LifeGas: 'Our expertise is getting oxygen from point A to point B'

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

NORCROSS, Ga. - A medical gas distributor that bills itself as "the UPS of oxygen" is making a pitch for respiratory providers to let them take over deliveries of cylinders and liquid oxygen.
The delivery service, known as LifeGas Express, has actually been around since the mid-1990s, but the company recently decided to expand into more than half the country, from Texas to the East Coast. LifeGas is promoting its oxygen delivery method as a way for respiratory providers to improve operational cost efficiencies and diversify their service offerings.
"Our expertise is in getting oxygen from point A to point B--we want to improve the distribution infrastructure," said President Mike Walsh. "The provider's expertise is in patient therapy. Marry those two together and you get partners that each have a particular competency."
LifeGas Express, which has more than 40 manufacturing and distribution sites around the country, is designed to defray the provider's expenses associated with fleet management and transportation. The company has a 24/7-call center and provides round-the-clock emergency deliveries.
Because LifeGas is a manufacturer, the company has cost advantages that allow it to produce and deliver oxygen for less than individual providers can, Walsh said.
"We have a much more aggressive cost position because we have volume," he said. "We can get it to the patient efficiently because we have a much larger infrastructure than an HME would have."
In order for the outsourced service to make fiscal sense for providers, LifeGas Express must cost the same or less than what it does for providers to do it in-house and Walsh is confident that it can work in most cases.
"Because of our economies of scale and [logistics] expertise, we should be able to perform this service at a lower cost," Walsh said. "The difference is where we both make a profit."