HME News

Syndicate content
Updated: 3 days 18 hours ago

AHRQ report is ‘call to action’

Fri, 06/18/2021 - 10:39
DARIEN, Ill. – A recent draft report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that says studies mostly do not support long-term benefits of CPAP therapy on cardiovascular and other health outcomes has sleep professionals “up in arms,” says Dr. Susheel Patil, chair of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.  “The sleep community is not clear on what the motivation for the report is,” he says. “I think the question becomes whether the AHRQ realizes the implications of what the report might do in terms of other stakeholders that are less nuanced about science.” The AASM spearheaded comments to the report from a coalition of organizations, including the American Thoracic Society, the American Association for Respiratory Care and the Sleep Research Society. Patil spoke with HME News recently about the possible repercussions of the report on policy by government and commercials payers. HME News: What’s your general take on the AHRQ draft report? Dr. Susheel Patil: It sounds as if the report is suggesting that there is no benefit whatsoever for obstructive sleep apnea or that the evidence is weak. However, I don’t know if that was the intent. The strong concern is the almost complete absence of acknowledgement of the effectiveness in treating OSA with CPAP to improve excessive sleepiness, which is a significant long-term outcome valued by patients and providers. While the evidence may not be there for cardiovascular events, for sleepiness, that message needs to come through.  HME: Are you concerned that a report like this could have a detrimental effect on sleep policy? Patil: I think (it’s a concern) how this might influence third-party payers and government payers that are setting policies. They could revisit the national coverage determination for sleep apnea, for instance. But I’m an optimist. There have been other reports that have come through and no actions have resulted. HME: Do you feel the AHRQ raises any good points in the report? Patil: I take their point to heart in the sense that the sleep community, in terms of research, still has a lot to do to establish key relationships between treating OSA and preventing cardiovascular events, and this is a call to action to the community and to government funding agencies to help us do this by funding (research). HME: In the comments, you state that the AHRQ makes a case for future research on the long-term benefit of CPAP therapy but that the recommendations are incomplete. Can you explain? Patil: It’s helpful they thought about the future direction of research but there could have been greater specificity in terms of what the roadmap to that looks like. Having a partnership with the sleep research community would be beneficial. 

In brief: Griggs takes reins, accessories need protection, Humana makes buy

Fri, 06/18/2021 - 10:33
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. – Luke McGee has resigned from his positions as co-CEO and director of the board of AdaptHealth, and Stephen Griggs has been named CEO effective immediately. Griggs, who is also a member of the board, joined AdaptHealth in February as co-CEO following the company’s acquisition of AeroCare Holdings, which he founded and led as president and CEO. “Steve’s extensive management experience, along with health sector expertise and a proven record building high-growth companies, has already been instrumental in bolstering AdaptHealth’s growth trajectory,” said Richard Barasch, chair of the board. “The board has complete confidence in his ability to lead the company to even greater success as CEO.” McGee was placed on unpaid leave in April after authorities in Denmark formally charged him with alleged tax fraud. A special committee of independent directors, established by the board, had retained DLA Piper, an independent law firm, to conduct an investigation into any connection between McGee’s private activities and AdaptHealth. The firm reported to the committee on June 11 that its investigation is substantially complete and that it could state with a high degree of confidence that the company had no involvement in, or connection to, McGee’s alleged conduct. Griggs said he looks forward to leading AdaptHealth with “some of the best management talent in the business,” including President Josh Parnes, CFO Jason Clemens and others. “AdaptHealth has never been stronger and with the integration of AeroCare firmly on course, we can focus our full attention on delivering strong organic growth in our core business, enhancing our role in chronic disease management and deploying capital on strategic M&A opportunities,” he said. CRT and accessories: Stakeholders call for immediate action WASHINGTON – Stakeholders seek signatures for a fast-moving sign-on letter in the House of Representatives to protect access to accessories for complex rehab manual wheelchairs. The letter, which asks CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to extend an 18-month pause on competitive bidding pricing for these accessories, closes June 21. “Please email the individual who handles health care issues with your representative’s office,” AAHomecare stated in a bulletin. “Please add any perspectives from your work serving CRT wheelchair users.” Accessories for complex rehab manual wheelchairs have been temporarily exempted from bid pricing only until July 1. NCART has provided pre-written emails at www.protectmobility.org. The emails ask members to urge CMS leadership to take action before June to stop the cuts and avoid access consequences for people with disabilities who depend on CRT manual wheelchairs. The letter is being circulated by Rep. John Larson, D-Conn. Humana buys another home care provider onehome, Kindred at Home will allow insurance giant to more effectively deliver value-based care, it says LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Humana has signed a definitive agreement to acquire onehome, a provider of a variety of home-based services, from WayPoint Capital Partners. onehome has been operating a value-based model in Florida and Texas, and has served Humana members since 2015. “At Humana, we are implementing a strategy to build a new value-based home health model that will improve patient outcomes, increase satisfaction for patients and providers, and provide greater value for health plan partners,” said Susan Diamond, segment president for Humana’s Home Business and the company’s interest CFO. “The acquisition of onehome is a key component of that strategy.” News of the deal follows Humana’s announcement to fully acquire and integrate Kindred at Home, a home care provider with more than 775 locations across 40 states. The addition of onehome will enable Humana to more effectively deliver value-based home health at a national scale by providing a number of key capabilities, including: onehome has significant experience with risk-based contracting and has fully capitated models in place in Florida and Texas that will provide valuable insights for the expansion of similar contracting in other states. onehome has developed fully dedicated network management and utilization management systems that can create greater efficiencies for the administration of in-home patient visits. onehome owns and manages home-based DME and infusion services for members in its core geographies that can be expanded to other markets and deliver more simplified coordination of these services for patients and providers. onehome’s ownership of DME services can deliver greater value and better outcomes through reduced waste and more consistent equipment utilization by members. “Since first launching onehome in 2013, we have had a front row seat at the care-in-the-home revolution that is driven by our society’s desire to positively impact clinical outcomes, affordability and patient experience," said Ramon Falero, CEO and co-founder of onehome. "We built the onehome model with a focus on integrating all key home-based patient care delivery needs with risk-taking capabilities and robust technology. We have had the privilege of serving millions of patients with this model – the need for which has only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.”  Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021, were not disclosed. Judge dismisses home infusion lawsuit ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A U.S. district court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the National Home Infusion Association over the implementation of a Medicare home infusion therapy services benefit for a “lack of subject matter jurisdiction.” The lawsuit, filed in 2019 against the Department of Health and Human Services, argued that a final rule published in November 2018 that limits reimbursement for professional services to only those days a “skilled professional is in the home,” ignores congressional intent.  Judge Timothy J. Kelly dismissed the case on the grounds that the court’s jurisdiction over Medicare is limited and that, in most cases, challengers must complete HHS’s four-step appeal and review process prior to filing with the court, according to NHIA. The association countered that the multi-year administrative process would have been futile considering the two-year duration of the benefit. “It’s frustrating and disappointing that this case was dismissed on a technicality and not considered on its merits,” said Connie Sullivan, BSPharm, NHIA’s CEO. “We still believe that CMS’s implementation is inconsistent with Congress’ intent and over the past two years, we have seen—and documented—how the agency’s actions have negatively impacted patient access to home infusion therapy. This ruling reaffirms the need for Congress to enact clarifying legislation.” New research links untreated OSA, COVID-19 infections SAN DIEGO – People with untreated obstructive sleep apnea were associated with a higher rate of COVID-19 infection than those who received PAP treatment, according to a poster presented by ResMed and Kaiser Permanente during SLEEP 2021, which was held virtually June 10-13. The data showed a dose-response association of OSA severity on infection rate: Patients with untreated mild OSA had a COVID-19 infection rate of 2%, while patients with severe untreated OSA had a COVID-19 infection rate of 2.4%. Bother rates were significantly higher than those treated with PAP at 1.14%. “These findings demonstrate the critical importance for people with OSA to receive and stay on PAP therapy,” said Carlos Nunez, M.D., ResMed’s chief medical officer. “In addition to COVID-19, OSA can increase a person’s risk for an array of chronic diseases, so it’s necessary for health care providers to educate patients on the importance of proper CPAP use so they can get optimal sleep, which may help keep their immune systems healthy.” The data also showed that patients who engaged in PAP therapy with good adherence had even lower COVID-19 infection rates than patients without OSA (1.3% vs. 1.7%, respectively). The study, which was conducted by a team of investigators from Kaiser Permanente and led by pulmonologist Dr. Dennis Hwang, collected data on nearly 82,000 patients in the U.S. who were evaluated for sleep disorders at Kaiser Permanente’s southern California sleep clinic between 2015-20. Of those, 1,493 tested positive for COVID-19 infection. The data collected included electronic health records and sleep study findings, as well as data collected remotely on PAP therapy. HHS updates guidance on Provider Relief Fund reporting WASHINGTON – The Department of Health and Human Services last week updated guidance on Provider Relief Fund reporting, including that the PRF Reporting Portal will be open for providers to submit information on July 1. Other key updates in the revised “Post-Payment Notice of Reporting Requirements,” according to VGM Government Relations: The period of availability of funds is based on the date the payment is received. Previous guidance indicated that all payments be used by June 30, 2021, regardless of when they were received. Recipients are required to submit a report for each Payment Received Period in which they received one or more payments exceeding, in the aggregate, $10,000, rather than $10,000 cumulatively across all PRF payments. Recipients will have a 90-day period to complete reporting, rather than a 30-day reporting period). The reporting requirements are now applicable to recipients of the Skilled Nursing Facility and Nursing Home Infection Control Distribution in addition to General and other Targeted Distributions. VGM says updated guidance also includes helpful tablesdetailing thedeadline to use the funds, the deadline to report on the use of the funds, andthe timing of payment received date and corresponding reporting time period. Virtis Health expands footprint NASHUA, N.H. – Virtis Health, a provider of alternate site infusion services, has expanded into five states, with an eye toward expanding nationwide. Virtis now has infusion center locations in Arizona, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Texas, offering a range of therapies for patients with autoimmune disorders, including chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), multiple sclerosis and myasthenia gravis.  “Now more than ever, patients are embracing alternate health care sites where quality care is delivered in a comfortable, personalized setting,” said Diego Fairbanks, senior vice president. “We are bringing patients, physicians, health systems and health insurance plans a highly relevant solution to accommodate today’s evolving healthcare needs.” Virtis also treats and manages patients with rare and ultra-rare diseases, primary immunodeficiencies and various inflammatory conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. New hires: Team@Work, NCPA Team@Work has hired Rebecca Small as vice president of DME/HME business development. Small has 15 years of experience in health care sales, marketing and billing. “Becky possesses more than two decades of extensive medical equipment and device sales, billing, orthotic fitter and business owner experience,” said Ty Bello, CEO. “She brings a unique business development acumen to the medical equipment provider and those exploring business opportunities in this post-acute market”…The National Community Pharmacists Association has named Matthew Seiler, RN, as the association’s general counsel. In this role Seiler will have responsibility for all legal, transactional, compliance and related activities at NCPA. Most recently, he served as the general counsel of the American Physical Therapy Association. “Matt brings to NCPA a strong background across industries, including in health care law, that will be instrumental as we continue our multi-front efforts to serve independent pharmacists, change the pharmacy payment model and rein in pharmacy benefit managers,” says B. Douglas Hoey, CEO and pharmacist. NRRTS sponsors photo contest LUBBOCK, Texas - NRRTS asking complex rehab suppliers to take photos of themselves and their clients doing what they do and send them to the organization. As part of the digital photo contest, NRRTS will award prizes to one winner in each of three different categories. Each winner will receive a $100 gift certificate and a poster of their winning photograph for them and their client. NRRTS asks that suppliers make sure they get photo releases from their clients. Contact Bill Noelting for more information: bnoelting@nrrts.org.   AASM names new president DARIEN, Ill. – The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has named Dr. Raman Malhotra to a one-year term as president. He will lead the association’s 11,000 accredited member sleep centers and individual members, including physicians, scientists and other health care professionals who provide care for patients with sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea and chronic insomnia. “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to lead the AASM, and I am grateful to serve alongside such dedicated and talented colleagues on the board of directors,” said Malhotra, who has served on the AASM board of directors since 2015. “I’m excited about the year ahead, and I believe that we will make great progress as we work together with our members to continue advancing sleep care and enhancing sleep health to improve lives.” One of Malhotra’s priorities will be to give patients a greater voice within AASM by leading a new Patient Advocacy Roundtable. Apria offering raises nearly $140M INDIANAPOLIS – Apria has raised more than $139.7 million through a secondary offering of 5,175,000 shares of common stock by a selling stockholder affiliated with Blackstone at a price to the public of $27 per share, including 675,000 shares sold in connection with the full exercise of the option to purchase additional shares granted to the underwriters. Apria did not offer any shares of its common stock and did not receive any net proceeds from the sale of common stock by the selling stockholder. NSM expands team in Canada NASHVILLE, Tenn. – National Seating & Mobility Canada has added two new members to its team: Dheyaa Qaddo as controller and Eugene Fung as HR and payroll manager. Previously, the company named Dave Munroe director of finance and Rick Nori regional director of Canada. “Expanding our business team with the addition of these respected professionals is crucially important in supporting NSM’s continued growth across Canada,” Nori said. “The knowledge and experience Dave, Dheyaa and Eugene bring to our team will strengthen operations and our ability to provide best-in-class service to our Canadian clients.” Qaddo is responsible for the oversight of accounts payable activities, cash and treasury management, financial accounting and reporting, budgeting, forecasting, taxation and compliance. Fung is responsible for managing the HR team in Canada and overseeing strategic workforce planning and talent acquisition, employee relations, training and development, payroll and benefits. NSM is looking for talent for a variety of other roles in Canada, including rehab equipment professionals and customer service representatives. Itamar enhances WatchPAT CAESAREA, Israel – Itamar Medical has enhanced its WatchPAT product line to include WatchPAT with SleepPath, a new service that allows subjective data to be collected from patients through the WatchPAT smartphone app, before and after the home sleep test. The company will offer the new service to sleep clinics, giving them access to digital documentation in one report that combines sleep study metrics and patient self-reported data, replacing traditional paper documentation. Itamar Medical has also enhanced the line with WatchPAT ONE-M to allow sleep physicians to order multi-night test and follow-up with their patients after each night of testing to determine if further testing would be beneficial. “These product enhancements reflect our commitment to continuous improvement of the sleep patient pathway by leveraging Itamar’s digital health platform to deliver increased home sleep testing efficiency, broader information access beyond the Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI) and improving the quality of sleep clinics’ operations around home sleep diagnostics,” said Gilad Glick, president and CEO. Both enhancements were announced during SLEEP 2021, a joint meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society that took place virtually June 10-13. Welcome to the board: AAH, Viemed, NHIF AAHomecare’s membership has re-elected Bill Guidetti of Apria as chair of the board and has approved Josh Marx of Medicare Service Company as vice chair and Mike Kloos of VGM Insurance as treasurer. Members also elected six people to at-large board seats for three-year terms: Josh Britten of BritKare Home Medical, Lucy Busa of Comfort Medical, Larissa D’Andrea of ResMed, Jennifer Pederson of Lincare, Isaac Rodriguez of National Seating & Mobility, and James Russell of URS Medical. Busa is new to the board; the others were re-nominated to continue their service. Additionally, John Cassar of SuperCare Health has joined the board and executive committee through his role as chair of the Corporate Provider CEO Council…Viemed Healthcare elected eight members to its board of directors during its annual and special meeting of shareholders on June 10: Casey Hoyt, W. Todd Zehnder, William Frazier, Randy Dobbs, Nitin Kaushal, Timothy Smokoff, Bruce Greenstein and Sabrina Heltz...The National Home Infusion Foundation has announced its 2021-2022 board of directors. Joining the board this year: Laila Alqadri, MD, a neurologist and medical director at KabaFusion; Drew Doyle, RPh, senior vice president of sales and market development for Soleo Health; and Mitra Gavgani, PharmD, vice president of Pharmacy Services for Johns Hopkins Home Care Group. Other board members are: Chair Chris Maksym, RPh, PharmD, University of Michigan (ret.); David Franklin, MSA, Advanced Care Consulting Services; Dave Grady, Big Sky IV Care; and Janice Wilhelm, RN, MBA, Advanced Home Care. State news: Oklahoma, Louisiana, New York The Oklahoma Health Care Authority does not have the authority to implement a managed care plan for the state’s Medicaid system, according to a State Supreme Court ruling. The ruling was cheered by the Oklahoma Medical Equipment Providers Association and other health care providers who have been fighting the proposed move in the state legislature and in the courts. “OMEPA and other health care leaders in Oklahoma have done an exceptional job in spotlighting the potential impacts of the MCO approach on both providers and patients,” said Laura Williard, AAHomecare’s vice president of payer relations. “I’d especially like to acknowledge the persistence of OMEPA President Larry Dalton, Victor Clay of Complete Care Medical and Katie Roberts of Cimarron Medical Services in this fight”…The Louisiana Senate has passed HB 594, a bill that would require insurers, MCOs and other payers to reimburse for ventilators on a continuous monthly rental basis and not cap payments at purchase price. The bill now goes to Gov. John Bel Edwards for his signature…The New York Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee has approved A.5368, a bill that would require Medicaid MCOs to reimburse DME providers at no less than 100% of the state’s published Medicaid DME and CRT fee schedule. The bill now goes to the Rules Committee before heading to the floor for a vote. A companion bill, S.5118, is also eligible for a vote.

CRT and accessories: Stakeholders call for immediate action

Thu, 06/17/2021 - 10:14
WASHINGTON – Stakeholders seek signatures for a fast-moving sign-on letter in the House of Representatives to protect access to accessories for complex rehab manual wheelchairs. The letter, which asks CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to extend an 18-month pause on competitive bidding pricing for these accessories, closes June 21. “Please email the individual who handles health care issues with your representative’s office,” AAHomecare stated in a bulletin. “Please add any perspectives from your work serving CRT wheelchair users.” Accessories for complex rehab manual wheelchairs have been temporarily exempted from bid pricing only until July 1. NCART has provided pre-written emails at www.protectmobility.org. The emails ask members to urge CMS leadership to take action before June to stop the cuts and avoid access consequences for people with disabilities who depend on CRT manual wheelchairs. The letter is being circulated by Rep. John Larson, D-Conn. 

New hires: Team@Work, NCPA

Thu, 06/17/2021 - 09:54
Team@Work has hired Rebecca Small as vice president of DME/HME business development. Small has 15 years of experience in health care sales, marketing and billing. “Becky possesses more than two decades of extensive medical equipment and device sales, billing, orthotic fitter and business owner experience,” said Ty Bello, CEO. “She brings a unique business development acumen to the medical equipment provider and those exploring business opportunities in this post-acute market”…The National Community Pharmacists Association has named Matthew Seiler, RN, as the association’s general counsel. In this role Seiler will have responsibility for all legal, transactional, compliance and related activities at NCPA. Most recently, he served as the general counsel of the American Physical Therapy Association. “Matt brings to NCPA a strong background across industries, including in health care law, that will be instrumental as we continue our multi-front efforts to serve independent pharmacists, change the pharmacy payment model and rein in pharmacy benefit managers,” says B. Douglas Hoey, CEO and pharmacist.

NRRTS sponsors photo contest

Thu, 06/17/2021 - 09:50
LUBBOCK, Texas - NRRTS asking complex rehab suppliers to take photos of themselves and their clients doing what they do and send them to the organization. As part of the digital photo contest, NRRTS will award prizes to one winner in each of three different categories. Each winner will receive a $100 gift certificate and a poster of their winning photograph for them and their client. NRRTS asks that suppliers make sure they get photo releases from their clients. Contact Bill Noelting for more information: bnoelting@nrrts.org.

Judge dismisses home infusion lawsuit

Thu, 06/17/2021 - 09:49
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A U.S. district court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the National Home Infusion Association over the implementation of a Medicare home infusion therapy services benefit for a “lack of subject matter jurisdiction.” The lawsuit, filed in 2019 against the Department of Health and Human Services, argued that a final rule published in November 2018 that limits reimbursement for professional services to only those days a “skilled professional is in the home,” ignores congressional intent.  Judge Timothy J. Kelly dismissed the case on the grounds that the court’s jurisdiction over Medicare is limited and that, in most cases, challengers must complete HHS’s four-step appeal and review process prior to filing with the court, according to NHIA. The association countered that the multi-year administrative process would have been futile considering the two-year duration of the benefit. “It’s frustrating and disappointing that this case was dismissed on a technicality and not considered on its merits,” said Connie Sullivan, BSPharm, NHIA’s CEO. “We still believe that CMS’s implementation is inconsistent with Congress’ intent and over the past two years, we have seen—and documented—how the agency’s actions have negatively impacted patient access to home infusion therapy. This ruling reaffirms the need for Congress to enact clarifying legislation.” 

Change agents

Wed, 06/16/2021 - 13:38
During an intro call in June, two speakers for this year’s HME News Business Summit said they preferred to have our prep call as close as possible to the event because the rate of change in health care right now is so fast. They said, there are things that will happen in the next few months that we can’t talk about now but that we’ll want to talk about at the event. So, we scheduled another call for early September.When I look at the education program for this year’s Summit, which we’ll hold virtually Sept. 9-10, this anecdote perfectly sums it up. So much is changing, so fast.The two speakers above, Gary Sheehan of AdaptHealth and Nathan Ray of West Monroe, will be dis-cussing, among other things, big players like Amazon, CVS Health and Best Buy driving change in health care. What these players do sends ripples – potentially tsunamis – throughout the entire space, including home care, and all eyes are on them.Possibly even more so, all eyes are also on the changes driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has been a wake-up call for every facet of health care and, as a result, decision makers across the continuum of care are stepping on the gas on certain efforts. In one session, Medically Home’s Rami Karjian will discuss how health systems like Mayo Clinic and Kai-ser Permanente are stepping on the gas on hospitals-at-home, in the wake of the pandemic forcing so much care to take place there, and how he believes HME providers are at the leading edge of this movement with their presence in the community and their logistics expertise.In another session, Polsinelli’s Jeanna Palmer Gunville will discuss how health care providers and insurers are stepping on the gas on strategic, value-based arrangements as a way to improve outcomes and control costs, in the wake of the pandemic exposing the vulnerability and unsustainability of fee-for-service.This is all the change swirling all around HME providers. But what about HME providers themselves? How will they drive change in response?That’s what the Summit is all about. Learning. Questioning. Then changing.“See” you there.

AASM names new president

Wed, 06/16/2021 - 12:13
DARIEN, Ill. – The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has named Dr. Raman Malhotra to a one-year term as president. He will lead the association’s 11,000 accredited member sleep centers and individual members, including physicians, scientists and other health care professionals who provide care for patients with sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea and chronic insomnia. “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to lead the AASM, and I am grateful to serve alongside such dedicated and talented colleagues on the board of directors,” said Malhotra, who has served on the AASM board of directors since 2015. “I’m excited about the year ahead, and I believe that we will make great progress as we work together with our members to continue advancing sleep care and enhancing sleep health to improve lives.” One of Malhotra’s priorities will be to give patients a greater voice within AASM by leading a new Patient Advocacy Roundtable.

NHIF announces board members

Wed, 06/16/2021 - 12:11
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Home Infusion Foundation has announced its 2021-2022 board of directors. Joining the board this year: Laila Alqadri, MD, a neurologist and medical director at KabaFusion; Drew Doyle, RPh, senior vice president of sales and market development for Soleo Health; and Mitra Gavgani, PharmD, vice president of Pharmacy Services for Johns Hopkins Home Care Group. Other board members are: Chair Chris Maksym, RPh, PharmD, University of Michigan (ret.); David Franklin, MSA, Advanced Care Consulting Services; Dave Grady, Big Sky IV Care; and Janice Wilhelm, RN, MBA, Advanced Home Care.

Virtis Health expands footprint

Wed, 06/16/2021 - 12:09
NASHUA, N.H. – Virtis Health, a provider of alternate site infusion services, has expanded into five states, with an eye toward expanding nationwide. Virtis now has infusion center locations in Arizona, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Texas, offering a range of therapies for patients with autoimmune disorders, including chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), multiple sclerosis and myasthenia gravis.  “Now more than ever, patients are embracing alternate health care sites where quality care is delivered in a comfortable, personalized setting,” said Diego Fairbanks, senior vice president. “We are bringing patients, physicians, health systems and health insurance plans a highly relevant solution to accommodate today’s evolving healthcare needs.” Virtis also treats and manages patients with rare and ultra-rare diseases, primary immunodeficiencies and various inflammatory conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. 

NSM expands team in Canada

Tue, 06/15/2021 - 10:01
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – National Seating & Mobility Canada has added two new members to its team: Dheyaa Qaddo as controller and Eugene Fung as HR and payroll manager. Previously, the company named Dave Munroe director of finance and Rick Nori regional director of Canada. “Expanding our business team with the addition of these respected professionals is crucially important in supporting NSM’s continued growth across Canada,” Nori said. “The knowledge and experience Dave, Dheyaa and Eugene bring to our team will strengthen operations and our ability to provide best-in-class service to our Canadian clients.” Qaddo is responsible for the oversight of accounts payable activities, cash and treasury management, financial accounting and reporting, budgeting, forecasting, taxation and compliance. Fung is responsible for managing the HR team in Canada and overseeing strategic workforce planning and talent acquisition, employee relations, training and development, payroll and benefits. NSM is looking for talent for a variety of other roles in Canada, including rehab equipment professionals and customer service representatives.  

Itamar enhances WatchPAT

Tue, 06/15/2021 - 09:59
CAESAREA, Israel – Itamar Medical has enhanced its WatchPAT product line to include WatchPAT with SleepPath, a new service that allows subjective data to be collected from patients through the WatchPAT smartphone app, before and after the home sleep test. The company will offer the new service to sleep clinics, giving them access to digital documentation in one report that combines sleep study metrics and patient self-reported data, replacing traditional paper documentation. Itamar Medical has also enhanced the line with WatchPAT ONE-M to allow sleep physicians to order multi-night test and follow-up with their patients after each night of testing to determine if further testing would be beneficial. “These product enhancements reflect our commitment to continuous improvement of the sleep patient pathway by leveraging Itamar’s digital health platform to deliver increased home sleep testing efficiency, broader information access beyond the Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI) and improving the quality of sleep clinics’ operations around home sleep diagnostics,” said Gilad Glick, president and CEO. Both enhancements were announced during SLEEP 2021, a joint meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society that took place virtually June 10-13.

People news: AAH board, Viemed board

Tue, 06/15/2021 - 09:58
AAHomecare’s membership has re-elected Bill Guidetti of Apria as chair of the board and has approved Josh Marx of Medicare Service Company as vice chair and Mike Kloos of VGM Insurance as treasurer. Members also elected six people to at-large board seats for three-year terms: Josh Britten of BritKare Home Medical, Lucy Busa of Comfort Medical, Larissa D’Andrea of ResMed, Jennifer Pederson of Lincare, Isaac Rodriguez of National Seating & Mobility, and James Russell of URS Medical. Busa is new to the board; the others were re-nominated to continue their service. Additionally, John Cassar of SuperCare Health has joined the board and executive committee through his role as chair of the Corporate Provider CEO Council…Viemed Healthcare elected eight members to its board of directors during its annual and special meeting of shareholders on June 10: Casey Hoyt, W. Todd Zehnder, William Frazier, Randy Dobbs, Nitin Kaushal, Timothy Smokoff, Bruce Greenstein and Sabrina Heltz. 

AdaptHealth names Griggs CEO

Tue, 06/15/2021 - 09:55
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. – Luke McGee has resigned from his positions as co-CEO and director of the board of AdaptHealth, and Stephen Griggs has been named CEO effective immediately. Griggs, who is also a member of the board, joined AdaptHealth in February as co-CEO following the company’s acquisition of AeroCare Holdings, which he founded and led as president and CEO. “Steve’s extensive management experience, along with health sector expertise and a proven record building high-growth companies, has already been instrumental in bolstering AdaptHealth’s growth trajectory,” said Richard Barasch, chair of the board. “The board has complete confidence in his ability to lead the company to even greater success as CEO.” McGee was placed on unpaid leave in April after authorities in Denmark formally charged him with alleged tax fraud. A special committee of independent directors, established by the board, had retained DLA Piper, an independent law firm, to conduct an investigation into any connection between McGee’s private activities and AdaptHealth. The firm reported to the committee on June 11 that its investigation is substantially complete and that it could state with a high degree of confidence that the company had no involvement in, or connection to, McGee’s alleged conduct. Griggs said he looks forward to leading AdaptHealth with “some of the best management talent in the business,” including President Josh Parnes, CFO Jason Clemens and others. “AdaptHealth has never been stronger and with the integration of AeroCare firmly on course, we can focus our full attention on delivering strong organic growth in our core business, enhancing our role in chronic disease management and deploying capital on strategic M&A opportunities,” he said. 

Humana buys another home care provider

Tue, 06/15/2021 - 09:52
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Humana has signed a definitive agreement to acquire onehome, a provider of a variety of home-based services, from WayPoint Capital Partners. onehome has been operating a value-based model in Florida and Texas, and has served Humana members since 2015. “At Humana, we are implementing a strategy to build a new value-based home health model that will improve patient outcomes, increase satisfaction for patients and providers, and provide greater value for health plan partners,” said Susan Diamond, segment president for Humana’s Home Business and the company’s interest CFO. “The acquisition of onehome is a key component of that strategy.” News of the deal follows Humana’s announcement to fully acquire and integrate Kindred at Home, a home care provider with more than 775 locations across 40 states. The addition of onehome will enable Humana to more effectively deliver value-based home health at a national scale by providing a number of key capabilities, including: onehome has significant experience with risk-based contracting and has fully capitated models in place in Florida and Texas that will provide valuable insights for the expansion of similar contracting in other states. onehome has developed fully dedicated network management and utilization management systems that can create greater efficiencies for the administration of in-home patient visits. onehome owns and manages home-based DME and infusion services for members in its core geographies that can be expanded to other markets and deliver more simplified coordination of these services for patients and providers. onehome’s ownership of DME services can deliver greater value and better outcomes through reduced waste and more consistent equipment utilization by members. “Since first launching onehome in 2013, we have had a front row seat at the care-in-the-home revolution that is driven by our society’s desire to positively impact clinical outcomes, affordability and patient experience," said Ramon Falero, CEO and co-founder of onehome. "We built the onehome model with a focus on integrating all key home-based patient care delivery needs with risk-taking capabilities and robust technology. We have had the privilege of serving millions of patients with this model – the need for which has only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.”  Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021, were not disclosed. 

Philips issues recall

Mon, 06/14/2021 - 10:14
AMSTERDAM – Royal Philips has announced, in consultation with regulatory agencies, a voluntary recall notification on certain Bi-Level CPAP, CPAP and mechanical ventilator devices to address identified potential health risks related to the polyester-based polyurethane sound abatement foam component in these devices. The majority of affected devices within the advised five-year service life are in the first-generation DreamStation product family, the company says. “We deeply regret any concern and inconvenience that patients using the affected devices will experience because of the proactive measures we are announcing today to ensure patient safety,” said Frans van Houten, CEO of Royal Philips. “In consultation with the relevant regulatory agencies and in close collaboration with our customers and partners, we are working hard toward a resolution, which includes the deployment of the updated instructions for use and a comprehensive repair and replacement program for the affected devices. Patient safety is at the heart of everything we do at Philips.” Despite a low complaint rate (0.03% in 2020), Philips determined based on testing that there are possible risks to users related to this type of foam. The risks include that the foam may degrade into particles that may enter the device’s air pathway and be ingested or inhaled by the user, and the foam may off-gas certain chemicals. The degradation may be exacerbated by use of unapproved cleaning methods, such as ozone, and by high heat and high humidity environments. Philips says it will replace the current sound abatement foam with a new material and has already begun preparations, including obtaining the relevant regulatory clearances. The first-generation DreamStation product families will be modified with a different sound abatement foam and shipped upon receipt of the required regulatory clearances. Philips’ recently launched next-generation CPAP platform, DreamStation 2, is not affected by the issues and to support the program, the company is increasing the production of those devices that are available in the U.S. and selected countries in Europe. The adjustments to and acceleration of the repair and replacement program, as well as intensified communication with customers and patients, has led to an increase of EUR 250 million in the expected costs of the corrective actions on the installed base. That’s on top of the provision of EUR 250 million that Philips recorded in the first quarter of 2021. For patients using affected Bi-Level PAP and CPAP devices, the recall advises they discontinue use of their device and work with their physician or DME provider to determine most appropriate options for continued treatment. To continue use of their device due to lack of alternatives, patients should consult with their physician to determine if the benefit of continuing therapy with their device outweighs the risks identified. For patients using affected mechanical ventilator devices, the recall advises they not stop or alter their prescribed therapy until they have talked to their physician. Philips recognizes that options for therapy may not exist or may be severely limited for patients who require a vent for life-sustaining therapy, or in cases where the therapy disruption is unacceptable. In these situations, and at the discretion of the treating clinical team, the benefit of continued usage of these vent devices may outweigh the risks identified in the recall notification. 

New research links untreated OSA, COVID-19 infections

Mon, 06/14/2021 - 10:10
SAN DIEGO – People with untreated obstructive sleep apnea were associated with a higher rate of COVID-19 infection than those who received PAP treatment, according to a poster presented by ResMed and Kaiser Permanente during SLEEP 2021, which was held virtually June 10-13. The data showed a dose-response association of OSA severity on infection rate: Patients with untreated mild OSA had a COVID-19 infection rate of 2%, while patients with severe untreated OSA had a COVID-19 infection rate of 2.4%. Bother rates were significantly higher than those treated with PAP at 1.14%. “These findings demonstrate the critical importance for people with OSA to receive and stay on PAP therapy,” said Carlos Nunez, M.D., ResMed’s chief medical officer. “In addition to COVID-19, OSA can increase a person’s risk for an array of chronic diseases, so it’s necessary for health care providers to educate patients on the importance of proper CPAP use so they can get optimal sleep, which may help keep their immune systems healthy.” The data also showed that patients who engaged in PAP therapy with good adherence had even lower COVID-19 infection rates than patients without OSA (1.3% vs. 1.7%, respectively). The study, which was conducted by a team of investigators from Kaiser Permanente and led by pulmonologist Dr. Dennis Hwang, collected data on nearly 82,000 patients in the U.S. who were evaluated for sleep disorders at Kaiser Permanente’s southern California sleep clinic between 2015-20. Of those, 1,493 tested positive for COVID-19 infection. The data collected included electronic health records and sleep study findings, as well as data collected remotely on PAP therapy. 

HHS updates guidance on Provider Relief Fund reporting

Mon, 06/14/2021 - 10:09
WASHINGTON – The Department of Health and Human Services last week updated guidance on Provider Relief Fund reporting, including that the PRF Reporting Portal will be open for providers to submit information on July 1.Other key updates in the revised “Post-Payment Notice of Reporting Requirements,” according to VGM Government Relations: The period of availability of funds is based on the date the payment is received. Previous guidance indicated that all payments be used by June 30, 2021, regardless of when they were received. Recipients are required to submit a report for each Payment Received Period in which they received one or more payments exceeding, in the aggregate, $10,000, rather than $10,000 cumulatively across all PRF payments. Recipients will have a 90-day period to complete reporting, rather than a 30-day reporting period). The reporting requirements are now applicable to recipients of the Skilled Nursing Facility and Nursing Home Infection Control Distribution in addition to General and other Targeted Distributions. VGM says updated guidance also includes helpful tablesdetailing thedeadline to use the funds, the deadline to report on the use of the funds, andthe timing of payment received date and corresponding reporting time period. 

State news: Oklahoma, Louisiana, New York

Mon, 06/14/2021 - 10:06
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority does not have the authority to implement a managed care plan for the state’s Medicaid system, according to a State Supreme Court ruling. The ruling was cheered by the Oklahoma Medical Equipment Providers Association and other health care providers who have been fighting the proposed move in the state legislature and in the courts. “OMEPA and other health care leaders in Oklahoma have done an exceptional job in spotlighting the potential impacts of the MCO approach on both providers and patients,” said Laura Williard, AAHomecare’s vice president of payer relations. “I’d especially like to acknowledge the persistence of OMEPA President Larry Dalton, Victor Clay of Complete Care Medical and Katie Roberts of Cimarron Medical Services in this fight”…The Louisiana Senate has passed HB 594, a bill that would require insurers, MCOs and other payers to reimburse for ventilators on a continuous monthly rental basis and not cap payments at purchase price. The bill now goes to Gov. John Bel Edwards for his signature…The New York Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee has approved A.5368, a bill that would require Medicaid MCOs to reimburse DME providers at no less than 100% of the state’s published Medicaid DME and CRT fee schedule. The bill now goes to the Rules Committee before heading to the floor for a vote. A companion bill, S.5118, is also eligible for a vote. 

Stakeholders mine American Rescue Plan for relief opportunities

Fri, 06/11/2021 - 09:21
WASHINGTON – The payer relations team at AAHomecare is working with its association partners to craft a letter asking state governments to include HME in their allocation of millions of dollars in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion act, also known as the COVID-19 Stimulus Package, in March, providing, among other things, $195.3 billion to states and the District of Columbia to help them cover increased expenditures, replenish lost revenue and mitigate economic harm from the pandemic. “It is definitely something that HME can be and should be included in,” said Laura Williard, vice president of payer relations for AAHomecare. “In terms of mitigating the harm from the pandemic, we have been on the front lines and continue to be.” The team has already been working with the Florida Alliance of Home Care Services to get lawmakers in that state to include HME as part of its second allocation later this year. While the “ask” may differ in each state, in most states, like in Florida, it will most likely be a certain percentage increase for claims payments for the past year of the pandemic, Williard says. “It’s a one-time funding opportunity – it can’t be recurring spending,” she said, “and it has to be for specific items. So, we’re trying to come up with reasonable asks around that and come up with a few suggestions.” AAHomecare and its association partners are also crafting a letter asking state governments to include HME in another part of the act – a temporary 10% increase to the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) for certain home and community-based services (HCBS) for Medicaid beneficiaries from April 1, 2021, through March 31, 2022. “The main focus of this is to pay for items that enhance the HCBS benefit but that have not been paid for previously,” Williard said. “There is also a potential of asking for temporary rate increases, depending on the state.” The 10% increase to the FMAP also serves as a bargaining chip for the team in its conversations with states that seek to decrease reimbursement for HME. For states to remain eligible for the increase, they must maintain rates at no less than those in effect on April 1, 2021. “I testified at a rate hearing for Texas Medicaid, which has put out some proposed rate changes, including some double-digit decreases for some DME,” said David Chandler, senior director of payer relations for AAHomecare. “We included in our argument that, if they move forward, they may be ineligible.”