Rice Home Medical taps existing patients

Thursday, December 17, 2009

WILLMAR, Minn. – Provider Carol Laumer will start the new year with a new service: negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT).

It’s the perfect complement to Rice Home Medical’s existing rehab services, she said.

“Folks that are wheelchair-bound can end up with pressure sores,” said Rice, executive director. “If you work with rehab patients, you are (already) going down that trail.”

The 21-year-old Rice Home Medical offers a full line of DME and respiratory through its five locations. The provider added rehab eight years ago and during the past five has worked “aggressively” to expand it.

“We think about what’s necessary for people in rehab,” she said. “We do the support surfaces, the chairs, and wound care goes along with that.”

Rice Home Medical is piloting the NPWT program with a local hospital and wound care clinic, and it plans to key in on other area clinics.

So far the response has been positive, said Laumer.

“Before us, they had to get the therapy from the Twin Cities, which is more than two hours away,” she said. “Plus we’re in a rural area and (people) tend to support local business.”

Although reimbursement for the pumps is good—Medicare pays about $1,716 a month for the first three months and $1,287 for months four through 13—Laumer said the decision to add the service had more to do with meeting the needs of existing patients. To that end, last summer, the provider also began doing ramp and stair glide installations.

“We’re tapping into the same people we’ve been working with to get more of their business, rather than turn someone away,” she said.