HME News

SEP 2017

HME News is the monthly business newspaper for home medical equipment providers. This controlled circulation publication reaches 17,100 home medical equipment services providers, including traditional HME dealers & suppliers, hospital- and pharmacy-o

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Mobility HME NEWS / SE p TEM b E r 2017 / WWW . HMENEWS . C o M 19 NASHVILLE, Tenn. – National Seating & Mobility has acquired the mobility divi- sion of Wright & Filippis, positioning the company as the leading provider of complex rehab solutions in Michigan, it says. "Wright & Filippis is one of the coun- try's most respected providers of pros- thetics, orthotics, custom mobility prod- ucts and accessibility solutions," said Bill Mixon, CEO of NSM. "This acquisition NSM makes big play in Michigan allows both companies to focus on our areas of expertise to better serve clients in Michigan." NSM will take over Wright & Filip- pis' complex rehab operations in metro Detroit and Lansing. Wright & Filippis' mobility division in Flint will merge with an existing NSM branch in Freeland. NSM also operates a branch in Troy. Eighteen Wright & Filippis employees, including seven ATPs, will make the tran- sition to NSM. Wright & Filippis has been shedding different divisions in the past few years to zero in on its prosthetics and orthot- ics business. It sold its diabetes supply business in 2013, and its HME and respi- ratory businesses in 2014, leaving O&P and complex rehab and accessibility. In June, NSM also picked up Mobility Healthcare, with locations in Carrollton and Lewisville, Texas. hme MAN u ALS C O N T i N u E d f r O M p A G E 1 Legislation introduced in the House and Senate in 2016 sought to stop the cuts for accessories for both complex power and manual wheelchairs, but CMS included only power wheelchairs in its June 23 announcement. The reason: It could have to do with a bill back in 2008 that exempted com- plex rehab from the bid program. At the time, only power wheelchairs, not manual wheelchairs, were set to be included in the pro- gram and, therefore, the bill provided pro- tection only for those wheelchairs. " U n f o r t u n a t e l y, there has been an unintentional focus on power and once t h a t b a l l s t a r t e d moving it has been difficult to stop," C l a y b a c k s a i d . "That's one reason why we said, 'Let's clarify that with the 2016 legislation and include both.'" Stakeholders and their champions in Congress were able to stave off the cuts for accessories for complex power wheelchairs for a year in 2016 and six months in 2017. Not so for manual wheelchairs. "We're going back to congressio- nal leaders and saying, 'Thank you for championing this issue for power wheelchairs; now we're looking to complete the picture,'" Clayback said. It doesn't make sense to protect access to accessories for one product category and not the other, as complex manual wheelchair users also need, for example, special cushions to protect them from pressure sores. "Whether it's power or manual, they have a disability and they're sitting in a chair for 12 hours a day," Clayback said. "They have the same need and should have the same access." This has been a major point of emphasis during meetings on Capi- tol Hill to discuss the need to stop the cuts. "Equal access is vital," said Laura Weidner, senior director of federal gov- ernment relations for the National MS Society. "Legislation on this front is a heavy priority for us." hme HOME MODS C O N T i N u E d f r O M p r E v i O u S p A G E will help people age in place, but they're not working together," he said. "This is the beginning of a more organized movement." The second goal of the group is getting seniors behind the movement. No one disputes that the population is becoming increasingly gray and that aging in place is preferred and less costly, but without a financial incentive to modify their homes, it has been difficult to get seniors to act, Tenenbaum says. "It's similar to solar energy and hybrid cars—we started doing these things because there was an incentive to do it," he said. In this way, advocates for aging in place are also shifting the customer base for aging- in-place products and services from those who don't have money to those who do, Tenenbaum says. "You need to spend money to get the cred- it," he said. "Then, once the movement has traction and we have larger data sets on how it saves money, more widespread coverage (from the government and other payers) will follow suit." Accessible Home Improvement of Ameri- ca, a division of the VGM Group, has joined Tenenbaum on what has been, in many ways, a one-man crusade. AHIA has spon- sored HomesRenewed, and Jim Greatorex, vice president, sits on its board of directors. Greatorex said H.R. 1780 "wins" on every level—for the companies offering these products and services, for the consumers wanting to say in their homes, for the hos- pitals trying to prevent admissions, for the insurers looking to reduce costs. "It's a great opportunity where our indus- try, the HME industry, can be part of the solution," he said. hme THE CASE C O N T i N u E d f r O M p r E v i O u S p A G E "There is research that suggests $1,200 in investments in home modi- fications and equipment saves 25% of hospitalizations," said Louis Tenen- baum, founder of HomesRenewed. oN o THE r po TENTIAL INCENTI v ES "There are 7.3 million long-term care insurance policies out there right now and only 280,000 are collecting," Tenenbaum said. "That means about 7 million are ready to be opened, and with an average claim of $30,000, that's $211 billion of purchasing power. These poli- cies could provide premium discounts to policyholders with upgraded homes because they pay premiums longer and collect benefits at a later date." hme N SM C O N T i N u E d f r O M p r E v i O u S p A G E based on what makes the most sense and what provides the best care. By doing that, we have a higher probability at bet- ter outcomes, in conjunction with better satisfaction from referral sources." A happy and empowered workforce greases the wheels for NSM's larger goals of operational excellence ("We work to get a little better at everything we do every day, from the perspective of our cycle times and other aspects of the busi- ness," Mixon said) and growth. "We see a growing business as a robust business and a healthy business," he said. I f N S M 's c u r- rent growth is any i n d i c a t i o n , t h e company is both. It added 21 new b r a n c h e s , y e a r over year, in 2016- 17. In August, it added the complex rehab business of Wright & Filippis in Rochester Hills, Mich., and in June it acquired Mobil- ity Healthcare in C a r r o l l t o n a n d Lewisville, Texas. D e s p i t e r a p i d c o n s o l i d a t i o n i n t h e c o m p l e x rehab market in the past few years, "we believe there is still continued o p p o r t u n i t y t o pursue good com- panies that share our values," Mixon said. NSM is also fueling growth by ham- mering out exclusive distributor agree- ments with vendors (its latest is with WHILL, whose Model M is a more cash- oriented wheelchair) and expanding its home accessibility business, AccessNSM. "That's a multi-billion dollar market that's growing at 10%-plus," Mixon said. "By the end of 2017, we expect to have somewhere between 18 to 20 locations in the U.S. We are very bullish on that market." But at the end of the day, NSM is in the people business, Mixon says, and that means employees are central to its success. "They're our growth engine," he said. hme "They're professionals, so we don't dictate that," he said. "They make that decision based on what makes the most sense and what provides the best care. By doing that, we have a higher probability at better outcomes, in conjunction with better satisfaction from referral sources." Don Clayback Laura Weidner It's good to be 'green' f riends of d isabled Adults and Children was recognized by the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge for its continu- ing energy consumption reduction, it announced in a press release. "We are grateful for the recognition of f O d AC's longstanding green initiative by the ABBC," said Chris Brand, president and CEO of f O d AC. "Our repurposing and recycling program has always supplied much of our inventory to supply the needs of our clients, and keeps almost 300 tons of equipment and related parts out of landfills." f O d AC is a non- profit that has provided more than $10 million in d ME and supplies to people with injuries and disabilities. Briefs Heartland Mobility donates accessible van OMAHA, Neb. – Heartland Mobility joined forces with Chive Charities in July to donate an accessible van to the family of Nejis Tol- stedt, a seven year old with cerebral palsy. Tolstedt has CP due to a traumatic brain injury he incurred in his mother's womb during a car accident in 2009. The dona- tion is part of a larger initiative launched in 2016 by Chive Charities and BraunAbility to provide nearly 20 wheelchair accessible vehicles each year. To date, Chive Charities has provided 74 such vehicles, as well as 410 pieces of medical equipment. p eople in the news: d r. r ory Cooper Dr. Rory Cooper is stepping down as chair- man of the Department of Rehabilitation Science & Technology at the University of Pittsburgh to devote more time to directing the Human Engineering Research Labo- ratories (HERL) and serving as associate dean for inclusion in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS). Coo- per will remain chairman for a few months while the university evaluates and reorga- nizes the current structure of the Depart- ment of Rehabilitation Science & Technolo- gy, and its diverse programs and academic offerings.

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