Plan to outsource reordering? Here’s how to keep it personal

Monday, June 30, 2008

AKRON, Ohio--Bargmann Management has created a very nice niche for itself helping providers collect patient copays. The company now wants to lend a hand with the reordering of CPAP masks and supplies.

Bargmann officially launched Sleep Success Services in late May. The program, which had been in the testing phase for several months, “allows (providers) to focus on clinical care while outsourcing the re-ordering of their patients” masks, tubing, filters, cushions and other supplies.

There are automated systems on the market that help providers with reordering CPAP supplies, but some providers and patients do not like automated systems. With Sleep Success Services, a live person calls the patient and initiates the reorder-usually once every three months for a Medicare CPAP patient.

“Some companies hire a person to try and manage this, but inevitably they end up giving that person all types of other jobs, like answering phones,” said Lisa Bargmann, president and CEO. “This is kind of the last thing that ends up getting done if something else interrupts the day’s normal workflow.”

Several years ago, many providers were content to collect reimbursement for a CPAP and ignore replenishing supplies. But as overall HME reimbursement began to shrink, manufacturers of CPAP products and supplies began to loudly encourage providers to go after the resupply business, pointing out that it helps increase patient compliance and generates revenue.

In general, about 80% of CPAP patients can handle an automated system that reminds them to reorder supplies, said John Durkee, vice president of sales for MedSage Technologies, an automated service. The remaining 20% are either incapable of using an automated system or prefer to talk to a live person.

MedSage has more than 100 provider customers and manages 500,000 CPAP patients, Durkee said.

While Sleep Success Services could go head-to-head with MedSage and other automated services, the target patients are those who for whatever reason aren’t right for automation, Bargmann said.

Al Tall owns Blue Mountain Medical, a large sleep provider (5,000 patients) operating four locations in Washington state. Blue Mountain helped Bargmann test Sleep Success Services.

Tall said, “I’m really happy so far.” He has also seen a “significant increase” in his resupply revenue.

“The calls just weren’t getting made,” he said. “Or if they were being made, they weren’t getting ahold of people, and the follow-ups just weren’t as aggressively done now.”