SEATTLE – Amazon has introduced Halo Rise, a multi-purpose bedside tracker to help users sleep. 

The device uses built-in sensor technology to provide accurate insights and personalized sleep analysis, the company says. 

“Quality sleep is an incredibly important factor in our overall health and well-being,” said Melissa Cha, vice president of Amazon Smart Home and Health. “In today’s busy world, getting more and better sleep is one of the areas that customers ask us about the most, which is why we’re tackling sleep head on. Halo Rise is designed to work intelligently in the background and give you an entirely new and effortless way to manage your sleep and achieve sleep-life harmony.” 

Halo Rise, which costs $139.99 and comes with six months of Halo membership, will ship later this year. 

Powered by contactless, low-energy sensor technology and machine learning, the device accurately senses respiration and movement patterns to determine sleep stages throughout the night. It uses a sleep algorithm that has been trained and validated against overnight polysomnography—the clinical gold standard for sleep analysis. After a user wakes, they receive a detailed sleep summary, including a graph showing time spent in each sleep phase—REM, light and deep sleep—along with a sleep score. 

The device’s sensors also measure a room’s temperature, humidity and light levels throughout the night. 

Two new Next Day Access franchise locations opened 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Next Day Access, a provider of accessibility and mobility solutions, is pleased to announce the opening of a franchise location in Kansas City.  

The location is owned by April Springer, Chris Bakalars and Carl Loge. Bakalars and Loge bring nine years of franchise experience; Springer joined Next Day Access Minneapolis in 2020. 

“Joining Next Day Access was a new industry and career for me,” said Springer. “I have always wanted to own a business and provide a service that helps others.”  

Springer, Bakalars and Loge also operate a location in Pittsburgh. 

Next Day Access has also announced the opening of a franchise location in Fairfax, Va., owned by Ray Patel, Joseph Yu and Justin Nunes.  

Patel and Yu have more than 20 years in the restaurant hospitality industry; Nunes brings knowledge and years of experience in the construction and automotive industry. 

“We’re excited to join a new but strong and upcoming market,” said Patel. “With the tremendous amount of support from the Next Day Access team, we feel confident in being able to help people in our community with mobility solutions.”  

Next Day Access now has 27 locations in the U.S. and Canada. 

Hugh Chancy named NCPA president 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Community Pharmacists Association’s House of Delegates installed Hugh M. Chancy, RPh, as the 2022-23 president at the organization’s Annual Convention in Kansas City. 

Chancy is co-owner of Chancy Drugs, which includes five retail pharmacies and one closed-door pharmacy located throughout South Georgia. The business, which is celebrating more than 55 years of service, specializes in compounding, specialty packaging and enhanced clinical services. 

“The pandemic has been a kick-start for pharmacy practice transformation,” said Chancy in remarks to the delegates. “As a profession, we are finally looking at what we are capable of accomplishing differently. Because of this, payers and patients have greater expectations from us.” 

Chancy, a member of NCPA since 2000, has been involved with pharmacy associations on the state and national levels. He is currently serving on the boards of the Academy of Independent Pharmacies and PrescribeWellness. He is also past president of the Georgia Pharmacy Association. 

Other business from the convention: 

  • The House of Delegates also elected three new officers: 
    • Ben McNabb, PharmD, owner of Love Oak Pharmacy in Eastland, Texas; 
    • Ashley Seyfarth, PharmD, owner/pharmacist at Kare Drug Community Pharmacy, which has locations in Aztec and Bloomfield, N.M.; and 
    • Khanh-Long (Ken) Thai, PharmD, co-founder of 986 Degrees Corporation and owner/operator of multiple 986 Pharmacy locations throughout Southern California and Nevada. 
  • Additionally, delegates confirmed a slate of officers for the board of directors: 
    • President – Hugh Chancy, Hahira, Ga. 
    • President-elect – Lea Wolsoncroft, Birmingham, Ala. 
    • Chair – Jeff Harrell, Ilwaco, Wash.; Jonathan Marquess, Woodstock, Ga.; Dared Price, Winfield, Kan.; Kristen Riddle, Conway, Ark.; and Christian Tadrus, Moberly, Mo., Justin Wilson, Midwest City, Okla. 
    • Immediate past-president – Michele Belcher 

Judge allows test strip lawsuit to proceed 

NEWARK, N.J. – A judge for the U.S. District Court of New Jersey has ruled that Roche Diagnostics Corp. and LifeScan can move forward with lawsuits against Alliance Medical Holdings and its network of retail pharmacies. 

Roche, which is represented by Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, and LifeScan allege in their lawsuit that Alliance defrauded them by purchasing wholesale test strips on the secondary market and then marketing and selling them as higher-priced retail test strips.   

They allege that, between 2013 and 2017, Alliant collected millions in fraudulent reimbursement from insurers for retail strips that was up to three times the amount paid for the wholesale strips. Those insurers then collected rebates from Roche and LifeScan to offset the costs incurred through the allegedly fraudulent reimbursement.  

“The rebates were wrongfully issued because only retail strips were eligible for rebate and defendants did not dispense retail strips, despite submitting insurance claims saying they had,” the lawsuit states. 

Plaintiffs include former CEO Jeffrey Smith, former CFO Justin Leavitt, former General Counsel David Grant, former Director of Pharmacy Operations Steven L. Hadlock, former Chief Pharmacy Officer Sahily Paoline, and former Chief Revenue Officer Blaine Smith, as well as several business partners, including investment groups and a national banking association. 

AAHomecare names six Homecare Champion nominees 

ATLANTA – AAHomecare has announced the six candidates for the Van Miller Homecare Champion award. They are: Greg Duckworth, senior vice president of Med-South Inc.; John Gallagher, vice president, VGM Group; Zach Gantt, president & CEO of Encore Healthcare; Gene Sego, president of Sego’s Home Medical Equipment; Jim Walsh, chairman of the board, VGM Group; and Kam Yuricich, executive director of OAMES. “We are proud to introduce the six outstanding candidates nominated by industry peers,” the association stated. “These industry veterans have combined over a century of DME experience as leaders and advocates. Their passion and success is evident and each has made an impact on the people they serve with.” Previous winners include Steve Ackerman, Karyn Estrella, Regina Gillispie and Gary Sheehan. The award will be presented during the AAHomecare Update at Medtrade East in Atlanta on Oct. 25. 

OM opens nominations for awards recognizing diversity 

RICHMOND, Va. – Owens & Minor seeks nominations for the 2022 Supplier Diversity Awards in honor of the legacy of Earl G. Reubel, entrepreneur and co-founder of Kerma, a family-owned veteran-minority owned company. The annual awards recognize people and organizations that demonstrate an active, sustained commitment to advocating for greater supplier diversity in the health care supply chain for diverse or underrepresented populations. “We’re proud to once again honor Earl by helping to shine a light on the people and organizations that are as committed as he was to fostering greater diversity across all facets of the health care supply chain, including our suppliers,” said Edward A. Pesicka, president and CEO, Owens & Minor. “As long-time partners of the Reubel family and Kerma Medical, working with them to continue expanding supplier diversity in our industry is truly an honor.” Nominations can be submitted by visiting the awards page on the Owens & Minor website. Submissions are reviewed by the awards committee, with winners chosen across three categories: Civic Leader of the Year, Diverse Enterprise of the Year and Large Corporation of the Year. The deadline for nomination submissions is Nov. 18, 2022. Winners of all three categories will be announced at the virtual Healthcare Supplier Diversity Alliance (HSDA) Annual Meeting on Dec. 8, 2022. 

NHIA named COVID Hero of New York 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – At its Annual Meeting on Sept. 28, The National Home Infusion Association was honored as a “COVID Hero of New York” by NewYorkBIO. The awards showcase members of NewYorkBIO who were at “ground zero” when the pandemic swept the United States and pulled together to keep Americans and America’s health care workforce safe. “NewYorkBIO was pleased to honor a number of individuals as COVID Heroes. I am in awe of the work that Connie (Sullivan, NCPA CEO0 and her colleagues at NHIA did to ensure that patients had access to the COVID treatments they needed in a safe environment like home, including nursing homes,” said Jennifer Hawks Bland, CEO NewYorkBIO. The award was presented to NHIA on behalf of its member pharmacies that participated in a pilot program to administer the life-saving monoclonal antibodies to nursing home residents and staff at the beginning of the pandemic. Infusion pharmacies track and report patient outcomes, which helped the association secure Medicare reimbursement for home administration of monoclonals to patients for whom clinic-based infusions are not feasible or clinically appropriate. NewYorkBIO is a group that brings together nearly 300 of the state’s bioscience companies, universities, research institutions and others dedicated to advancing life science research and commercialization. 

Last call: Medtrade 2023 speaker presentations 

DALLAS – The deadline for speaker presentations submissions for Medtrade 2023 is Oct. 17. Show organizers, including the Educational Advisory Board, are accepting submissions for pre-selected topics that include: audits, business operations, contractor updates, federal legislative and regulatory, leadership, legal, payer relations, products, services, sales and marketing, state legislative and regulatory, retail and technology. While there is some flexibility in the specific content for the program, the content must adhere to the description and overarching objectives outlined. For more information, or to submit: https://medtrade.com/call-for-speakers/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=mc&utm_campaign=290018 

Invacare announces additional draw of term loans 

ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare has announced the consummation of additional draws of an aggregate of $18.5 million of term loans pursuant to its credit agreement with certain funds managed by Highbridge Capital Management. Additional commitments of $19.5 million remain available under the Amended Highbridge Loan Agreement, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions set forth therein. Concurrently with the additional draws, the company consummated the additional closings under the exchange agreements previously entered into with Highbridge and exchanged $13.825 million in aggregate principal amount of 4.25% convertible senior notes due 2026 for (i) $5.186 million in aggregate principal amount of additional 5.68% convertible senior secured notes due 2026, Tranche I, and (ii) $5.183 million in aggregate principal amount of additional 5.68% convertible senior secured notes due 2026, Tranche II. 

Survey: More than half of US internet households connected to health devices 

ADDISON, Texas – More than 14 million U.S. internet households have used an independent living solution, such as PERS, medical alert systems or a smart home solution, according to Park Associates. Additionally, 54% of U.S. internet households now have a connected health device and are looking for new technology solutions that are integrated and focus on communication, fall detection and safety notifications, especially around fire, water and gas detections. “The ideal connected home will not only make life safer and healthier for the senior, but also less stressful for the caregiver,” said Andy Droney, senior director of health and innovation programs at ADT. “In the connected health industry, we need to reimagine the role that smart home devices, security devices and other in-home devices play for those wishing to age in place and provide solutions that are insightful, interoperable and preventative.” Parks Associates will share research from its quarterly survey of 10,000 internet households on Oct. 6 during “Seniors and Caretakers: Living Independently,” the next session in the firm’s 9th annual Connected Health Summit. The conference is sponsored by ADT Medical Alert, Alarm.com, EarlySense, Johnson Controls, Rapid Response Monitoring, Becklar and Independa.  

NCPA launches reality series 

KANSAS CITY – The National Community Pharmacists Association will debut a new educational reality series called “Show Me” this month. The series is styled after popular TV makeover shows, only the stars are real pharmacists who need help getting certain aspects of their businesses on track. The first season of the series will focus on immunizations. “We wanted to do something different, something that would be fun, something that can be shared, and something that pharmacists will talk about,” said B. Douglas Hoey, NCPA CEO. “It’s an educational series that tells a story, and we think that makes it interesting.” The NCPA Innovation Center announced the series, which is sponsored by Pfizer, at the NCPA Annual Convention Oct. 1-4. This season features five pharmacists who are struggling with an immunization program that they can’t get off the ground, or market effectively or figure out a way to make profitable. After calling NCPA for help, the struggling pharmacists get a visit from one of their colleagues, a pharmacist from somewhere else in the country who’s doing it well. NCPA has released trailers for the first two episodes, which will premiere in the coming weeks on the association’s various internet platforms, including its website and YouTube channel, NCPAvids. 

 VGM Insurance makes Best Place to Work list 

WATERLOO, Iowa – VGM Insurance Services has been named in the annual Best Places to Work in Insurance program. The program recognizes employers for their performance in establishing workplaces where employees can thrive, enjoy their work and help their companies grow. “We are excited to once again be recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Insurance,” said Jim Nygren, president of VGM Insurance. “Our entire team understands that to support our customers, we must support each other. We’ve cultivated a culture that encourages collaboration and professional growth, allowing each employee owner to provide the exceptional service our customers deserve.” VGM Insurance has more than 30 years of experience providing specialty insurance programs to clients and partners across the company. As a 100% employee-owned company, it prides itself on its unique culture based on core values like “find the fun in your day” and “provide meaningful and memorable service.” Best Places to Work in Insurance is an annual sponsored content feature presented by the Custom Publishing unit of Business Insurance and Best Companies Group that lists the agents, brokers, insurance companies and other providers with the highest levels of employee engagement and satisfaction based on a free two-part assessment. The first part is a questionnaire completed by the employer about company policies, practices and demographics. The second is a confidential employee survey on engagement and satisfaction. The program divides employers into the categories of small, 25-249 employees; medium, 250-999 employees; and large, 1,000 or more employees. This year’s report features 100 companies of various sizes, from 25 employees to more than 4,000. The ranking and profiles of the winning companies will be unveiled in the November issue of Business Insurance and online at BusinessInsurance.com. 

Soleo Health adds 4th drug from Alnylam Pharmaceuticals 

FRISCO, Texas – Soleo Health has added AMVUTTRA (vutrisiran) to its specialty pharmacy portfolio to treat adults with the polyneuropathy of hereditary transthyretin-mediated (hATTR) amyloidosis. Soleo Health offers newly FDA-approved AMVUTTRA injections to patients in their homes (after an evaluation and recommendation by the treating physician) or at one of its ambulatory infusion centers (AICs) nationwide. “This marks the fourth therapy Soleo Health now offers from Alnylam Pharmaceuticals’ rare disease product portfolio, further strengthening our ability to care for more patients living with rare disease who benefit from innovative new therapies like AMVUTTRA,” said Drew Walk, Soleo Health CEO. Soleo Health employs specially trained interdisciplinary teams comprised of highly experienced pharmacists, registered nurses, reimbursement specialists and patient care ambassadors – each of whom is trained on the clinical profile and administration for AMVUTTRA. The company has 21 pharmacy locations with national nursing coverage and pharmacy licensure in 50 states, and is accredited by URAC, ACHC (with Distinction in Rare Disease and Orphan Drugs) and The Joint Commission. Additionally, the company operates more than 40 infusion centers throughout the U.S. 

OPGA names Woman of the Year 

WATERLOO, Iowa – Nina Bondre, an education specialist with Ottobock Healthcare, was named the 2022 O&P Woman of the Year at the Orthotic and Prosthetic Group of America’s booth at the AOPA National Assembly on Sept. 29. Bondre was honored for, among other things, co-forming a Diversity Council at Ottobock. She also started a mentorship program and led an Inclusion Workshop for the company’s North America executive team. The O&P Woman of the Year Award is presented to someone who has made significant contributions to her patients, community, business and the profession throughout her career. Bondre was named a finalist in August, along with Adrienne Hill, an area clinic manager with Hanger Clinic; Maggie Baumer, an area clinic business manager with Hanger Clinic; and Manisha Bhaskar, senior director of communications and development for the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists. The OPGA organizes the award each year.  

It’s official: Roy Jakobs to lead Philips 

AMSTERDAM – Royal Philips has announced that its shareholders on Sept. 30 appointed Roy Jakobs as the company’s next president and CEO effective Oct. 15, 2022. He succeeds Frans van Houten. “I am honored to be appointed as the next CEO of Philips, and together with our Philips colleagues continue to help improve people’s health and well-being with meaningful innovations,“ Jakobs said. “Philips is a unique company with a strong brand, more than 130 years of innovation power and a bright future as a leader in health technology solutions. I look forward to leading the company in a transparent way, empowering our people as we address the current challenges, while also shaping the next chapter of Philips.” Philips announced its plans to have Jakobs replace van Houten, who is nearing the end of his third term as president and CEO, in August. van Houten will act as an adviser to the company until April 30, 2023. 

NCPA Digest analyzes indie pharmacy market 

KANSAS CITY – National community pharmacies represented 34% of all retail pharmacies in the United States and a $78.5 billion marketplace, according to the 2022 NCPA Digest, sponsored by Cardinal Health. The digest identifies the wide variety of services offered by community pharmacies last year: 89% flu immunizations; 80% medical therapy management; 77% non-flu immunizations; 59% blood pressure monitoring; 55% compounding; and 48% long-term care services. Other highlights from the digest include the average prescription volume increased to 63,228 per store, compared to 57,678 in 2020, mostly attributable to COVID-19 vaccinations; the number of indie pharmacies was flat, changing 0.4%; the percentage of total prescriptions covered by Medicare Part D and Medicaid programs was 54%; and the percentage of pharmacies serving population areas of 50,000 or fewer was 80%.  

NCPA honors indie pharmacists 

KANSAS CITY – The National Community Pharmacists Association announced a number of award winners at its 124th Annual Convention on Oct. 2 in Kansas City, including Khanh-Long (Ken) Thai, PharmD, owner and operator of 986 Degrees Corp., as the 2022 NCPA Willard B. Simmons Independent Pharmacist of the Year. 986 Degrees is a pharmacy franchise that serves as a platform for pharmacists to become independent pharmacy owners. The award has been sponsored for the past 14 years by Upsher-Smith Laboratories. Other awards given at the event: Jim Martin, a pharmacist licensed in both Georgia and Texas as the 2022 Calvin J. Anthony Lifetime Achievement Award; independent community pharmacists, collectively, as the recipients of the 2022 Sharlea Leatherwood Memorial Trailblazer Award; and Marc Ost, co-owner of Eric’s RX Shoppe in Horsham, Pa., as the 2022 NARD Ownership Award. 

VirtuOx lends hand in wake of Hurricane Ian 

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – The VirtuOx corporate team, including founder and Chief Marketing Officer Kyle Miko, joined the Calvary Chapel Ft Lauderdale and Samaritans Purse on Oct. 5 to donate their time tom, help those affected by Hurricane Ian on the west coast of Florida. VirtuOx is also seeking donations of essential items for residents and relief workers: hygiene items, non-perishable food and baby food, first aid kits, water bottles, diapers (baby/adult), pull-ups, baby wipes, shovels, yard gloves and large yard waste bags. All donation items should be new. For those who want to donate items please mail to: VirtuOx, 5850 Coral Ridge Drive, Coral Springs, Fla., 33076.

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