In brief: Lincare has bought Southwest provider, Xealth receives investment from Philips, ResMed

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Friday, March 29, 2019

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Lincare Holdings, a subsidiary of Linde Group of Germany, has acquired Preferred Homecare/Lifecare Solutions, a portfolio company of Beecken Petty O’Keefe of Chicago, according to PE Hub Healthcare.

Preferred Homecare provides a full range of HME, including respiratory, complex rehab and NPWT products, from 22 locations, largely in Arizona, but also in Colorado, California and Nevada, according to its website.

Beecken Petty O’Keefe, a healthcare-focused private equity firm, started shopping around Preferred Homecare in October 2018, more than a decade into its ownership, PE Hub reported.

Beecken Petty O’Keefe bought Preferred Homecare from The Halifax Group in 2007.

Xealth receives investment from Philips, ResMed
SEATTLE – Xealth, a digital prescribing platform, has raised $11 million in a Series A financing round with new investments from healthcare companies like Philips, ResMed and McKesson.

The company says the investment will “fuel the expansion of Xealth’s platform, better connecting patients and doctors.”

“With these new partners joining our existing investors and customers, Xealth will be serving virtually every sector of the healthcare industry—providers, payers, pharma, devices and supply chain,” said Mike McSherry, CEO of Xealth. “The Xealth platform is quickly becoming the preferred ‘digital formulary.’”

Xealth allows clinicians to prescribe and monitor digital healthcare content, apps, devices and services from within their electronic health record charting interface, and to integrate the interaction into a health system’s existing patient portal.

Originally incubated and launched at Providence St. Joseph Health in 2017, Xealth also works with UPMC, the Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin health network, Baylor Scott and White, Duke and other health systems.

ResMed was an early partner of Xealth at Providence to help care for 40,000 patients using CPAP machines.

Xealth also made headlines last year when it was reportedly involved in a pilot program with Amazon and two hospital networks to allow doctors to recommend bundles of medical supplies and have them delivered to the homes of patients upon discharge.

AOPA criticizes ‘unscrupulous’ providers
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association is “strongly opposed” to lead-generation marketing for orthoses, a business practice that it says is responsible for an increase in fraud and abuse, the association said in a statement today.

Lead-generation marketing uses television, website and social media channels to encourage people to contact a call center that then provides “leads” to physician referral sources and medical equipment providers. People receive one or more orthoses, often without ever seeing a physician or the supplier.

“This model of delivery is not one that is interested in the provision of clinically appropriate orthoses by properly trained, educated and certified or licensed orthotic professionals,” said AOPA. “It is simply an opportunity for unscrupulous providers to take advantage of loopholes in the Medicare claims processing system to generate as much revenue as possible without regard to the medical need of the orthoses they are marketing.”

Recent reports from the Office of Inspector General have highlighted increased instances of fraud and abuse for knee and back braces.

CMS recently announced it would include the devices in the next round of competitive bidding.

OIG: Three strips dominate market
WASHINGTON – The top three types of diabetes test strips accounted for just over half of the non-mail order market, and the top 10 types accounted for approximately 93% of the market, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General.

The sampled claims included 34 types of test strips provided to Medicare beneficiaries from April-June 2018.

This is the second of two OIG reports providing market shares of diabetes testing supplies during that time period. The first report, released in January, provides market share for the national mail order program during that same time period. The reports are meant to inform future rounds of competitive bidding for diabetes testing supplies.

CMS announced in March that it would not include a national mail order program for diabetes testing supplies in Round 2021 to give it time to make changes required by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. All bid contracts expired on Dec. 31.

In an effort to ensure access to a variety of diabetes testing supplies, the budget for the Department of Health and Human Services for fiscal year 2019 includes a provision that would strengthen the 50% rule by: requiring bidders to attest to their ability to maintain an inventory of strips consistent with their bid, and requiring CMS to establish and maintain a surveillance program to ensure suppliers are complying with the rule.

Are you commonly owned or controlled?
WASHINGTON – The CBIC on March 26 asked providers to review their enrollment record in preparation for Round 2021 of national competitive bidding. Specifically, the CBIC asked providers to review if they are commonly owned (one or more providers has an ownership interest totaling at least 5% in the others) and/or commonly controlled (one or more providers are also an officer, director or partner of another provider). Commonly owned and/or commonly controlled providers are prohibited from competing against themselves when submitting bids in the same competitive bidding area and product category combination, the CBIC says. Therefore, if you are a commonly owned and/or commonly controlled provider when registration opens, you must register one time with one Provider Transaction Access Number (PTAN), designating it your primary location in the bid system, it says. When the bid window opens, you must submit one bid that includes all commonly owned and/or commonly controlled locations that would furnish the lead item and all non-lead items in the same competition, the CBIC says.

Senators commend assistive technology professionals
WASHINGTON – Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., filed a resolution on March 11 to designate March 27 as “National Assistive Technology Awareness Day.” Senate Resolution 103 commends assistive technology specialists and program coordinators for their hard work and dedication to serving people with disabilities who are in need of finding the proper assistive technology to meet their individual needs; and professional organizations and researchers who are dedicated to facilitating the access and acquisitions of assistive technology for people with disabilities and older adults in need of assistive technology devices.

RESNA calls for nominations
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The RESNA board of directors seeks nominations for the annual RESNA Awards. The awards recognize individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the field of assistive technology and rehabilitation engineering or their service to RESNA. “The response from RESNA’s professional network is essential for our committee to identify those who have gone above and beyond promoting the health and well-being of people with disabilities through increasing access to technology solutions,” the organization stated. The awardees will be honored at the RESNA Annual Conference in June. The deadline for nominations is April 19.

Medicaid fraud unit obtains millions in recoveries
WASHINGTON – Medicaid Fraud Control Units obtained 1,503 convictions in fiscal year 2018, including 1,109 convictions for fraud and 394 convictions for patient abuse or neglect, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General. Fraud conviction accounted for about 73% of all convictions for the last five years. Criminal recoveries in fiscal year 2018 were $314 million—less than half of the amount recovered in 2017, but on par with fiscal years 2014-2016, according to the report. Civil recoveries were $545 million. Recoveries against DMEPOS suppliers were nearly $14.9 million. MFCUs obtained 810 civil settlements and judgments, with the largest number (217) against pharmaceutical manufacturers. DMEPOS represented 57 settlements.

Pride, Quantum obtain BBB accreditation
EXETER, Pa. – Pride Mobility Products and Quantum Rehab have obtained accreditation from the Better Business Bureau serving metro Washington, D.C., and eastern Pennsylvania. BBB accredited businesses must adhere to its Code of Business Practices, a set of policies, procedures and best practices for representing trustworthiness, according to a press release. “We are pleased to be a BBB Accredited Business because we value building trust with our consumers,” said Scott Meuser, chairman and CEO of Pride Mobility Products and Quantum Rehab. “Our BBB Accreditation gives our customers confidence in our commitment to maintaining high ethical standards of conduct.”

Triple W partners with NAFC
SAN DIEGO – Triple W has partnered with the National Association for Continence to educate patients, caregivers and professionals about urinary incontinence and bladder health. Triple W and NAFC will collaborate on blog posts, co-marketing promotions and social media to educate people experiencing a loss of bladder control and caregivers about types of incontinence and how to manage the condition. “The NAFC is a valuable resource for anyone with urinary incontinence to learn more about the condition and how to best manage it,” said Ty Takayanagi, vice president of marketing for Triple W. “Through our partnership with NAFC, we hope to inform customers that our product can be a solution for people suffering with specific types of incontinence in order to maintain independence and live an active daily life.” Triple W is the developer of the DFree, a wearable device that alerts users when its time to use the bathroom.

ATLAS-RPM makes debut
LAS VEGAS – ATLAS Software, an integrated software that combines enterprise resource planning with customer relationship management for complex rehab and HME providers, has launched ATLAS-RPM, a professional services group. ATLAS-RPM, founded by Bill Paul, Ty Bello and Jonathan Walters, will provide insight and coaching to help providers grow revenues, clarify processes and transform management, according to a press release. “We’re extremely excited about the launching of the ATLAS-RPM team,” said Paul CEO in a release. “This group collectively brings over 100 years of real-world experience to potential HME and CRT industry partners.” ATLAS-RPM will be exhibiting at Medtrade Spring in Las Vegas and will have a presence at several other industry events, including the National CRT Leadership & Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C., in May and the VGM Heartland Conference in Waterloo, Iowa, in June.

ResMed launches brand-agnostic resupply program
SAN DIEGO – ResMed has launched ResMed ReSupply for all U.S. HME providers to increase adherence and improve patient satisfaction, the company announced March 25. “Automating the resupply process is critical to maximize patients’ success on therapy, as well as HME’s business efficiency,” said Raj Sodhi, SaaS president for ResMed. “With Brightree offering an automated resupply solution for its HME customers, and ResMed now launching one for non-Brightree customers, HMEs using any billing platform can all enjoy the benefits of an easily managed resupply program.” The solution automates enrollment as patients meet compliance requirements and lets them choose their preferred contact method—text, email or live call. Patients can also order supplies through a web- or mobile-based patient portal. Providers can manage all the resupply needs of their patients from a single comprehensive dashboard, so they can quickly identify, prioritize and assign tasks.

Viemed increases liquidity options
LAFAYETTE, La. – Viemed Healthcare has amended a two-year commercial business loan agreement, increasing its line of credit to $10 million. “We are pleased to announce the increase in our line of credit to $10 million, which gives us more liquidity as we continue our rapid growth around the country,” said CEO Casey Hoyt. “Being that we have remained undrawn on this loan since inception, we do not anticipate needing to utilize it in the near term; however, it is nice to have additional liquidity options as we continue to execute our plan.” The agreement is with Whitney Bank, a Mississippi state chartered bank, and will carry an interest rate that is based on one month ICE LIBOR plus 3% per annum form date of advance until paid. Any amounts advanced will be secured by substantially all of the company’s assets. During a recent earnings call, Viemed detailed its plans to expand into oxygen and sleep therapy.

Sigvaris changes name
PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. – Sigvaris is now Sigvaris Group. The company, which has been making compression socks and hosiery for 150 years, will use the name change “to build a customer centric platform for innovation and growth,” it says. Under the new brand architecture, the company will be called Sigvaris Group, but its products will have their own unique brands. Previously, Sigvaris was synonymous with the company and its products. “With the announcement of Sigvaris Group comes a better understanding of our organization and our unique product lines,” said CEO Mark Bunker. “We are giving our customers more clarity and better understanding of our corporate entity and our brands.”