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HME News

  1. 12/14/2017
    HME News Staff

    WASHINGTON – The HME industry has at least one more detail about a competitive bidding-related interim final rule that has been under wraps and stuck at the Office of Management and Budget.

    The OMB, which included the IFR in its semi-annual Unified Agenda, says it “amends the regulation to resume the transition period for items furnished from August 1, 2017, through December 31, 2018.”

    H.R. 4229 would extend the transition period from Jan. 1, 2017, to Dec. 31, 2018.

    The transition period refers to a provision in the 21st Century Cures Act that delayed a second round of reimbursement cuts in non-bid areas from July 1, 2016, to Jan. 1, 2017.

    The Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions is a compilation of information about regulations under development by federal agencies published in the spring and fall.

  2. 12/08/2017
    HME News Staff

    ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare will reduce its workforce by about 110 employees to generate $8.5 million in pre-tax savings, the company announced Dec. 7.

    The move, which affects employees in North America, is part of a multi-year strategic plan to transforms Invacare into a more clinically focused company, says Matthew Monaghan, chairman, president and CEO.

    “This reduction in force, while difficult, is an essential part of the second phase of our transformation toward becoming a more sustainably profitable, growing business," he said. "We are realigning our North America infrastructure with our new sales levels and finding more efficient ways to do business. Through this action, we are empowering employees to drive simplification and enhance customer engagement. We expect the result to lead to improved cost-effectiveness as we pursue growth.”

    In November, Invacare reported net sales of $79.5 million for the third quarter of 2017, a 2.3% increase from the prior quarter.

    Due to the reduction, Invacare expects to incur restructuring charges of about $2.6 million on a pre-tax basis in the fourth quarter of 2017.

    This latest round of lay-offs comes less than a year after the company announced in January that it would reduce its workforce by approximately 100 employees.

  3. 12/08/2017
    HME News Staff

    ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare will reduce its workforce by about 110 employees to generate $8.5 million in pre-tax savings, the company announced Dec. 7.

    The move, which affects employees in North America, is part of a multi-year strategic plan to transforms Invacare into a more clinically focused company, says Matthew Monaghan, chairman, president and CEO.

    “This reduction in force, while difficult, is an essential part of the second phase of our transformation toward becoming a more sustainably profitable, growing business," he said. "We are realigning our North America infrastructure with our new sales levels and finding more efficient ways to do business. Through this action, we are empowering employees to drive simplification and enhance customer engagement. We expect the result to lead to improved cost-effectiveness as we pursue growth.”

    In November, Invacare reported net sales of $79.5 million for the third quarter of 2017, a 2.3% increase from the prior quarter.

    Due to the reduction, Invacare expects to incur restructuring charges of about $2.6 million on a pre-tax basis in the fourth quarter of 2017.

    This latest round of lay-offs comes less than a year after the company announced in January that it would reduce its workforce by approximately 100 employees.

    Vent bill back in play

    WASHINGTON – Three senators have introduced a bill that would, they say, establish a clear medical guideline for non-invasive ventilators, the VGM Group reports.

    S. 2175, the “Beneficiary Respiratory Equipment Access and Transparency to Home Ventilator Care” or the BREATH Act of 2017, would also pave the way for providers to receive a possible increase in reimbursement for non-invasive vents, pending any decreases in utilization.

    Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., introduced the bill on Nov. 30.

    Cassidy and Grassley also introduced a similar billlast year, in response to sweeping changes that CMS has made to non-invasive vents, including reducing the number of codes for the product category from five to two, and reducing reimbursement by about 33%.

    A companion bill in the House of Representatives will likely be introduced soon, with Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., leading those efforts, according to VGM.

    In the past, stakeholders have also supported efforts by several pulmonary groups to get CMS to reconsiderits national coverage determination for vents. In particular, the groups want the agency to clinically define respiratory failure and mechanical ventilators/ventilation; and create objective, consistent criteria for providing the products.

    Gilligan replaces Diamond as Drive CEO

    PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. – Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare has named Bob Gilligan, former CEO of GE Industrial Solutions, as its new CEO. Gilligan replaces Harvey Diamond, who has assumed the role of vice chairman. In his new role, Diamond will serve as senior adviser to the company and as a “voice to customers, vendors and investors,” according to a press release. He will also continue to serve as a member of the company’s board of directors. Gilligan brings to Drive more than 30 years of experience in both manufacturing and services businesses in industries spanning health care, technology, and heavy industrial and electric utilities. In his latest role, Gilligan successfully led the transformation of GE Industrial Solutions into a $3.6 billion global business.

    Growth in health spending slows

    WASHINGTON – National health spending increased 4.3% in 2016 compared to 5.8% in 2015, according to a new study by the Office of the Actuary at CMS. The health spending share of the economy was 17.9% in 2016.  Previously, the health spending share of the economy increased 0.5 percentage point from 17.2% in 2013 to 17.7% in 2015. The increases in health spending share of the economy were attributed to coverage expansion for 8.7 million individuals gaining private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and 10.2 million gaining Medicaid coverage.

    PharMerica sells to investment firm

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – PharMerica, a specialty pharmacy services provider, has been acquired by global investment firm KKR and Walgreens Boots Alliance, it announced Dec. 7. PharMerica shareholders will receive an amount in cash equal to $29.25 per share of PharMerica common stock, without interest, and its stock will cease trading on the NYSE, according to a press release. PharMerica operates 96 institutional pharmacies, 20 specialty home infusion pharmacies and 5 specialty oncology pharmacies in 45 states. In March, PharMerica acquired New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based CareMed Specialty Pharmacy.

    Butler marks 60 years, throws party

    LEWISBERRY, Pa. – Butler Mobility Products will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house to celebrate its 60th anniversary at its new corporate headquarters on Dec. 13. The daylong celebration, held at 571 Industrial Drive in Lewisberry, Pa., will feature special discounts and coupons, gift certificate giveaways and food, according to a press release. "We are excited to share our new facility, expansion of mobility equipment and special 60th year celebration with our special guests and community," said Butler Mobility President and CEO Michael Carlini.  Butler is best known for its Inclined Platform Lifts.

    ResMed named finalist

    SAN DIEGO – ResMed has been named a finalist for “Medtech Company of the Year” by MD+DI, a news resource in the medical device and diagnostic industry. Among ResMed’s accomplishments, MD+DI highlighted its milestone of capturing 1 billion nights of monitored sleep apnea therapy and a CHEST-published study showing its self-monitoring app myAir can help boost therapy adherence to 87%. “ResMed has made strides this year in encouraging patient adherence with treatment and easing their ability to track progress,” MD+DI stated in its announcement. MD+DI will announce the “Medtech Company of the Year” on Dec. 11. Other finalists include Abbott, Baxter, Bigfoot Biomedical and Pentax Medical.

    NSM lands distribution deal for Splashy

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – National Seating & Mobility has been named the exclusive U.S. distributor of the new Splashy portable bath seat from Firefly. The seat adapts to a child’s postural support needs, with the option of a five-point harness or the three-point pelvic support. “The Splashy is a great addition to our product offerings for children with mobility needs and their families,” said Bill Mixon, CEO. The seat will be available through NSM and AccessNSM branches nationwide. U.K.-based Firefly is part of the Leckey Group, a designer and manufacturer of clinically focused pediatric postural support products.

    Provider short takes: Integrated HomeCare, VitalCare

    Rockford, Ill.-based Integrated HomeCare Services has opened a new storefront in Beloit, Wis., according to the Beloit Daily News. Integrated HomeCare has served customers in Beloit for the last 30 years, but CEO Mark Hatch told the newspaper “it was time” to open a storefront in the city to grow its presence in the Stateline Area. “We felt there was a marketplace need, so we organized all the pieces to get it going,” he said. Integrated HomeCare’s top-selling HME include sleep therapy equipment, beds, mobility products and lift chairs…Cheboygan, Mich.-based VitalCare, the home care, hospice, private duty, HME and adult day center affiliate of McLaren Northern Michigan, will take the McLaren name starting Jan. 1, according to the Cheboygan News. The HME business, specifically, will be renamed McLaren Home Medical Equipment.

    People news

    Laura Williardhas been appointed to the Board of Directors for the Home Medical Equipment & Services Association of New England. Williard is vice president for payer relations at AAHomecare…VGM & Associates has announced that Scott Owen will transition from vice president of sales to vice president of contracting. Taking Owen’s spot as vice president of sales: RJ Meyer, previously with Biotronik Cardiac Rhythm Management…Merits Health Products has named Kirk Grau as regional rehab sales manager of central U.S. and Bret Tracy as regional rehab sales manager of East Coast. Grau and Tracy will work directly with Chris Blackmore, national director of business and product development. 

  4. 12/08/2017
    Theresa Flaherty

    GREEN BAY, Wis. – When provider Steve Huntington received a letter recently from Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., saying she would ask Alex Azar, the nominee for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, to put in writing his plans to address challenges to the HME industry, he knew his grassroots efforts were paying off.

    “She reiterated her support for DME, which was real encouraging,” said Huntington, director of finance for HME Home Medical in Green Bay, Wis.

    Huntington, who began lobbying for industry efforts in 2016, spoke with HME News recently about why he blocks off time on his calendar to contact lawmakers.

    HME News: What made you get involved?

    Steve Huntington:Because of all the things that have been happening in the industry, I said, we should get involved. I went out to the AAHomecare Washington Legislative Conference. Rick Adamich took me under his wing. He’d lead, and I’d add some comments here and there, like a color commentator. Then I got involved with contacting different offices after I returned home and I stuck with it.

    HME: What have you learned from lobbying?

    Huntington:It really hit home how much of their day is spent with lobbyists and you realize what you are up against. It’s a long, tough process with all the things going on in Washington, D.C., right now, and we really have to keep ourselves in front of them with the distractions of the tax bill and the Russia investigation.

    HME: Have you hosted lawmakers at your location?

    Huntington:We had Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., come in. We walked him around, explained how we help the local patients. His dad was a doctor, and, I believe his brother and an uncle. He said when the family gets together the doctors are all talking about all the paperwork and the red tape in the medical industry. He gets it. We also had Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis. His father had just passed—he still came and saw us. He knows what it was like having to get the equipment and deal with Medicare and all that.

    HME: What advice would you give other providers who are thinking about taking up the cause?

    Huntington:I know everyone is busy, but there are some days I just set aside a couple of hours and call a couple of offices or send out emails, particularly when we are trying to get co-sponsors or there’s a letter going around. What I’ve found to be effective is crafting your email and being sincere about the issues you are facing.

     

  5. 12/08/2017
    Liz Beaulieu

    WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – You could call 2017 a rebuilding year for 3B Medical.

    Until January of 2017, 3B Medical was embroiled in a patent lawsuit with a competing manufacturer of sleep therapy devices, ResMed. The lawsuit spanned 16 actions across three continents, says Alex Lucio, executive vice president at 3B Medical.

    “It was a massive litigation for a company our size,” he told HME News. “3B is a product company. We want to work on developing new products and bringing innovative solutions to market. Our ability to do that was at a standstill during the four years of litigation. This was the first year where 3B’s resources could focus entirely on developing new products. It has been a fun and exciting year.”

    ResMed and 3B Medical announced a five-year settlement on Jan. 21, 2017, whereby ResMed agreed to make a one-time payment to 3B Medical to close ongoing litigation between the two companies in Florida, and 3B Medical agreed to make royalty payments to ResMed to continue selling its existing products.

    Here’s what Lucio had to say about what’s to come for 3B Medical in 2018.

    Innovation

    Lucio says one area where 3B Medical has focused its new product development: interface technologies. The company has patents pending for silicone gel adhesives that regain their original tack with washing, much like those used in the backless NuBra.

    “Once we were able to get an adhesive application to maintain an air seal, we believes that we found a potential way to innovate in this space,” he said. “We hope to make announcements on that front in the second quarter of 2018.”

    Diversification

    3B Medical made its first foray into oxygen therapy last year, when it launched the Cirrus 5 stationary concentrator. In 2018, the company will set its sights on the portable oxygen concentrator market, Lucio says.

    “Realistically, a stationary will always be the smartest choice for when a patient is sleeping as it puts the lion’s share of hours on the lowest cost device—it does not make sense to put 5,000 hours annually on a device that costs more than $2,000, when those hours can be satisfied on devices that cost less than $400,” he said. “Ambulatory patients are a different matter and are making their preference for a portable pretty loud and clear. Every manufacturer is aware of that trend and working on new solutions, and 3B Medical is no different.”

    Acquisition

    Lucio says 3B Medical is growing its product portfolio internally, but also externally through acquisitions.

    “We have looked at acquisitions and are near closing on our first, and we also have a fairly deep new product pipeline,” he said. “We are hoping to announce our first acquisition in the next few weeks.”