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State Sen. Daniel R. Brady has introduced a bill into the Ohio Senate that would mandate the use of FDA-approved safety needles in all public hospitals and health care facilities in his state. If the legislation passes, Ohio would join seven other states comprising more than one-third of the U.S. population whose legislators have approved safety needle legislation. The Ohio legislation is co-sponsored by Sen. Grace Drake, chairwoman of the Senate Health Committee.
"The very people who take care of the sick should not have to live in fear of being infected," says Brady, who is also a member of the Senate Health Committee. "Passage of this bill would save the lives of health care workers in Ohio."
The Ohio Senate is expected to begin hearings on this bipartisan sponsored bill this month. The proposal has strong support from the unions representing Ohio’s health care workers and the Ohio Nurses Association (ONA).
"It is unconscionable that there are safety devices available, yet they are not being provided to health care workers," says Elizabeth O. Ward, director of the Economic and General Welfare of the ONA. "Registered nurses are committed to caring for their patients, yet they face the risk of potentially lethal needlesticks every day. ONA is committed to fighting this epidemic on behalf of all 135,000 registered nurses and other health care workers in Ohio."
The number of co-sponsors for the federal mandatory safety needle bill currently before the U.S. House of Representatives has grown to 126. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is expected to deliver its new safety needle initiatives applying to health care workers in all 50 states by the end of this year.
The Food and Drug Administration has given the I-Flow Corp. permission to market two new Paragon pain-management products: The Bolus Accessory Set and Bolus/Basal Administration Set. I-Flow recently re-introduced Paragon to the United States as a cost-efficient mechanical infusion system.
The pain management products are used in patient-controlled analgesia applications. They have been successfully marketed in Europe and the Far East. Both the Bolus Accessory Set and the Bolus/Basal Administration Set will be marketed simultaneously by I-Flow’s international distribution partners and by the company’s United States sales force. I-Flow designs, develops, and markets technically advanced, low-cost ambulatory infusion systems for pain management and infusion therapy. For further information, contact: I-Flow Corp. at (949) 206-2700. Web site: www.i-flowcorp. com.
A spokesman for Coram Healthcare Inc., providers of home infusion therapy from 90 locations in 44 states and Canada, says the company remains focused on growing its core businesses, despite recent legal actions relating to its termination of an agreement with US Healthcare to manage home health services for Aetna in eight northeastern and mid-Atlantic states. Coram filed a $50 million lawsuit charging Aetna with fraud, misrepresentation, breach of contract, and rescision related to the master agreement.
Coram manages networks of home health care providers on behalf of managed care plans and other payers, and provides home care and product development services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies sponsoring clinical trials. On Aug. 19, a small group of providers, led by competitor Apria Healthcare Group, initiated an involuntary bankruptcy proceeding against Coram’s Resource Network subsidiary. The filing is limited to the subsidiary and relates to the terminated Aetna Master Agreement.
Coram President and CEO Richard M. Smith says those legal actions will not stop the company’s overall business plan that includes continuing expansion of its infusion therapy business and redesigning the company’s 88 branches with an eye toward better technology utilization. For more information, visit Coram’s Web site at www.coramhealthcare.com.
Furon Co.’s Medex unit has been granted clearance to market and sell the new Medex Protege 3010 series syringe pump in Europe. The company received the necessary European Commission certification and permission to display the CE Mark, which is necessary for any medical device sales into the European community.
Furon received clearance of its 510(K) application in April from the FDA to market the line of syringe pumps to the general anesthesiology market in the United States.
The Medex Protege 3010 series features a horizontal, stackable design and software differentiation that provides for drug delivery. J. Michael Hagan, Furon’s chairman, president and CEO, says the company will continue to pursue registration for the Medex Protege 3010 series syringe pump in other global markets. Furon, a global manufacturer of engineered polymer components, serves both the commercial and health care markets. For further information, contact Michael Hagan or Ron Bissell of Furon at (714) 831-5350. Web site: www.furon.com.
The National Home Infusion Association recently announced the appointments of Jack Collins, PD, and Britt Wimberly, PharmD, to the association’s board of directors. Collins and Wimberly bring a wealth of IV therapy management and operations experience to the NHIA board. Collins has been in community pharmacy and home medical equipment since 1975, entering the home infusion business in 1992 with the founding of Collins IV Care. He is chairman of the AM Health Group Inc., a comprehensive provider of diversified home infusion, home medical equipment, and respiratory therapy services.
Wimberly has been in home infusion practice since 1986, rising from staff pharmacist to vice president of operations with I Care Inc. in Little Rock, AK. Today, he is executive vice president of Care Partners, a new Little Rock-based infusion company formed last January, with five years as a home care pharmacy surveyor with the Joint Commission of Healthcare Organizations and four years as director of pharmacy operations for I Care Home IV Affiliates, a nationwide organization.
Tony Powers, PharmD, of Medical Alternatives, Memphis, TN, is the new president of NHIA; and Grant Brown, PharmD, of Option Care Inc., Bannockburn, IL, is vice president of the association. Also serving on the NHIA board of directors are Georgia state Rep. Jim Martin, PD, (treasurer), of College Pharmacy, Statesboro, GA; Jim Rankin, PD, of Family Care Pharmacy, Highland, IL; and Lisa Lyons, RN, MNSc (secretary), of United Healthcare, Little Rock, AK. Outgoing NHIA President Tony Dasher, PharmD, of American Pharmaceutical Services, San Antonio, will remain on the board in an ex-officio capacity.
NHIA, based in Alexandria, VA, provides information, education, and legislative and regulatory representation to the nation’s approximately 5,000 home infusion therapy companies. Today, home infusion therapy represents approximately $4 billion in annual health care expenditures — and significantly more in health care savings. For more information about NHIA, call (703) 549-3740, or visit the association’s Web site at www.nhianet.org.
Market dynamics in the infusion therapy industry have changed dramatically in recent years. Gone are the days when companies could simply establish a market presence and expect growth and profitability to follow. Developing a successful market niche in infusion therapy now depends on understanding your local market inside and out, knowing your competition, and being able to identify new opportunities for expansion.
A comprehensive marketing plan can do all of those. The National Home Infusion Association (NHIA) has published a new business resource book, Creating a Marketing Plan: A Workbook for Infusion Therapy and Homecare, by Alison Cherney, MBA. Cherney, who is president of Cherney and Associates in Brentwood, TN, specializes in health care marketing analysis, especially for infusion therapy, home car, and related market segments.
Creating a Marketing Plan includes practical information and worksheets covering market assessment and planning. Topics include:
• how to calculate local market size;
• revenue analysis;
• market assessment for all primary referral source markets;
• competitive market analysis;
• analyzing revenue and market assessment data;
• writing home care marketing plans;
• sample marketing plan.
The workbook’s primary focus is infusion therapy; however, it also includes information on home medical equipment and intermittent and extended care nursing services. Creating a Marketing Plan is available from NHIA, 205 Daingerfield Road, Alexandria, VA 22314. Telephone:(703) 549-3740. Fax: (703) 683-1484. E-Mail: email@example.com. The cost is $149 for NHIA members and $199 for nonmembers, plus $12 shipping and handling.
NIHA will hold its ninth annual conference from May 17-20, 2000, in Cincinnati. The conference, which is the association’s primary business and political meeting, will include two program workshop tracks on management and clinical operations, a trade exposition and industry-sponsored symposia. NHIA continuing educational programs offer continuing education credits for nurses and pharmacists. For further information, call NHIA at (703) 549-3740, or visit the NHIA Web site at www.nhianet.org.