Apria eyes growth in IV market

Sunday, April 30, 2006

LAKE FOREST, Calif. - Details of the shake up that Apria announced last fall have begun to take shape, with the provider making plans to add 40 sales reps plus additional reps to focus solely on growing its home infusion business.
"A recruiting effort is under way to fill in some of the geographic gaps," said Lisa Getson, the provider's executive vice president of business development and clinical services.
Apria's move comes as the industry buzzes about what providers will do to make up for lost revenues from cuts to oxygen and respiratory med reimbursement. Providers, including Apria, are migrating toward more profitable market segments, sources say.
"Everyone's looking at what to chase after," said one industry source. "They're looking for something that may be less of a reimbursement threat than some of the bread-and-butter stuff they have been chasing."
Getson denied that Apria is shifting its focus from certain product lines to others.
"We want to increase the growth rate for home infusion but not specifically to offset oxygen cuts," she said.
Along with Option Care and Coram Healthcare, Apria is one the top three infusion providers in the country. Regardless, Apria still wants to ramp up its IV growth rate to 5% to 7% in 2006 from 3% in 2005, Getson said.
Home infusion, which enjoys a relatively stable reimbursement environment, is a safe place for Apria to hedge its bets, industry sources say.
"Home infusion had their cuts years ago, and the feeling is that they have already given their pint of blood," said one industry source. "While Apria has always had a presence in home infusion, they've never beat on that drum too loudly."