'Make the change'

Friday, November 30, 2007

LOUISVILLE, KY. - Premier Home Care hopes its OSA patients get hooked on healthy lifestyle changes, along with their CPAPs.
The provider recently partnered with the YMCA to offer free 30-day trial memberships to new customers. New patients get "an invitation and a challenge" with a card inviting them to try the Y. The membership starts when the patient is ready, and about 25% of patients check it out.
It's the latest peg of the company's three-year-old Sleep Healthy Program, said John Cason, vice president of sales and marketing.
"We are doing more than just slap a mask on the patient," he said. "Our tag line is 'make the change.' We are trying to make changes in their lifestyle."
Cason--a member himself--felt the family-oriented YMCA was a good fit for OSA patients.
"It's not an intimidating place," said Cason. "They even have a Medicare program called Silver Sneakers."
The 10-year-old Premier has seven locations and offers a full line of DME. Sleep is currently 30% of sales and growing.
Premier began ramping up its sleep business--now at 30% of revenues and growing--about three years ago, approaching the treatment of sleep disorders as part of a person's overall health.
"We're trying to reinforce that it's about more than sleep deprivation," said Cason.
A patient of Premier is a patient for life, said Shellie Hamm, clinical manager.
"We don't want these patients to be a quick set-up and then just dump them on their own," said Hamm. "We look at where they've been, where they're at today and we're they going to be in the future."
Patient follow-up is ongoing, usually over the phone. While follow-up service is free, the patient continues to order supplies.
The program is working, with a compliance rate of 80% to 90%, said Cason.
"By investing in these programs and investing in the patient, the referral sources know we're committed," he said.