Feed aggregator

Steedley makes room for Letizia

HME News - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 10:25
05/22/2015Liz Beaulieu

WASHINGTON – Robert Steedley handed over the reins to John Letizia during the AAHomecare Washington Legislative Conference this week.

Steedley said one of his goals as chairman of AAHomecare’s board of directors was leaving the association better off than he found it, something he says he feels he accomplished by helping to build a “dynamic staff” and “getting some legislation passed.”

“I’m more committed, more energized now than when I took over two years ago,” said Steedley, president of Barnes Healthcare Services in Valdosta, Ga.

AAHomecare thanked Steedley for his service, including a recent testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee Health Subcommittee, with a crystal mini-Capitol Hill, socks and cuff links.

Steedley’s parting words for the industry: “This association is powerful. Our numbers may be small, but our mission is huge, and we’re poised to be successful.”

Letizia, formerly vice chairman of AAHomecare’s board and chairman of its Complex Rehab & Mobility Council, said one of his goals is to shepherd more providers into being active in the industry and in the association.

“I wasn’t always involved,” said Letizia, president of Laurel Medical Solutions in Ebensburg, Penn., and an ATP. “I always assumed someone was representing our interests. Then one day I realized that person was me.”

Later Letizia, who got his start in an independent pharmacy at the ripe old age of 8, said, “I have an open door to any of you to talk about the association.”

In welcoming Letizia, Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare said, “A new boss is now in town.”

Robert Steedley, chairman of AAHomecare’s board of directors, testified during a congressional hearing on May 19 on improving competition in the Medicare program. 

Option Care makes comeback

HME News - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 11:09
05/19/2015HME News Staff

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreens Infusion Services is now Option Care.

Walgreen entered the home infusion market in 2007 when it acquired Option Care for $850 million.

“The new Option Care builds upon the legacy of that established brand with a new energy and ambition for the future,” the company stated in a press release.

Option Care unveiled its new name and company branding today.

The relaunch follows Walgreen’s decision earlier this year to sell its home infusion business to Chicago-based private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners. It maintains a minority stake in the company.

Option Care has the ability to serve more than 90% of the U.S. population, with 92 infusion pharmacies and 110 alternate treatment sites in 40 states, and almost 5,000 employees, according to the release.

The alternate site infusion market is believes to $14 billion and growing.

http://www.hmenews.com/article/pe-firm-acquires-walgreens-infusion-biz

MPP back in spotlight

HME News - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 12:58
05/15/2015Theresa Flaherty

WASHINGTON – Provider Robert Steedley will take the mic at a hearing this week to discuss how the market pricing program is a better alternative to the current bidding system.

“We want to continue to discuss with Congress repairing what we consider to be a flawed program,” said Steedley, who will be speaking as AAHomecare’s chairman of the Board of Directors. Steedley is also president of Barnes Healthcare Services in Valdosta, Ga. “I’ll focus on some of the more problematic areas, such as the lack of binding bids and the size of the MSAs, but then focus how MPP addresses those specific needs.”

The May 19 hearing was called by Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. The hearing, which is not HME-specific, is intended as a general exploration of competition and competitive bidding in health care.

Steedley is testifying on MPP at the behest of Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who in the last Congress introduced a bill that would have replaced competitive bidding with MPP.

Whether the congressman plans to drop another bill is uncertain, say stakeholders.

“Price is very much (in favor) of a demo project for MPP,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare. “It’s still in the talking stages but I believe that will happen this year and will be a good indicator of whether this program could work.”

But with CMS determined to expand bid rates nationwide in 2016, is it too late for MPP, which has been back-burnered while stakeholders attended to more pressing concerns?

It’s important to keep the discussion going any way we can, says Steedley.

“We know we are not going to see one swift piece of legislation that’s going to fix everything for the industry,” he said. “All we are asking for is to make the improvements along the way and allow providers to stay in business and take care of the customers they’ve been serving for so long.”

Steedley and Ryan both expect momentum from the hearing to carry over into Hill visits later in the week as part of AAHomecare’s Washington Legislative Conference which, is slated for Wednesday and Thursday.

Ryan said about 150 attendees are expected.

“Folks on the Hill are sympathetic to our concerns, so we can’t let up,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

Inogen’s B2B sales ‘stronger than anticipated’

HME News - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 12:56
Company hires international sales rep to target growth overseas05/15/2015Liz Beaulieu

GOLETA, Calif. – Say what you will about Inogen’s direct-to-consumer business model—it’s the business-to-business segment that continued to lead the company’s growth in the first quarter of 2015.

Inogen reported a 70.7% increase in business-to-business sales for the first quarter this year compared to the same period last year, “stronger than anticipated growth,” said Ray Huggenberger, CEO, during a conference call to discuss the company’s latest financial results.

“We believe the traction we are gaining in this channel is primarily the result of reseller demand for portable oxygen concentrators as we and others increase marketing spend to target existing oxygen patients,” he said.

The B2B segment also led growth in the fourth quarter of 2014, with a 16.7% increase compared to the same period in 2013.

What’s more: Inogen is seeing growth in its B2B segment not only domestically but also internationally. It reported an 89% increase in international B2B sales in the first quarter this year compared to the same period last year.

“As part of a strategy to more proactively approach international sales, we’ve recently hired our first international sales representative,” Huggenberger said. “He is located in the Netherlands and will focus on expanding distributor partnerships throughout Europe and working more closely with our existing partners to drive conversion from the traditional delivery-based systems.”

On the direct-to-consumer side, Inogen reported a 25.9% increase in the first quarter this year compared to last year, a number company officials expect to grow with an expanding sales force.

“We expect to see continued seasonally adjusted steady growth in our direct-to-consumer channel through 2015 as the additional headcount comes up to full speed and we continue to add to our sales headcount throughout the year,” Huggenberger said.

Overall, Inogen reported total revenues of $33.8 million for the first quarter of 2014, a 42.8% increase over the same period last year. It reported net income of $1.6 million vs. $888,000, a 77% increase.

The company reported sales revenues of $23 million for the first quarter, a 55.1% increase over the same period last year, and rental revenues of $10.7 million, a 22% increase.

Inogen also confirmed its guidance for 2015 at $133 million to $137 million in revenues, representing a year-over-year growth ranging from 18.2% to 21.7%.

 

Google pushes providers to ‘look good’

HME News - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 12:53
05/15/2015Theresa Flaherty

YARMOUTH, Maine – It’s so big it’s been dubbed “Mobilegeddon,” but what does Google’s recent decision to favor mobile-friendly websites mean for HME providers?

Google on April 21 tweaked its search algorithm to make mobile-friendly websites rank higher in mobile search results.

“It’s not going to be OK any more to have a large website that looks bad on a mobile device,” said Justin Racine, marketing and e-commerce manager at Woburn, Mass.-based Geriatric Medical, which recently made its website mobile friendly. “If it doesn’t look good, you are going to drop significantly in the rankings.”

Nearly 70% of all web searches are done through Google and half of those searches are done using a mobile device. Add to that that 65% of people are now using smart phones and it’s clear providers need to take a hard look at their websites, says Warren Freeman, vice president of business development for VGM Forbin.

Now, when someone uses a mobile device to search for “CPAP in Nashville,” Google will prioritize the websites with the best content and the best experience.

“It’s the experience that’s at the heart of all this and Google is king at that,” Freeman said.

Providers whose websites aren’t mobile-friendly don’t need to panic. The algorithm only impacts searches done with a phone, not a tablet or computer.

“But, if someone is thinking they need to update their website because it’s been awhile, it’s a good time to do it,” Racine said. “The mobile aspect can be a huge advantage for HME providers if they tailor their content toward it.”

Indeed, “Mobilegeddon” might be the push that shoves providers to update their websites.

“We really believe that Google is going to continue to push people this way,” Freeman said.

Providers race to rank

HME News - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 12:52
05/15/2015Tracy Orzel

YARMOUTH, Maine – Seventy-two percent of the respondents to a recent HME NewsPoll say their websites are mobile-friendly.

That’s a good thing, because in April, Google tweaked its search algorithm to make mobile-friendly websites rank higher in mobile search results.

It’s also a good thing because 78% of respondents say more of their customers are using mobile devices to find them. 

“During the first quarter of 2015, over 30% of our web traffic was mobile—21% mobile, 10% tablet,” wrote Gary Sheehan, CEO of Sandwich, Mass.-based Cape Medical Supply. 

Overall, 64% of Americans now use smartphones, according to the Pew Research Center.

Like Sheehan, 67% of respondents say they track how their customers find them, a data point that helps them make better business decisions.

“We can tell which type of device and much more from Google Analytics,” wrote Sam Clay, owner of Clay Home Medical in Petersburg, Va., who is in the process of updating his company’s website.

Besides boosting the search rankings of providers, mobile-friendly websites also improve the experience of users, says one respondent. 

“Having a mobile-friendly site allows for better education through the addition of a simple navigation layout,” wrote the respondent. “Computers are not always accessible, so ensuring our patients have instant access to this information was paramount.” 

Not all respondents are concerned about Google’s new ranking system, however.

“Patients are captured via contracts with payers,” wrote James Roache, president and CEO of Advanced Pharmacy Solutions. “Not one has gone to our website.” 

Numotion fast tracks ALS patients

HME News - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 12:50
05/15/2015Tracy Orzel

R0CKY HILL, Conn. – Few things happen quickly in the HME industry, but Numotion’s ALS Fast Track Program is the exception to the rule.

For customers with ALS who qualify, the Rocky Hill, Conn.-based provider will work with key manufacturing partners to move their wheelchairs to the front of the line, allowing delivery within 18 to 21 days of evaluation, instead of the industry average of about 90 days.

How is this possible?

Orders for ALS customers are generally placed at clinics associated with the ALS Association and Muscular Dystrophy Association by physicians, PTs and OTs on staff who are familiar with Medicare’s documentation requirements, says John Pryles, senior vice president of sales at Numotion. 

“It’s easier for us to get the right paperwork, the first time,” he said.

Numotion started the program at the behest of ATPs and referral sources asking for expedited delivery.

“People were getting loaner chairs that were close, but no cigar,” explained Pryles. “They weren’t what they needed size-wise or for their houses.”

CMS’s recent decision to apply competitive bid pricing to complex rehab wheelchair accessories could threaten the program’s sustainability, however. The change, scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, could result in payment cuts ranging from 20% to 50% for complex rehab wheelchair accessories, stakeholders say.

“Assuming things stay the way they are, we’ll continue to do the program,” said Pryles. “If we can’t stop the application of competitive bid pricing to complex rehab wheelchair accessories, we’ll have to rethink a great many things—and this will be among them.”

In brief: Sunrise Medical up for sale, Liberator adds customers

HME News - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 12:49
05/15/2015HME News Staff

FRESNO, Calif. – Equistone Partners has put Sunrise Medical up for sale, according to Reuters. The European-based investment firm is considering offers from IK Investment Partners and Nordic Capital in a potential $507 million deal, the news agency reports. Equistone Partners, which is owned and managed by the former executives of Barclays Private Equity, is also considering an offer from “a family office,” a vehicle handling the assets of a wealthy family, Reuters reports. Equistone Partners is asking potential buyers to submit final bids by the end of May.

The firm bought Sunrise Medical from New York-based Vestar Capital Partners in 2012.

IK is a European-based private equity advisory group that has raised 7 billion euros in capital and has 21 companies in its current portfolio.

Nordic Capital is a private equity firm in the Nordic region and Germany that formerly owned Permobil, a competitor of Sunrise Medical. It sold Permobil to Investor AB, a Swedish investment firm, in 2013.

New customers boost Liberator’s financial results

STUART, Fla. – Liberator Medical added 5,758 new customers in the first two quarters of fiscal year 2015, the company announced May 11.

“For the remainder of 2015, we intend to build this base through our proven direct response advertising efforts,” stated Mark Libratore, president and CEO, in a press release detailing the company’s financial results for the second quarter ended March 31.

Another emphasis for Liberator: retaining existing customers through “uncompromising” customer service, Libratore says. Existing customers generated $16.9 million in revenues for the second quarter, 86% of total revenues.

Liberator reported net sales of $19.7 million for the second quarter, an 11.7% increase compared to the same period last year. Net income was $1.7 million vs. $1.6 million.

For the first six months of fiscal year 2015, Liberator reported net sales of $39.9 million, a 10% increase compared to the same period last year. Net income was $4.1 million vs. $3.7 million.

ResMed trial fails

SAN DIEGO – ResMed has announced that a phase III trial designed to assess whether treating moderate to severe predominant central sleep apnea with Adaptive Servo-Ventilation (ASV) therapy could reduce mortality and morbidity in patients with chronic heart failure has missed the mark. A preliminary analysis of the data identified a statistically significant 2.5% increased risk of cardiovascular mortality for those patients in the trial who received ASV therapy per year compared to those in the control group. In the study, the cardiovascular mortality rate in the ASV group was 10% per year compared to 7.5% per year in the control group.

BritKare buys Pillar

AMARILLO, Texas – BritKare Home Medical has acquired Pillar Equipment Services, a diversified DME business based in Lubbock, Texas. The acquisition gives BritKare, which has been serving the Texas Panhandle region since 1995, three locations in Northwest Texas. “The acquisition of Pillar gives us expanded regional capability to continue providing exceptional service to our patients and referral sources in the Texas Panhandle,” stated Josh Britten, president of BritKare, in a press release. BritKare will change Pillar’s name and continue to operate at its existing location. Duckridge Advisors served as the adviser for Pillar Equipment.

Study details important attributes in concentrators

SOMERSET, Pa. – Failure rate is the most important attribute for homecare providers in a 5-liter oxygen concentrator, according to a recent market research study conducted by DeVilbiss Healthcare. Failure rate (36.09%) is followed by price (25.53%), warranty (19.43%), energy savings (11.05%) and maintenance tools (7.9%). “It is clear from our research that more and more providers see the value of a product that is built to last beyond just the acquisition price,” stated Wally Haddick, vice president of sales, Canada and Latin America, for DeVilbiss Healthcare. “When a manufacturer can minimize post-purchase costs, it allows the provider to focus more

efficiently on what they do best—deliver oxygen therapy service.” The research is based on a poll of 29 homecare providers in Canada and Latin America using an analysis questionnaire with the support of Dr. Oded Netzer, associate professor of business at Columbia Business School in New York City.

Coming soon: Prepay reviews for tilt and tilt and recline 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Jurisdiction C DME MAC has announced widespread prepayment reviews for power tilt (E1002) and power tilt and recline (E1007) wheelchairs. If their claims are selected for review, providers will receive a request for additional documentation that must be received within 45 days, or the claims will be denied.

State takes: Illinois, Michigan

Complex rehab providers in Illinois are facing a double-whammy: an unannounced change to the payment methodology announced in April and an across-the-board payment cut of 16.75% announced in May. As a result, two of the largest providers in the state have temporarily stopped providing products and services. Stakeholders are asking providers to call the Department of Health and Family Services and to email state lawmakers to request action reversing the changes…Michigan’s Senate Committee on Regulatory Reform on May 6 approved legislation that would allow certified manufacturers to install residential stair lifts. Currently, lifts are regulated in the same manner as commercial elevators and can be installed only by a licensed elevator contractor. The bills, H.B. 4163 and H.B. 4162, were passed in March by the House and will now be put to a vote in the Senate.

Short takes: VGM, Allstar Medical Supply, Home Care Medical and more

The VGM Heartland Conference has been awarded the 2014 Cedar Valley Tourism Award for “Event of the Year.” The award is given to a hallmark event or festival that creates significant economic impact, attracts substantial out-of-town visitors, generates positive media attention and/or promotes Cedar Valley as a destination. The conference takes place June 15-18…Allstar Medical Supply has won “Best Wellness & Medical Retail Store” in an annual reader poll conducted by the Bay Area News Group, which includes the Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times and a number of other newspapers…Home Care Medical will host a grand re-opening event on May 15 at its retail store in West Bend, Wis…BioScrip is offering to exchange up to $200 million of senior notes due in 2021 for an equal amount of its outstanding senior notes due 2021. The notes are in aggregate principal amount of 8.875%. The offer is being made to satisfy BioScrip’s obligations to a registration rights agreement in connection with the old notes…CareTouch Communications is a Friend Sponsor of the Cancer Centers of Colorado at Lutheran Medical Center’s Leaves of Hope run/walk. The company’s “CareTouch in the Community Team” will participate in the June 7 event, which highlights that there is life after cancer, according to a release.

New owner for Sunrise Medical?

HME News - Thu, 05/14/2015 - 10:40
05/14/2015HME News Staff

FRESNO, Calif. – Equistone Partners has put Sunrise Medical up for sale.

The European-based investment firm is considering offers from IK Investment Partners and Nordic Capital in a potential $507 million deal, according to Reuters.

Equistone Partners, which is owned and managed by the former executives of Barclays Private Equity, is also considering an offer from “a family office,” a vehicle handling the assets of a wealthy family, the news agency reports.

Equistone Partners is asking potential buyers to submit final bids by the end of May, according to Reuters.

The firm bought Sunrise Medical from New York-based Vestar Capital Partners in 2012.

IK is a European-based private equity advisory group that has raised 7 billion euros in capital and has 21 companies in its current portfolio.

Nordic Capital is a private equity firm in the Nordic region and Germany that formerly owned Permobil, a competitor of Sunrise Medical. It sold Permobil to Investor AB, a Swedish investment firm, in 2013.

Inogen earnings reflect ‘strong demand’

HME News - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 09:42
05/13/2015HME News Staff

GOLETA, Calif. – Inogen reported double-digit increases in sales and revenues for first quarter of 2015—a “solid start,” says Ray Huggenberger, president and CEO.

For the quarter ended March 31, Inogen reported total revenues of $33.8 million, a 42.8% increase compared to the same quarter in 2014. Sales were $23 million, a 55.1% increase.

“Our first quarter results continue to reflect the strong demand we are seeing in the market, particularly in our domestic and international business-to-business sales channels, where revenues grew 70.7% and 88.9%, respectively, over the same period in 2014," said Huggenberger in a release.

Direct-to-consumer sales grew 25.9% over the same quarter in 2014, while direct-to-consumer rentals grew 22%.

“We are also making significant progress on our strategy to drive growth through the expansion of our domestic direct-to-consumer sales force additions, physician referral networks, private payer contracts, and our continuous product innovation," said Huggenberger.

Other highlights:

• Adjusted EBITDA was $6.4 million, an increase of 46.7% over the same period in 2014.

• Operating expense was $13.5 million, compared to $10.4 million in 2014.

• Inogen completed the move of its manufacturing and shipping operations to its new facility in Richardson, Texas.

New customers boost Liberator’s financial results

HME News - Tue, 05/12/2015 - 09:10
05/12/2015HME News Staff

STUART, Fla. – Liberator Medical added 5,758 new customers in the first two quarters of fiscal year 2015, the company announced May 11.

“For the remainder of 2015, we intend to build this base through our proven direct response advertising efforts,” stated Mark Libratore, president and CEO, in a press release detailing the company’s financial results for the second quarter ended March 31.

Another emphasis for Liberator: retaining existing customers through “uncompromising” customer service, Libratore says. Existing customers generated $16.9 million in revenues for the second quarter, 86% of total revenues.

Liberator reported net sales of $19.7 million for the second quarter, an 11.7% increase compared to the same period last year. Net income was $1.7 million vs. $1.6 million.

For the first six months of fiscal year 2015, Liberator reported net sales of $39.9 million, a 10% increase compared to the same period last year. Net income was $4.1 million vs. $3.7 million.

VA Is Looking for Authority from Congress to Institute a 3 Year Look Back and Penalty for Veterans Pension

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 19:00
Second of a series of analysis regarding the proposed legislation.

Proposed Legislation for Look Back and Penalty for VA Veterans Pension - The Rise and Fall of the Pension Poachers

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 19:00
A first of a series of analysis regarding the proposed legislation.

Mesothelioma Facts: What the Elderly Need to Know

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 19:00
Why do you need to know about mesothelioma?

What is the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease?

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 19:00
Understanding the differences between Alzheimer's and dementia can be confusing.

Life Insurance and Life Settlements

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 19:00
Understanding the various types of Life Insurance policies can be a daunting but a little bit of education can go a long way.

Avoiding Slips and Falls In Bad Weather

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 19:00
Cold weather can bring more than just a white Christmas. It also brings a number of hazards which can cause slips and falls.

Enlighten Your Season: Advice for Caregivers of the Elderly

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 19:00
Taking care of elderly loved ones can be very exhausting, especially during the holidays.

Did You Know There is a New Vaccine Recommendation for Adults Age 65 and Older

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 19:00
Adults 65 years of age or older are at increased risk for pneumococcal disease.

Advanced Directives, Fiduciaries, Guardianship, and Power of Attorney

Long Term Care Link - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 19:00
It is common, as time goes along, for the elderly to become unable to make sound decisions about a variety of issues includes finances, health care and managing themselves at home.
Syndicate content