Cross Post Article for HME Business Magazine – RetailOxygen

In: Portable Oxygen News

29 Oct 2014

The following is an article for HME Business Magazine regarding the oxygen market today.  Having served this industry for over 20 years it is nice to be recognized.  The complete article link is below.

http://hme-business.com/Issues/2014/10/October-2014.aspx

We are driving new revenue streams by reaching out to retail customers, private payer sources and residential nursing. Our greatest growth in revenue streams has come on the heels of the competitive bidding award. Our company’s main focus has always been oxygen/respiratory patients, but we carry bent metal so the orders would not be siphoned off to a provider who could provide a one-stop atmosphere.

Once the bids were announced and we won oxygen, and nothing else, we dumped everything else. For us, just doing the oxygen has been a blessing. We are not raking in big bucks with Medicare. We quickly found out that a winning bid did not mean they would pay your claims as prescribed by the law, and if we waited for Medicare to pay, we would be waiting too long. Our respiratory model today is the same as it was 12 years ago, which is non-delivery.

We studied our products, created comparison tables and learned everything we could about the equipment we sell. We even purchased specialized testing equipment that allows us to test what the manufacturers say their equipment does versus our own research. At this point I can say we know more about most portable concentrators, portable filling systems, and conserving regulators than most of the manufacturer’s reps do. We will ask question about the way a piece of equipment works that the reps will have to get answered by their technical department. We really focus on educating the patient about portable oxygen solutions and then letting the patient educate us on their wants, needs and desires. Back to basics right? Listen to the customer? We ask detailed enough questions about the patient’s needs that we can tailor a solution for each patient.

I like to tell patients that finding the right portable solution is like finding the right pair of shoes. It is not one size fits all. With portable concentrators, for example, of 16 different units I can think of, a setting of 2 can have the patient receiving anywhere from 12 to 36 mL of oxygen. When we can assess the patient’s needs and understand our equipment functions, we can point the patient to the right unit or units that should meet their needs. Then we will try the patient on those machines and let them decide which is best based on their performance.

Oxygen patients have oxygen friends, and we have had patients come from different states just to see us and get the perfect solution for them. Patients have doctors, and as a result, we have been speaking at hospitals, pulmonary rehab groups, and nursing facilities about portable oxygen solutions. We were getting a lot of prescriptions for travel oxygen, where a patient will need the oxygen only during the flight.

Doctors write scripts for 2.0 LPM continuous, which does not work with most POCs that only do pulse. We use that as an opportunity to educate the doctors about POCs and how they operate, and in many cases will let the doctor keep a POC in the office for their altitude testing. That way, when we get a prescription for travel, patients have been correctly titrated on a POC and there is no guess work on what they need.

We do carry some bent metal now, but cash, and as close to retail as we can get. Many patients do not want to hassle with trying to get things covered with Medicare now. We compete with online companies that sell portable concentrators at drop-your-shorts pricing, and when a customer quotes me the price he or she got, I’ll tell them to go ahead. Ours is closer to retail because you get service, knowledge, selection and experience when you purchase from us. You won’t get any type of service from an online company. Most customer will purchase from us.

Revenues for private pay rental and sales of our POCs have helped bridge the gap from the insurance revenue drops since competitive bidding. Margins are still so tight in this industry now that it is hard to measure success in dollar terms like many years ago. We like to measure success in knowing we provided the best product for a person, which, in turn, will lead to a better quality of life. That is the kind of reward we appreciate the most.

2 Responses to Cross Post Article for HME Business Magazine – RetailOxygen

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Raymond Donovan

August 5th, 2015 at 5:37 pm

Hey,
I am so happy to find an article on someone who is so dedicated to furthering the knowledge of respiratory conditions. My wife was recently diagnosed with COPD and we are finding ourselves unfamiliar on the disease. It is refreshing to see that there are people out there who care. Keep up the great work you deserve all the recognition you can get.

Good luck and thanks!!
Raymond

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Portable Oxygen Expert

August 5th, 2015 at 6:02 pm

No problem Raymond, you would not believe all the people out there trying to sell oxygen who have no knowledge of the product they sell and only care about making a buck.

I’m glad to see you recognize 20 years of experience.

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