Looking at oxygen as a glass half full
Sure, the 36-month cap on Medicare reimbursement for oxygen stinks, but at least HME providers have technology and choice on their side, says SeQual CEO Ron Richard in a recent HME News TV interview.
On the benefits of portable oxygen concentrators (POCs), Richard said: “The industry is looking at reimbursement and trying to understand, ‘how can I better control and manage my costs and still make a profit?’ And it’s reducing deliveries and being able to take care of the patient clinically but not have to drive out to their home every week or every couple of weeks to deliver an oxygen tank.”
On the proliferation of POCs, Richard said: “It’s interesting. In the last six to seven months, there has been more activity from manufacturers coming into the portable space, particularly with continuous flow devices that match up to the performance of a stationary. We’re encouraged by it—competition is good. We think it’s an endorsement of what we’ve been telling people for years. We launched one of the first portable devices in 2006, and now other manufacturers are seriously looking at that and are now offering additional products.”
The final factor
If technology and choice don’t drive providers to jump into the portable space, patients will, Richard said. “I think it’s based on patient demand. Patients want to ambulate and they want to have enough oxygen to do so and continuous flow devices are obviously the way to go.”
To view the full interview with Richard, go to www.hmenews.com/video.php.