Burmans bulks up on wound care

Monday, August 31, 2009

BROOKHAVEN, Pa. - Provider Steve Burman recently inked a deal with Medela to provide its negative pressure wound therapy pumps.

NPWT is a natural extension for Burmans Medical Supplies, said Burman.

"We already do wound care supplies," he said. "It was a good time to offer different modalities of treatment."

Medela provided intensive training on the equipment and often participates with Burmans' staff to train nursing caregivers. The pump supplier also provided marketing support to help Burmans kick-start its program.

Burman purchased several pumps, at a cost of about $7,000 apiece, and may rent additional pumps through Medela. The provider currently has two or three pumps in use at any given time. Typical length of treatment is 30 to 60 days, said Burman.

"It's definitely a great treatment choice," said Burman. "The patients have great outcomes. They're happy; the referral sources are happy."

Burman has been in the HME business since 1989. He previously owned Burmans Home Health Care, which he sold to Praxair in 2003 to focus on medical supplies. Besides wound care, he offers diabetes and urological supplies, and nebulizer medications. He also has retail and specialty pharmacies. He expects revenues of $5 million this year.

"It's a tough business," he said. "But we've been able to grow through technology. We use RemitData and all of our documents are scanned. We also use a billing service."

Burmans Medical provides NPWT for several managed care contracts and Burman estimates he saves payers $25 or $30 per day per patient.

Burman has also tried billing Medicare for the therapy, but so far, CMS is rejecting the claims.

He takes issue with a March OIG report that stated Medicare pays too much for NPWT therapy (See HME News, May 2009).

"When I read studies like that it looks like they want to ravage the industry," said Burman. "They are going to force people onto inferior products and worse outcomes." hme