Rent vs. buy: Trace Medical expands coverage

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Friday, January 26, 2018

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Trace Medical now rents ventilators to HME providers across the country.

Previously, the company, which carries vents from all the major manufacturers, including the Trilogy from Philips and the Astral from ResMed, only served providers east of the Mississippi.

“With reimbursement and cash management difficulties, more and more providers are seeing that renting makes sense,” said Elliot Campbell, senior vice president. “It allows them to have the financial flexibility to have assets when they need them and not to have them when they don’t.”

Trace Medical, which has been in business since 2004, charges providers, at minimum, a one-month fee for a rental, and a daily fee beyond that. It works with an authorized service center to maintain and repair its fleet of “thousands and thousands” of vents, Campbell says.

Trace Medical has added sales personnel to support its expanded coverage and has leveraged pay-per-click advertising to spread the word.

“We monitor our web traffic daily,” Campbell says, “and pay-per-click has worked quite well for us.”

While the number of providers looking to rent vents is increasing, Campbell says the overall number of providers doing business in this product category has stabilized, and he’s fine with that.

“There were people who looked to add vents to save their business, and they dove in and shouldn’t have,” he said. “The people who are in the space now, belong there.”

Vents have seen their share of pain at the hands of Medicare—coding changes, a 33% reimbursement reduction and unclear medical guidelines, to name a few—but Campbell says he’s confident the product category will remain viable going forward.

“The uncertainty in the market has driven some of the increase in rentals for us,” he said, “but the majority of the people on our products are children. You’d have to be a colder person than most to do something that affects the life of a seven year old, and that’s what we keep coming back to.”