Companies in the News

Patient Care buys Caring Companions

Chemed’s (Cincinnati) Patient Care (West Orange, NJ) subsidiary acquired the assets of Caring Companions of the North Shore (Chicago). The purchase price for the business was not disclosed, but officials said Caring Companions saw revenues of $2.1 million in FY98. The company employs roughly 100 caregivers.

Last defendants in Columbia case take stand

The final two defendants in the fraud case against Columbia/HCA Healthcare (Nashville, TN) took the stand last week. Robert Whiteside, the reimbursements director for Columbia and one of the three Columbia executives accused of defrauding federal healthcare programs, exchanged sharp remarks with Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen Haley in his second day of testimony, reported the Associated Press. He said he trusted his co-workers and accounting experts to properly file reimbursement requests with the government. Carl Lynn Dick testified later in the afternoon – the last defendant to take the stand.

Continental sees record FY98 revenues

Continental Home Healthcare (Vancouver, British Columbia) reported last week FY98 ended Dec. 31 revenues of $13.7 million, more than a 400% increase over FY97 revenues of $2.7 million. As the company changed its fiscal year end from April 30 to Dec. 31, effective 1997, the comparative audited values are for the abbreviated period ending Dec. 31, 1997. The full year annual revenues for 1997 reached $3.3 million.

Continental recorded a net income in FY98 for the first time in the company’s history. Net income in FY98 was $270,000, compared to a net loss in FY97 of $450,000.

The successful performance, the company said, was the result of two overriding factors: The company implemented an acquisition program in October 1997, which resulted in three successful purchases over the ensuing 12 months, and management has overseen significant internal growth from each of these acquired entities. Of the total revenues in FY98, $11 million was generated from these new acquisitions.

GF hires new CFO, looks for new exchange

Graham-Field Healthcare Products (Bayshore, NY) has appointed Robert Gluck senior vice president/CFO. Gluck is a senior associate with Jay Alix & Associates (JA&A), a company known for corporate turnarounds and financial restructurings. Gluck replaces President/CEO Jack McGregor who was serving as interim CFO pending the appointment of a successor to Soren Reynertson, who left the company two weeks ago to pursue a career in investment banking. Reynertson also had been a senior associate with JA&A.

GF’s board also has appointed Kenneth Jennings as a member of the board with a term expiring in 2001. Jennings is a noted management consultant in the healthcare field, GF officials said. He recently joined JA&A as a vice chairman. On the GF board, Jennings replaces David Delaney, who resigned early last week.

In other news, the company is searching for exchanges and markets on which to trade its common stock. It will leave the New York Stock Exchange at the close of trading on July 12 because it no longer meets listing critera. In the meantime, the company is meeting with representatives from different exchanges and markets. It expects to have an announcement soon. "We are taking steps to return the company to profitability and simultaneously exploring the sale of all or parts of the company," said McGregor.

Priority Healthcare launches new Web site

Priority Healthcare (Altamonte Springs, FL) has launched a hepatitis-specific Web site, www.hepatitisneighborhood.com, for the support of individuals with hepatitis, their families, and their physicians. The site, which became operational May 7, includes comprehensive information on the hepatitis virus, treatment options, reimbursement issues, and nutrition.

Bon Secours to expand home care agency

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration has decided that Bon Secours (Marriottsville, MD) can expand its home healthcare agency into Manatee County, FL. The company already offers home healthcare in Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee counties. It bought the offices of Independent Home Health Services in those areas last year. Despite the problems of Medicare reimbursement facing the home health industry, Bon Secours is prepared for the expansion, said a company spokeswoman.

MJ Home Care buys Homechoice

MJ Home Care (Memphis, TN) purchased Homechoice Health Services from Homecare (McKenzie, TN) for an undisclosed price. MJ is a new company that is licensed for home healthcare services in six Tennessee counties. Michael Glenn, who owns the firm, said he set up the company to acquire Homechoice and may make other acquisitions, reported the Commercial Appeal in Memphis.

HCFA awards 3M with contract

The Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA; Baltimore) has awarded 3M Health Information Systems (St. Paul, MN) a contract to provide analytical and clinical services associated with the development and implementation of a Medicare prospective payment system (PPS). Under the contract, 3M will help HCFA evaluate comments on the proposed use of ambulatory payment classifications as the basis for prospective payment for Medicare hospital outpatient and ambulatory surgical center services. It will also recommend to HCFA modifications to the classifications and assist HCFA in preparing written responses to the comments.

NewCare files for bankruptcy

NewCare Health Corp. (Atlanta) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, reported the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The filing did not surprise the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), which had been keeping an eye on the company to make sure the quality of patient care does not deteriorate. The company’s problems stem from reduced Medicare payments, said Ruben King-Shaw, director of AHCA.

Nyer to offer online home health products

Nyer Medical Group (Bangor, ME) will begin selling home healthcare products online at medicalmailorder.com. The company is establishing a subsidiary where people can buy incontinence products, as well as bathroom safety equipment, wheelchairs, and lift recliners. The online site will take the orders and ship them for free directly to the buyer’s home. Chairman Sam Nyer expects the site will generate $10 million in sales within the first year, reported the Bangor Daily News. He also said he doesn’t yet know whether to offer shares in medicalmailorder.com through an initial public offering.

Sunrise wheelchair receives awards

Sunrise Medical’s (Carlsbad, CA) Quickie XTR manual wheelchair was named a bronze winner in the 1999 Industrial Design Excellence Awards program sponsored by BusinessWeek magazine. It is the second award in a month that the chair won. It received the gold Medical Design Excellence Award presented during the Medical Design & Manufacturing Conference in May.

Tenet merges home care programs

Tenet Healthcare Corp. (Santa Barbara, CA) is closing down its hospice program at Medical College of Philadelphia Hospital and merging the Graduate Home Care program with one at Elkins Park Hospital in order to become more efficient, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer. The home health agency employs 15 registered nurses who each visit six people daily. The company is also having trouble selling three hospitals in Florida because they lost a total of $8 million last year and the area has a lot more hospital beds than patients. All three hospitals, Memorial Hospital, Town & Country Hospital, and Palms of Pasadena Hospital, have home health services.