Apria: Data proves HME's cost effectiveness

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

LAKE FOREST, Calif. -- Apria Healthcare lowered the rate of hospitalization and emergency room visits for its patient base of COPD patients over a two-year period, according to the results of an analysis to be published as in Chest, the peer review journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.
The specific results of Apria's COPD disease management program are not available prior to publication, but the analysis quantifies a fact that most HME suppliers frequently tout but can't prove -- namely, that home respiratory care saves money.
"We found that many of the patients we intervened with, in terms of providing disease education, proper self-administration of medications, and the early-on identification of oxygen needs, have improved quality of life and reduced incidents of ER or hospitalizations," said Vernon Pertelle, Apria's corporate director of respiratory & HME services, who authored the analysis to be published in Chest this fall.
Pertelle is among a handful of respiratory therapists working in the home medical equipment industry who are publishing their findings in peer review journals. Publication is vital to arguments of industry assertions that home care is a more cost-effective alternative to institutional care.
Other clinicians publishing in peer review journals include Tim Buckley of Walgreens, Joe Lewarski of Inogen, Bob McCoy of Valley Inspired Products and Greg Spratt of Rotech.
Prior to the start of its analysis, Apria identified patients with COPD, enrolled them in its program and assessed the patients. Using established questionnaires, the compnay then monitored the success of its intervention.