In brief: PHE extension, AdaptHealth’s public offering, Tricare update

A number of provisions are tied to PHE, including Medicare’s 25/75 blended reimbursement rates for non-rural, non-bid areas
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Thursday, July 2, 2020

WASHINGTON – It appears the Department of Health and Human Services will extend the current public health emergency.

Both AAHomecare and the VGM Group have pointed to a June 29 tweet posted by Michael Caputo, HHS assistant secretary for public affairs, that said: “HHS expects to renew the public health emergency due to COVID-19 before it expires. We have already renewed this PHE once.”

HHS first put the PHE in place on Jan. 27. It renewed the PHE on April 26 for another 90 days.

Renewing the PHE for a second time would likely extend the emergency through September.

There are several provisions that are tied to the duration of the PHE, including:

Medicare’s 25/75 blended reimbursement rates for non-rural, non-bid areas

Waivers of NCDs and LCDs that point to clinical indications for coverage for respiratory equipment, as well as face-to-face evaluations

Waivers of certain telehealth restrictions

A 6.2% increase to the federal government’s matching funds for Medicaid programs

CMS makes first move to permanently incorporate telehealth in care

WASHINGTON – CMS is proposing to allow home health agencies to continue to report the costs of telehealth as allowable administrative costs on line 5 of the home health agency cost report, according to a proposed rule. The agency proposes modifying the instructions regarding line 5 to reflect broader use of telecommunications technology. Additionally, CMS proposes to include not only remote patient monitoring but also other communications or monitoring services, consistent with the plan of care for the individual. “Because stakeholders have identified significant up-front costs in incorporating and evaluating various forms of telecommunications systems into home health care, this would allow HHAs to confidently plan for the continued inclusion of telecommunications systems under the Medicare home health benefit and increase the tools available to promote patient involvement and autonomy and potentially more efficient home health care,” the rule states.

AdaptHealth raises capital

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. – AdaptHealth has commenced a public offering of 6.5 million shares of its Class A common stock, subject to market and other conditions. In conjunction with the offering, the company intends to grant to the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 975,000 additional shares of Class A common stock. AdaptHealth plans to use the net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes, including acquisitions and other business opportunities, capital expenditures and working capital. The closing of the company’s previously announced acquisitions of Solara Medical Supplies and ActivStyle Holdings are not dependent on the offering, and the offering is not dependent on the closing of the acquisitions. At press time, AdaptHealth was trading at $15.94 per share.

UPitt launches new master’s degree to build ATP workforce

PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology will launch a new 35-credit Master of Rehabilitation Technology (MRT) degree in the fall semester of 2020. The goal: focus more on practical applications and the skills necessary for students to seek employment as an ATP in a growing job market. “Given an aging population who want to age in place and people surviving and living longer with disabilities, the demand for ATPs will only continue to grow and be recognized as a health profession,” said Mark Schmeler, PhD, OTR/L, ATP, associate professor and vice chairman for education and training at RST. “We want to promote this great profession, especially to bright young minds coming out of undergraduate programs.” The degree can be completed in one year of full-time or part-time study. It comprises weekly remote classes, as well as in-person labs conducted over the course of one four-day weekend per semester in Pittsburgh. UPitt’s RST is also offering a 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Rehabilitation Technology.

Protech Home Medical raises more than $28.8 million

CINCINNATI – Protech Home Medical has closed its previously announced offering of about 25 million units at a price of $1.15 per unit for aggregate proceeds of about $28.8 million, which includes the exercise in full of the 15% over-allotment option. The company has also closed: its previously announced brokered private placement of 1.75 million units at the issue price for additional gross proceeds of about $2 million, and its non-brokered private placement of 927,825 units at the issue price for additional gross proceeds of about $1 million. Protech will use the net proceeds of the offering to increase its cash position and complete strategic acquisitions. “We are excited to further execute on our growth strategy and this injection of capital will allow for an aggressive acceleration of our plan,” said Greg Crawford, CEO and chairman.

CPAP Store USA expands in Texas

LOS ANGELES – CPAP Store USA has opened its second retail store in Texas. The store in Dallas offers a full line of respiratory supplies, including CPAP and BiPAP machines with full face, nasal and nasal pillows masks, oxygen concentrators, nebulizers and more. “CPAP Store USA has purposefully chosen Dallas for their new store location because we believe this community and the surrounding areas will benefit from having a walk-in storefront CPAP store to shop and purchase supplies where we also offer a complimentary concierge service of mask fittings,” said Marina Berberyan, brand ambassador. CPAP Store USA has partnership opportunities available in every state. It currently has stores in Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Agoura Hills, Calif.; and North Richland Hills, Texas.

AAH provides update on Tricare and COVID-19 relief

WASHINGTON – Tricare East contractor Human Military loaded new reimbursement rates authorized by the CARES Act into their system on June 3, according to AAHomecare. Claims from that day forward should reflect the new rates. Humana Military is now working on adjustments retroactive to the start date for the act. AAHomecare has reached out to Tricare West contractor HealthNet for an update on its efforts to implement relief provisions in the CARES Act. Tricare has also confirmed that it’s waiving cost share for testing and for telehealth services related to COVID-19, but not for respiratory products, unlike many other third-party payers.

Rehab short takes: A CRT bill and a request for reconsideration

MADISON, Wis. – State Sen. Kevin Daley has introduced Michigan Senate Bill 855 to establish separate recognition for complex rehab technology within the Medicaid program. This legislation will help protect access to these critical products and related services for children and adults with significant disabilities. NCART provided testimony at a Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee hearing on June 23, along with the Michigan Home Care and Hospice Association (which led the initiative), the University of Michigan Wheelchair Seating Service and The Clinician Task Force…The ITEM Coalition is seeking a request for reconsideration of the National Coverage for Mobility Assistive Equipment to include coverage of power seat elevation and power standing systems on Group 3 complex rehab power wheelchairs.

CareCentrix expands to Medicaid managed care

HARTFORD, Conn. – CareCentrix is expanding its services to managed Medicaid health plans and has named Scott Markovich to serve as its general manager of Medicaid. As Medicaid plans focus on tightening budgets, CareCentrix says it improves care coordination and reduces costs through value-based contracts and guaranteed savings for post-acute and home services. “Managed Medicaid is a critical part of the U.S. health care system, providing millions of vulnerable Americans with access to high-quality care,” said CareCentrix CEO John Driscoll. “As states tighten budgets—while membership grows—payers can help states find new ways to lower costs and improve outcomes.” Prior to joining CareCentrix, Markovich was the regional vice president for the Midwest Region and vice president of business development at Aetna Medicaid. He also served as president of Magellan Complete Care, where he led the creation of the nation’s first Medicaid Health Plan for individuals with serious mental illness.

BOC names Vietnam vet first ‘Certificant of the Year’

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) has named David E. Evans, BOCP Emeritus, as the recipient of its first “Certificant of the Year” award. The award was established to honor a BOC-certified professional for his or her outstanding contributions to their profession, including commitments to service, research and outreach. Evans has devoted his career to providing care and support to those who have suffered traumatic injuries, many related to military service, resulting in amputation. As a Vietnam veteran who lost both of his legs below the knee while in combat, Evans is able to connect with and care for patients in a personal and meaningful way. For more than 30 years, he has provided prosthetic legs and arms for more than 3,000 people around the world who have been wounded in war zones, as well as victims of mining incidents, gunshots and other conflict-related circumstances. “I am honored to receive BOC’s Certificant of the Year award,” said Evans, who is retiring this year but remains connected to BOC in Emeritus status. “I have dedicated my life to helping others, based on my own experiences as a bilateral amputee. I have assisted many patients who experienced something similar, enhancing their lives through prosthetics in both field and clinical settings.”

Stander, TrustCare ink distributor deal

LOGAN, Utah – Stander Inc. will serve as the exclusive North American distributor of TrustCare AB, a Swedish manufacturer of rollators and ancillary products. “Stander has always prided itself on creating quality innovative solutions to help people live more safely, comfortably and independently, so we jumped at the opportunity to add TrustCare’s outstanding, Swedish-designed mobility products to our mix,” said Brandon Birch, Stander’s CEO. Stander has a retail network consisting of more than 30,000 durable medical equipment providers and pharmacies in the U.S. and Canada.

SECO USA to donate vents to underserved Black communities

ROCKVILLE, Md. – SECO USA will donate several new ventilators to hospitals in Black communities. Biorespira Pulmonary Ventilators are non-invasive pulmonary ventilators that deliver oxygen to patients with difficulty breathing in a closed loop system and are easily operated by nurses and in-home care providers. By prioritizing the donation of Biorespira Pulmonary Ventilators to facilities in Black communities, SECO USA hopes to reach people who too often have to wait for the most effective health care in times of crisis. “At SECO USA, we feel it is vital to make the life-saving capabilities of Biorespira available to people in Black communities in the United States,” said Greg Nicoloso, CEO for SECO USA. “SECO USA has partnered with IBD to bring the Biorespira Pulmonary Ventilator to the U.S. market—our goal with this donation program is to deliver this vital capability to under-resourced hotspots in time to reduce deaths from COVID-19.”

F&P’s Evora gets U.S. clearance

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – Fisher & Paykel has received regulatory clearance for its F&P Evora nasal mask in the United State. The mask features CapFit headgear, which is designed for patients to put on like a baseball cap. In a clinical trial, 98% of patients said it was simple to put on and take off in the dark. The Evora also features a “floating” seal, which sits inside stability wings, allowing for freedom of movement during sleep while keeping the mask comfortably in place.

Short takes: NSM, Aeroflow, Shoplet

Nashville, Tenn.-based National Seating & Mobility has been recognized as a 2020 Top Workplaces winner by The Tennessean. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by Energage. “NSM is honored to be named a Middle Tennessee Top Workplace again this year,” said Bill Mixon, NSM CEO. “Our mission-centered culture of leadership is foundational to who we are as a company. This has been vitally important in recent months as our company, industry and country have faced a global pandemic. Although it has been challenging for us all, I have been proud to witness our team members come together in incredible ways to support each other and the individuals we serve”…Asheville, N.C.-based Aeroflow Healthcare has donated $10,000 to the Junior League of Charleston Diaper Bank. The donation will help to fund needed diapers and supplies for distribution to children and families in Charleston, S.C., and surrounding areas. Since the COVID-19 outbreak in early March, the Junior League of Charleston has distributed more than 60,750 diapers to families in the area, impacting 1,270 children and their families…Bill Leonard, the former director of e-commerce at Cardinal Health, has been named vice president of business development at Shoplet.com. “His vast experience will further guide us to make additional investments and expansions within the medical supply category,” said Tony Ellison, CEO of Shoplet. Leonard has more than 25 years of experience in home care medical supplies, building a track record of creating differentiated solutions and value-add strategies.