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Maternal & infant care invites opportunities

Maternal & infant care invites opportunities

Nikki Jensen of Essentially Women uses the pandemic as an example of how the maternal and infant care category presents a prime business opportunity for the HME industry. 

“Social distancing prevented face-to-face health care services like post-mastectomy care, offering the chance to diversify, because throughout the pandemic, babies were still being born,” said Jensen, vice president of Essentially Women, a membership services organizations for women’s health providers that’s a division of VGM & Associates. 

Jensen sees maternal and infant care as an adjacent category for HME providers serving traditional categories of respiratory, mobility and pediatrics. 

A planned September rollout of a new mom-baby program called Lily is designed to attract more providers to the category, focusing on reimbursable breast pumps.  

“We’ve tried to compile the adjacencies for DMEs to offer profitability and incremental sales, one-vendor sourcing and what those additional dollars can mean,” Jensen said. 

Once it is up and running, the Lily program will be open to VGM and Essentially Women members, allowing them to bill insurance for furnishing breast pumps. 

“If you are a DMEPOS supplier, you can participate,” she said. 

Brandon Fonville, director of Raleigh, NC-based Motif Medical views the maternal and infant care market as one “that is growing as the years progress, with more HME providers entering the space.” He chalks up the growth to “a lot more awareness that mother and baby products are reimbursable by insurance than in years past, which has led to more patients taking advantage of the available insurance coverage. As a result, more providers are entering the category.” 

Key products & referrals 

Products in the maternal and infant care space span the range from pre-natal to post-partum care and include items that provide comfort for expectant mothers and support for new mothers, as well as infant care. 

“A savvy provider will carry a mix of products that are related to both pregnancy and post-partum and a mix of insurance-eligible and patient pay items,” Fonville said. “Products related to nursing are usually the most common because of breast pump coverage, but there are other insurance-eligible items, as well.” 

Pregnancy support bands, postpartum support garments, pregnancy compression stockings and c-section wound care are all billable items that many mothers need. Pairing those items with non-billable cash accessories like nursing bras, breastfeeding supplements, diaper bags and other maternity-adjacent items “will add extra profitability to a patient who may have come to you for a single product, such as a breast pump,” Fonville said. 

Jensen adds seating and positioning cushions, kabooti cushions and ice packs as other category stalwarts. HME providers can also use these products to pivot into the referral source realm as a resource for clinicians and patients. 

“Obstetricians get calls all day long from expectant moms with questions,” Jensen said. “They need somewhere to send those patients with questions about backaches and swollen ankles. It’s a great opportunity for providers to conduct referral source marketing and educate those OBs.” 

Fonville confirms that education is an important strategy. “There is often a knowledge gap where patients are unaware of what items their insurance will cover versus what is an out-of-pocket expense,” he said. “Educating them on what may be covered is a tactic that is helpful to families and maximizes insurance coverage for everything they need.”


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