A Medical Device Daily

Sonic Innovations (Salt Lake City) has been awarded a contract to supply hearing aids to the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) beginning Nov. 1.

According to data from the Hearing Industry Association (Washington), the VA represents about 18% of the market for hearing aids and experienced unit growth of more than 29% for the three months ended June 30, 2009 compared to the same period of 2008.

In response to the contract award, Sonic Innovations CEO Sam Westover said, "Winning the VA contract is a significant opportunity for Sonic. It allows us to provide hearing care to the single largest purchaser of hearing aids in North America." According to contract documents, the VA anticipates purchasing from the qualified suppliers approximately 430,000 hearing aids in first year of the contract, with steady growth in volume over the following four years.

Westover indicated this award was particularly gratifying because it provided Sonic another opportunity to support the men and women of the military. "As a U.S. company, we are excited to be able to provide our technologically advanced hearing aids to our U.S. veterans. Hearing damage is the leading disability being faced by our returning veterans, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to serve them," Westover said.

Sonic submitted its proposal to the VA in response to a request for proposal issued earlier this year. Sonic was successful in receiving an award in each of the categories in which it bid, allowing it to sell its custom, behind-the-ear and receiver-in-canal products through the VA. The contract award from the VA is a one-year contract with four one-year extension options. Sonic anticipates participating on the contract for the entire five years.

In other agreements and contracts news:

• North Star Health (Atlanta), a healthcare data analytics company providing risk, cost and care management solutions, recently signed a multi-year, multi-million dollar agreement with Union HealthShare (Minneapolis), an organization focused exclusively on the needs of Taft-Hartley Organizations and public employees, representing about 17 million members.

Union HealthShare will roll out North Star Health's Lumina immediately. Groups will have access to their healthcare cost data and the power to use the product's predictive modeling capabilities, allowing unions to manage the effectiveness of their healthcare programs and achieve the same cost reductions that North Star Health's current clients are realizing.

In keeping with its mission to provide unique products that greatly benefit the wellbeing of families, American Scientific Resources (Weston, Florida) reported that it has obtained from Safeguard Medical Technologies (Berlin Center, Ohio) exclusive worldwide rights to sell and market home needle destruction devices (NDD) known as the Disintegrator and the Disintegrator Plus. All current and future sales and contracts worldwide have been granted to the company.

Currently the only NDD approved for home use by the FDA, the Disintegrator enables patients to properly dispose of their used needles at home. It uses a plasma arc to melt the needle at a temperature of more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, ensuring the elimination of any pathogens, reducing it to a small bb-shaped ball.

• CareTech Solutions (Troy, Michigan) has expanded the IT services it provides to Garden City Hospital (GCH; Garden City, Michigan) by supporting AMICAS radiology workflow technology at the facility.

Under the terms of the agreement, CareTech will expand GCH's existing AMICAS PACS installation to include AMICAS Reach and AMICAS RIS. CareTech will facilitate the project's implementation, enabling Garden City Hospital to drive radiology workflow improvements to support improved productivity and more efficient patient care.

• Premier Purchasing Partners (Charlotte, North Carolina) reported new agreements for air filtration products have been awarded to AAF-McQuay (Louisville, Kentucky), a veteran owned enterprise and Koch Filter (Louisville, Kentucky).

Effective Oct. 1, 2009, the agreements are available to acute care and continuum of care members of the Premier healthcare alliance.