Oxygen One stresses DSM as wave of the future

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

WAUKESHA, Wisc. -- Oxygen One formalized its standard outcomes monitoring practices as a COPD management program over the summer, preparing for a day when disease management is not an optional, boutique service but a compulsory component of any home oxygen supplier's service package.
"If you look at the studies, and what Medicare is doing with [disease management], they are looking at that down the pike," said Jill Spellman, president of Oxygen One. "All of us are going to see more of this as providers."
Medicare in July announced plans for a demonstration project that examines ways in which providers can reduce the costs of medical care for beneficiaries with complex medical needs. None of the providers were HME suppliers. CMS selected physicians, hospitals and disease management programs. Enrollment begins this fall (see related story on pager 12)
Since Oxygen One opened its doors in the fall of 1999, the company's respiratory therapists have been providing educational services and tracking outcomes on a regular basis. The impetus was not a question of leveraging savings, however, but distinguishing their service package.
"HME providers with disease management programs want to say they save money, but that's not the reason they have the programs," said Bob Fary, vice president of sales at Inogen. "They have the programs so they can get more patients."
That's still the main driver behind the formalization of Spellman's COPD management busines Oct. 1. But she also feels that Oxygen One must be able to justify its value.
"Anybody can put equipment in the home. But does that prove we are valuable, and does it prove that we are valuable enough to be paid for professional expertise?" she said.