Home Oxygen 2-U hires 100 for call center

Monday, July 5, 2004

July 6, 2004

LAWRENCE, Kan. -  Bill Kennedy, the man who founded Rotech and sold it for $915 million in 1997, is back with a new company that offers a peek at what the future of home respiratory therapy may look like, at least one version of it, say industry watchers.
Home Oxygen 2-U confirmed last week that it has signed a deal to lease 17,000 square feet of office space in Lawrence, Kan. The location will be staffed with 100 employees and operate as a call center.
The company’s strategy combines consumer advertising with oxygen technology designed to reduce deliveriess and reduce operational costs.
Home Oxygen 2-U generates calls by running ads on cable TV for Invacare’s Venture HomeFill II transfilling oxygen concentrator. When a potential oxygen patient calls in requesting information on the HomeFill, a call center employee connects the person with the nearest Home Oxygen 2-U location.
Kennedy has been building a network of HMEs around the country since early this year to service patients. In areas where he doesn’t own a location, Home Oxygen 2-U contracts with other providers, said a Home Oxygen 2-U employee.
“By doing this you don’t have to go to the referral source. All you have to do is go to the end user,” said another Home Oxygen 2-U employee. “The referral source isn’t saying call ABC Medical because he has a relationship with ABC. Instead, you have the patient saying, ‘This is what I want, and I want to call this company.”
The Venture HomeFill is a key component of Home Oxygen 2-U’s strategy. The transfilling concentrator allows patients to fill portable units at home, which means they no longer have to rely on the provider to deliver oxygen cylinders. A HomeFill unit costs about $2,000, a price many providers still find high when compared to the $700 they pay for a standard concentrator. But those who have embraced the technology, including Home Oxygen 2-U, say it saves them money by cutting down on deliveries and cylinder purchases.