Bluegrass: From O2 to 'full-line everything'

Saturday, September 30, 2006

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Oxygen cuts have Bluegrass Oxygen planning a full-on makeover as the company transitions from a respiratory business to a one-stop shop.
"We're looking at everything," said Mike Marnhout, company president. "We want to be full-line everything, going full-bore next year."
Whether it's by attending Medtrade or purchasing mom-and-pop HMEs, Bluegrass is shopping to broadens its scope--from power wheelchairs and DME to infusion therapy and wound care. Through acquisitions, Bluegrass plans to extend its reach from six to eight states.
Moreover, "Some of the companies we're looking to buy, they'll have experience in the fields we don't do (now)," Marnhout said. "They have the experience and can show us how to do it."
Reducing respiratory to about half of the company's product mix will lessen Bluegrass' dependence on Medicare and boost cash sales, said Marnhout. He said Medicare currently accounts for about 55% to 60% of Bluegrass' business, a number he would like lowered to around 35%.
Bluegrass--which currently has six locations--has always carried some DME in its three rural locations but that's no longer enough, said Marnhout, who's had to turn away customers in the past.
"A lot of times we get a referral from a hospital that calls for a wheelchair, bed, commode and oxygen, and we don't take referrals," said Marnhout. "It's too hard on the patient dealing with two different companies."