Invacare grows iPartner Solutions

Sunday, October 5, 2008

ELYRIA, Ohio - With Invacare's Oct. 1 acquisition of Bargmann Management, an Akron, Ohio-based provider of reimbursement solutions with 300 clients, Invacare iPartner Solutions has added a third component to its service suite.

iPartner Solutions now offers billing and collection services, in addition to business management and operations, and equipment repairs. By outsourcing services like collections to iPartner Solutions, providers can focus on improving their bottom lines, not a bad idea with a 9.5% reimbursement cut coming Jan. 1, company officials say.

"Collecting co-pays, especially personal co-pays, has really been an untapped revenue source for providers for many years," said Chris Yessayan, vice president and general manager, Invacare iPartner Solutions. "When reimbursement was good, you didn't have to spend a lot of time on that 20%, because you didn't' really need it. Now it's crucial money coming into your business."

In business since 2003, Bargmann Management will be re-branded as Invacare HCS. It will offer services in three business segments: billing and collections; sleep; and consulting.

Yessayan spoke with HME News recently about iPartner Solutions--yes, it will be at Medtrade; no, Invacare will not--and the future.

HME News: Collecting co-pays seems like it would be something providers would be happy to outsource.

Chris Yessayan: Providers got into this business because they wanted to take care of people. Collecting money from those people does kind of fly in the face of that. It's not necessarily a fun thing to do for anybody, so if you can offload it to an organization that's focused on it and that maybe doesn't have that long-term relationship with the customer where you're going to see him time and time again for product fittings or repairs, it makes a lot of sense.

HME: What will be the next addition to iPartner Solutions?

Yessayan: That's a great question. Right now, we're just taking a breather. We've done a lot in the past 12 to 15 months: We've signed a deal with Bonafide (a software vendor), acquired Roadrunner (a power wheelchair repair organization), signed a deal with HME Advantage (an accreditation consulting firm) and now we've acquired Bargmann. I think it's time we digest what we have and figure out how we can scale it up.

HME: How does iPartner Solutions work with, but separately, from Invacare?

Yessayan: We both serve the same customer. Invacare Home Care focuses on products, and we focus on services. We intentionally broke out services from products--and when you look at a lot of the other companies who have gotten into the service game, they've done the same thing--because it takes different core competencies to be good at service than it does to be good at products. It's not rocket science, but it's different. The two together are a tough match to beat.

HME: Is this iPartner's first trip to Medtrade?

Yessayan: We were there last year, but we didn't go as iPartner, we went as the Services Group. This year, we have a lot more content to offer, so we're pretty excited.