Membership has its privileges

Friday, December 28, 2012

BOCA RATON, Fla. – American Diabetes Services wants to be the online Costco of the HME world.

So in November, the online provider launched, a membership-driven store that accepts no insurance. The annual memberships—MedVantage and MedVantage Plus for consumers, and MedVantage Pro for healthcare professionals—offer discounts and cash-back rewards on purchases. Memberships cost $35, $55 and $110, respectively, and all have a 30-day free trial.

“The market in general really needs something like this,” said Robert Friskney, CEO. “Once you realize how much you are saving, you will go ahead and pay for the membership, which helps us keep our margins competitively low.”

The savings will drive more return business, he said. And, if a member spends enough money, the membership pays for itself. offers the entire Invacare Supply Group product catalog, including ADLs, catheters, skin care, pain management and respiratory products. The provider also plans to allow makers of so-called “niche” products like meters and strips from Korean manufacturer SD Biosensor, to sell through its website, Friskney said

American Diabetes Services started in 1999 and has served more than half a million customers. Although American Diabetes Services still accepts Medicare for catheter products, the advent of competitive bidding led the provider to sell its Medicare diabetes supply business to United Healthcare, said Friskney. 

For now, his focus is on making a household name.

In January, he will appear on Lifetime Television’s “The Balancing Act.” During the segment, hosted by Alan Thicke, Friskney talks about how helps diabetes patients.

“Alan Thicke’s son has diabetes, and during the segment he calls in,” he said. “It’s really heartfelt and it’s also helping other parents deal with children who have diabetes.”