In brief: Massachusetts moves to preferred supplier, Cooke & Burnell closes

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Friday, February 2, 2018

BOSTON – The Medicaid program in Massachusetts has entered into a preferred supplier agreement for incontinence supplies with Geriatric Medical & Surgical Supply, according to a recent administrative bulletin.

Geriatric Medical is a Woburn, Mass.-based supplier of wholesale medical products to long-term care, home care and nursing home facilities.

The state will hold a public hearing on Feb. 16 to review and discuss the proposed covered products and rates.

“(The state) is proposing this action to ensure that payments are consistent with efficiency, economy, and quality of care,” wrote the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services in the bulletin. “EOHHS anticipates that annual aggregate MassHealth expenditures will decrease by approximately $3.7 million as result of this action.”

The agreement is expected to go live March 1.

The Home Medical Equipment and Services Association of New England plans to attend the hearing and testify. Additionally, HOMES and Geriatric Medical, one of the association’s associate members, are holding a webinar on Feb. 5 to discuss the agreement, as well as provide details on the status of the bid, the covered products, and the onboarding and implementation plan for MassHealth members.

Cooke & Burnell Orthopedic Supplies shuts down
PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Cooke & Burnell Orthopedic Supplies has closed, after an attempt to merge with another company failed, according to the Berkshire Eagle. Cooke & Burnell, which had four employees, stopped accepting new patients on Jan. 1, but it remained open for several weeks so that company officials could tie up loose ends. The merger was how they planned to renew their five-year license to sell orthopedic supplies, which expired at the end of 2017. Company officials decided to close the business, instead of searching for another license holder, because they didn’t have enough time, the newspaper reported. There’s a possibility that the closure will be temporary, but company officials told the newspaper of their prospects of finding another license holder: “We’re not banking on that.” In addition to braces, Cooke & Burnell provided a wide range of other HME, including electric scooters, lift chairs, hospital beds, diabetic shoes and bathroom accessories. The company has been providing customers with a list of six other firms in the Berkshires that provide similar equipment and supplies.

NY railway starts OSA program
GLENDALE, N.Y. – New York & Atlantic Railway launched an Obstructive Sleep Apnea program on Jan. 23, screening nearly 40 NYA locomotive engineers and conductors in New York City and Long Island, N.Y. If needed, they will receive treatment under the support and care of the railway’s medical team, according to a press release. “The detection and remediation of OSA will positively impact employee health and improve employee alertness for safety sensitive jobs,” said NYA President James Bonner. NYA is billing itself as the first short-line freight railroad in the United States to institute such an OSA program. It is working on the program with Rocky Mountain Sleep Disorders Center.

StateServ, Hospicelink merge
TEMPE, Ariz., and BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – StateServ Holdings and Hospicelink have combined to become the leader for DME benefit management solutions in the hospice and post-acute care markets, the two companies say. Together, StateServ and Hospicelink operate a national network of more than 1,300 DME provider locations and 21 company owned distribution centers that serve more than 100,000 patients daily. “This marks the beginning of a long-term strategy to expand our leadership in the core hospice market and position the combined business to add value across the post-acute continuum of care,” said Paul DiCosmo, CEO of StateServ. “This exciting partnership will enable substantial investments in technology and infrastructure for the benefit of our employees, customers and DME partners across the nation.” The combined company will be a portfolio company of Blue Wolf Capital Partners, a middle-market private equity fund. Paul DiCosmo, StateServ’s co-founder and CEO, has been named CEO of the combined company. Chad Trull, Hospicelink’s founder and CEO, has been named president. The combined company will retain both current headquarters in Tempe, Ariz., and Birmingham, Ala.

Navicure, ZirMed rebrand
ATLANTA – Navicure and ZirMed will operate under the name Waystar, after the two revenue cycle technology companies merged in November. Combined, they provide cloud-based technology to more than 440,000 providers, 21,000 healthcare organizations and 550 hospitals and health systems. “We’re proud and excited for all that our new company name represents,” said Matthew Hawkins, Waystar CEO in a press release. “We are pleased with the progress we are making integrating the companies’ cultures, growth strategies, and organizations to create a new standard for technology and service excellence for our partners and clients.” Waystar will maintain both the Navicure and ZirMed brands during the transition process.

VGM launches new playbook
WATERLOO, Iowa – The VGM Group has released its latest playbook, “Industry Snapshots: Forecasting 2018.” The free playbook includes articles on compliance, data and security, mega trends, tax bill implications and the economy. “In 2018 there is little debate there will continue to be change and uncertainty in the DMEPOS community,” said Clint Geffert, president of VGM & Associates, a division of VGM Group. “But, where there’s a threat, a great opportunity awaits. Our playbook will provide insight and tips to help providers improve performance and offset risks within their business.” VGM launched its first playbook in 2016. The latest playbook is available at playbook.vgm.com.

Aeroflow Breastpumps offers support directory
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Aeroflow Breastpumps, a subsidiary of Aeroflow Healthcare, has launched a Lactation Support Directory, a national directory of more than 600 lactation consultants to help with breastfeeding questions. "Aeroflow Breastpumps' mission is to increase the instances of breastfeeding nationally," said Jennifer Jordan, Aeroflow director of Mom & Baby. "Part of that commitment goes beyond simply providing the best equipment and extends to providing resources, support and the education needed to help more moms successfully breastfeed.” The free directory is available at https://aeroflowbreastpumps.com/lactation-support-directory.

Primary care physicians can manage apnea care
MINNEAPOLIS – Some sleep apnea patients may be able to manage their conditions with primary care providers, rather than sleep specialists, according to new research review from the Minneapolis VA Healthcare System and the University of Minnesota School of Medicine. Apnea patients treated by primary care providers who received additional training in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders have similar outcomes to patients treated by specialists, the researchers found. As part of their review, which has been published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers analyzed eight previously published studies covering 1,515 patients. Researchers did note that more studies are needed.