Association expands into sales

Providers say they're not overly concerned
Friday, March 20, 2015

That the American Sleep Association wants to branch out into selling CPAP machines and other sleep-related products, comes as little surprise to providers.

“It’s a hot market,” said Eric Parkhill, vice president of clinical operations/corporate compliance for Home Medical Professionals in Gainesville, Ga. “If an insurer is doing it, they are figuring they can try, too.”

The association in February announced that it planned to expand into the sleep disorder market by partnering with manufacturers, distributors and retailers to sell CPAP and bi-level machines, masks and supplies; and anti-snoring devices like mouth guards. 

The association promotes awareness about sleep disorders and the importance of sleep.

It’s certainly not the first time a member organization has announced plans to get into sales. In 2013, the National Sleep Foundation launched an online store. 

Provider Eric Cohen isn’t sure why anyone would want to get into providing equipment.

“It looks really easy from the outside,” said Cohen, president of Norwood, Mass.-based National Sleep Therapy. “We also have doctors saying, ‘Oh, I am going to do my own CPAP.’ Watch your money flow out the door.”

As always, brick-and-mortar providers are confident the service they provide will keep customers coming back.

“We don’t handle any equipment that was bought on the Internet,” said Robyn Parrott, president of Detroit, Mich.-based Sleep Solutions. “When you order online, you might get the price, but you won’t get the service.”