VGM plays CPAP 'middleman'

Monday, June 14, 2010

WATERLOO, Iowa - The VGM Group spent a year perfecting its new CPAP replenishment program, but now it's full steam ahead, says Jeremy Stolz, director of VGM Fulfillment.

"Some people think they can do it cheaper on their own," Stolz said. "But once they figure in their time, how many FTEs they're devoting and the space in their warehouse, they realize this is a big money and time-saver for them."

Providers who join the program no longer have to warehouse and ship masks, tubing and other equipment. VGM does that, using shipping labels that include the provider's name and return address.

VGM members pay the contracted price for equipment and are billed monthly for shipping and handling charges. The program includes products from ResMed, Respironics and Fisher & Paykel.

"Every manufacturer has their own drop-ship program, but most patients aren't using one manufacturer exclusively," said Stolz. "There was a need for a middleman who could put (different brands) in the same box with one shipping charge."

About 30 providers use the program, but Stolz estimated that more than half of VGM's 2,500 members could benefit from it.

"It's really helped us out because we don't have to inventory a lot of product, do the purchasing, bring it in-house and get it ready to ship back out," said Barbara Bishov, CFO of Quality Healthcare Equipment in Arlington Heights, Ill., which piloted the program.

Bishov estimated that the program has eliminated the work of sending out about 30 orders a day.