RxStat: Get competitive edge with POCs

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A video on the website for RxStat of St. Petersburg, Fla., features president and owner Sam Jarczynski enthusiastically touting the company's line of portable oxygen concentrators (POCs), a technology it has embraced since its earliest days.

But Jarczynski's not the only one excited about POCs.

"When (patients) find us, they're jumping up and down and doing cartwheels," said Jarczynski. "They say, 'My other provider told me it isn't covered.'"

RxStat returned to the oxygen business in 2006 after many years as a compounding and respiratory pharmacy. But Jarczynski wanted to avoid investing in liquid oxygen, cylinders and big delivery trucks, choosing instead to put his capital into POCs.

"It's better technology for patients," said Jarczynski. "The national providers have established their business models around cylinder delivery. For them to start transitioning to a non-delivery model would be very hard."

From its single location, RxStat ranked 5th in 2009 for Medicare reimbursement of POCs nationwide. POCs are still just 25% of RxStat's $10 million in annual revenues--"they're good, but they're not for everyone," Jarczynski said--but they've become the hook that differentiates RxStat from its competitors.

"We're in Florida--patients spend six months here, six months there," he said. "They want to get out, take a last-minute trip, get away and they weren't allowed to do that. It's a quality of life issue."

Jarczynski looked for creative financing options to manage the higher upfront costs of POCs, and he uses technology to stay as economical and efficient as possible.

With a patient-friendly approach to customer service, Jarczynski has been successful in positioning RxStat as the POC authority in his area. He'll answer questions and handle service calls on POCs bought elsewhere and even buy back units from patients that he can sell used. The result is a loyal base of POC-loving customers.

"I'd have everyone on a POC if I could," he said.