Supreme Court Rules On Mandatory Vaccinations
WASHINGTON, DC – As reported by AAHomecare, the US Supreme Court blocked enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Emergency Temporary Standard (OSHA ETS) as litigation continues in the lower courts. OSHA issued a statement on the Supreme Court’s decision and removed enforcement activity information off their website.
Conversely, the Supreme Court upheld enforcement of the CMS Interim Final Rule (CMS IFR) that mandates vaccines for certain covered health care providers. In their press release, CMS noted that the vaccine mandate for covered facilities is reactivated in all the states. This will mean the health care facilities in 24 states that were excluded from the December 28 guidance will now be required to move forward with enforcing a fully vaccinated staff.
The states include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
DMEPOS suppliers are not covered under the CMS IFR, but suppliers that have employees working on behalf of a covered facility will be impacted by this vaccine mandate.
Apria Acquired By Owens & Minor
RICHMOND, VA & INDIANAPOLIS – Owens & Minor, Inc. has acquired Apria, Inc. for $37.50 in cash per share of common stock, representing an equity value of approximately $1.45 billion.
“I’m very excited about the acquisition of Apria, which will strengthen our total company value proposition,” said Edward A. Pesicka, president and CEO of Owens & Minor via press release. “The combination of two complementary businesses in Byram Healthcare and Apria will enable us to better serve the entire patient journey—through the hospital and into the home—ultimately furthering our mission of Empowering Our Customers to Advance Healthcare.”
Jonathan Sadock, managing partner/CEO, Paragon Ventures LLC, Newtown, Pa. told Medtrade Monday that the Apria deal was “not entirely surprising” considering the current M&A market and Apria’s ownership journey.
“Apria was a publicly held company that the Blackstone Group took private in 2008 for a total purchase price of approximately $1.7 billion,” he explained. “At the time, it included the Coram infusion services business which Apria had acquired in 2007 and ultimately sold to CVS in 2014 for $2.1 billion.”
Sadock added that Blackstone took Apria public again in March 2021 while retaining a majority position in the company. “This supports the view that Blackstone continued to believe in and support Apria while taking some chips off the table,” he said. “What was a bit surprising was the relatively short timing from going public again in 2021 to the Owens & Minor (O&M) acquisition less than a year later.”
“I am energized and enthusiastic to join Owens & Minor,” said Dan Starck, CEO of Apria, also via press release. “Both companies share cultures fueled by a commitment to customers, patients, teammates and the communities we serve. We look forward to joining together and delivering the highest quality healthcare solutions to our customers.”
HHS Extends COVID-19 PHE
WASHINGTON, DC – AAHomecare reported last week that HHS extended the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) for another 90 days, effective January 16. The PHE extension means that that the 75/25 blended rate in non-rural/non-CB areas will remain in effect until at least April 16, 2022, along with other policies tied to the status of the PHE, including:
- NCD/LCD flexibility allowing expanded use of home-based respiratory products/therapy, as well as infusion and anticoagulation devices.
- Waiver of face-to-face requirements for many products; allows use of telehealth for items that are not included in the waiver such as PMD.
- 2% increase in Medicaid FMAP match (will remain in effect though the end of the quarter the PHE expires, so this relief will run through at least June 2022).
- State Medicaid waivers and flexibilities tied to the PHE (states may, however, end flexibilities they have granted at their discretion).
- TRICARE reimbursement increases tied to the Medicare rate relief.