Bluegrass plays up growth

Friday, March 31, 2006

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Bluegrass Oxygen plans to leverage the constant upheaval in the HME industry to grow its business.
With the opening of its sixth location in Louisville, Ky., Mike Marnhout, president and CEO of the family-owned company, said Bluegrass couldn't be in a better position.
"We feel like there's a lot of people who are going to want to get out of this business in the next few years, especially the mom and pops," said Marnhout. "Hopefully, we'll be able to work with these people and keep some on, or acquire or merge them into Bluegrass."
A big part of Bluegrass' growth strategy depends on contiguous expansion. Founded in 1982, the company has six locations strategically located, allowing them to serve 4,000 patients throughout 120 counties in five states. Its major markets are Louisville and Lexington, Ky., and Cincinnati, Ohio. Other stores serve rural southern and eastern Kentucky. The company's main focus is oxygen and sleep, but rural locations also include DME.
Like most providers, Marnhout is unhappy with recent hits to oxygen. Bluegrass sent mailers to its Medicare patients, encouraging them to contact their representatives.
"The (proposed) 13-month cap would put companies like mine out of business," Marnhout said. "You'd be in a sales rather than service position."