Reporter's notebook: CVS may not like DME

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Monday, April 1, 2019

A pharmacist by training and an HME provider by trade, Mike Kuller offers a unique perspective on CVS’s plans to rollout expanded health services and DME offerings through its HealthHUBs.

In some ways it makes a lot of sense for CVS, which already offers walk-in health services like screenings and vaccinations through its MinuteClinics, to try and capture a larger share of the healthcare market, says Kuller, owner of Allstar Medical Supply in Walnut Creek, Calif.

“It’s probably a good idea where they are headed,” he said. “My daughter had pink eye and at 6:30 at night it was convenient and the only thing I could do at that time.”

However, while targeting chronic health conditions like diabetes and sleep apnea makes some sense, how that will translate to also offering medical supplies like CPAP is another story, he says.

“As a pharmacist, I understand a lot about the underlying conditions customers have and I’ve been doing DME for 20 years,” he said. “So, I understand how the equipment’s being used. People tell me we are great—they don’t want to talk to that young kid that doesn’t know what he’s doing.”

Kuller also questions whether CVS will want to get into the hassle of insurance billing for DME, which is different than billing for DME; and whether they will find it cost-effective in the long run.

“They are going to have to figure out whether having yoga classes and diabetes training is really to go make a difference and how to cover the cost of teaching these classes and engaging with people at kiosks,” he said. “When I go in just to pick up a prescription, there’s already five people waiting in line.”