Incontinence biz falls into provider's lap

Thursday, May 31, 2007

GERMANTOWN, Wis. - When he closed the books on 2006 recently, Jim Poteet noticed an interesting anomaly: Incontinence supplies made up 51% of the company's revenues for the year, a trend that Poteet, owner of Metrocare Home Medical, says has continued into 2007.
"We were quite amazed by that," said Poteet. "It has just kind of fallen into our laps."
Well, not entirely: The company holds several contracts for providing the supplies, including one with the state's Medicaid HMO program, Family Care. Metrocare has held the contract since 2000, rebidding about every two years. Poteet says he has never actively promoted the product lines. He attributes the increase in business to customer service.
"We have been told by (Medicaid) case workers that we are getting their business because we are easy to work with," said Poteet. "We have fast turnaround and direct access to staff--no voice mail."
Along with a full slate of incontinence products like catheters, underpads, briefs and pull-ups, Metrocare offers full-line DME and rehab.
"People always ask me why I don't get into respiratory," said Poteet. "We've taken very hard looks at it in the last three years, but every time we do, there are cuts. We just did not see the economics there."
Metrocare's overall payer mix is 15% Medicare, %5 Medicaid, 51% managed care third party--including the Family Care contract, and all other third party is 29%.
Metrocare keeps its eye on the bottom line by maximizing efficiency. The company uses an automated system for order tracking and plans to add modules for bar coding, as well as allowing delivery technicians in the field to scan products with PDAs that will signal order confirmation and automatic billing.
"We have squeezed out every dollar we can through automation," said Poteet. "It's the only way to survive going forward."