Pertelle departs Apria, joins hospital system

Sunday, January 29, 2006

LAKE FOREST, Calif. - Apria's corporate director of respiratory and HME services, Vernon Pertelle, may be moving on but he's not leaving the HME industry behind.

Pertelle, who over the past few years has led an industry charge to prove the clinical value of HME, departed Apria Jan. 26 and joined the Tri-City Hospital District as vice president of outpatient services. In his new position, he'll oversee home healthcare and hospice. His duties will include managing and growing existing outpatient offerings and business development. Tri-city serves 1 million people in five cites in North San Diego County.

"Tri-City does not have a home medical equipment component, but I'm not going to rule that out," Pertelle said. "Once I'm there and if I see an advantage of doing that, I won't hesitate. It doesn't have a sleep lab either, and I have designs on looking into that in the near future."

Pertelle joined Apria three years ago as national respiratory manager. The company promoted him to corporate director of respiratory and HME services six months later.

Leaving Apria, Pertelle said, does not mean he's "riding off into the sunset" when it comes to home respiratory services. His enthusiasm
for research that demonstrates HME's clinical effectiveness to policy-makers and other healthcare professionals still burns strong.

"My passion for the industry will continue until I feel we are up against the wall or we have been (accepted)," he said. "My first love will always be respiratory therapy, and I think I will always remain active."

In fact, Pertelle said, he's been approached to serve on the boards of various industry manufacturers. That will "give me the ability to do what we need to do defend why we should not be targeted consistently for reimbursement cuts."

Petelle decided to leave Apria to travel less and spend more time with his family. Tri-City is located only minutes from his home in Oceanside, Calif.

"There is a lot you miss having to travel, and family is very important to me," Pertelle said. "Being in this situation I'm only minutes from my house and can still remain engaged in the (HME) industry."