Patient First Testing celebrates pulse ox ruling

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

FREMONT, Neb. -- Patient First Testing is celebrating. The recent advisory from CMS that gave the green light to limited provider involvement in overnight pulse oximetry means this fledgling company can start moving full steam ahead.
Since April, Patient First has offered free software over its Web site for providers who want to upload their overnight tests to its independent diagnostic testing facility. It also offers the more traditional mail order service.
As providers become more aware of the CMS transmittal (See story page 4), Patient First President John Morris expects to see business boom.
"Our delivery options are focusing on electronic testing because that is where the industry is going to be before long," said Morris.
Morris said his electronic system is unique because it offers providers free use of Patient First's software. Providers can download the program by completing a simple application process. Then, Patient First sends the provider a unique physician order form and a six-digit identification number. Morris said he can get a DME up and running in one day.
"The best thing about our system though is that because we are an IDTF and get to bill insurance companies, whether it's Medicare private insurance, or in some states Medicaid, it doesn't cost the DME anything," said Morris. "We are not in the business of selling software."
To meet CMS guidelines for overnight oximetry testing, Patient First's system encrypts the raw data from the pulse oximeter. It also runs a multi-lingual call center to answer patient questions regarding operation of the test so they do not have to turn to their DME provider.
Morris said he had 1,000 customers in the wings waiting for the CMS transmittal to come through. He hopes to get most of them up and running with the system by September.
"Under the CMS guidelines, DMEs are going to be able to work with companies like myself, and they are going to be able to get testing done in a timely manner," said Morris. "Patients are not going to have to wait for oxygen for two or thee months anymore."