VGM plays the CPAP 'middleman'

Thursday, June 17, 2010

WATERLOO, Iowa - The VGM Group spent a year perfecting its new CPAP replenishment program, but now it's full steam ahead, said 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 full time employees 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 warehouse and ship masks, tubing and other equipment to patients. VGM does that, using shipping labels that include the provider's name and return address.

VGM members pay a 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 now use the program, but more than half of VGM's 2,500 members could benefit from it, Stolz estimated

"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.