. Jenny Rohr maintains her role as vice president of human resources and administration. "Kubat HealthCare continues to succeed with our aggressive expansion initiatives and rapid growth,” said Wierzbicki. “We are well on our way to have record-breaking year and future success in 2022 due to the dedication and support from all of our Kubat HealthCare employees.” Kubat HealthCare has plans for acquiring additional pharmacies and adding new locations within Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri that will expand its footprint within respiratory and home medical equipment. In addition, Kubat HealthCare is expected to grow long-term care pharmacy services by 38% by the end of the year and explore adding medical clinics within their locations. 

Bigfoot hires three, primes expansion 

MILPITAS, Calif. – Bigfoot Biomedical, a company dedicated to better health outcomes for people with insulin-requiring diabetes, announced three senior hires with deep experience in the diabetes and health care sectors. Matthew Clemente joins Bigfoot as senior vice president of development; Robin A. Beadle joins as vice president of marketing; and Scott Snead joins as vice president of national accounts. All three positions are new to the company as it moves to expand access to its Bigfoot Unity Diabetes Management Program. “This year was pivotal for our company with Food and Drug Administration clearance of our Bigfoot Unity System followed quickly by commercialization,” said Jeffrey Brewer, CEO. “After quickly contracting with clinics in seven states across the U.S., we are now primed to expand availability to more diabetes centers and endocrinology practices, as well as targeting key health systems. Our aim is to transform the standard of care for the millions of people with diabetes on insulin therapy. At the same time, we have a portfolio of assets that we’ll be developing as we continue to make inroads into the commercial marketplace with our innovative insulin delivery solutions.”  

Project launches to monitor seniors at home 

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Researchers at the University of Missouri will use a $2 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to install in-home sensors that detect falls and monitor the movement, sleep quality and vital signs of older adults. “Our goal is to use sensors to monitor older adults who are struggling with health conditions that limit their ability to perform various daily tasks, which may include cooking, gardening, walking the dog or grocery shopping,” said Rachel Profitt, an assistant professor in the MU School of Health Professions and principal investigator on the project. “The sensors will be able to detect falls and movement, as well as measure heart rate, respiration rate and sleep quality. By tracking trends, we can notice if there is an abnormality, which can lead to discussions about possible interventions.” Data from the sensors will be monitored by a care team, including occupational therapists, nurses and social workers. 

Congress wants input on PPE costs 

WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM is asking HME providers to take a two-question survey on how much they spend on PPE, gloves, gowns, respirators, face shields, etc., in response to a request from congressional offices. The survey asks providers for the size of their business by annual revenue and their annual spend on PPE. Estimates are acceptable, VGM says. 

Ability Members Group adds two members 

TORONTO - Ability Members Group, a network of independent HME providers, has added Brockville Home Health Care's location in Ontario and Lakeside Medical Supplies' two locations in British Columbia. “Our strong growth over the past year, despite so many challenges with changing COVID restrictions and supply chain issues, is an exciting accomplishment," said Jamie Church, CEO of Ability Members Group. "The fact that we've been able to grow over 20% in 2021 and are closing in on 100 stores, reflects the value we bring to members, helping strengthen their sustainability and growth to optimize how they serve their communities." Both new members are led by leaders in the home medical equipment industry. 

180 Medical named ‘Best Place to Work’ 

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – 180 Medical has been named one of Oklahoma’s Best Places to Work by the Best Companies Group and the Journal Record. The company, which placed third out of all large companies, has made the list for 12 consecutive years. “We are very excited about this award, because it’s based on our employees’ opinions of our company,” said Angie Christopher, vice president of human resources and talent. “Our employees are truly one of our most valuable assets, and they help create our culture of high engagement and inclusion.” 180 Medical is dedicated to providing: a diverse and inclusive work environment; comprehensive benefits packages for team members; and paid time off for each employee to take a day to spend in service to their community or volunteering. 

Repair Authority recognized for growth 

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio – Repair Authority has been named to this year’s Weatherhead 100 list of the fastest growing companies in Northeast Ohio. The company came in 14th on the list with a 165% increase in revenue growth and a 300% increase in FTEs over five years, 2015-20. The award, which was established in 1988 and is sponsored by the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, recognizes elite companies that are the best examples of leadership, growth and success in the region. Repair Authority has been a leading HME repair company for 30 years, servicing oxygen concentrators, CPAP devices, ventilators, liquid oxygen systems and more. 

Breathe expands platform 

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Breathe, LLC, an independent diagnostic testing facility that specializes in overnight oximetry and capnography testing, has expanded its software platform to support a Ring Oximeter. “Creating new software enhancements is a key focus here at Breathe,” said Amber Yeager, owner. “We had several DME clients express interest in being able to download a reusable ring type oximeter to an IDTF software platform. It just makes sense for us to add this type of device. It’s easy to use and comfortable for a patient to wear for an overnight test.” 

Medicare Advantage popular with dual eligibles, according to new brief 

WASHINGTON – A greater proportion of dual-eligible beneficiaries choose enrollment in Medicare Advantage over fee-for-service Medicare only, according to a new data brief commissioned by Better Medicare Alliance. Dual-eligible beneficiaries comprise 23% of the total Medicare Advantage population compared to 17% in FFS Medicare, and 44% of all dual-eligible beneficiaries choose Medicare Advantage compared to 35% of non-dually eligible Medicare beneficiaries. “This latest research is a powerful testament to Medicare Advantage’s capacity to meet the needs of an increasingly low-income, at-risk and diverse population,” said Mary Beth Donahue, president and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance. “While dual-eligible beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage often present even more complex needs than their FFS Medicare counterparts, Medicare Advantage is nonetheless delivering better results in pairing beneficiaries with a usual source of care and providing them with needed preventive services. That is why dual-eligible beneficiaries today are more likely to enroll in Medicare Advantage than FFS Medicare.” Dual-eligible beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage are also more likely to report having a usual source of care and are more likely to receive key preventative services, including mammograms, flu shots and blood cholesterol screenings, according to the brief. Additionally, dual-eligible beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage report more chronic conditions than dual-eligible beneficiaries in FFS Medicare. 

NRRTS celebrates 30 years 

LUBBOCK, Texas – NRRTS will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2022 by featuring people, memories, accomplishments, struggles and growth once a week for the first 30 weeks of the year. 

“We’re proud of what we’ve done, what we’ve become and where we’re going,” said Weesie Walker, executive director of NRRTS. “We still have a long way to go, and we’re dedicated to the continuing support and advancement of CRT suppliers.” 

NRRTS was founded in 1992, when there were no standards for the provision of complex rehab technology, no certification, no supplier qualifications and few equipment options. 

As part of the anniversary, the organization will also celebrate Simon Margolis, who “represented the very best in what it means to be an active, involved and committed member of the CRT community,” the organization says. Margolis passed away in 2016. 

 Jones Medical buys Sells Medical 

TROY, Ala. – Jones Medical Supply has acquired Sells Medical Equipment in Greenville, Ala., growing its footprint across the southern part of the state. “Chris Sells and his staff have done a tremendous job caring for the people of Butler, Crenshaw, Conecuh and Covington counties, and we will continue that level of care for that community,” the company stated. Dana Carlton will be the general manager for Sells Medical Equipment, building on the company’s success over the past 11 years. Jones Medical Supply, which has been locally owned and operated since 2005, focuses on home oxygen and CPAP therapy. 

Paradigm broadens network 

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – Paradigm, a complex care management organization, has acquired HomeCare Connect, a specialty network focused on home health, DME and related services for catastrophic and complex cases. The acquisition broadens Paradigm’s specialty network and clinical solution sets and extends its accountable care management model in the home, the company says. "HomeCare Connect's experience and values strongly align with our clinical focus and DNA in delivering better outcomes, building high-value networks and creating accountability for results,” said John Watts, CEO of Paradigm. “We value the rare and unique expertise HomeCare Connect will bring to our enterprise with their talented team, breadth of technology and insights, and stellar reputation." HomeCare Connect, founded in 2011 by sisters Teresa Williams, Vonesa Wenzel and Cindy Hailey, is clinically driven, with a stringent provider selection and credentialing process to become a part of its 25,000-plus home health, DME and post-acute care provider networks. The acquisition also expands Paradigm’s offerings to include other related services, including post-acute care, home modifications, prosthetics and infusion therapy. "New technologies, aging demographics and infectious disease-related risks are key factors driving increased demand and new opportunities,” Watts said. “By extending our offerings into the home health market, Paradigm can support this critical aspect of the recovery journey by providing continuity of high-quality, closely managed care to drive better outcomes for the injured workers we serve.” 

VERTESS adds managing director 

FORT WORTH, Texas – VERTESS has announced that J. Blake Peart, a former hospital and ambulatory surgery center CEO, has joined the firm as a managing director. Peart will provide M&A and consulting services primarily to ambulatory surgery centers, physician practices and independent hospitals. “As someone who has walked in their shoes, I have chosen this path to support health care business owners who select the M&A direction,” he said. “I know that every transaction is unique and must be tailored to a seller's need in order to get the best deal. I am committed to providing a positive experience throughout the entire process.” In the past ten years, Peart has served as CEO for multiple hospitals and CEO for several large ambulatory surgery centers. In addition, he has played a critical role in several M+A transactions, experiencing the entire process from start to finish focusing primarily on private equity transactions.  

Bleep attracts funding 

MADISON, Wis. – Bleep has been awarded a $1.7 million SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health to optimize positive airway pressure mask design for use in the home and acute care/hospital settings. The company will use the grant to optimize its Eclipse PAP, which focuses on having no headgear or straps and addressing leaks, and produce the validation data necessary for successful market commercialization. “Eclipse, our generation two product, will not only continue to address patient comfort and compliance, but also focus on rapid on-off interface, creating a sleek, no leak interface for both home and acute care use,” said Stuart Heatherington, founder and executive chair. “The sleek design is expected to aid in reduction of claustrophobia, a common CPAP mask concern, reduction in forced air pressure, improvement in AHI and improvement in uninterrupted sleep goals. These improvements, combined with greater fit, should improve patient comfort and compliance, leading to improved health and decreased health costs.” Up to 50% of CPAP users are not compliant due to headgear/mask complaints, the company says. 

Aeroflow Healthcare grows exec team 

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Aeroflow Healthcare has added Kristy Sasser to its executive team as director of corporate accounts. She will be responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction to ensure the company’s growth in key markets. “I’m looking forward to constructing a new frontier for Aeroflow and I’m excited to be a part of the movement to innovate the future of home health care solutions,” said Sasser. “For the entirety of my career I’ve served on the manufacturer side of the medical device industry, so representing a DME provider is an inspiring new challenge. Alongside a top talent team, I’m motivated to drive value to the market by settling for nothing less than patient-centered health care.” Prior to joining Aeroflow, Sasser spent nine years at Medela, most recently as the national account manager representing the NICU & Maternity Care and Surgical & Wound Care Divisions, where she was responsible for managing a portfolio of strategic IDNs, GPO partnerships and critical contract portfolios. While at Medela, Sasser negotiated and secured value-based contract positions, earned a spot in the President’s Club for four consecutive years and earned numerous awards, including National Sales Rep of the Year and #1 in NICU Account Penetration. Prior to her time at Medela LLC, Sasser worked in strategic account capacities at 3M Healthcare, DeRoyal and Henry Schein.


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