HME News

NOV 2018

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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Vendors 20 WWW.HMENEWS.COM / NOVEMBER 2018 / HME NEWS Merits, Avid launch Precision Comfort E-PRESCRIBE C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 1 OBI ROBOT C O N T I N U E D F R O M P R E V I O U S PA G E BY LIZ BEAULIEU, Editor CAPE CORAL, Fla. – Merits Health Products and its complex rehab division Avid Rehab are one step closer to becoming a one-stop shop for that product category. Merits and Avid have launched a new divi- sion called Precision Comfort that manufac- tures seat backs and cushions. "There really aren't any more independent back and cushion companies out there any- more," said Chris Blackmore, director of busi- ness and product development. "They've all been bought by our competitors. So we had limited resources, if we didn't want to help out our competitors. We thought it would be a normal progression to create our own." Most recently, Permobil bought Comfort Company, which manufactures seating and positioning systems, in 2017. Merits and Avid have tapped Dave Leverette to lead Precision Medical as a designer and general man- ager. He was previously with Quantum Rehab for nine years and owned his own company designing and manufacturing seat- ing and positioning prod- ucts before that. "I've been doing this since 1994," he said. "I'm using my experience in this industry and other indus- tries to develop products that use technology and materials that are cutting edge." Merits and Avid will be manufacturing backs and cushions from a new manufactur- ing facility in Ringgold, Ga. "We thought to have a product the way we wanted it, we needed to have oversight from start to finish," Blackmore said. "When you consider the shipping costs (of manufactur- ing products overseas), this is still economi- cal." Merits and Avid planned to have prototype backs and cushions at Medtrade in October, and to launch three cushions in January and three backs in February. "For our dealers, this means they get our product 100% done," Blackmore said. "Every- thing will be already installed and set to spec by the dealer. It will roll off the pallet ready to roll." HME Dave Leverette C. Blackmore pleasures; everyone deserves the oppor- tunity to enjoy food. That's what Obi stands for. HME: Obi has a sleek, futuristic design. Stone: It challenges the status quo that beggars can't be choosers. Often, man- ufacturers choose function over form, because function is king in a reimburse- ment world. What Obi allows for is that feeling of, I want to go out in public, to experience my life, to eat with others. HME: You mentioned reimbursement. This isn't a Medicare coded and reim- bursed item, right? Stone: Technically, we're still not coded by CMS. When we first started, we could only offer Obi as an out-of-pocket, luxu- ry item. Many people were frustrated, to say the least. Over the past few years, we learned many different funding strategies that are utilized in the industry. HME: Has any type of insurer covered the device? Stone: We're not a coded item; however, if an individual obtains a letter of medi- cal necessity, there's a good chance it can get approved under a miscellaneous code. It's worth the effort and in most cases, we're able to help the individual through the process. At the end of the day, people ask two questions when they see Obi: Does it work for me and how do we pay for it? We're committed to help- ing people answer both of those to the best of our ability. HME: It sounds like it has been a long, but rewarding, journey, and that the company has turned a corner. Stone: We had no idea the magnitude of the mountain ahead of us in bringing this product to market. But each year, we make significant strides whether it be going viral to the public, interna- tional distribution around the world, or insurance reimbursement. We're defi- nitely growing and committed to deliv- ering independence and dignity to those around the world that wish for it. HME: The goal of some startups is to grow—and sell. What's the long-term strategy? Stone: We don't know what we're des- tined to do, but we know we're in the business of helping people. We know we have a great product and are open to the possibilities of what the market wants from a company like us. HME: How has your work at Obi led you to your desire for consulting healthcare companies looking to increase their mar- keting and social media efforts? Stone: I have found over the past three- plus years that I thrive in building relation- ships and community. I believe that each product or company creates a unique story between each interaction with a customer. I work with companies to help elicit these stories and share them as powerful word- of-mouth marketing. We are growing into a digital age where word-of-mouth and social referrals carry more weight than any sponsored ad or email campaign. It's time that we start embracing these new tech- nologies and our digital footprints, which give us opportunity for open, authentic communication with our cli ents. At the end of the day, community is our biggest currency. HME owned by Apria Healthcare, have been pro- viding demos and having conversations with CMS and MITRE about their platforms. Following the award of the contract to MITRE, CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced plans to make doctor offices a "fax free zone" by 2020, and vendors bet the agency will use DME for a pilot project toward this broader goal. "When piecing these two developments together, it definitely showcases the direc- tion that CMS is heading," Gelbard said. "DME seems to be a continuous category of experimentation, so it wouldn't shock me if CMS would use DME as the first category to eliminate faxing between providers and try to understand the results." Vendors also bet CMS rolls out e-prescrib- ing for DME much like the agency did for e-prescribing for prescription drugs—using a time-based mandate. "This is not something that's if, but when," Gelbard said. "We're already seeing some large health system partners and other innovative providers calling us and trying to get ahead of this." With CMS appearing to step on the gas on e-prescribing for DME, the conversation has turned from reactive to proactive, ven- dors say. "CMS's reaction to the direction this is going in is one of openness," said Ken Hodel, director of product management for Apria. "They feel there is an opportunity in DME to move away from the fax and to help qualify orders electronically." HME WELLSKY C O N T I N U E D F R O M P R E V I O U S PA G E on who you are and, internally, there can be some tribalism," he said. "Both prevent you from scaling up." Changes under WellSky range from a singular support line starting Feb. 1 to a $50 million investment in research and development, Miller says. "We'll be investing in a number of areas, but what you'll hear about most is our efforts to continually lead data-driven care and analytics," he said. "That drives down costs and drives up patient satisfaction, and that is job No. 1." HME ResMed renews patent battle with F&P SAN DIEGO – ResMed has filed a new petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission to stop the alleged infringement of its patent- ed technology by New Zealand-based Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. ResMed seeks an or- der banning the importation and sale in the U.S. of F&P's Simplus full-face mask, Eson nasal mask and Eson 2 nasal mask for alleg- edly infringing five ResMed patents related to mask system and cushion design. ResMed has also filed a new lawsuit in the U.S. Dis- trict Court for the Southern District of Cali- fornia seeking monetary damages, plus an infringement against future sales. F&P, which will contest the allegations, has cut its fiscal year 2019 net profit outlook due to expected legal expenses, according to news reports. F&P responds to ResMed IRVINE, Calif. – Fisher & Paykel Healthcare has filed a complaint with the U.S. Interna- tional Trade Commission seeking an exclu- sion order to prevent the import and sale of ResMed's AirFit P10 range of nasal pillows masks in the United States. The company alleges that ResMed's AirFit P10 masks, AirFit P10 for Her masks and AirFit P10 for AirMini masks infringe on five F&P patents. "Over the last 20 years, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare has built a significant portfolio of more than 2,000 issued and pending pat- ents," said Lewis Gradon, managing director and CEO. "We have developed unique mask technology that has provided improved care and outcomes for patients with OSA and we take infringement of our intellectual property rights very seriously." Motivo names new exec MILWAUKEE – Motivo has named Michael Lenzie CFO and COO to help ramp up the manufacturing of its Motivo Tour Walker in re- sponse to increasing customer demand, the company announced Sept. 11. Lenzie, who will be based at the company's headquarters in New Berlin, Wis., will also oversee ac- counting, supply chain and production. Be- fore joining Motivo, Lenzie served in various management roles at several industrial com- panies, including NABCO Entrances, Aqua- Chem and Cleaver-Brooks. He is a certified public accountant. MK debuts new website ANAHEIM, Calif. – MK Battery has rolled out a newly designed and enhanced corporate website. Highlighted features include more user-friendly product searches and applica- tion cross-referencing, as well as dealer look- up and distribution center locator tools. The new website,, has also been designed to include mobile responsive- ness for phones and tablets, and long-scroll pages to provide added content without ad- ditional clicks. CareCredit pays off for Pride Mobility EXETER, Pa. – Pride Mobility Products has seen an increase in provider retail sales thanks to CareCredit. "The purchasing power that CareCredit offers consumers, along with giving providers an added sales tool, creates an ease of transaction where everyone wins," said Micah Swick, direc- tor of Pride Sales. CareCredit is a health, beauty, wellness and personal care credit card accepted through a national network of more than 200,000 provider and retail locations. CALIF PROP 65 C O N T I N U E D F R O M P R E V I O U S PA G E regulations: lawsuits. Even before the updates went into effect earlier this year, Prop 65-related lawsuits topped $25.8 million in 2017, according to the office of the California attorney general. For other manufacturers like Cure Medical, the updates to the regulations serve as another talking point with its provider customers and users about its stance not to use chemicals like diphthal- ate to make its products flexible. "When there are options to create intermittent catheters that work just as well as those made with standard chemi- cals, there's really just no reason to use these chemicals anymore if you can avoid it," said John Anderson, CEO of Cure Medical. "Cure Medical believes it's the right thing to do, so we made the deci- sion to go without DEHP or any Prop 65 chemicals in our products." HME COMPLEX REHAB BRIEFS

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