Meet the new leader at Sigvaris

Friday, December 20, 2013

The opportunity to lead Sigvaris North America was so attractive to Scot Dubé that he came out of early retirement in September to become the company’s new president and CEO. “So many companies are struggling today with regulatory burdens and doubts around the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “But what I found in Sigvaris was this 150-year-old company that has this amazing, burning desire to continue to grow and reinvest.” Here’s what Dubé had to say about how he plans to take the Peachtree City, Ga.-based Sigvaris from “very good to great” and why the compression products market is set for 3% to 5% growth in the next decade.

HME News: What are your goals for Sigvaris?

Scot Dubé: I’ve had the good fortune of selling and marketing medical products for the past 30 years in many channels, including DME, so I have a good understanding of what has changed, what the trends are, and what the challenges are for both manufacturers and providers. Sigvaris is a company that has many strengths and my task is to take it from very good to great. My background is strong in sales and marketing, and I come from Fortune 500 and small companies that do a lot of market research to really understand patient, customer and nurse/physician needs—I want to enhance that here.

HME: You mentioned Sigvaris’ strengths. What are some of them?

Dubé: We have great new product development at Sigvaris. We’re creating products from premium materials like merino wool and sea island cotton, and they’re so attractive and comfortable, it’s hard to differentiate them from fashion hosiery. We have amazing customer service. We have a facility here in Georgia that manages more than 5,500 calls per month with highly trained, professional staff that answers calls without frustrating automated answering devices. We have a great certified-fitter program, where we teach about not only our products but also anatomy and physiology, and the importance of compression.

HME: What role do HME providers play in Sigvaris’ success?

Dubé: While the self-serve compression segment is dominated more by chains, the premium, measured segment is dominated by HME providers. It’s almost a life-changing event for a patient to have a leg disease and be fitted for a premium quality product with the perfect fit. HME providers earn market share by understanding leg diseases, by offering professional fitting, and by providing great customer service. It’s a wonderful, high-touch, profitable business. The providers that do this the best have patients that are buying products from them every three to six months.

HME: There is some reimbursement from Medicare/Medicaid for compression products, right?

Dubé: Medicare coverage requires a diagnosis of a leg ulcer. There isn’t coverage to prevent these ulcers from developing, so there’s also a wonderful cash business opportunity. Also, most private-pay insurance has a lower threshold for reimbursement.

HME: Why are compression products a good market for providers to get into or grow?

Dubé: The health trends in the U.S. speak to continued growth—3% to 5% a year in the next decade for compression products. There are headwinds in terms of changes to reimbursement, but we think that’s short sighted and temporary. Wearing compression products is a wonderful example of preventative medicine and, with accountable care organizations, this is the future of our medical system. A good healthcare model embraces preventing leg diseases from progressing and becoming expensive in-patient events.