Long's gets new lease on Life

Friday, November 22, 2013

COLUMBIA, S.C. – After nearly 20 years as a combo HME and pharmacy provider, Long’s has reinvented itself and its approach to patient care.

Earlier this year, Dewey Roof and his business partner separated the HME and pharmacy divisions. Roof took over HME and renamed the company LifeHME; his partner took over the pharmacy and retained the Long’s name.

“We wanted a new image that cast us as more than a provider of commodities,” said Roof, president and owner. “We want to be recognized as a partner in that space between the hospital and the home.”

LifeHME focuses on clinical services like vents and wound care, and offers a full line of HME.

But Roof didn’t stop there: He has also launched a complementary business called LifeTouch to manage patient discharges. Both fall under a parent company called LifeH2H (Hospital to Home).

“Hospitals are very good at caring for the patient in front of them and getting them discharged out the door,” he said. “We understand the homecare and caregiver environments much better, and we think that they are stronger with us.”

Although patient management tends to focus on chronic diseases like COPD and CHF, the services that LifeTouch provides are flexible enough to adapt to any disease state, says Roof. The company is also getting involved before discharge for vent and suction patients, who typically have higher rates of hospital readmissions, he says.

LifeTouch is conducting pilot studies and plans to charge for these services down the road, Roof says.

Additionally, LifeHME holds contracts for most product categories in five competitive bidding areas included in Round 2 and the Round 1 re-compete. Medicare fee-for-service comprises about 30% of its business.

“I do believe (the industry) is at a tipping point,” Roof said. “Although many people look at this time as half empty, we look at it as half full. It’s a challenge, but it’s not impossible.”