Portable oxygen offers glimmer of promise

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Aconfluence of negative factors has forced the HME industry to scramble for ways to maintain operations while providing patients with the best technology available. Proponents of portable oxygen systems believe the latest generation of equipment delivers on both those counts.
Rising fuel costs, dearth of credit, slashed Medicare oxygen reimbursement and stingier private insurance coverage have all conspired to strangle respiratory provider cash flows. Between the malaise in the general economy and substantial payer belt-tightening within the healthcare sector, there appears to be little financial room for providers to maneuver.
Portable oxygen systems, however, provide a glimmer of promise on this front, offering considerable therapeutic and cost efficiency potential, manufacturers say. The systems not only virtually eliminate gasoline-intensive deliveries but also save on maintenance costs all the while enhancing the patient's lifestyle. What needs to happen now is greater acceptance, adoption and utilization of the technology, sources say.
"This is a great challenge to manufacturers and providers, but we believe that it will ultimately result in better technologies and lower-cost solutions,"said Scott Decker, president of Santa Ana, Calif.-based Cramer Decker Industries.