Companies in in the News

Chemed declares cash dividend

Chemed (Cincinnati) declared a quarterly cash dividend of 53 cents before announcing a change in its dividend rate beginning in 2000. The 53 cent dividend will be paid Dec. 10 to shareholders of record Nov. 19. The company said it expects to begin declaring quarterly dividends in 2000 in the range of 10 cents.

Chemed said the dividend rate issue has been perplexing since the company sold its DuBois Chemicals unit in the early 1990s. Chemed expects a new dividend rate policy will enable its units to aggressively build their respective businesses.


Coram developes new division

Coram Healthcare (Denver) has introduced a new division, Coram Hemophilia Services (Malvern, PA), designed to support existing and future patients with hemophilia. The new division offers patients a broad range of products and services, including the provision of oral medication, clinical monitoring, home nursing, case management, billing and reimbursement, patient education programs, and delivery of hemophilia factor. In addition, it will provide several lifestyle services for patients with hemophilia, such as a comprehensive clinical pathway to assist patients who are undergoing joint replacement and other orthopedic procedures, as well as information on fertility options for HIV discordant couples.


IHS elects against making $7.7M interest payment

Integrated Health Services (IHS; Sparks, MD) elected not to make the interest payment of $7.7 million due today on the company’s $150 million 10.25% senior subordinated notes due 2006. The indenture under which the notes were issued provides for a 30-day grace period before an Event of Default will occur due to the nonpayment of interest, IHS said. If the interest payment is not made within the 30-day grace period, the notes may be declared immediately due and payable. The notes are a general unsecured obligation of IHS and rank subordinate in right of payment to the company’s senior bank debt and lease obligations, IHS said.

As IHS previously announced, it retained Warburg Dillon Read as its advisors and KPMG as its consultants to analyze strategic alternatives. IHS said it is continuing to honor its obligations to vendors.


Invacare receives FDA approval for new oxygen system

Invacare (Elyria, OH) has received 510(K) clearance from the Food and Drug Administration on the Invacare Venture HomeFill Complete Home Oxygen System, which was developed by Invacare in response to Medicare oxygen reimbursement cuts. The HomeFill System, an oxygen filling system, works in conjunction with a specially adapted Invacare six-liter oxygen concentrator. The system allows a patient to fill his or her own high-pressure oxygen cylinders, thus eliminating time-consuming and costly service calls by the oxygen provider, while at the same time improving the patient’s quality of life.

In addition, Invacare launched Invacare Pro, a new application for providers found at www.invacare.com. The new application allows providers to order products through a Web-enabled direct order entry system, as well as access information on product availability, order status, manufacturing status, financial account status, proof of delivery, and more. In addition to the launch of Invacare Pro, the company also has reached an agreement with VerticalNet to sponsor an all-new home healthcare business-to-business portal on the Internet at www.homehealthprovider.com. The new site caters to the varied needs of those who rent, sell, and provide home health services and equipment to patients/consumers.


McKesson teams with Retractable Technologies

McKesson HBOC (San Francisco) has entered into an agreement with Retractable Technologies (Dallas) under which McKessonHBOC Medical Group (Richmond, VA) has contracted with Retractable to supply safety syringes and blood collection tube holder products to its customers. Retractable is the innovator of the VanishPoint product line, which includes needle devices that feature patened technology that automatically retracts the contaminated needle directly from the patient into the empty device barrel upon completion of an injection or blood drawing procedure.

McKesson said the agreement with Retractable follows California groundbreaking safety needle law, requiring all healthcare providers to make available to their workers safety-engineered needle devices designed to eliminate or minimize needle stick injuries. Similar legislation has been passed in 26 other states, McKesson said.


NHHC acquires assets of Optimum

National Home Health Care Corp. (NHHC; Scarsdale, NY), through its wholly owned subsidiaries in Connecticut, has acquired certain assets of Optimum Home Health of Connecticut and an affiliate for $4.4 million. The Optimum entities include a Medicare-certified and licensed home healthcare company and an affiliate that provides staffing services in Connecticut.

NHHC said the Optimum entities were at a run rate of $20 million for the six months ended June 30, although there can be no assurance as to the actual revenues to be realized. The acquisition, the company said, was made from a court-appointed trustee for the Optimum entities. The purchase price was generated from internal funds.


Olsten scores 98% on Cigna audit

Olsten Health Services (Melville, NY) received a score of 98% on Cigna Healthcare’s (Philadelphia) July 1999 national audit of home health facilities credentialed by Olsten Health Services in the past year. Olsten’s 1999 score was the same as its score in 1998, and slightly lower than its score of 100% in 1997.

More than 1,500 credentialed facilities participate in Olsten’s provider panel. The facilities provide local access on a nationwide basis to a number of essential services, such as home healthcare, physical and respiratory therapies, and medical equipment. The oversight audit reviewed the files of 10% of the offices presented to and credentialed by Olsten’s National Credentialing Committee from July 1, 1998, through June 30, 1999.


PSAI completes sale of paramedical division

Pediatric Services of America (PSAI; Norcross, GA) has completed the sale of the assets of its paramedical division to Hooper Holmes (Basking Ridge, NJ). PSAI President Joseph Sansone said the company can now "turn our undivided attention to our core pediatric businesses."