Providers say they'll stick with LifeGas
YARMOUTH, Maine – Although LifeGas’ parent company, Linde, announced in June that it was acquiring Lincare, most HME providers say they don’t expect much of an impact on their own dealings with the medical gas distributor.
“We haven’t given it a whole lot of thought,” said Glenn Perry, executive director and CEO of Regional Home Care in Clifton Forge, Va. “They’ve been fair to me and they sure came through when we had all those power outages here over July 4th.”
LifeGas isn’t the only game in town. AirGas and Air Liquide are two large players in the market. For example, AirGas says on its website that it has approximately 1,100 locations nationwide. LifeGas did not respond to requests for comment.
Indeed, providers say they think things will remain largely unchanged, so long as LifeGas continues to be competitive on price.
“I don’t think we’ll change (suppliers) unless they start raising prices,” said Frank Trammell, president of Carolinas Home Medical Equipment in Matthews, N.C. “If they do, there are other places we can go.”
Providers don’t seem to worried that Lincare may reap some extra benefits now that the provider and LifeGas are owned by the same parent company.
“I think it’s a given that they will get better pricing, although we will not be privy to what they are selling it to Lincare for,” said Eric McNulty, vice president of Home Medical Professionals in Atlanta. “Nobody knows what gets negotiated between one company and another.”
Competitive pricing and loyalty aren’t enough for one provider, who eventually plans to stop using LifeGas.
“I don’t care to fuel their parent company with my cash so that they can, in turn, compete with me and finance the operations of Lincare,” said the provider, who did not want to be named. “I’m not concerned about unfair pricing. It’s a philosophical decision.”