In brief: UroMed to close, bid registration opens

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Friday, June 14, 2019

SUWANEE, Ga. – UroMed, a provider of urological, incontinence and other disposable medical supplies, will close on July 8, according to a letter to its customers.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this closure may cause; however, over the next few weeks UroMed will be working diligently to ensure a seamless transition of care to another provider of your choice in accordance with your plan’s network,” reads the letter, signed by Ryan Schorr, vice president and general manager.

UroMed was bought by AssuraMed in 2014. AssuraMed already owned Edgepark Medical, Invacare Supply Group and Independence Medical.

Cardinal Health, which owned AssuraMed, eventually combined the businesses under Cardinal Health at-Home, but kept the Edgepark and UroMed names for its business-to-consumer channel and the Independence name for its business-to-business channel.

UroMed, which was founded more than 20 years ago by six people, four of them wheelchair users due to spinal cord injuries, is known for launching an online community called Life After Spinal Cord Injury; and for hosting, along with Sports ‘N Spokes magazine, the Wheels UP! accessible travel contest.

Register for Round 2021
WASHINGTON – Registration is now open for Round 2021 of Medicare’s competitive bidding program.

To submit a bid, providers must have a CMS Enterprise Portal user account and must have access added to the online DMEPOS Bidding System, DBidS, and the program’s secure portal, Connexion.

Part of a provider’s preparation to bid should include:

  • Ensuring their enrolment information reflected in PECOS is up to date and correct. When creating an account for the CMS Enterprise Portal, the following information provided by the authorized official and backup authorized official must match exactly with PECOS: last name of person registering, Social Security number and date of birth.
  • Determining the PTAN or billing number you will use to access DBidS and Connexion. Providers must enter this same PTAN to access DBidS and Connexion.
  • Designating one AO listed on your organization’s CMS-855S enrollment application to act as your AO for registration purposes.

AAHomecare notes that, while CMS has not provided a deadline for registering, the rotating banner at the top of the CBIC home page notes a “target” deadline for AO registration of June 24 and for BAO registration on July 1.

CMS plans to open the bid window on July 16.

Great Elm DME expands in Midwest

WALTHAM, Mass. – Focus Respiratory, a wholly owned subsidiary of Great Elm DME, has acquired the respiratory assets of Omaha, Neb.-based Midwest Respiratory Care in an all-cash transaction valued at about $6.25 million.

The price tag is 4.6x MRC’s EBITDA, less capital expenditures for the 12 months ended April 30, 2019.

“We believe there is a significant opportunity to make additional acquisitions in existing and adjacent geographies,” said Peter A. Reed, CEO of Great Elm Capital, parent company of Great Elm DME. “With the acquisition of Midwest Respiratory, we have now scaled our platform in the Midwest to complement our existing platforms in Arizona and the Pacific Northwest. The acquisition also meaningfully diversifies our service offering and payer base in this region, as well as supplements our company-wide organic growth.”

Great Elm Capital partnered with Mesa, Ariz.-based Valley Healthcare Group to acquire Portland, Ore.-based Northwest Medical, combining the two companies, last year.

The MRC acquisition expands Great Elm’s geographic reach in the Midwest beyond its existing presence in Omaha, adding locations in Lincoln, Neb., Fort Madison, Iowa, and Lenexa, Kan. It also presents potential cost synergies, including combining corporate offices in Omaha, implementing best practices in billing and collection, and purchasing rental equipment.

MRC will focus its business on providing DME to hospice customers.

VIP Medical offers new services, led by Jane Wilkinson-Bunch
ATLANTA – VIP Medical Group has introduced a new lineup of compliance, billing and consulting services for HME and other healthcare providers. The new services will be led by Jane Wilkinson-Bunch, a veteran healthcare reimbursement specialist. “The healthcare industry is rapidly re-inventing itself, which poses unique challenges for providers seeking to build revenue in measurable ways, while at the same time offering high-level patient care,” said Michael Kochen, partner and COO of VIP and head of the company’s technology division. “It was a no-brainer for us to join forces with a guru like Jane Wilkinson-Bunch to offer the industry a one-stop shop package to help address their most pressing compliance, financial, operational and technological needs.” Prior to joining VIP, Wilkinson-Bunch, a former licensed respiratory therapist, served as the CEO and founder of Jane’s Healthcare. She has more than 33 years of experience in the HME, pharmacy, operations and retail sectors. VIP offers a variety of products and services, including consulting, intake and billing, product fulfillment and technology, to HME, pharmacy, skilled nursing and other providers.

Sigvaris names new president
PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. – Sigvaris Group North America has appointed Barbara Osborne president and CEO. Osborne has more than 30 years of diverse business experience in the medical device field. Previously, she was the chief commercial officer at Dermarite Industries. She has also been president and CEO of LEO Pharma, and president of Molnlycke Health Care US. “During my career, I have always worked hard to be very customer-focused, and I believe that we all must strive to understand and meet our customers’ changing needs,” Osborne said. “I am excited to begin this new journey with Sigvaris Group and I look forward to the difference we are going to make in our wearers’ lives.”

NSM launches new reimbursement system
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – National Seating & Mobility has launched an automated expected reimbursement system. The new system uses required payer and client benefits information to provide a real-time expected reimbursement for equipment being ordered, eliminating the need for manual calculations. “This automated, real-time information gives our funding specialists the ability to focus on moving the order forward more efficiently,” said Bill Mixon, NSM CEO. “It also increases the accuracy of initial communications with the client about their financial responsibility, so there are less surprises down the road.” NSM reports the new reimbursement system, along with other service and technology initiatives, has improved productivity by 18% and reduced the time it takes per funding case by 6% so far in 2019. The new system is integrated with the automated benefits and eligibility process launched earlier this year.

Deadline approaches for vents sign-on letter
WASHINGTON – A sign-on letter asking CMS to drop non-invasive vents from the competitive bidding program has support from 129 members of the House of Representatives and counting, AAHomecare reports. The deadline for collecting signatures has been extended to June 14, according to the association. The call for signatures dovetails with the ALS Association’s visits to Capitol Hill this week. Hundreds of stakeholders engaged members of the House and Senate on the vent issue and other ALS policy priorities. CMS announced in March that non-invasive vents were one of the 16 product categories to be included in Round 2021. The bid window for the program opens July 16.

BioScrip execs will continue at combined company
DENVER – Key members of BioScrip’s leadership team will continue in executive roles with the combined company following the close of its pending merger with Option Care Enterprises. Dan Greenleaf, president and CEO of BioScrip, will become special advisor to the newly combined company’s board chairman, Harry Kraemer, and CEO John Rademacher. Greenleaf will provide strategic and operational counsel to ensure a smooth transition, optimize the integration of both companies and drive long-term opportunities. In addition, Harriet Booker will continue as COO, Rich Denness will become chief strategy officer, John McMahon will become senior vice president of corporate finance, Bob Roose will continue as senior vice president of procurement and Arcot Prakash will become vice president of information technology.

Nominations open for O&P award
OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) is accepting nominations for the Jim Newberry Award for Extraordinary Service. The award is named after longtime practitioner, BOC board member and leader James Newberry, Jr., BOCP, BOCO, BOCPD, who passed away in 2016. It recognizes “outstanding individuals who perform extraordinary service to BOC, and who live out the superior example modeled by Newberry during his more than four decades in O&P.” Winners may include, but are not limited to, current or former board members, test development volunteers, vendors or other business partners, certificants, personnel from BOC-accredited facilities, consultants and staff members.

Group donates mobility equipment at Heartland
WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM collaborated with Variety-the Children’s Charity, Rifton, International Biophysics Corp. and EZ-ACCESS to donate special gifts to five families who live near the company’s corporate headquarters here. The donations, which included four adaptive tricycles from Rifton, a high-frequency chest wall oscillation therapy vest from Biophysics, and a modular ramp system from EZ-ACCESS, were presented at a special ceremony during VGM’s Heartland Conference on Tuesday. “We’re always excited to orchestrate these impactful moments between our membership community and the community VGM calls home,” said Scott Owen, senior vice president of contracting for VGM. “Helping those in need live more independently is precisely what VGM, our partners and all industry stakeholders strive to achieve.” This is the fourth year that VGM has collaborated with their partners to donate mobility equipment as part of the conference. It’s the first year Biophysics has participated.

Mini Pharmacy sells to PE firm
LOS ANGELES – Mini Pharmacy, a pharmacy specializing in providing diabetic supplies primarily to the California market, is now owned by Angeles Equity Partners. Mini was founded in 1980 and has been led by the Fox family. In conjunction with the transaction, Angeles will be installing a new executive team with pharmacy industry expertise “to drive a robust program of systems investment and operational modernization.” Richard Fox, however, will continue to lead Mini’s commercial activities as vice president of sales. Based in Los Angeles, Mini offers diabetic supplies, continuous glucose monitors, general prescriptions, nutritional formulas and DME. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

AASM names new board president
SAN ANTONIO – Dr. Kelly Carden was announced as the 34th president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s board of directors. She assumed the role during SLEEP 2019, the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLCS, a joint venture of the AASM and the Sleep Research Society. Carden will serve a one-year term leading the 10,000 physicians, scientists, advanced practice providers and allied health professionals who make up AASM’s membership. She has been an AASM member since 2004 and has served on its board since 2013, including as secretary/treasurer from 2015-18. With an interest in health policy, she has also served in multiple ways to help address practice management issues related to coding and reimbursement.

ResMed cites higher rates of sleep apnea
SAN ANTONIO – Roughly 170 million people across North and South America have sleep apnea, according to a study ResMed presented at SLEEP 2019. The study, a deeper analysis of ResMed’s finding in 2018 that 936 million people worldwide have sleep apnea, concludes that 170 million people in North and South America (37% of adults) have sleep apnea based on the AASM 2012 criteria—a “conservative” estimate—and that the countries with the highest number of cases are the United States (54 million), Brazil (49 million) and Columbia (11 million).“Previous estimates stated     100 million worldwide have sleep apnea,” said Carlos Nunez, M.D., the study’s co-author and ResMed’s chief medical officer. “Given how common sleep apnea is, especially among people with other common diseases, doctors should screen their high-risk patients and help those who are diagnosed get onto life-changing treatment as soon as possible.” The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society are hosting SLEEP 2019 June 8-12.

Mass Bay Respiratory rebrands
HANOVER, Mass. – Mass Bay Respiratory is now Mass Bay Medical Supplies. Dianne Long and her son, Mike Long, have rebranded their company to better serve the more expansive needs of hospice families and their caregivers. They now offer a wide range of products, including hospital beds and accessories, respiratory equipment, wheelchairs, lift chairs, walker/rollators, crutches, tables, bathroom safety devices and incontinence supplies. The Longs have been serving families and caregivers in Eastern Massachusetts since 1999, offering 24-hour accessibility and “4-hour service, 4-hour delivery.” “Although we have been helping customers for 20 years, we know that our reputation is on the line with every delivery,” said Dianne Long.

Ascensia touts interconnected approach to diabetes care
SAN FRANCISCO – People with Type 2 diabetes who participated in a pilot study using Ascensia Diabetes Care’s investigational Interconnected Diabetes Management Solution significantly lowered HbA1c, the company reported at the American Diabetes Association’s 79th Scientific Sessions in June.  As the primary endpoint, mean HbA1c decreased by 0.43%, from 8.44% at the start to 8.01% after 12 weeks. “These data are the first indication of clinically meaningful results from the use of this IDMS and suggest that the solution has the potential for benefit in the management of Type 2 diabetes,” the company said. Ascensia’s investigational solution is designed to provide additional support for adults with diabetes to help them more effectively manage their condition. It uses a combination of remote behavioral coaching from a Certified Diabetes Educator and a mobile application. The CDE is able to use the person’s data to customize their coaching  guidance, providing them with actionable information to support individual self-management.

Parachute Health wins medtech award
NEW YORK – Parachute Health has been selected as the winner of the “Best New e-Prescribing Technology Solution” award in the annual MedTech Breakthrough Awards Program. The award recognizes the company’s e-Prescribing platform, which streamlines and improves the process of ordering medical equipment and supplies. “The Best New Technology Solution award category seeks to recognize companies that are using today’s cutting-edge technology to create inventive, practical and impactful digital health products,” said James Johnson, managing director, MedTech Breakthrough. “Parachute does just that in the field of e-Prescribing, taking complicated and frustrating, but an essential function of health care, and creating a simple, transparent and compelling digital solution.” MedTech Breakthrough Awards honors “breakthrough” companies and solutions in various medical technology and digital health categories, including telehealth, patient engagement, healthcare cybersecurity. This year’s program drew more than 3,500 nominations, representing work from 15 different countries.