In short: Medline funding, SoClean award, MAC opinions

NORTHFIELD, Ill. – Medline Industries has entered into an agreement to receive a majority investment from a group of private equity firms, including Blackstone, Carlyle Group and Hellman & Friedman, worth a reported $30-plus billion. 

Medline, which generated revenues of $17.5 billion in 2020, will use the new resources from the partnership to expand its product offerings, accelerate international expansion and continue to make new infrastructure investments to strengthen its global supply chain. 

“Making health care run better has been our focus for decades,” said Charlie Mills, CEO. “This investment from some of the world’s most experienced and successful private investment firms will enable us to accelerate that strategy, while preserving the family led culture that is core to our success.” 

Following the close of the deal, Medline will remain a privately held company led by the Mills family, which will remain the largest single shareholder. The entire senior management team will also stay in place. 

GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, is also part of the group making the investment. 

The investment is expected to be completed in late 2021 and is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. 

SoClean wins legal action 

Company awarded damages of up to $100K from each of 800-plus defendants 

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. – The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently issued an order in favor of SoClean in its legal action against 861 websites and web stores for allegedly marketing and selling products that are counterfeit and products that infringe on its intellectual property rights. 

The court’s order awards damages against the defendants of up to $100,000 each, which SoClean may seize from the defendant’s accounts, including those held with payment processors like Alipay, Amazon, eBay, PayPal and others. 

“We are very pleased with the court’s decision to hold the defendants accountable for their illicit activities,” said Robert Wilkins, CEO. “We’re committed to doing everything we can to uphold the integrity of our products for our customers and business partners who rely on us for safety and quality of life. We will also continue to vigorously protect our intellectual property and innovations in the marketplace.” 

The court’s order permanently enjoins the defendants and their associates from using SoClean’s “trade dress” – or any reproductions, counterfeit copies or colorable imitations of it – in connection with the distribution, marketing, advertising or sale of any item that is not a genuine SoClean product. 

MACs restart reviews 

WASHINGTON – The Medicare Administrative Contractors may now begin conducting post-payment medical reviews for dates of service later than March 2020, CMS has announced. 

In August 2020, the MACs resumed post-payment reviews of items and services with dates of service before March 2020. 

The Targeted Probe and Educate program, which involves intensive education to assess provider compliance through up to three rounds of review, will restart at a later date, CMS says. 

The MACs will continue to offer detailed review decisions and education, as appropriate, the agency says. 

Hospice Source makes acquisition in California 

DALLAS – Hospice Source has acquired Respiratory Therapy Home Care of Bellflower, Calif., further expanding its presence in the state.  

“Hospice Source is committed to providing exceptional patient care to all its hospice partners,” said Jeff West, CEO. “The acquisition of RTHC allows us to extend that passion for service to a greater number of Southern California hospice patients and hospice partners.” 

Founded in 1997, Hospice Source offers full-service DME to hospice providers from 62 locations in more than a dozen states. 

RTHC President Tim Hansen will transition to the Hospice Source team. 

“In contemplating the sale of our business after nearly 25 years, it was critically important that we found a buyer who has the same focus on excellent patient care,” he said. “Jeff and his team at Hospice Source fit that description to a T. I’m thrilled to be staying on with the Hospice Source team, with the goal of expanding our reach in the Eastern United States and beyond.” 

The latest acquisition is the company’s 14th in the past five years, including, in late 2020, the acquisition of Martinez, Calif.-based Superior Healthcare. 

Survey: Americans mostly unaware of sleep apnea 

DARIEN, Ill. – Nearly 70% of Americans who sleep with a bed partner report those partners snore while sleeping, according to a 2021 survey by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).  

Snoring can be an indicator of obstructive sleep apnea and AASM is asking Americans to consider, “Is it more than a snore?” 

“While not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, snoring is a warning sign that should be taken seriously,” said Dr. Kannan Ramar, AASM president. “If your bed partner snores, or if you’ve been told that you snore, then it is important to talk to a medical provider about screening or testing for sleep apnea. Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea can improve overall health and quality of life.” 

Nearly 30 million U.S. adults have obstructive sleep apnea, with about 23.5 million of those cases still undiagnosed, according to AASM. 

In the same survey, a quarter of Americans (26%) admitted they were not at all familiar with OSA, and nearly half (48%) acknowledged they do not know the symptoms of the disease. 

Permobil, Pirates surprise fan with custom wheelchair 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Permobil Foundation, in partnership with the Pittsburgh Pirates, LiveLikeLou and Phi Delta Theta, surprised a fan with a team-branded, custom power wheelchair at a home game on June 3. The reveal was part of the first-ever Lou Gehrig Day celebrations that Major League Baseball will hold each June in honor of Gehrig, who died of ALS. “We are honored to be part of the inaugural Lou Gehrig Day and to partner with MLB to raise awareness in the fight against ALS,” said Ashley Davis, executive director of the Permobil Foundation. “Our goal is to ensure that every person has the right to mobility and through impactful partnerships such as LiveLikeLou and Phi Delta Theta we help fulfill those needs.” 

OneDrop surpasses 25 billion data points 

NEW YORK – OneDrop, which provides solutions for people with chronic health conditions, has surpassed 25 billion biometric data points on its health platform. Those data points include glucose, A1C, blood pressure, weight, medications, food intake, physical activity, heart rate, other self-care data (e.g., sleep) and personal data (e.g., gender, year of diagnosis). “We can’t keep throwing money at treating the symptoms of sickness and neglect the investment in prevention required to keep people healthy,” said Jeff Dachis, One Drop CEO and founder. “Prevention is possible when we arm people with real-time information and empower them to make meaningful behavior changes that we know lead to sustained health and improved outcomes. One Drop uses artificial intelligence to forecast biomarkers (e.g., blood sugar and blood pressure) and offers real-time practical advice to change or reinforce behaviors. As our data wealth continues to grow in size and diversity, so will the strength of our predictive capabilities and the impact we drive on long-term outcomes and cost savings.” One Drop uses its data to train the proprietary machine learning algorithms behind its CE-marked eight-hour glucose forecasts, predictive capabilities for people using continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), CE-marked blood pressure insights, and long-term outcomes forecasts for diabetes-related biomarkers.  

Event news: NCPA, ISS 

Registration is now open for the National Community Pharmacists Association’s 2021 Annual Convention, Oct. 9-12 in Charlotte, N.C. This year’s in-person event is a great opportunity to reconnect with neighborhood pharmacy colleagues and allies at the premier event for owners and their staff, says NCPA President Brian Caswell. “Though travel was curbed and meetings were held online, in many ways, independent pharmacy came together as never before to serve our communities, adapt to the many challenges thrown our way, and help lead the fight against COVID,” says Caswell, owner of Wolkar Drug in Baxter Springs, Kan. “Our teams worked hard and demonstrated the value and the beauty of independent neighborhood pharmacy.” For more information or to register, go *here…The International Seating Symposium, which takes place Oct. 28-30 in Pittsburgh, is looking to get at least 100 followers on its social media channels, including on Facebook, Instagram (iss.pitt) and LinkedIn. It will award three free conference passes to supporters once it gets to 100 followers on each channel. 

Stock watch: Apria, Option Care Health 

Apria has announced a price to the public of $27 per share for a previously announced secondary offering of 4.5 million shares of common stock by a selling stockholder affiliated with Blackstone. The selling stockholder has also granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 675,000 additional shares of common stock. The offering is expected to close on June 14, 2021, subject to customary closing conditions…Option Care Health has announced that an affiliate of Madison Dearborn Partners has agreed to sell 15 million shares of the company’s common stock at a price to the public of $20 per share in an underwritten public offering, an increase from a previously announced 10 million shares. The selling stockholder has also granted the underwriter a 30-day option to purchase up to 2.25 million additional shares of common stock. The offering is expected to close on June 10, 2021. 

Abilities Expo returns with in-person events for 202

LOS ANGELES – The Abilities Expo will return to live events this year, kicking off with the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumberg, Ill., June 25-27, 2021. The free events offer an exhibit hall and workshops that explore vital areas of lifestyle support like employment guidance, financial planning, home accessibility, traveling and therapeutic activities. “We offer something for everyone in our content schedules—from workshops on travel or cannabis to events encouraging everyone to dance, play sports or stretch out those tired muscles,” said Christine Selinger, director of education and events. “Our schedule for each show is packed with new information and things to try.” Other events are planned for Houston, Phoenix, Toronto, New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. 

Soleo Health earns URAC accreditation 

FRISCO, Texas – Soleo Health’s Phoenix location has earned Specialty Pharmacy Accreditation from URAC, the leading independent accrediting organization focused on supporting the quality of health care through leadership, accreditation, measurement and innovation standards and programs. With this URAC Specialty Pharmacy Accreditation, Soleo Health Phoenix demonstrates the highest value and quality in delivering enhanced clinical services to patients, payers, manufacturers and providers. “We always strive to ensure the delivery of quality patient care, and the prominence of this URAC accreditation is further validation of our dedication to our patients and providers,” said Drew Walk, CEO. “It is a testament to the levels of care that our highly experienced interdisciplinary team of therapy care pharmacists, registered nurses and patient care specialists delivers as well as the stringent therapeutic protocols to which we adhere.”  

New executive hires: Inogen, Permobil 

Inogen has appointed Dr. Stanislav Glezer as executive vice president and chief medical officer. Glezer has more than 25 years of experience in clinical research and medical affair roles, most recently at Becton, Dickinson and Company as worldwide vice president of medical affairs for Diabetes Care.  “I look forward to contributing to the next phase of Inogen’s planned growth as we continue to seek ways to design patient centric outcomes studies to improve access to our best-in-class product offerings, enable prescribers to better serve their patients and enhance our market position and value for our stockholders,” said Glezer…Permobil has named Charlotta Nyberg as chief financial officer where she will play a pivotal role in driving sustainable long-term business growth and success through corporate development and profitability management. Nyberg has more than 20 years of experience in business finance, building new and emerging businesses and change management, most recently as vice president of corporate control at Swedish telecommunications multi-national Telia. “Her extensive experience will make an immediate impact as we navigate the current turbulent economic situation and continue to grow the business,” said Bengt Thorsson, CEO. 

Lifestyle Mobility Aids to transition to Rhythm Healthcare 

ST. PETERSBURGH, Fla. – Lifestyle Mobility Aids is changing its name to Rhythm Healthcare to better reflect the clinically complex nature of its products. The new name is also a nod to the company’s relationship with customers, says Doug Francis, president and CEO. “The new company name is meant to point toward the operating rhythm that exists between our provider partners and us,” he said. “Because we don’t connect directly with the consumer, there’s a real need for us to be ‘in sync’ and aligned with our partners.” The company will use both Lifestyle Mobility Aids and Rhythm Healthcare at the upcoming Medtrade shows, but it plans to complete the transition to Rhythm Healthcare by the end of the year. Lifestyle Mobility Aids launched a portable oxygen concentrator in December and a 5-liter stationary oxygen concentrator in March, and plans to launch a range of aerosol devices later this year. 

Rehab Medical supports 3,000th ramp build 

INDIANAPOLIS – Rehab Medical is supporting Servants at Work (SAWs) to raise awareness of the organization’s 3,000th wheelchair ramp build. SAWs, a faith-based nonprofit organization, has been building high-quality, removable and reusable wood ramps for those using wheelchairs, scooters or walkers since 2013. “SAWs is honored to partner with Rehab Medical for this milestone event since they’re one of the largest distributors for customer wheelchairs and our missions are so complimentary,” said Bob Richmond, executive director of SAWs. “We both want to improve the lives of people who need accessibility options to overcome physical disabilities and are freed from the confines of their homes with special chairs and ramps.” As part of their alliance, Rehab Medical is helping SAWs look for mobility users who live in central Indiana who would benefit from a ramp. Rehab Medical has also donated $3,000 toward the organization’s campaign to raise $30,000. “Rehab Medical has worked with SAWs in the past on a ramp build and it was a great experience,” said Kevin Gearheart, president of Rehab Medical. “Their ability to impact wheelchair users fits perfectly with our mission to Improve Lives.” To apply for the ramp build, go here. To donate, go here. 

BraunAbility, Q’STRAINT unite for customers 

INDIANAPOLIS – BraunAbility and Q’STRAINT have launched a new venture to accelerate innovation for their customers and keep pace with the technologies that are rapidly transforming the automotive landscape. As part of the venture, the two companies will work together to integrate the design process, setting the stage for systems-based solutions that will enhance safety, quality and reliability for the disability community. “Wheelchair passengers face such a segmented experience when they travel,” said Patrick Girardin, co-president of Q’STRAINT. “We see huge opportunities for integrating technologies and creating a new story, rewritten for inclusion. Together, we help ensure that new products create a more intuitive and effortless experience for our customers.” The venture will prioritize consumer innovation like QUANTUM, a system that offers wheelchair passengers of public transit buses complete independence by allowing them to secure themselves without assistance from the bus operator. Together, BraunAbility and Q’STRAINT do business in more than 70 countries, primarily in North America and Europe. 

Oventus Medical reorganizes with new president/COO and CFO 

BRISBANE, Australia – Oventus Medical has appointed John Cox as its president and COO. Cox was previously president and CEO of Somnera, where he developed a cloud-connected alternative to CPAP therapy and built out direct-to-consumer, customer engagement and channel partner programs. Oventus has tasked him with adapting the company’s go-to-market model and its patient services infrastructure to meet customer needs in a rapidly accelerating environment of virtual and telehealth-based marketing, diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnea. “John is a fantastic addition to the team and brings value and leadership in our critical areas of execution, especially in acceleration of our go-to-market strategy,” said CEO Chris Hart. “He will also continue to strengthen our operations by increasing efficiency and capacity at all levels of the organization.” Oventus has also appointed Jim Hunter as CFO, replacing Dan Parry, who is moving on to another opportunity. Hunter has more than 30 years of experience. 

NCART: ‘The time has come’ 

WASHINGTON – NCART has updated to allow advocates to send a pre-written email to their members of Congress asking them to permanently exempt accessories for complex rehab manual wheelchairs from competitive bidding pricing. “As we have been sharing, June 30 marks the end of the 18-month suspension preventing Medicare from inappropriately applying competitive bid program rates to CRT manual wheelchair accessories,” NCART stated in a bulletin. “The time has come for everyone in the CRT community to add their voices and request immediate action.” The email asks members of Congress to urge CMS leadership to take action before June 30 to stop the cuts and avoid the negative access consequences for people with disabilities who depend on complex rehab manual wheelchairs. 

Emmy award winner to kick off Heartland Conference 

WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM & Associates has announced Mark Scharenbroich as the keynote speaker for its 20th Heartland Conference, Sept. 13-15 in Waterloo, Iowa. “Mark is phenomenal at creating those authentic connections our members want with their customers and co-workers,” said Sarah Conger, vice president, corporate projects, VGM Group. “His messages are a great fit for our event, as connection is at the core of everything we do at Heartland.” Scharenbroich is best known for his award-winning book Nice Bike: Making Meaningful Connections on the Road of Life. He is also a National Speakers Association Hall of Fame inductee and an Emmy award winner. VGM members can register for Heartland with special early bird pricing until July 15.

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