In brief: Philips consolidates manufacturing, ActivStyle drops out of IlliniCare

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Friday, November 16, 2018

KENNESAW, Ga. – Philips is taking steps to consolidate and transfer manufacturing, R&D operations and related business functions from its facility in Kennesaw, Ga.

The process will continue through the end of 2019, the company says.

“During this period, manufacturing operations in Kennesaw, which includes home oxygen and a limited number of other products, will be transitioned to a third-party manufacturer and existing Philips facilities in western Pennsylvania,” the company stated.

The consolidation will affect about 400 positions in Kennesaw, with plans to transfer 160 positions to facilities in Pennsylvania, the company says.

The decision to consolidate is driven by “business considerations” and is in line with an overall strategy to optimize manufacturing locations for scale and efficiency, as well as support resource and best practice sharing, the company says.

“In addition, it will increase focus on enhancing Philips portable oxygen offerings,” the company stated.

Philips announced earlier this year that it would allow cash customers to buy its POCs directly from the company. It also announced earlier this year that it would discontinue its UltraFill Home Oxygen System by the end of this year.

ActivStyle drops out of IlliniCare

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – ActivStyle, a Minneapolis-based provider of incontinence supplies, is dropping out of IlliniCare Health’s network after “a year of operating at a loss,” CEO Gayle Devin has told Crain’s Chicago Business. IlliniCare, a private insurer in the state’s overhauled Medicaid managed care program, implemented cuts of up to 50% on Jan. 1 for everything from wheelchairs to ventilators. “We finally said, ‘We love these (patients)—we’ve been servicing some of them since we entered the Illinois market in 2002—but we won’t compromise and go to a lower-quality product,” she told the newspaper. “We know it’s going to lead to poor outcomes.” ActivStyle’s exit means 1,000 patients will have to find another in-network provider for their incontinence supplies, according to Crain’s Chicago. The provider notified IlliniCare of its decision on Nov. 1. Earlier this year, a bill was introduced in the Illinois General Assembly that would help to address concerns surrounding the cuts. House Bill 5930 would prohibit supply companies from being paid less than 10% below Medicaid fee-for-service rates by MCOs. Devin told Crain’s Chicago if ActivStyle needs to be the “sacrificial lamb” to move the bill forward, “it’s a worthy cause.”

Apria’s online retail outlet adds payment options

LAKE FOREST, Calif. – ApriaDirect, Apria Healthcare’s online marketplace for HME, now accepts flexible spending account and health savings account debit cards for qualified retail purchases. The goal: to reduce the burden of healthcare spending for customers and improve the overall shopping experience. “ApriaDirect is part of a limited number of select online stores currently accepting FSA and HSA cards, providing customers a convenient way to purchase eligible HME and supplies while shopping online,” said Lori Raygoza, vice president, eCommerce. ApriaDirect offers a portfolio of CPAP and respiratory products, independent living and bath safety products, as well as personal care, incontinence and mobility accessories. The company estimates that high deductible health plans, which typically offer FSA and HSA programs, now make up almost half of all employer-based health coverage and nearly all individual policies.

Itamar Medical: New fee schedule advances WatchPAT

CAESAREA, Israel – The recently released 2019 fee schedule from CMS should support broad use of Itamar Medical’s WatchPAT technology, the company says. WatchPAT uses peripheral arterial tone (PAT) technology to provide cardiologists and sleep physicians in the United States with accurate sleep diagnoses. “We believe that the new CMS fee schedule validates the clinical value of our sleep tests for patients and may significantly advance utilization of our sleep tests in the U.S. market,” said Gilad Glick, CEO of Itamar Medical. “It also reflects growing awareness of deploying home sleep apnea testing and sleep apnea management as essential components of the cardiology care pathway.” Itamar Medical estimates that WatchPAT technology accounted for about 15% of the home sleep tests in the U.S. in 2017.

Philips marks COPD ‘wins’

AMSTERDAM – Royal Philips has launched a global awareness campaign to celebrate everyday wins by COPD patients and their providers and caregivers. The campaign, set to start on World COPD Day on Nov. 21, seeks to inspire patients and help them improve their overall quality of life. "COPD often presents challenges for patients to partake in daily activities," said Dr. Teofilo Lee-Chiong, chief medical liaison at Philips in a press release. "While COPD is a chronic condition, it doesn't need to be a debilitating disease.”Philips will post real-life “wins” every hour on World COPD Day. Follow on Twitter @PhilipsResp and at Facebook.com/PhilipsRespiratoryWellness. World COPD Day, which started in 2002, is organized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease to raise awareness of COPD, which is estimated to affect more than 251 million people worldwide and is estimated to be the third leading cause of death by 2020.

InfuSystem reports Q3 earnings

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. – InfuSystem Holdings reported net revenues of $16.7 million for the third quarter of 2018, a 5% decreased compared to the same quarter in 2017. Adjusted EBITDA was $3.3 million, a 15% decrease. “We are making strong progress and gaining traction on our strategic initiatives that we believe will lead to significant oncology market share gains in 2019,” said Richard Dilorio, CEO. “This includes the introduction during the third quarter of InfuSystem Mobile, a ‘first of its kind’ mobile application to enhance safety and communication.” For the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2018, the company reported net revenues of $49.6 million, a decrease of 5% for the same period in 2017.

BraunAbility acquires regional dealer

SAN DIEGO – BraunAbility has acquired Ability Center, a regional dealer of wheelchair accessible vehicles with 14 locations across California, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. “Ability Center has been my life’s work, and this partnership ensure we are well-positioned to grow and, most importantly, continue to provide an outstanding level of care and service to our customers,” said Darrell Heath, founder and chairman. BraunAbility is a global manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vehicles and wheelchair lifts. It is a wholly owned subsidiary to Patricia Industries, a division of Investor AB Group.

Triple W offers new app

SAN DIEGO – A companion app for the DFree is now available for Android devices, according to an announcement from San Diego-based Triple W. DFree is a wearable device that predicts toilet timing for incontinence patients. An iOS version of the app has been in use since 2017. The DFree won second place at the Innovative HME Retail Product Awards at Medtrade in October. The device was also named an Innovation Awards Honoree for CES 2019 in January.

VGM rolls out cannabis division

WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM Group has launched botaniCo, a new division focusing on medical marijuana businesses, as well as the legalized cannabis and hemp industries. botaniCo offers its members access to revenue growth tools, business analytics, government relations and advocacy, education and tailored insurance products. “This new program aligns VGM with providers expanding into the cannabis market, as well as introduces our purchasing solutions and services to others already conducting business in states where cannabis is legal,” said Clint Geffert, president of VGM & Associates.  botaniCo’s members currently include dispensaries, cultivators, manufacturers, extractors, testing laboratories and distributors.

GEC reports growth

WALTHAM, Mass. – Great Elm Capital Group has reported Valley Health Group (VHG) and Northwest Medical (NWM) generated EBITDA of $14.1 million for the period ending Sept. 30, 2018, a growth rate of 9.3% as of June 30, 2018. For the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2018, VHG and NWM would have generated $47.7 million in revenue, representing 1.3% growth over the last 12 months ended June 30, 2018. GEC, which acquired an 80% interest in VHG and NWM for $63.6 million earlier this year, stated that it is focused on integrating operations for both companies, as well as driving revenue growth and looking at further M&A opportunities. "We are pleased with our acquisition of Valley Healthcare and Northwest Medical,” said CEO Peter Reed in a press release. “The combined business is growing revenue and EBITDA, while generating significant free cash flow. We are looking forward to continuing its growth trajectory with add-on acquisitions.”

Nevada: DME exempted from sales tax

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Residents of Nevada last week voted in favor of exempting durable medical equipment from sales tax, according to a bulletin from VGM. Sixty-seven percent of voters approved the measure, which amends the Nevada Constitution to remove sales tax applied to DME, oxygen delivery equipment and mobility equipment when prescribed by a licensed healthcare provider. Provider Doug Bennett, of Bennett Medical Services and NAMPS, rallied grassroots efforts to advocate for the change.

Easy Breathe reaches milestone

LOS ANGELES – Online CPAP store Easy Breathe has more than 100,000 “likes” on its Facebook page. The company’s Facebook page features tips for CPAP therapy and supply maintenance, as well as information about promotions, sweepstakes and product features, according to a press release. "We want to create a platform for engagement in the CPAP community," said Nick Weiss, Easy Breathe founder and CEO. "We strive to ensure that our customers are aware of the best deals on cutting-edge products and the most useful CPAP tips and tricks. For our team, this Facebook milestone definitely shows we are connecting with the community and moving in the right direction."

Numotion now owned by AEA

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – It’s official: Numotion has announced it has been acquired by an affiliate of AEA Investors LP. AEA has acquired controlling interest in the complex rehab provider from LLR Partners and Audax Group. LLR Partners, however, has re-invested in Numotion as a minority shareholder. The private equity firms say they are partnering with the provider’s existing management team to help fund its continuing growth initiatives. “AEA’s resources and expertise will help us to further invest, so we can continue in our pursuit of providing the best possible services to our customers,” said Mike Swinford, CEO.

Golden Technologies reduces lead times

OLD FORGE, Pa. – Golden Technologies has dropped lead times on builder or special order lift chairs to 15 business days. “As part of our continued operational improvement process, we are building more chairs than ever and getting them out faster,” said Rich Golden, CEO. “We’re increasing our finished goods inventory. (This is) all in an effort to provide our retailers with the quality products they need to increase their revenue during the holiday selling season.” Products available at the reduced lead times include Golden’s new PR514 MaxiComfort Lift Recliner with Twilight Positioning. Builder or special order chairs will be quoted from 15 business days from the time of order.

Breathe adds NIV service

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Breathe, an IDTF that provides third-party testing for DME providers, has added capnography testing to its software platform. “Capnography testing was developed to support the growing request from our DME providers to be able to provider this test to their patients and referring physicians,” said Amber Yeager, owner. “By adding this service to our platform, it allows our clients to identify and grow their non-invasive ventilation business.” Provider customers that use Breathe’s mobile app will also be able to access their capnography patients through their Apple or Android smart phone devices.