In brief: KabaFusion buys Lincare’s home infusion biz, Knueppel Healthcare to close

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Friday, March 6, 2020

CERRITOS, Calif. – KabaFusion has acquired the home infusion assets of Lincare, expanding its footprint to 28 specialty pharmacies.

The deal adds specialty pharmacies in 11 markets: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Virginia and Wyoming.

“We are excited to expand our national network with the infusion pharmacies from Lincare,” said Dr. Sohail Masood, founder and CEO. “We look forward to combining the best of both our teams, as together we will be even better positioned to continue delivering high-quality home infusion services to achieve the best possible outcome for each of our patients.”

KabaFusion has existing specialty pharmacies in seven markets: California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas. It is licensed to serve patients in 44 states.

The company’s clinician-led team will continue to lead the combined company.

It’s the first acquisition for KabaFusion since partnering with Pritzker Private Capital in January 2019.

Knueppel Healthcare to close
MILWAUKEE – Knueppel Healthcare Services, citing unsustainable Medicare reimbursement, will close by the end of April, according to the Milwaukee Business News.

The provider, a third-generation family business, also cited competition from e-commerce as a reason for closing and laying off 44 employees.

“I’ve been doing it for close to 20 years now; I gave it my best,” William Knueppel told the newspaper. “On a personal level, I feel I let my father down (who passed in 2008). I feel bad that I can’t continue the family business, but I know he would understand.”

William Knueppel’s grandparents founded Knueppel in 1955 as a pharmacy and their son Richard Knueppel took over the business in 1972. Shield Healthcare bought the business in the 1980s, transitioning it to an HME company. Richard Knueppel bought the business back three years later, and then William Knueppel and Cindy Ciardo bought it in 2004.

AdaptHealth buys Healthline
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. – AdaptHealth has acquired Healthline Medical Equipment, a provider with 13 locations across Forth Worth and Austin, Texas.

“The southeastern and southwestern United States remain attractive markets for AdaptHealth and we are thrilled to have the experienced and well-respected teams at Healthline join us to better serve these local communities,” said CEO Luke McGee.

Healthline, founded in 1998, will continue to operate under its current name and leadership team, led by Dewayne Andrus, Barbara Leech, Ed Sims and Michael Dick.

AdaptHealth says Healthline generated net revenues of about $30 million for the 12 in 2019.

“Including the addition of Healthline, we now expect net revenue for 2020 between $790 million and $808 million, EBITDA of $160 million to $164 million and adjusted EBITDA less patient equipment of $98 million to $101 million,” said AdaptHealth CEO Luke McGee.

AdaptHealth has also closed on its previously announced acquisition of Advanced Home Care’s HME businsess.

Mon Health takes over HME business
FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The Mon Health System has acquired 100% of Mon Health Center Mon Home Medical Equipment and Supplies, according to the Fairmont News.

The news follows Fairmont Regional Medical Center’s decision to close, the newspaper reports.

“We’ve had a longstanding 50% partnership with Fairmont on the DME business and we acquired the other 50%,” David Goldberg, president and CEO of Mon Health told the Fairmont News.

Mon Health says the deal will increase its reach throughout the region, according to the newspaper.

F&P increases guidance, in part due to coronavirus outbreak
IRVINE, Calif. – Fisher & Paykel Healthcare has updated its revenue and earnings guidance for the financial year ended March 31, 2020, due to better-than-expected sales in its home care product group.

“We’ve seen better-than-expected sales in our home care product group combined with continued strong growth in our hospital product group,” said Lewis Gradon, managing director and CEO. “This includes an increase in demand from China related to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.”

F&P now expects full-year operating revenue to be about $1.2 billion (vs. $1.19 billion) and net profit after tax to be in the range of about $260 million to $270 million ($255 million to $265 million), assuming a NZ:US exchange rate of about 64 cents for the balance of the financial year.

Gradon noted that F&P doesn’t have a manufacturing facility in China, but the company does buy raw materials from suppliers in the country.

“At this stage, we do not anticipate any significant impact on supply to our existing customers,” he said. “We will continue to assess this on an ongoing basis, particularly if the outbreak escalates or continues for a prolonged period.”

Gradon also noted that F&P’s employees have been “working long hours to ship products quickly, assemble them and meet the need for training, particularly in Wuhan.”

“Many of our suppliers have expedited the supply of raw materials to us as a manufacturer of essential medical devices and we are deeply grateful for that,” he said.

Viemed grows vent base by 31% in Q4
LAFAYETTE, La. – Viemed Healthcare reported net revenues of $21.4 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2019, a 30% increase over revenue less bad debt expense reported for the comparable quarter in 2018.

Net income was $2.4 million, a 20% decrease.

Viemed reported net revenues were $80.3 million for 2019, a 38% increase compared to 2018. Net income was $8.5 million, a 10% decrease.

The company says it grew its ventilator patient base by about 31% in the quarter year over year, and 5% compared to the previous quarter.

“I am once again proud of our team for posting another record year for revenues and Adjusted EBITDA,” said Casey Hoyt, Viemed's CEO. “While the financial results are impressive, I am equally as pleased with the continued development of our internal platform to accommodate additional growth in the future of our business. We continue to invest in programs that are focused on the best care for our patients, and that mission is designed to result in organic growth in the future.”

Viemed says it expects to generate net revenues of about $21.8 million to $22.8 million during the first quarter of 2020.

AAH fuels state advocacy efforts
WASHINGTON – AAHomecare has developed a toolkit for leaders at state and regional HME associations to use in their advocacy efforts.

The State Legislative & Regulatory Resource Toolkit is the product of a yearlong collaboration between AAHomecare’s payer relations team and its state legislative and regulatory workgroup, drawing on the perspectives of stakeholders with experience working with state legislators and regulators, the association says.

“This new resource captures the best thinking in our industry on advancing better state-level HME policy for HME,” said Laura Williard, AAHomecare vice president of payer relations, who helped guide the project. “By pulling this information together, we hope to further boost the already-strong capacity of HME advocates have in influencing state policy.”

The resources in the toolkit include:

  • Information and insight on legislative and regulatory avenues to address payer issues.
  • Best practices to help stakeholders evaluate opportunities and processes to advance initiatives at the state legislative and regulatory level.
  • Perspectives on the pros and cons of addressing issues through legislative vs. regulatory approaches.
  • Examples of proposed legislative language on multiple issues.
  • Examples of legislative language successfully passed into law.


For a copy of the toolkit, contact Laura Williard (LauraW@aahomecare.org), David Chandler (DavidC@aahomecare.org), or your state/regional association.

CMS: New rates will be in place July 1
WASHINGTON – CMS has provided an update on billing for accessories for complex rehab manual wheelchairs, according to NCART.

A bill was passed late last year requiring the agency to stop applying competitive bidding pricing to these accessories for 18 months starting Jan. 1, 2020.

NCART pulled these highlights from the update:
The new payment rates (not yet published) will be in place on July 1 and providers will be able to use the KU modifier for billing. Until July 1, providers should continue to bill as they have been.
These codes have been added to the list of impacted complex wheelchair base codes: E1231, E1232, E1233, E1234.
Public comments regarding impacted accessory codes are being requested by March 12. NCART plans to review the codes to ensure all needed codes have been included and will submit comments.

CMS is researching whether or not they will be able to offer the option to automatically reprocess claims submitted prior to July 1, rather than requiring providers to resubmit.

VGM adds third warehouse for supplies
WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM Group has added a 78,000-square-foot warehouse in Phoenix to serve as a fulfillment center for processing and shipping CPAP supplies, along with other health care supplies, directly to patient homes. “We have a large customer base in the western United States,” said Jeremy Stolz, president of VGM Fulfillment. “Phoenix had exactly what we needed geographically, logistically and from a facility standpoint to support our business. We will be able to dynamically route orders through this facility, leading to faster deliveries and happier patients in that part of the country.” VGM Fulfillment is scheduled to be up and running in Phoenix in early March. It already packs and ships more than 4 million orders annually from locations in Waterloo, Iowa, and Nashville, Tenn.

Supplier count continues to be stable
WASHINGTON – The number of suppliers from Jan. 1, 2019, to Jan. 1, 2020, has remained stable, according to AAHomecare’s latest supplier tracking sheet. The decrease in the number of suppliers since 2010, however, continues to be 35%. The number of suppliers was 9,195 in Jan. 1, 2019, vs. 9,154 on Jan. 1, 2020. The number of suppliers in November 2010: 14,066.

WellSky rebrands services
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – WellSky has launched WellSky Services to offer expertise from the company’s team of industry and software experts. The launch also formally rebrands WellSky subsidiary, Fazzi Associates, as part of WellSky Services. “We’re strengthening our commitment to client success by delivering top-of-the-line services to improve all aspects of our clients’ businesses,” said Bill Miller, CEO of WellSky. “Officially integrating Fazzi into the overall WellSky brand increases alignment and collaboration between our teams to better serve our clients.” WellSky Services comprises three offerings: 1) advisory services, including strategic consulting, regulatory and compliance services, and a learning center; 2) managed IT services, coding services, revenue cycle management, hosting services and CAHPS support; and 3) solution deployment services, technical services, software optimization and readiness, and learning and training services.

VGM offers leadership guidance
WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM & Associates has released the first of four playbooks planned for 2020. The first playbook focuses on leadership and delves into everything from leading with emotional intelligence to changing company culture. The other three playbooks will focus on human capital, data and technology. The playbooks are free for VGM members.

HomeCare Connect adds text service
WINTER PARK, Fla. – HomeCare Connect has launched TextConnect, a free texting service. During its initial contact with an injured worker, the company will now ask if they prefer to communicate via texts or phone calls. “Texting is convenient and fast,” said Vonesa Wenzel, managing partner. “People tend to send calls from unknown numbers to voicemail and end up playing phone tag with the clinical care coordinator. With TextConnect, injured workers and their families respond at their convenience.” HomeCare Connect developed its TextConnect technology internally, integrating it into its proprietary, HIPAA-compliant CareLink platform. Care coordinators text to check in with injured workers and answer their questions, and CareLink automatically texts injured workers regarding nursing visits, DME deliveries, and home modification and prosthetics updates. While piloting the service, HomeCare Connect found that 72% preferred text and that texting improved patient engagement. “Injured workers ask questions and tell us how they’re doing more often,” Wenzel said. “When patients are well informed and feel heard, they take a more proactive role in their treatment and express higher satisfaction with their care.”

GCE rolls out remote monitoring platform in Europe
HAYDOCK, U.K. – GCE Healthcare has launched a secure online platform to allow home oxygen providers in Europe to remotely monitor GCE’s Zen-O portable oxygen concentrator. The Clarity platform has been available in the U.S. since 2018. The information provided by the platform ranges from flow to device alerts, oxygen purity, device location and battery life. “With Clarity, home oxygen providers can see how their Zen-O devices are performing, giving them visibility of their POC fleet and the ability to act if need be,” said Donald Oleforo, product manager for homecare, GCE Group. GCE plans to enable its smaller Zen-O lite POC on the Clarity platform later this year.

Brightree enhances patient intake tool
ATLANTA – Brightree announced key enhancements to its patient intake management software at Medtrade Spring this week that streamline and shorten the intake process for HME providers. The company has redesigned its Comprehensive Patient Intake, available with its Business Management Software, to address top pain points, including challenges related to incomplete documentation, prequalifying products, training new employees, disseminating contextual insurance knowledge and addressing inefficient workflows. “We are excited to share the new Comprehensive Patient Intake feature, which was developed in response to many conversations with HME providers over the years and which we are confident will both expedite and strengthen the intake process, while allowing providers to spend more time delivering quality patient care,” said Rob Boeye, executive vice president of HME. Comprehensive Patient Intake now includes, among other things, a consolidated intake form with sales order creation capabilities, all available on a singe page. The form includes patient demographics, diagnostic information and qualification questions, along with contextual information explaining each requirement and recommended actions.

Altimate Medical names new leader
MORTON, Minn. – The board of directors at Altimate Medical has appointed Paul Hickey president and CEO. He succeeds Todd Tholkes, who is retiring after leading the company for more than two decades. Tholkes will remain a board member. Hickey comes to Altimate Medical with more than 25 years of experience in medical devices, including leadership roles in marketing, R&D, clinical and reimbursement. He most recently served as senior vice president of marketing and reimbursement at EnteroMedics. He also serves on the board of directors at Excelen Center for Bone & Joint Research and Education. Altimate Medical manufactures standing and related technologies, including the EasyStand and Zing brands.

BOC nabs 10th Stevie Award
OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Board of Certification/Accreditation is a winner’s in this year’s Stevie Awards competition for sales and customer service. It’s BOC’s 10th Stevie Award since 2013. The company won a Gold Stevie Award for Sales and Customer Service in the “Best Use of Technology in Customer Service” category, recognizing its focus on improving customer service by creating a better website experience. In 2018, BOC launched a project to enhance its brand, improve its customer experience and simplify the application and renewal process for accreditation and certification, culminating in 2019, with the launch of a new website. “Our website is an important part of our customer experience and an extension of our outstanding service team,” said Judi Knott, chief strategy and marketing officer. “Our goal was to improve navigation so customers could find the information they needed quickly and easily. Our customer surveys after the launch tell us that we were successful.” The Stevie Awards were created to honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and working professionals worldwide. Winners were announced Feb. 28 in Las Vegas.

CQRC backs AHRQ report
WASHINGTON – The Council for Quality Respiratory Care has highlighted a new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that found patients who use home respiratory therapies tend to experience better health outcomes than those who do not. The AHRQ, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, analyzed 68 studies covering 53,733 patients to evaluate home noninvasive positive pressure ventilation in adults with chronic respiratory failure in terms of initiation, continuation, effectiveness, adverse events, equipment parameters and required respiratory services. The agency specifically examined home mechanical ventilators (HMV), bi-level positive airway pressure devices (BPAP) and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices. Specifically, it found patients with COPD who used BPAP devices experienced lower mortality, intubations and hospital admissions compared to COPD patients who did not use a device, while patients who used an HMV experienced fewer hospital admissions on the whole. “The results of AHRQ’s rigorous analysis show once again the tremendously positive clinical impact home respiratory supplies and equipment have on Americans with chronic respiratory failure,” said Dan Starck, chairman of CQRC. “The importance of home respiratory therapies in significantly decreasing mortality, intubations, and hospital admissions rates cannot be overstated. Because these therapies help chronic respiratory patients live longer, healthier lives, the Department of Health and Human Services must ensure that reimbursement for home noninvasive positive pressure ventilation systems remains adequate—both in the competitive and noncompetitive bid areas.” CMS included non-invasive vents in Round 2021 of competitive bidding, slated to start Jan. 1.

Sleep apnea sufferers downplay treatment, Philips survey finds
AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands – Thirty percent of people with sleep apnea somewhat or completely agree that they don’t think it’s necessary to be treated for sleep apnea, according to a new sleep survey from Royal Philips. Thirty nine percent of them somewhat or completely agree treatment for sleep apnea is worse than the disease itself, and nearly half of them have never been prescribed CPAP therapy. Yet 71% of those who use CPAP therapy say the benefits outweigh the convenience and 71% say that their sleep has improved since starting CPAP therapy. To conduct the survey, “Wake Up Call: Global Sleep Satisfaction Trends,” Philips surveyed more than 13,000 adults in 13 countries to capture attitudes, perceptions and behaviors around sleep. More broadly, only 49% of people report being satisfied with their sleep, with worry/stress reported by 33% as the most limiting factor to a good night’s sleep, according to the survey. Interestingly, the company found fewer people in 2020 are taking action to improve sleep compared to 2019. “The decrease in people taking action to improve sleep is alarming, especially when it is clear people around the world deeply value sleep,” said Mark Aloia, PhD, Global Lead for Behavior Change, Sleep & Respiratory Care at Philips. “Sleep deficit impacts people both mentally and physically, so we need to educate people on available sleep resources and empower them with the confidence that their efforts will pay off. As we head into the next decade, Philips is focused on designing a future where technology leveraged across the entire sleep ecosystem can help people get the most out of their lives.” Factors putting quality sleep at risk stem from both social and technology distractions, the survey found. For example, despite experts’ recommendations, almost four in 10 report using their phones right before falling asleep (39%) or as soon as they wake up (39%). The desire to get help is there, however, with 60% agreeing they are interested in new information or strategies to help them get better sleep, the survey found. A new data point this year: 15% have tried or currently use either marijuana or CBD oil to better their sleep.

Convaid takes Etac name
TORRANCE, Calif. – Convaid | R82 will adopt the Etac name, nearly four years after its acquisition by the company. “By adopting the Etac name, we take the first step of making it easier to get to know our company and explore our full offering,” Convaid stated. “Many know at least one of our product brands but are not aware of our complete family of products.” Etac’s brands include Convaid, R82, Molift, Immedia and Star, which together offer pediatric and adult mobility products, assistive devices and patient handling equipment for all daily needs. Convaid noted that its name may be changing but what won’t change: shipping and billing addresses, tax identification and additional invoicing information.

Medtrade Spring attendees pick top products   
LAS VEGAS – Ageless Innovation’s Joy for All Companion Pets won the Gold Award in the New Product Pavilion Providers’ Choice Awards at Medtrade Spring. Philips Respironics won the Silver Award for its Mask Selector, and Trust Care won the Providers’ Choice Award for its Let’s Move Rollator. The awards are sponsored each year by HomeCare Magazine. Medtrade Spring took place March 3-5 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.