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Vent reform now has support in both House, Senate

HME News - Fri, 09/16/2016 - 10:29
09/16/2016HME News Staff

WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives has followed the Senate and introduced a bill this week that would increase Medicare reimbursement for ventilators by 20% on Jan. 1, 2017.

H.R. 6012, known as the BREATH Act, would also establish policies and standards for determining appropriate use for ventilators.

The bills are in response to CMS’s decision late last year to reduce the number of codes for ventilators from five to two, and to reduce reimbursement by about 33%. The agency has been concerned with the drastic increase in the number of Medicare beneficiaries using ventilators—from 60,000 in 2010 to 178,000 in 2014.

The House bill was introduced by Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., on Sept. 13.

A similar bill in the Senate was introduced by Sens. Bill Cassidy, D-La., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in July.

Medicaid fraud unit secures millions in recoveries

HME News - Wed, 09/14/2016 - 13:42
09/14/2016HME News Staff

WASHINGTON – Medicaid Fraud Control Units in 2015 obtained 1,553 criminal convictions and 731 civil settlements and judgments for provider fraud and patient abuse and neglect, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General.

Criminal recoveries were nearly $350 million, while civil recoveries reached nearly $395 million, the report states. Of those numbers, DMEPOS providers accounted for 33 criminal convictions with $12.7 million in recoveries; and 30 civil settlements and judgments with nearly $4.3 million in recoveries.

Overall, fraud cases accounted for 71% of convictions, with almost half of those involving unlicensed providers, including personal care attendants and homecare aids.

The number of civil settlements and judgments decreased from 908 in fiscal year 2011 to 731 in fiscal year 2015, according to the report.

Bid fight has new urgency

HME News - Fri, 09/09/2016 - 12:12
Payment amount for oxygen concentrators drops to an average of $77.97 in Round 1 areas09/09/2016HME News Staff

WASHINGTON – CMS has delivered a one-two punch to the HME industry, with precious few days left to line up legislation to slow down the spread of competitive bidding.

The agency on Thursday first published an update to its “impact monitoring” of competitive bidding, saying the program continues to have no impact on access to HME. Then it published a new set of payment amounts for HME as part of Round 1 2017, which goes into effect Jan. 1.

For one of the most common products put out to bid, oxygen concentrators (E1390), the new payment amount will be, on average, $77.97. Miami will have the highest amount at $90.01; and Chester, Lancaster and York counties in South Carolina the lowest at $70.04.

For CPAP devices (E0601), the new payment amount will be, on average, $42.68. Again, Miami will have the highest amount at $47.50; Riverside, Calif., will have the lowest at $37.58.

CMS’s update on monitoring and the new payment amounts (and their associated savings) complicate the industry’s efforts to pass legislation that would soften the blow of a second phase of cuts that went into effect in non-bid areas on July 1. Stakeholders have targeted September, before Congress recesses again for the November election, as the prime time to get legislation passed.

“We’re especially concerned about the disruption for beneficiaries following the application of bidding derived-pricing to rural and non-bid areas, reducing prices by 50% to 60%,” AAHomecare stated following the news. “We’re getting widespread reports that these cuts are beginning to severely impact our industry’s ability to support seniors and people with disabilities in small communities nationwide.”

CMS says its latest round of data collection on assignment rates for July and early August of 2016 show no change compared to the same period in 2015, before bid pricing was rolled out to non-bid areas.

“Overall, there was no change in the July/August rate of assignment for 2016 (99.89%) versus the July/August rate of assignment for 2015 (99.91%),” the agency stated.

AAH strongly disagrees. It has spent much of its time in the past few month collecting anecdotes about the impact of the bid program on access to HME.

“CMS’s statement asserting that the bidding program isn’t affecting beneficiary access flies in the face of both common sense, as well as what we’re hearing from home medical equipment providers, hospital discharge planners, and HME patients across the nation,” the association stated.

AAH also pointed out that CMS initially downplayed concerns about contract awards to unlicensed providers.

“Just a few months ago, the Office of Inspector General confirmed that significant numbers of unlicensed providers had, in fact, taken part in Round 2 of the bidding program in several states that license HME,” the association stated. “Time will also tell how well today’s claims by CMS hold up.”

Now that CMS has announced the new single payment amounts for Round 1 2017, it’s in the process of extending 1,523 contract offers to 198 bidders. It says small providers make up 46% of those being offered contracts. It plans to announce contract suppliers this fall.

At press time, AAHomecare said it would provide an analysis of the new payment amounts as soon as possible.

Round 1 2017 represents the third round of competitive bidding pricing in the country’s biggest cities. The original Round 1, with contracts spanning three years, went into effect Jan. 1, 2011.

 

The clock is ticking on accessories bills

HME News - Fri, 09/09/2016 - 12:09
09/09/2016Tracy Orzel

WASHINGTON – With lawmakers now back on Capitol Hill, the stakes are higher than ever for stakeholders to get complex rehab legislation passed before the end of the year.

At press time, H.R. 3229 and S. 2196, bills that would permanently protect complex rehab accessories from competitive bidding pricing, have 143 and 24 co-sponsors, respectively.

“Congress ends at the end of this calendar year, so anything that is not passed this year would have to be reintroduced next year,” said Seth Johnson, vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility Products. “But we’re hearing from our champions that we’re in a very good position.”

Late last year, Congress passed a bill, stopping CMS from applying bid pricing to complex rehab accessories for one year, until Jan. 1, 2017.

Stakeholders were buoyed by a recent update to a Government Accountability Office report, originally published June 1, that shows Medicare would save only about $19 million per year by applying bid pricing to complex rehab accessories.

“That’s another question that’s been answered that puts the legislation on a solid consideration for passage,” said Don Clayback, executive director of NCART. “Congress has requested a CBO score, but I think the GAO report will help them get a sense of what the potential score would be because the CBO should be working with the same information that the GAO used to update their report.”

While nothing has been set in stone, there are a few potential legislative vehicles for the bills, including spending bills that must be approved by Sept. 30 to prevent a government shutdown and the 21st Century Cures Act.

“Our champions have told us they believe there will be opportunities to get this thing fixed this year,” said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare. “We have a Dec. 31 deadline so Congress usually acts when their backs are up against a wall and I predict that exactly what’s going to happen again this year. If we’re successful, it’s going to happen at the 11th hour.”

Apria weathers historic flood

HME News - Fri, 09/09/2016 - 12:06
09/09/2016Theresa Flaherty

BATON ROUGE, La. – The flood waters have receded, but it’s still not business as usual in rain-soaked Louisiana, say Apria employees.

“It’s getting progressively better, but the damage is done,” said Steven Hill, market vice president for the Southeast. “There’s widespread structural and water damage. People are displaced everywhere and it’s very challenging throughout the region.”

Three days of rain that began Aug. 11 dumped nearly two feet of rain, damaging approximately 146,000 homes and displacing tens of thousands of residents, according to news reports.

Quiana Cruz, branch manager for Apria’s Baton Rouge and Lafayette locations, activated the company’s emergency plan on Aug. 12 when flooding began in earnest, but she says there’s no way to fully prepare for a “100-year” weather event.

“We thought we were trying to prepare for a little water or a few power outages,” she said. “We did not anticipate the magnitude of eight to 10 feet of water in these neighborhoods.”

With approximately 1,000 oxygen patients, a primary focus was replacing concentrators that were damaged or lost, but flood roads made that nearly impossible for the first week, said Cruz.

“We had to literally meet them wherever we could, like on a high road,” she said. “I had one RT using a canoe to get to his truck to be able to get to patients.”

That’s when they can find the patients at all. With so many staying in shelters or temporary housing, or evacuated from the region, it has been tough for Apria to track them all down, says Cruz.

A big concern now that the water has receded: the impact of mold and structural problems on patients, especially those with respiratory problems, says Cruz.

“We have some staying in gutted out houses because they have nowhere else to go,” she said. “We tell them it’s in your best interest if you have anywhere else you can go because this environment is not good for you, but ultimately, they make their own decisions.”

As with past storms, like Hurricane Sandy in 2013, Apria expects to take a financial hit. It estimates it replaced 10 to 15 oxygen concentrators per day at the height of the crisis.

“First, we are going to do whatever it takes to get these folks some sense of normalcy,” said Hill. “We’ll worry about lost equipment payments later.”

GF builds community

HME News - Fri, 09/09/2016 - 12:05
Company repositions itself as resource to providers09/09/2016Liz Beaulieu

ATLANTA – As competitive bidding drives HME providers to look for new markets, GF Health Products wants to be their connector.

“GF may be best known for one product or category, but where we can also be beneficial is that we service other areas, like extended care,” said Cynthia Counts, vice president of homecare and product management. “We can be their experts in those areas.”

GF has made a number of changes this year to help reposition the company as a resource to providers. One of the biggest: adding a “Community News” blog to its recently refreshed website.

The blog has featured numerous topics not related to the homecare market, including “Safety Features to Look for When Selecting Your Extended Care Bed” and “Improving the Efficiency of Your Ambulatory Surgical Center.”

“HME providers have been coming to us and saying, ‘We didn’t know GF was the largest manufacturer of extended care beds,’ or, ‘We didn’t know you made specialty seating for dialysis clinics,’” said Lawrence de le Haba, senior vice president of business development. “They’re looking at us to see what other markets they can apply their operations and resources to and when they look at our product portfolio, they realize just how broad it is.”

Counts added: “We have people who can go in with them (to these facilities) if they want that business.”

Just launched in March, the blog is already paying off for GF.

“Community News has rapidly turned into one of the most visited sections of the website,” said Lisa Wells, who is president of Get Social Consulting and who consults GF.

Counts said she also believes the blog has resulted in increased sales for GF.

“We’re going to continue on this path,” she said. “I’m excited.”

In brief: Contract supplier pays $12M, CMS revises enrollment application

HME News - Fri, 09/09/2016 - 12:04
09/09/2016HME News Staff

NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Healthcare Supply, a national contract supplier for mail-order diabetes supplies, and two of its executives have agreed to pay the government more than $12.2 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act.

The settlement resolves allegations that U.S. Healthcare Supply and Oxford Diabetic Supply, both based in Milford, N.J., set up and controlled a fictitious entity to make unsolicited telephone calls to Medicare beneficiaries to sell them DME. The companies then allegedly submitted claims for the equipment to Medicare in violation of the Medicare Anti-Solicitation statute.

“Cold-calling people to sell them expensive medical equipment is prohibited for a reason: unsuspecting patients shouldn’t be coerced into making medical decisions about devices and equipment—which they may not even need—on the basis of a sales pitch,” said Paul Fishman, U.S. Attorney of the District of New Jersey, in a release.

U.S. Healthcare Supply has agreed to pay $5 million plus interest; Jon Letko, its owner and president, has agreed to pay $1 million plus interest. John Letko’s brother, Edward Letko, owner and president of Oxford Diabetic Supply, has agreed to pay $6 million plus interest.

This isn’t the first time CMS has run into trouble with diabetes suppliers. Arriva, the largest of only nine providers to be awarded mail-order diabetes contracts in the latest round of competitive bidding, was rumored to have its provider number revoked by the National Supplier Clearinghouse, underscoring the dangers of having so few providers covering such a large market. On July 21, the company said the matter had been take care of.

CMS revises enrollment app, fee schedule

WASHINGTON – CMS has revised the 855S enrollment application and the July 2016 DMEPOS fee schedule, it announced in a Sept. 8 MLN Connects e-newsletter. The agency plans to publish a revised 855S this fall and providers must begin using it Jan. 1, 2017. Until then, CMS will accept both the current and the revised form. The agency has also revised the fee schedule for 66 codes. For most codes, the revised payment amounts for July 2016 are higher than the original payment amounts, according to AAHomecare.

CDC: Number of COPD-related deaths decreasing

WASHINGTON – From 2000 through 2014, the age-adjusted rate for COPD-related deaths decreased 22.5% for men and 3.8% for women aged 25 and over, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The COPD-related death rate decreased for both men and women aged 65-84, and for men aged 85 and over. The rate increased for both men and women aged 45-64, and for women aged 85 and over. The major underlying causes of death for COPD-related deaths were COPD, heart disease, and cancer for both men and women, the CDC says.

BioScrip, Home Solutions tweak deal

DENVER – The price tag for BioScrip’s acquisition of Home Solutions has dropped from $85 million to $75 million, according to news reports. The cash component of the consideration has been dropped from $80 million to $67.5 million. To speed up the deal, the two companies have also agreed to eliminate the need for stockholder approval; instead, they have agreed to a shareholder meeting following the close of the deal to seek such approval and provide Home Solutions with certain contractual protections in the event such approval is not obtained. BioScrip and Home Solutions now expect to close on the deal in the second week of September. Together, the companies are expected to generate more than $1 billion in revenues.

Combined therapy for COPD patients works, study says

LONDON – Adding home non-invasive ventilation to home oxygen therapy decreases the risk of re-hospitalization for COPD patients, according to a study presented last week at the 2016 European Respiratory Society International Congress. Patients in the study who received home non-invasive ventilation in addition to home oxygen therapy had a 51% decreased risk of re-hospitalization or death compared to those who received oxygen therapy alone. Patients who received home non-invasive ventilation went a median 4.3 months without dying or being admitted to the hospital, compared to 1.4 months for those who did not receive non-invasive ventilation, according to the study. Both ResMed and Philips Respironics participated in the multicenter, randomized controlled study, known as “Home Oxygen Therapy – Home Mechanical Ventilation” or HOT-HMV. In press releases, the companies pointed to the potential savings of combining home non-invasive ventilation and home oxygen therapy to care for patients with COPD, which costs the U.S. $36 billion in direct and indirect costs.

Medical Service Co. lands deal with health network

CLEVELAND – Medical Service Co. has hammered out a deal with Kettering Health Network that will pave the way for the provider to streamline the network’s discharge planning process, increase its patient engagement and reduce its hospitalizations. Kettering is a not-for-profit network of eight hospitals, 10 emergency departments, and 120 outpatient facilities serving southwest Ohio. Medical Service Co., with headquarters here, is a regional provider serving Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia. It regularly partners with hospitals, physicians, insurers and other healthcare providers to deliver patient care that controls costs, improves outcomes and reduces patient readmissions.

OIG tells CMS again: Switch to ASP for infusion drugs

WASHINGTON – The Office of Inspector General in a new report reiterates its concerns that, unlike most Part B drugs, Medicare payment amounts for DME infusion drugs are still based on average wholesale prices from 2003. Three years ago, the OIG published a report recommending changes to Medicare payments for DME infusion drugs; however, CMS has continued to reimburse for these drugs at prices that are unrelated to the amounts providers pay to acquire them. The OIG is concerned that paying for the drugs based on flawed AWPs may create access issues or lead to excessive billing. For example, payments that are below costs could make providers less willing to provide a drug, while payments that substantially exceed costs could make them over-utilize a drug. The OIG again recommends that CMS seek a legislative change that would require payments for DME infusion drugs to be based on average sales prices (ASPs), or use its existing authority to include DME infusion drugs in its competitive bidding program.

VGM enlists hospital execs in fight against cuts

WATERLOO, Iowa – The VGM Group has drafted a letter for hospital executives to use to fight back against sweeping Medicare reimbursement cuts. With many HME providers unable to accept Medicare at the new payment rates that were phased in on Jan. 1 and July 1, hospitals will likely have a difficult time discharging patients and experience an increase in readmissions, says VGM. “Since the beginning of the year, many hospital administrators have spoken out regarding Medicare’s actions, but many more are needed,” said John Gallagher, vice president of government relations. “The next few weeks are critical to getting legislative relief before irreversible harm continues.” The letter, as well as other ways to contact elected officials, is located at www.combatmedcuts.com

Harmar partners with Wheelchairs 4 Kids

SARASOTA, Fla. – Harmar has joined forces with Wheelchairs 4 Kids, a nonprofit organization that provides scooter and wheelchair lifts to children, to increase access. Harmar, along with its dealers, will assist in evaluating needs, arranging installation and providing ongoing support for the children. “Our shared mission is to help reduce the total cost of providing equipment to the children and ensuring a high-quality experience,” said David Baxter, vice president of marketing of Harmar, in a release. Wheelchairs 4 Kids, Harmar and 101 Mobility marked this new partnership by recently donating and installing a wheelchair lift for a 13-year-old boy with muscular dystrophy in Sarasota, Fla. 

Power soccer team prepares to ‘shock’ at Medtrade

ATLANTA – Team USA, the World Cup Power Soccer Champions, will play two exhibition games on Nov. 1 at Medtrade. Players will be introduced at AAHomecare’s Washington Update, and will play one game in the morning and one in the afternoon on the show floor. Local teams played at Medtrade two years ago, but “the level of play and skill from this world-class Power Soccer team will shock the exhibit hall this year,” said Wayne Merdinger, executive vice president and general manager of MK Battery, the primary sponsor and official battery of the U.S. Power Soccer Association and Team USA. Merdinger encourages others to sponsor the sport. For more information on Power Soccer sponsorships: http://fipfaworldcup.org/

Short takes: Stealth Products, VGM, state associations

Stealth Productshas redesigned its website to feature helpful resources, product specifications and technical data. It will be updated on a regular basis with videos, announcements and product launches…Jeremy Kauten, CIO and vice president of information technology at the VGM Group, has been selected for the 2016-2017 Leadership Iowa class. Kauten will work with fellow participants to increase engagement and promote “issues awareness” on key topics like economic development, health care, education, government services, environment, recreation and other issues…The Florida Alliance of Home Care Services (FAHCS) and the Georgia Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers (GAMES) will host a combined annual meeting from Sept. 11-13. The theme for the inaugural event, to be held on Amelia Island in Florida, is “Redefining the DME Supplier Role: Claiming DME’s role among healthcare specialty providers.” “Now more than ever DME providers must work together to share ideas, strategies, plans, stories, methods, secrets and solutions,” said Gene Sego, FAHCS president.

 

CMS announces Round 1 2017 payment amounts

HME News - Thu, 09/08/2016 - 16:08
09/08/2016HME News Staff

WASHINGTON – CMS has announced the new single payment amounts for Round 1 2017 and has begun sending contract offers.

CMS said a total of 1,523 contract offers will be extended to 198 bidders for Round 1 2017. Small suppliers make up 46% of the suppliers that will be offered contracts.

The seven product categories included in the Round 1 2017 are: enteral nutrients and equipment; general home equipment; nebulizers; negative pressure wound therapy pumps; respiratory equipment; standard mobility equipment; and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation devices.

Competitive bidding contracts and pricing have been in place in Round 1 areas since Jan. 1, 2011, and since July 1, 2013, in Round 2 areas. The national mail-order program for diabetes testing supplies was first implemented on July 1, 2013, with recompeted contracts and pricing being in place since July 1, 2016.

CMS originally announced plans for Round 1 2017 in April 2015. Stakeholders expressed concerns at the time that Medicare hadn’t made any significant improvements to the program.

Round 1 2017 contracts will become effective on Jan. 1, 2017, and run through Dec. 31, 2018 at which point CMS will be implementing a consolidated round of competition to include all Round 1, Round 2, and national mail-order competitive bidding areas.

For single payment amounts, go here.

National contract supplier to pay $12M settlement

HME News - Thu, 09/08/2016 - 10:41
09/08/2016HME News Staff

NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Healthcare Supply, a national contract supplier for mail-order diabetes supplies, and two of its executives have agreed to pay the government more than $12.2 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act.

The settlement resolves allegations that U.S. Healthcare Supply and Oxford Diabetic Supply, both based in Milford, N.J., set up and controlled a fictitious entity to make unsolicited telephone calls to Medicare beneficiaries to sell them DME. The companies then allegedly submitted claims for the equipment to Medicare in violation of the Medicare Anti-Solicitation statute.

“Cold-calling people to sell them expensive medical equipment is prohibited for a reason: unsuspecting patients shouldn’t be coerced into making medical decisions about devices and equipment—which they may not even need—on the basis of a sales pitch,” said Paul Fishman, U.S. Attorney of the District of New Jersey, in a release.

U.S. Healthcare Supply has agreed to pay $5 million plus interest; Jon Letko, its owner and president, has agreed to pay $1 million plus interest. John Letko’s brother, Edward Letko, owner and president of Oxford Diabetic Supply, has agreed to pay $6 million plus interest.

This isn’t the first time CMS has run into trouble with diabetes suppliers. Arriva, the largest of only nine providers to be awarded mail-order diabetes contracts in the latest round of competitive bidding, was rumored to have its provider number revoked by the National Supplier Clearinghouse, underscoring the dangers of having so few providers covering such a large market. On July 21, the company said the matter had been take care of.

 

Industry readies to jump back in

HME News - Fri, 09/02/2016 - 09:39
09/02/2016Theresa Flaherty

WASHINGTON – When lawmakers return to work Sept. 6, industry stakeholders plan to bombard them with concrete examples of how Medicare reimbursement cuts are negatively impacting HME providers and beneficiaries.

“We have to be very aggressive gathering these anecdotes, so we have a package of ammunition,” said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare. “For us to get something done in September, they’ve got to see a tangible impact.”

Adding to that sense of urgency: While Congress is technically in session until Sept. 30, the reality is that most workweeks during the month are only Tuesday through Thursday, says Bachenheimer.

After September, lawmakers return home until after the Nov. 8 election. At that point, all bets may be off.

“If we lose the window in September, nobody knows if there will be a lame duck opportunity,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare. “The elections are a big distraction for lawmakers and the tone of this election cycle has been interesting to say the least. That makes dealing with leadership challenging, as well.”

AAHomecare has been meeting with industry champions and key committee members throughout the summer. The goal: Create a package that both chambers will pass. Earlier this year, the Senate passed S. 2736, which would have delayed the July 1 cuts in non-bid areas for one year, but it failed to pass an amended version of H.R. 5210, which would have delayed the cuts for three months and ended up being the best bill with a chance at passing.

The sticking point was—and remains—the pay-for, say stakeholders.

“We are working with folks to find an alternative, and that determines the length of relief we can get,” said Bachenheimer.

Ryan said he hears every day from providers that they are laying off staff or closing their doors. The association has hired DCI Group, a public relations firm, to amplify those stories. Ryan asks that all providers—not just AAHomecare members—share their stories.

“We’re encouraged by the breadth of contacts DCI has in health care and the congressional reporting sector,” he said. “As these stories proliferate, we can gain some real traction.”

Drive taps into new investor

HME News - Fri, 09/02/2016 - 09:36
Company acknowledges change, but sees opportunity09/02/2016Liz Beaulieu

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. – With a forthcoming “significant investment” from New York-based private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare is ready to double down on the HME industry, a company exec says.

“Clearly, there is a lot of change in this industry, but it still presents tremendous opportunity for a company like ours,” Ed Link, chief marketing officer, told HME News.

At closing, likely in the fourth quarter, CD&R will become a majority stockholder in Drive, and the management team at Drive will become a minority stockholder, according to a source close to the deal. CD&R will replace Ferrer Freeman & Co., a New York-based private equity firm that has been a minority stockholder in the company since 2008.

After rumors of the deal began circulating earlier this summer, Drive acknowledged in an Aug. 12 letter to its customers that it sought “additional equity capital to continue our growth strategy.”

Drive has completed 25 acquisitions since 2002, expanding its product portfolio, its geographic reach and its manufacturing capabilities. Last year, it made the “transformative” acquisition of DeVilbiss Healthcare, giving it a stronger foothold in the fast-growing respiratory market. It does business in 80 countries.

A press release announcing the deal states CD&R and Drive will continue to grow the company organically and through acquisitions. Link characterized the company’s organic growth as “double-digit.”

Link declined, however, to provide additional details on Drive’s growth strategy.

“We have four sales verticals (provider-based home care, long-term care, retail and e-commerce), and we will continue to invest in businesses around the world to help us reach our goals,” he said. 

It’s possible the company will focus future investments on its long-term care business, a source familiar with the company said.

Because of Drive’s diversification, “the future is extremely bright,” Link said.

CD&R declined to be interviewed. Its previous healthcare investments have included AssuraMed, which it sold to Cardinal Health for $2.1 billion in 2013.

As part of the investment, CD&R has lined up financing from a number of banks: Barclays, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Citigroup Global Markets, Capital One, National Association and HSBC Securities.

SuperCare bets on future

HME News - Fri, 09/02/2016 - 09:33
‘We decided to put a lot of money upfront in SuperCare to manage the patient’09/02/2016Theresa Flaherty

CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. – At a time when many HME providers are scaling back support, SuperCare Health has harnessed technology to develop a high-touch patient care model.

As part of its SuperCare Health iBreathe COPD Program, the provider has deployed an app—a customized version of the COPD Navigator from LifeMap Solutions—to monitor COPD patients, including their medication management, ER visits, patient satisfaction and biometric data.

“We believe it’s a differentiator for growth and positive outcomes for patients,” said John Cassar, CEO.

SuperCare’s investment is paying off. In August, the provider reduced hospital readmissions for its COPD patients to more than 80% below the national average.

Patients enrolled in the 30-day readmission program complete surveys and obtain education directly through the app on iPads provided by SuperCare. Such close monitoring of patients allows the provider to make adjustments to patient care quickly, said Cassar.

“We’ve seen a significant change in therapy by increasing liter flow or putting the patient on corticosteroids,” he said. “Changes in therapy and medical condition is critical, and it really improves patient care and satisfaction throughout the process.”

Cassar acknowledges that the 40-year-old SuperCare, which has 330 employees and 16 locations in California, is fortunate to have the size and scale to develop such a high-tech, high-touch model for patient care. The provider was able to leverage its existing IT and clinical staff to develop new software and apps, and integrate them across the system.

“This allows more flexibility of customizing how we manage our patients, which ultimately increasing efficiencies and revenues,” he said. “”More and more, we’ve been able to win bids and managed care contracts, and increase market share.”

SuperCare is already doing development work to expand its program to patients with CHF, and eventually to those with diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea. In the next three to five years, Cassar hopes to be able to participate in bundled payments or shared savings programs.

“You have to be able to bet on the future of care management, and to do that, you have to take a risk,” he said. “We decided to put a lot of money upfront in the long-term future of the industry and SuperCare to manage the patient.”

Q&A: Ron Dixon of Laboratory Tactical Consulting

HME News - Fri, 09/02/2016 - 09:31
‘The Professor’ on dissecting a problem09/02/2016Liz Beaulieu

ATLANTA – If Ron Dixon could give just two pieces of advice to HME providers who are struggling, it’s this: Find your niche and tighten up your operations.

Here’s what Dixon, who recently joined Laboratory Tactical Consulting as vice president of consulting, had to say about why providers need to place their “hope” in themselves and their companies, and not necessarily the possible reversal of Medicare reimbursement cuts.

HME News: You previously worked for Brightree and before that Rotech Healthcare. What do you bring to the table from those experiences?

Ron Dixon: With Rotech, they would find themselves in growth mode, see what department was responsible for that growth, and scale it appropriately. With the cuts and freezes, all companies should be doing this kind of analysis. Everyone needs to be looking at, what’s going to be our niche?

HME: It does seem like the days of the full-line HME provider are dwindling.
Dixon: There aren’t a lot of “jacks of all trades” anymore. Providers have to define their niche. Competitive bidding, whether you “won” or “lost,” is a great opportunity to better define what you’re going to be. The light at the tunnel is just that, finding your niche and focusing on that positive for the future.

HME: Do you find that providers are ready to make those types of decisions?

Dixon: One of the things that still surprises me is that we’re on the third cycle of competitive bidding and yet there’s still hope that something will save us. They’re not planning ahead because their hope overrides that.

HME: Looking at your experience consulting HME providers, what’s a good example of a difference you have made?

Dixon: I’m big on operations. I like to go into distressed companies with high DSO and look at their operational workflow. I like to build in structure with checks and balances. It’s gratifying when I can help a provider do that—I saw one provider go from a DSO of 120 to 60 in six months. There have been three or four companies like that.

HME: You’re known as “The Professor” at Laboratory Tactical. Why?

Dixon: I like to go into the minutiae. I dissect a problem to determine its root causes. Then I look at the individual components so I can build it back up the way it needs to be built back up. I’ll tell you everything you never wanted to know and more.

In brief: Complex rehab advocates speak up, study casts doubt on impact of CPAP therapy on cardiovascular events

HME News - Fri, 09/02/2016 - 09:29
09/02/2016HME News Staff

WASHINGTON – Two consumer organizations have sent letters to lawmakers urging them to pass bills that would permanently protect complex rehab accessories from competitive bid pricing.

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), a coalition of approximately 100 national disability organizations, and the Independence Through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid Coalition (ITEM) sent letters to 10 senators and representatives, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

“The disability community is grateful for this delay but urges Congress to pass the permanent solution contained in S. 2196/H.R. 3229 by year’s end—this will allow people with significant disabilities to have the access they need to CRT power and manual wheelchair accessories,” the CCD wrote. “From the consumer perspective, it is essential that both CRT power and manual accessories are exempted from competitive bidding.”

A bill passed in 2015 delayed CMS’s plans to apply bid pricing to complex rehab accessories until Jan. 1, 2017.

In addition to the letters, Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., who co-sponsored H.R. 3229, held a press conference at The Children's Center at United Cerebral Palsy of Long Island, a school for students with developmental disabilities, calling for Congress to pass legislation this year.

“These positive developments come at an excellent time,” wrote Don Clayback, executive director of NCART, in an update.

Congress will be back in session Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Study casts doubt on impact of CPAP therapy on cardiovascular events

WALTHAM, Mass. – CPAP therapy plus usual care, versus usual care alone, does not prevent cardiovascular events in patients with moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea and established cardiovascular disease, according to a study published Aug. 28 on the website of the New England Journal of Medicine.

“This study was not powered to provide definitive answers regarding the effects of CPAP on secondary cardiovascular end points, but there was no indication of a significant benefit with respect to any cause-specific cardiovascular outcome,” the study states.

The Sleep Apnea Cardiovascular Endpoints (SAVE) study found that CPAP therapy significantly reduced snoring and daytime sleepiness, and improved health-related quality of life and mood, but it had “no significant effect” on so-called “primary composite end points.” These end points include death from cardiovascular causes, myocardial infarction, stroke, or hospitalization for unstable angina, heart failure or transient ischemic attack.

As part of the study, researchers randomly assigned 2,717 eligible adults between 45 and 75 years of age who had moderate-to-severe sleep apnea and coronary or cerebrovascular disease to receive CPAP therapy plus usual care, or usual care alone. After a mean follow-up of 3.7 years, they found an end-point event had occurred in 229 patients in the CPAP group vs. 207 in the usual care group.

The study, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and others, sought to determine whether or not CPAP therapy could be a useful additional treatment for the prevention of these events.

“Observational clinical studies have shown that the use of CPAP is associated with lower rates of cardiovascular complications and of death from cardiovascular causes, especially among patients who are adherent to treatment,” the report states. “Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition among patients with cardiovascular disease, affecting 40% to 60% of such patients.”

CMS publishes further guidance on CPAP accessories

WASHINGTON – CMS recently published change request 9741, providing further guidance to the DME MACs on medical reviews of claims for replacement accessories for beneficiary-owned CPAP and RAD devices. CMS has clarified that medical necessity is assumed to be established when Medicare initially pays for the base DME item. This guidance only applies to base items that were paid by Medicare for the entire 13 months. For replacement accessories claims, contractors will only review the continued medical need requirement for the base item, and the medical necessity of the accessory replacement (or furnishing of new accessories) and whether it is essential in using the base item. 

Handicare buys Prism Medical

KISTA, Sweden – Handicare has acquired Prism Medical, a patient handling company located in Toronto and St. Louis. Prism, which employs 250, expects to have revenues of about $50 million in 2016. “The new combined product portfolio and sales network will put Handicare in a top tier position in North America,” the company stated in a press release. The combined product portfolio will be available to both Handicare and Prism customers later in 2016. Prism manufactures a broad range of products, including ceiling lifts, portable ceiling lifts, floor lifts, and other ancillary patient handling products. Charley Wallace will assume the role of president and CEO of Handicare North America and Ross Scavuzzo will continue as president of Handicare Canada.

Aeroflow adds 50 employees

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Aeroflow Healthcare has added 50 employees this year, 22 of them in its breastpumps department. “The department currently shows a 110% growth percentage from January,” the provider stated in an Aug. 29 press release. Aeroflow has also boosted its billing department with 12 employees this year, representing a 34% growth rate. The provider has added nine and five employees to its customer service and marketing departments, respectively. “We have added truly amazing talent to our team, which has allowed us to exceed sales projections and focus on our core values as an organization,” said Katie Combs, chief culture officer, in the release. Aeroflow, recently named to the Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies for the second year in a row, has locations sprawling across the Southeast.

Cryogenic Solutions buys Inventory Solutions

INDIANAPOLIS – Cryogenic Solutions, a factory authorized service center, has acquired New York-based Inventory Solutions, a national supplier of refurbished respiratory products. Founded in 2000, Inventory Solutions offers ventilators, apnea monitors, self-fill systems, concentrators, pulse oximeters, phototherapy lights, portables and cylinders. “With this acquisition, Cryogenics Solutions gains a knowledgeable team of employees that are committed to providing the HME industry with a full spectrum of high quality products and services,” said Todd Durham, president and CEO of Cryogenic Solutions, in a release. Inventory Solutions also purchases excess inventory from HME dealers, wholesalers and manufacturers and ships from 14 repair facilities around the U.S.

Apria steps up for flood victims…

LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Apria Healthcare has conducted around-the-clock outreach to more than 700 patients with potentially damaged respiratory equipment due to this month’s flooding in Louisiana. “Several of our employees’ homes have also been damaged, but they all continue to come to work and lend a hand to displaced patients in need,” said Quiana Cruz, a branch manager in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, in an Aug. 29 press release. Apria has brought respiratory equipment to 35 displaced patients staying in shelters. It plans to deliver another 100 pieces of equipment. Additionally, the provider has created a GoFundMe page for those interested in making donations to provide direct emergency assistance for employees in the area. It has promised to match donations up to a total of $50,000.

…VGM assists Red Cross in Louisiana

WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM Homelink has used its network of HME providers and manufacturer partners to coordinate the delivery of 208 wheelchairs, first aid kits to accommodate 6,500 people and 130 service bells to shelters in areas affected by flooding in southern Louisiana. Homelink was asked by the American Red Cross to coordinate medical supplies to aid displaced flood victims. “Once we received the call from the Red Cross, our team dedicated to crisis situations began sourcing the requested products,” said Jason Sadler, vice president of operations. “Within 48 hours, the request was fulfilled, which included expediting overnight shipping on products that could not be sourced through local providers.” The Louisiana floods mark the third time in four years that the Red Cross has called on Homelink to assist during a crisis situation in the U.S.

Caire implements MAP policy

BALL GROUND, Ga. – Caire, a Chart Industries Company, has implemented a Minimum Advertised Price Policy for all distributors, retailers and resellers who advertise or sell its products over the Internet. “The MAP Policy was adopted to protect customers’ confidence in the quality of our products,” stated George Coppola, director of marketing. “This policy is designed to encourage and support resellers who provide customers with strong pre- and post-sales service and support. Advertising and sales practices that promote our products primarily on the basis of price is harmful to our brand and reputation.” The policy goes into effect Sept. 1.

ResMed documents family’s travel with vents

SAN DIEGO – ResMed has produced a documentary film featuring a family that decides to continue to travel and enjoy the outdoors despite having two children living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). “Changing Lives with Every Breath: The Beaulieu Family” features two brothers, Ross, 20, and Finn, 16, who have a fatal genetic neuromuscular disease that weakens the body’s muscles over time, including those that support heart and lung function. Thanks to the family’s resolve and with the aid of ResMed’s portable ventilators, the brothers have toured 18 countries in 10 years. “For us, every day, every moment, every breath is priceless, and we’ll cherish it for as long as we can,” said their mother, Michelle Beaulieu.

Philips sponsors Nimoy documentary on COPD

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Royal Philips is sponsoring a documentary that seeks to educate viewers about COPD through Leonard Nimoy’s personal story of courage. “COPD: Highly Illogical – Remembering Leonard Nimoy” will also provide the latest information about treatments for the chronic disease. “Our aim in sponsoring this film is to raise awareness of the disease and its consequences if left undiagnosed or untreated,” said Eli Diacopoulos, Home Respiratory Care Business Leader for Philips. Nimoy’s decade-long struggle with COPD wasn’t officially diagnosed until 2013, when it was past the point of effective treatment. Nimoy, who died in February of last year, is best known for his role as Mr. Spock in Star Trek. The documentary is being produced by Nimoy’s daughter, Julie Nimoy, and her husband, David Knight of Health Point Productions.

ResMed recalls vents in Australia

SAN DIEGO – ResMed, in consultation with the Australian Government Department of Health Therapeutic Goods Administration, has initiated a product correction recall in that country for its Astral 100 and Astral 150 ventilators due to an internal battery issue. Starting in September, local service providers will be contacting patients to schedule replacement of affected batteries, either at the next normal routine maintenance service or at a separate appointment. All ventilators should have their internal batteries replaced by no later than Dec. 1. As of Aug. 17, ResMed had not received any reports of adverse events as a result of this issue.

FODAC receives accreditation, seeks partnerships

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. – The Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC), a nonprofit that has provided more than $10 million in DME and supplies to people with injuries and disabilities, has received accreditation as a DME provider from the Healthcare Quality Association on Accreditation (HQAA). FODAC believes accreditation will pave the way for it to partner with other healthcare providers. “We are seeing more growth in hospital partnerships, and a new contract with Georgia’s Department of Aging Services has enabled us to begin delivering DME to area agencies on aging across the state,” said Chris Brand, CEO and president, in a press release.

Short takes: Mediware, Sigvaris, Medline

Cooley Medical has purchased Mediware’s CareTend software for its home infusion line of business. The software will allow the provider to improve inventory management, workflow and data reporting. Cooley Medical, which has locations in Kentucky and Virginia, first licensed Mediware software 25 years ago…Sigvaris has completed its acquisition of BiaCare in Holland, Mich. BiaCare is best known for its medical compression product lines Chipsleeve and Compreflex…Medline has purchased 51 acres of land for a new distribution center in Auburndale, Fla. The planned 830,000-square-foot facility is expected to bring 100 new jobs to the city. Construction will begin this fall.

Complex rehab advocates turn up heat on Congress

HME News - Thu, 09/01/2016 - 11:08
09/01/2016HME News Staff

WASHINGTON – Two consumer organizations have sent letters to lawmakers urging them to pass bills that would permanently protect complex rehab accessories from competitive bidding pricing.

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), a coalition of approximately 100 national disability organizations, and the Independence Through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid Coalition (ITEM) sent letters to 10 senators and representatives, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

“The disability community is grateful for this delay but urges Congress to pass the permanent solution contained in S. 2196/H.R. 3229 by year’s end—this will allow people with significant disabilities to have the access they need to CRT power and manual wheelchair accessories,” the CCD wrote. “From the consumer perspective, it is essential that both CRT power and manual accessories are exempted from competitive bidding.”

A bill passed in 2015 delayed CMS’s plans to apply bid pricing to complex rehab accessories until Jan. 1, 2017.

In addition to the letters, Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., who co-sponsored H.R. 3229, held a press conference at The Children's Center at United Cerebral Palsy of Long Island, a school for students with developmental disabilities, calling for Congress to pass legislation this year.

“These positive developments come at an excellent time,” wrote Don Clayback, executive director of NCART, in an update.

Congress will be back in session Tuesday, Sept. 6.

 

 

CD&R pulls trigger on Drive

HME News - Tue, 08/30/2016 - 13:40
08/30/2016HME News Staff

NEW YORK – Clayton, Dubilier & Rice will make a “significant equity investment” in Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare, the companies announced today.

CD&R will make the investment, “alongside existing management,” according to a press release.

“We intend to play a constructive role by supporting a very talented management team as it continues to grow the business organically and through acquisitions,” said Richard Schnall, a partner at CD&R.

As part of the investment, CD&R has lined up financing from a number of banks: Barclays, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Citigroup Global Markets, Capital One, National Association and HSBC Securities.

CD&R, which owned AssuraMed before selling it to Cardinal Health for $2.1 billion in 2013, had been rumored to be in talks to buy Drive.

Drive acknowledged to its customers in an Aug. 12 letter that it sought additional equity capital to continue its growth strategy. It said a change in ownership would have no effect on customers.

Previously, Ferrer Freeman & Co., another New York-based private equity firm, was a minority stakeholder in Drive.

Since 2002, Drive has made 25 acquisitions that have expanded its product portfolio, its geographic reach and its manufacturing capabilities. Last year, it made the “transformative” acquisition of DeVilbiss Healthcare, giving it a stronger foothold in the fast-growing respiratory market.

Study casts doubt on impact of CPAP therapy on cardiovascular events

HME News - Tue, 08/30/2016 - 09:00
08/30/2016HME News Staff

WALTHAM, Mass. – CPAP therapy plus usual care, versus usual care alone, does not prevent cardiovascular events in patients with moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea and established cardiovascular disease, according to a study published Aug. 28 on the website of the New England Journal of Medicine.

“This study was not powered to provide definitive answers regarding the effects of CPAP on secondary cardiovascular end points, but there was no indication of a significant benefit with respect to any cause-specific cardiovascular outcome,” the study states.

The Sleep Apnea Cardiovascular Endpoints (SAVE) study found that CPAP therapy significantly reduced snoring and daytime sleepiness, and improved health-related quality of life and mood, but it had “no significant effect” on so-called “primary composite end points.” These end points include death from cardiovascular causes, myocardial infarction, stroke, or hospitalization for unstable angina, heart failure or transient ischemic attack.

As part of the study, researchers randomly assigned 2,717 eligible adults between 45 and 75 years of age who had moderate-to-severe sleep apnea and coronary or cerebrovascular disease to receive CPAP therapy plus usual care, or usual care alone. After a mean follow-up of 3.7 years, they found an end-point event had occurred in 229 patients in the CPAP group vs. 207 in the usual care group.

The study, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia and others, sought to determine whether or not CPAP therapy could be a useful additional treatment for the prevention of these events.

“Observational clinical studies have shown that the use of CPAP is associated with lower rates of cardiovascular complications and of death from cardiovascular causes, especially among patients who are adherent to treatment,” the report states. “Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition among patients with cardiovascular disease, affecting 40% to 60% of such patients.”

Trickle-down effect: Tricare rates nosedive

HME News - Fri, 08/26/2016 - 13:12
‘We hope this will wake some people up,’ AAH’s Williard says08/26/2016Theresa Flaherty

YARMOUTH, Maine – HME providers were caught off-guard when Tricare, the healthcare program for uniformed services members and their families, began ratcheting down its reimbursement rates to below Medicare’s new reduced rates.

“Tricare has typically been one of the better payers, so to see the rates fall as drastically as they have put a shock to us,” said Chris Smythe, vice president at Tycon Medical, which has locations in Norfolk and Portsmouth, Va., which has a large military community. “They didn’t announce this and so far we aren’t able to get in touch with anyone at Tricare that knows anything.”

Medicare reduced its rates on Jan. 1 and July 1 in non-bid areas, and also on July 1 in Round 2 bid areas.

Depending on the region, providers report cuts from Tricare ranging from 10% to 55% below Medicare’s new reduced rates, according to AAHomecare.

“We are in-network with Tricare and they are our largest revenue source,” said Kim Wonsick, vice president of compliance for J & B Medical in Niceville, Fla., in a recent HME NewPoll. “Our contract with them is such that we take a 20% reduction to the Medicare allowable, so our agreed allowable with them is only 80% of the Medicare allowable on most items. Clearly this began impacting us in January of this year. We are in talks with them now about how we can change to out-of-network provider status so we do not take this additional reduction.”

Laura Williard, senior director of payer relations for AAHomecare,says her phone has been “blowing up” with reports of Tricare and other payers reducing their rates as of July 1. She has been reaching out to the regional offices that manage Tricare to educate them on the bidding program and the access problems such low rates create.

“We have been talking with people about the trickle-down effect for some time,” she said. “This is a big hit for the military and we hope this will wake some people up.”

Smythe said he’s already reached out to his congressmen to express his concerns.

“If military servicemen and women cannot get equipment because there is no one to service them, that might get the public’s attention,” he said. “This is just wrong.” 

ResMed: ‘We’re committed to compliance’

HME News - Fri, 08/26/2016 - 13:10
08/26/2016Liz Beaulieu

SAN DIEGO – Will ResMed become the second major manufacturer to get a slap on the wrist from the government for its resupply program?

ResMed disclosed in an annual report this month that it has received a federal administrative subpoena from the Office of Inspector General requesting documents and other information related to its resupply program. The program, ResMed ReSupply, helps HME providers automate the process of replenishing CPAP supplies for their patients.

“Our industry is highly regulated, and we take steps to ensure we comply with all applicable laws and regulations,” said David Pendarvis, ResMed global general counsel and chief administrative officer, in a statement to HME News. “We’re committed to compliance with the law.”

Earlier this year, one of ResMed’s competitors, Philips Respironics, paid out $34.8 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit and Department of Justice investigation that alleged the company provided its resupply program for free to HME providers that bought its products.

The OIG’s decision to subpoena ResMed is another example of how the government is scrutinizing manufacturer-provider relationships more closely.

“This type of relationship between manufacturers and providers has been under scrutiny for several years now,” said Jeff Baird, chairman of the Health Care Group at Brown & Fortunato, who has defended a number of companies involved in these types of investigations. “If not put together correctly, it could be construed as a kickback.”

While manufacturers can offer volume discounts to providers, where they can get into trouble is by offering providers other incentives to get them to buy their products or to convert them from another manufacturer’s products, Baird says.

“Those are the two big things the government looks at,” he said.

It’s possible the Respironics case turned the government’s eyes to ResMed. It’s also possible, like with Respironics, that there is a whistleblower involved in the ResMed case, Baird says.

“Often, the OIG gets involved when there is someone out there who believes that what the company is doing is wrong,” he said. “That person goes to an attorney and files a lawsuit, but no one knows about it because it’s under seal, and the government does an investigation.”

The government scrutiny of Respironics and now ResMed could have an impact on their respective positions in the hyper-competitive sleep market.

“It absolutely affects how we choose a vendor,” said Lisa Feierstein, co-founder and president of Active Healthcare, a provider in Raleigh, N.C., that specializes in sleep therapy. “We look at the integrity of our partners. We feel that when we get into a vendor relationship, we’re partners together and we make choices accordingly.”

Cure Medical embraces new role as innovator

HME News - Fri, 08/26/2016 - 13:08
08/26/2016Liz Beaulieu

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – Cure Medical’s recent launch of the M14XL intermittent catheter, the longest available on the market today, is only the most recent example of how the company prioritizes end users.

Cure Medical began developing the cath two years ago after a conversation with an end user at a spina bifida event turned on a lightbulb in CEO John Anderson’s head.

“He just wondered why all these caths were so short—a male cath is typically 16 inches or shorter,” he said. “He said it’d be great if you could use the cath and then throw the whole thing away, and not worry about the extension tubing.”

The M14XL is 25 inches long and comes complete with lube and sleeve, eliminating the need for extension tubing. It’s also curved to fit into a pocket-sized wrapper, so it’s not the size of a “French loaf,” Anderson says.

Additionally, the longer cath means users don’t have to transfer to self-catheterize, helping to alleviate the shoulder pain that some experience from repeated transfers. (Users are advised by their doctors to self-catheterize four to six times per day.)

“Everyone says the voice of the customer matters,” said Lisa Wells, founder and director of Wheel:Life, which counts Cure Medical as one of its founding sponsors. “Cure is walking the talk, and putting their money where their mouth is.”

Cure Medical’s strong focus on end users has everything to do with the fact that its founder, Bob Yant, is a C5 quadriplegic. When he and Anderson launched the company in 2008, they decided to donate 10% of their net profits to spinal cord injury research. Anderson says they’ve donated “hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars” so far.

“Bob literally hopes they go out of business one day, because if someone finds a cure for SCI, they won’t need catheters anymore,” Wells said.

Anderson, who previously worked for Coloplast, one of the largest makers of caths, says Cure Medical started off making “similar but better” products. Now that it has found its groove, the company is embracing its new role as innovator.

“We thought initially, if we could sell 100,000 caths a week, it would be a good business for us,” he said. “Now we’re at more than 1 million. It’s really taken off.”

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