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Maternal-infant care up-and-coming category

Maternal-infant care up-and-coming category

Products developed for expectant mothers, new mothers and their babies are gaining traction, but are HME providers taking notice? If they are, they could be tapping into a lucrative emerging pediatric subcategory, suppliers in the field say. 

“Maternal and infant care is an up-and-coming category, and we are all in on it,” says Brandon Fonville, director of Raleigh, N.C.-based Motif Medical. “After the Affordable Care Act was passed and breast pumps became a covered benefit, the biggest challenge we saw providers face was educating mothers that breast pumps were now covered under their insurance plans. After years of marketing and messaging from providers, mothers are now largely aware of this coverage, but as reimbursement for breast pumps declines, the next challenge is maintaining profitability after acquiring a mother-baby patient.” 

The answer, Fonville says, is to offer his provider partners a full range of insurance-eligible items that increase the overall profitability for each patient and support that patient throughout the parenthood journey. 

“This means not only furnishing the expectant mothers with a breast pump, but educating them about coverage for other products, such as pregnancy support bands, compression hosiery and milk storage bags,” he said. “Offering a full suite of products to mothers, both insurance-eligible and cash-pay, is the most impactful thing providers can do.” 

The HME advantage 

Providers can establish credibility as complete maternal-infant care sources by positioning themselves as experts, offering a complete range of products, extensive knowledge of insurance coverage and as educational resources for new mothers. 

“A maternity store may carry a wider selection, but they usually won’t be able to bill products through a mother’s insurance,” Fonville said. “A provider that offers all the products a mother’s insurance covers, as well as important cash-pay items, will be an attractive option to a mom, especially if the provider does a good job of educating her about what insurance will cover. The retail items serve as a convenience to the mother and help increase the overall profitability of the patient, too.” 

Among the key referral sources for the category are obstetricians, gynecologists, pelvic floor therapists, nurses, midwives and physical therapists. 

Christine Sheering, manager of Lake, Mich.-based It’s You Babe, says providers need to use online platforms to capitalize on potential clients’ search for prenatal, maternal and infant care guidance. 

“Most pregnant mothers want to know what to do and what to expect, primarily using their phones to search for information,” she said. “By employing online venues in social media channels and networking as a professional affiliate with companies like It’s You Babe, providers now can position themselves as influencers offering qualified information for new moms. Many have amassed subscribers and are viewed in the public eye as authorities in their field of expertise. They offer their subscribers and clients a ‘go to’ place for valid and reliable information.” 

Ever since the World Health Organization established 2016 standards for improving the quality of maternal and newborn care, well-rounded maternal infant care providers now include educating pregnant mothers, Sheering said.   

FDA-registered medical grade therapeutic supports like the IYB Best Cradle and V2 Supporter are prenatal products that are designed to provide full orthotic relief from an increasing weight-bearing load by surrounding the abdomen with ergonomic lift to improve posture and continue an active lifestyle. These supports are also intended to provide adjustable compression to relieve pain, pressure, and swelling from conditions such as vulvar varicosities, pubic swelling, organ prolapse of bladder and uterus, inguinal hernia, and genital lymphedema. 

“With twin pregnancies and varicosities on the rise, FDA-registered supports have risen in popular demand,” Sheering said. “The est cradle for twins or single pregnancies is a highly searchable item to improve mobility and ease pain while probtecting the back of a mom carrying twins. The V2 Supporter is growing in popularity as a highly effective solution for non-surgical compression therapy for vulvar varicosities.”


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