Program drives Re-peat business

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

AMHERST, N.Y. - Providers like to talk about CPAP and APAP, but the staff at C-Pap Xpress is just as likely to talk Re-PAP with their customers.

"People initially started coming in for supplies--that was initially our focus--but we had people saying, 'I've had my CPAP for 10 years, maybe I'd like to upgrade to something newer,'" said Peter Storey, president.

So, the provider called around to insurance companies and Medicare and found that most will allow a new machine after five years, although a doctor's approval is often needed, said Storey, and the Re-PAP program was born. 

The five-year timetable makes it easy for C-Pap Xpress to regularly determine which of their patients might qualify for a new machine.

"We'll send them a letter and invite them to come in and look at the latest technology," said Storey. "Our customers are kind of 'power' CPAP users. When they come in, they're like a kid in a candy store. It's such a big part of their life."

About 10% of the customers contacted get set up on a new CPAP, said Storey. Wall posters and buttons worn by staff invite patients to "Ask us about Re-Pap," and the provider recently trademarked the term.

C-Pap Xpress started in 2007 when its parent company, Associated Healthcare, saw an opportunity to not only better serve its existing CPAP patients, but also to capture market share from other companies, said Storey.

"At Associated, we had a great re-supply program, but some companies don't," he said. "We thought we'd tap into those customers, and then get them to shop at C-Pap Xpress for the rest of their lives."

C-Pap Xpress launched five retail locations in upstate New York. It accepts most major insurances and will special order items that it doesn't carry. Having customers come into a retail setting creates the expectation of payment at the time of the sale, as opposed to customers expecting to be billed later.

"It cuts down on billing expenses and the time-value of money waiting for co-pays," he said. "Getting all that upfront is much better for cash flow."