Doc: ‘I want my patients to go to this company, and here’s why’

Sunday, November 30, 2003

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - By bolstering its clinical respiratory approach and paying more attention to equipment quality than price, Florida Medical Equipment Services has watched its Medicare business blossom over the past year.
“We’re looking at items that will contribute to patient compliance,” said President Kim Kasper. “Some companies look for the cheapest or most cost-effective (product) for the short term, but in the long run, you end up with more labor costs and less patient compliance, which not only decreases the patient’s overall lifestyle, but also your revenue.”

Since Kasper joined the company in August 2002, Florida Medical’s Medicare revenue has jumped from 20% to 50% of the company’s total business. Home respiratory services account for about 60% of the company’s $600,000 in monthly revenue, Kasper said.

Florida Medical recently hired is fourth respiratory care coordinator. The coordinators play a key role in the company’s disease management strategy, which includes a heavy dose of patient education regarding their disease and therapy. The coordinators contact the company’s COPD and CPAP patients 48 hours after set up, again one week later and monthly from then on. If the coordinators detect problems with compliance or treatment, they report to the company’s respiratory therapist who can then relay the information to the patient’s physician, Kasper said.

“We’ve had a couple of physicians walk us into the hospital case manger and say, ‘I want all my patients to go to this company and this is why,’” Kasper said.

When it comes to compliance, product quality is key, the CEO added. The company’s standard nebulizer kit, for example, produces smaller microns of medication that reach deeper into the lungs and requires a shorter treatment time, Kasper said.

“Rather than competing on price, we should be competing on quality,” Kasper said. “Overall, everyone wins then.”