In brief: ConvaTec adds distribution business, Compass Health launches new product line

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Friday, July 21, 2017

READING, United Kingdom – ConvaTec, a global medical products company, has agreed to pay nearly $121 million for Woodbury Holdings, a distributor of incontinence and catheter supplies.

The Floral Park, N.Y.-based Woodbury offers a portfolio of more than 500 incontinence and 650 catheter products, and a wide array of nutritional, enteral feeding and vascular compression products through subsidiaries Woodbury Health Products and Wilmington Medical Supply.

"ConvaTec and Woodbury share a common commitment to improving the lives of people with continence issues and a dedication to providing quality products, together with distinctive service and personal support,” said Paul Moraviec, CEO of ConvaTec, in a press release. “We look forward to working with our Woodbury colleagues to bring our comprehensive end-to-end suite of services to even more customers."

With this acquisition, ConvaTec Americas will create a new distribution unit for catheter- and incontinence-related products, comprising the U.S. distribution companies of 180 Medical, Symbius Medical, South Shore Medical Supply, Wilmington Medical Supply and Woodbury Health Products.

The deal is the latest in a recent string of manufacturers acquiring disposable medical supplies companies. In 2016, Coloplast paid $160 million for Comfort Medical; and Domtar acquired Home Delivery Incontinence Supplies for $45 million.

In October 2016, ConvaTec raised nearly $1.8 billion in an initial public offering, according to news reports. ConvaTec is owned by private equity firms Nordic Capital and Avista Capital Partners, which acquired the company in 2008 for $4.1 billion.

GAO: Cover disposable devices as substitutes for DME

Health and Human Services calls move ‘premature’

WASHINGTON – The Government Accountability Office has recommended that the Department of Health and Human Services evaluates the possible costs and savings of using disposable devices as substitutes for DME and, if appropriate, seek legislative authority to cover them.

While Medicare generally doesn’t cover disposable devices, the GAO identified eight such devices that could potentially substitute for DME devices that are covered. These disposable devices fall into existing Medicare DME categories: infusion pumps, including insulin pumps; blood glucose monitors; sleep apnea devices; and nebulizers.

The GAO’s recommendation is the result of a report examining (1) potential disposable DME substitutes and their possible benefits and limitations; (2) the incentives and disincentives stakeholders identified for developing these substitutes, including the possible influence of health insurance coverage; and (3) issues related to benefit category designation, including legal authority and potential payment methodologies if Medicare coverage were expanded to include disposable DME substitutes.

In addressing issues related to benefit category designation, the GAO identified three possible options for covering disposable devices: an expansion of the current DME benefit, an expansion of the current home health benefit, or the establishment of a new benefit category.

Under the current DME benefit, disposable devices are not covered because they don’t meet CMS’s regulatory definition for “durable”: able to withstand repeated use, with an expected lifetime of at least three years.

To conduct the report, the GAO reviewed agency documents and literature on disposable DME substitutes and Medicare payment policy; interviewed CMS officials; and interviewed various stakeholders, including representatives of device manufacturers, beneficiary advocates, healthcare providers and insurers for their perspectives.
In response to the report, HHS said it was premature to evaluate disposable devices as substitutes for DME.

Ascensia, Dexcom bundle diabetes products

PARSIPPANY, N.J. – Ascensia Diabetes Care and Dexcom have hammered out a commercial agreement that they expect to increase access to the Dexcom G5 continuous glucose monitoring system. Per the agreement, Ascensia’s ContourNext One blood glucose monitoring system will be provided in the bundle of supplies for the Dexcom G5. The role of the ContourNext: to provide highly accurate readings for CGM calibration, something people who use the G5 do on a regular basis to verify sensor readings are on track. This “complete bundle” will be available to people with diabetes who are covered by Medicare and qualify for “therapeutic” CGM, according to a press release. “With this agreement, we are pleased to begin offering a complete bundle to Medicare-eligible patients, enabling access to the Dexcom G5 as efficiently as possible,” said Rick Doubleday, chief commercial officer at Dexcom. Earlier this year, CMS decided to classify certain CGMs as DME, if, among other criteria, they’re “therapeutic” and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in place of blood glucose monitors for making diabetes treatment decisions.

Agreement increases access to OxyGo POCs

COSTA MESA, Calif. – CareCredit will provide financing options for the oxygen patients of nearly 20,000 providers across the country under a new, multi-year agreement with OxyGo. This marks CareCredit’s first foray into the HME industry. “Entering this new market with a well-regarded partner aligns perfectly with our goal of helping people pay for the care they need when they need it,” said Greg Pierce, senior vice president and general manager of CareCredit. “Our agreement with OxyGo gives their providers a way to help people finance the equipment they need—with convenient, monthly payments.” CareCredit is a health, wellness and personal care credit card accepted through a national network of more than 200,000 healthcare provider locations and select health-focused retailers. The agreement will increase access to the OxyGo family of portable oxygen concentrators, says Dave Marquard, CEO and founder of the company, which is part of Cleveland-based Applied Home Healthcare Equipment. “This new partnership will help patients live more independent and healthier lives,” he said. “Having the freedom to be on the go while you’re on oxygen can make a big difference. Now more patients will be able to get an OxyGo and/or OxyGo FIT portable oxygen concentrator, giving them greater independence.”

Compass Health launches first product under AccuRelief line

QUINCY, Mass. – Compass Health Brands has unveiled its new AccuRelief 3-in-1 Wireless Pain Device and Bluetooth-connected mobile app, its first product under the company’s AccuRelief 2.0 line. The device, which is small enough to fit in your pocket, combines TENS, EMS and massage with the convenience of mobile technology. Additionally, the mobile app features diagrams of muscle groups, an electrode placement guide, satisfaction tracking and more. The device features 14 pre-set programs with up to 60 levels of adjustable intensity for 12 treatment zones, including the back, knee, neck, and shoulders. As an alternative to the mobile app, the device also includes a hand-held remote control.

Invacare backs vets at Wheelchair Games

ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare is a national sponsor of this week’s 37th Annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games. The games, which run from July 17-22 in Cincinnati, feature a multitude of sporting events, including basketball, handcycling, track and table tennis. “The pure talent, tenacity and devotion to the sport demonstrated by these veteran athletes makes us honored to continue to show our support,” said Dean Childers, senior vice president and general manager of Invacare North America. Invacare associates started their supporting role on Sunday, when they met athletes at the airport to help ensure their wheelchairs were unloaded and assembled properly. Throughout the week, they’re also offering repairs and replacements. Additionally, during the event’s expo day, Invacare will display several products, including its new küschall custom manual wheelchairs; and its Invacare TDX SP2 power wheelchair with LiNX technology, which is set to launch in the third quarter of this year.

FODAC receives ‘green’ recognition

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. – Friends of Disabled Adults and Children was recognized by the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge for its continuing energy consumption reduction, it announced in a press release. “We are grateful for the recognition of FODAC’s longstanding green initiative by the ABBC,” said Chris Brand, president and CEO of FODAC. “Our repurposing and recycling program has always supplied much of our inventory to supply the needs of our clients, and keeps almost 300 tons of equipment and related parts out of landfills.” FODAC is a nonprofit that has provided more than $10 million in DME and supplies to people with injuries and disabilities.

Video makes patients more likely to stick with CPAP

DENVER – Sleep apnea patients were more likely to use their CPAP machines after watching video of themselves struggling to breathe, according to a new study led by Mark Aloia, Ph.D., a sleep expert at National Jewish Health in Denver. Twenty-four patients newly diagnosed with moderate to severe OSA received education with a personalized video (PVD), education with a non-personalized video (NPV) or treatment as usual (TAU). The PVD group used CPAP devices more than two hours per night (6.5)—more than the NPV group (4.1) or the TAU group (3.5). “Sleep apnea is one of those disorders you never really notice in yourself,” say Aloia in an article in Sleep Review Magazine. “I mean, you’re asleep; you’re consciously not aware of what’s happening to you.”

TheraSkin expands VA offerings

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – TheraSkin will now be available in all four sizes to veterans through 110 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and 800 Community Based Outpatient Centers nationwide, distributor Soluble Systems announced July 18. "We are especially proud to offer two additional sizes of TheraSkin to the doctors and nurses treating our nation's veterans suffering with chronic wounds at the VA hospitals and outpatient centers," said Allan Staley, CEO. "Whether the wound is large or small, clinicians and veterans can know that they have more options available to them with proven clinical evidence to back it up." In the United States alone, chronic lower extremity ulcers affect an estimated 2.4 million to 4.5 million people at an estimated cost of $4,000 per month and $16,000 per episode, according to a press release.

Medtrade: 100 days and counting

ATLANTA – Advance registration rates remain in effect until Aug. 26 for Medtrade, which takes place Oct. 23-25 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The conference pass allows admission to educational sessions.“It’s a wise investment, because the motivation, inspiration, and product ideas from Medtrade can set the stage for future success,” said Show Director Kevin Gaffney. Show floor passes can be obtained for free from exhibitors. Show organizers announced in May that this year’s show would be shortened from four days to three. To register, go here.

NCPA names finalists for business plan competition

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Community Pharmacists Association has named three teams of pharmacy students as finalists for the 2017 GoodNeighbor Pharmacy NCPA Pruitt-Schutte Student Business Plan Competition. The students hail from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the University of Pacific Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy. They will present their business plans in a live competition on Oct. 14 at NCPA’s annual convention in Orland, Fla. They’re competing for first ($3,000 to the NCPA student chapter and $3,000 contributed to the school in the dean's name to promote independent pharmacy), second ($2,000 to the NCPA student chapter and $2,000 contributed to the school in the dean's name to promote independent pharmacy) and third place  (Third Place: $1,000 to the NCPA student chapter and $1,000 contributed to the school in the dean's name to promote independent pharmacy).

Sports clinic brings DME in house

VAIL, Colo. – The Steadman Clinic, which offers sports medicine and orthopedic surgery, has added a DME service. In the past, the clinic used third-party vendors to produce and sell DME, whether it’s braces, crutches or boots, but it wanted more influence over what its patients use to recover from their injuries, says Nick Eaton, DME manager at The Steadman Clinic. “By bringing DME in house, we can recommend products that pertain to each provider’s protocol on a patient-specific basis,” he said. The clinic’s patients often need assistance and protection before and after a procedure; others need braces to enable them to have the mobility for normal activity in their lifestyle and to help prevent further injury.