Roberts opens doors to Teijin

Saturday, January 31, 2009

GERMANTOWN, Md.--Roberts Home Medical played host recently to a very special group of tourists.

Teijin, Japan’s largest homecare provider, sent its top 17 salespeople to visit Washington, D.C., and attend Medtrade in October. The annual trip is both a reward and an educational opportunity, said Bob McCoy, who has coordinated the trip for several years. McCoy has also traveled to Japan several times to meet with the company.

“They are really interested in the U.S. market,” said McCoy, the current homecare section chair for the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC). “They feel their government is going to follow the U.S. in reimbursement and they want to get a head start.”

Teijin’s interest in the U.S. market runs deep. In 2008, the company acquired three American providers: Pacific Pulmonary Services in California; and Associated Healthcare Systems and Home Therapy Equipment, both in New York.

At Roberts, Teijin employees toured the company and visited its sister business, Roberts Home Oxygen.  Through a translator they compared Japan’s health system with ours.

“We both have our challenges,” said Ann Smith, respiratory supervisor for Roberts. “There, the money goes to the hospitals. The hospitals then decide how much the homecare companies get.”

The visitors also had questions about Roberts’ CPAP program.

“They have a horrible compliance rate, with a lot of machines brought back in,” said Smith. “In Japan, Teijin has about 60% of the market, but they were open to new ideas.”