Strategy

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Sunday, March 31, 2002

RAYMOND, N.H. - DME provider Lifeplus has divorced its lift division and renewed vows with one of its core businesses: rehab.

Last month, Lifeplus sold its lift division to the Concord, N.H.-based All-Ways Accessible (See p. 43), proclaiming it wanted to rededicate itself to its rehab and respiratory offerings. As such, Lifeplus has created a rehab division and boosted its offerings to include a full line of manual and power wheelchairs, and seating systems.

April Mason, president and chief operating office, said Lifeplus made the move despite what would appear to be two setbacks for the provider: Lifeplus' reputation as a respiratory provider and the stigma that rehab providers aren't profitable.

The former, Mason said, is the reason why Lifeplus has given its rehab division its own name: Axis Rehab. As for the latter, she said, it won't apply to Lifeplus.

"You could make just as much a case for there being no money in CPAP," Mason said. "It all depends on how well you manage your business, and we've got a specific business plan in motion to do that."

Mason said "good management" includes having a defined product scope. Axis Rehab won't get carried away with customization, the death knell of many a good rehab provider, she said. Also, it'll emphasize having certified technicians on staff, such as a rehab technology supplier (RTS).

Although Lifeplus will have rehab offerings in each of its 10 locations in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts, Axis Rehab will have its largest presence in Raymond, N.H, Mason said. HME

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