In brief: COVID vaccine, Hub’s and Sears, MedCare’s new digs

 - 
Friday, September 11, 2020

WASHINGTON – The Department of Health and Human Services has authorized licensed pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 vaccinations to persons ages 3 or older, subject to certain requirements. The guidance is issued under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act). A recent study by the National Community Pharmacists Association found that 86% of community pharmacists they plan to offer the COVID-19 vaccines when they become available. “NCPA appreciates steps the Trump administration is taking to make sure that pharmacies can administer these immunizations when they come to market,” said NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey, a pharmacist. “As with coronavirus testing, ensuring access to vaccines in community pharmacies rather than solely in national chains will be critical if NCPA members are to help Operation Warp Speed meet its goal of administering 300 million doses nationwide. Independent pharmacy is ready and eager to partner in the administration of the vaccines.” 

Peffer awarded CEAC certification 

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Karissa Peffer, ATF Medical’s senior coordinator of Adaptive Housing Solutions, has earned the Certified Environmental Access Consultant (CEAC) certification. The credentialing program, administered by VGM Live at Home, is a national certification for professionals who create accessibility for people with physical challenges. These include rehabilitation specialists, physical and occupational therapists, assistive technology providers, and contractors. ATF Medical provides comprehensive medical equipment and adaptive housing solutions to the workers’ compensation industry. 

CQRC applauds committee’s approval of oxygen bill 

WASHINGTON – The Council for Quality Respiratory Care commended the House Committee on Energy and Commerce for passing H.R. 8158, a bill that would amend both the Social Security Act and the 1997 Balanced Budget Act to waive the budget neutrality offset for stationary oxygen products. “The continued application of the budget neutrality provision has led to troublingly low rates for oxygen supplies and equipment in rural and suburban areas, which if not addressed, threatens to force some suppliers out of the market, especially in rural areas, at a time when these critically needed supplies are in high demand,” said Crispin Teufel, CQRC chairman. “By eliminating the budget neutrality requirement, Congress has the opportunity to modernize the Medicare program and protect beneficiaries’ access to home respiratory care.” 

CorLife moves up the Inc. 5000 list 

GREEN BAY, Wis. – CorLife LLC, a provider of durable medical equipment, supplies and home health care services to workers’ compensation carriers nationwide, was recognized on Inc. Magazine’s “Inc. 5000” list for the second year in a row. CorLife rose to No. 277 with three-year revenue growth of more than 1,600%. “Our mission is to revolutionize the approach to ancillary services in the workers’ compensation insurance industry,” said President/CEO Lauren Underhill. “To be successful in our mission is already such an accomplishment, to be nationally recognized in addition, is a proud moment for us all.” 

AAH updates: Humana, Indiana Medicaid, telehealth 

AAHomecare is drafting a response to Humana’s decision to make changes in its authorization process for non-invasive ventilators, including providing only a 90-day initial authorization and requiring compliance data to extend authorization. The association has a number of concerns with the change, including how it will impact patients, how it might result in re-hospitalizations, how it’s inconsistent with Medicare requirements, and how it’s a more restrictive authorization process during a public health emergency...AAHomecare, as well as the Great Lakes Home Medical Services Association, VGM and NCART, have developed an issue brief in response to Indiana Medicaid’s plans to “cut HME rates to the state’s lowest Medicare rate for CURES codes on Feb 1. and remaining non-CURES codes on Aug. 1.” “Implementation of drastic and broad rate reductions at a time of uncertainty in the Medicare program, based on the lowest Medicare rate and during a public health emergency, would cause great disruption to service,” AAHomecare states...In a letter responding to CMS’s proposed rule to expand coverage for some telehealth and remote physiologic monitoring services, AAHomecare strongly recommends that these services, which have been covered under the public health emergency, be covered permanently. The association also recommends that CMS allow remote monitoring services to satisfy the requirement for the face-to-face encounter. CMS is accepting comments until Oct. 5. 

Invacare retires most of remaining convertible notes 

ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare has retired the majority of its remaining 5% convertible senior notes due 2021. The company purchased about $22 million aggregate principal amount of the 2021 convertible notes for cash in separate open market transactions, leaving a balance of about $3.8 million aggregate principle amount of 2021 convertible notes outstanding. “I’m pleased we were able to retire the significant majority of our remaining 2021 convertible notes in advance of their February maturity,” said Matt Monaghan, chairman, president and CEO. “By opportunistically repurchasing the notes, including some at slightly below par, we continue to set the foundation for long-term profitable growth with a stronger and more flexible balance sheet and by reducing ongoing interest expense.” Since the third quarter of 2019, Invacare has addressed about $146.3 million principal amount of the 2021 convertible notes either through repurchases or exchanges for new notes that effectively extended the maturity to November 2024. “While this chapter is now largely behind us, we will remain vigilant in identifying opportunities to optimize our capital structure,” said Kathy Leneghan, senior vice president and CFO. 

Hub’s Home Oxygen moves into Sears 

SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Hub’s Home Oxygen & Medical Supplies has opened its seventh location in the state in a former Sears building at the Susquehanna Valley Mall, according to a local newspaper. The 4,200-square-foot location, which opened Aug. 3, will allow the company to stretch out toward Montour and Columbia counties, reports the Daily Item. Hub’s Home Oxygen employs five at the store, with two drivers in training. The company has been in business since 1955, offering a variety of home care products, including oxygen concentrators, nebulizers, CPAP and BiPAP devices and supplies, wheelchairs and more. Hub’s now has locations in Williamsport Wellsboro, Lock Haven and Lewisburg, and in Harrisburg and Carlisle as CressCare Medical. 

Protech lines up sleep provider 

CINCINNATI ­– Protech Home Medical has executed a non-binding letter of intent to acquire a respiratory company in the Southeast reporting unaudited trailing 12-month annual revenues of about $13 million, significant adjusted EBITDA and positive net income. The target, which has been in business for more than 15 years, would significantly enhance Protech’s presence in the region with five new locations, and would increase its patient count by more than 15,000. The target is highly concentrated in sleep therapy, with a strong resupply business. “Post-closing, we also see a significant opportunity to increase the targets current resupply business and will use our operational expertise, leveraging our first-rate infrastructure to achieve profit growth through our integration platform,” said Greg Crawford, CEO. “Our acquisition platform continues to be robust and we expect to remain extremely active on the M&A front as we close out 2020, with a particular focus on increasing scale through market penetration in our existing markets and by adding new markets into the system.” Earlier this month, Protech announced it had acquired Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based Health Technology Resources. 

MedCare breaks ground on new warehouse 

GREENSBURG, Pa. – MedCare Equipment Co. has plans to move into a new $4.9 million warehouse in Penn Township, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The new 100,000-square-foot warehouse will replace 39,000 square feet of space that the company currently leases on Rico Drive in Monroeville, the newspaper reports. The warehouse, where the company plans to employ 50, is part of the Bushy Run Corporate Park. MedCare broke ground on the new warehouse last week. 

Numotion Foundation launches scholarship program 

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – The Numotion Foundation has established the Numotion Foundation Scholarship Fund in partnership with the United Negro College Fund to provide tuition and housing assistance for African American students living with mobility related disabilities. “Everyone should have the opportunity to pursue their interests and purpose through higher education,” said Mike Swinford, president of Numotion Foundation and CEO of Numotion. “The foundation is honored to partner with UNCF to help relieve the financial challenges to achieving a college degree and ensure deserving students have the support they need to be successful.” The Numotion Foundation has committed $20,000 for the next three years, for a total contribution of $60,000. Those eligible to apply must have an established grade point average of 2.75 or greater, provide UNCF with a letter of recommendation and a statement of career interests, and be in any stage of obtaining a four-year degree at a qualifying institution. UNCF will administer the scholarship program and provide distributions at its discretion. The organization’s mission is “to build a robust and nationally recognized pipeline of under-represented students who, because of UNCF support, became highly qualified college graduates and to ensure that our network of member institutions is a respected model of best practice moving students to and through college.”