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VGM’s Sleep Services reaches out – early and often

VGM’s Sleep Services reaches out – early and often

John CarterWATERLOO, Iowa – VGM & Associates officially launched Sleep Services in August to help HME providers specifically address the growing impact of staffing shortages on compliance with CPAP therapy. 

The program, which is equipment agnostic, allows providers to outsource no-touch delivery, onboarding, patient setup, compliance and post-compliance monitoring. 

“The challenge of having enough staffing to get ahold of patients to try to get them compliant has been around since the beginning,” said Barry Thwaits, senior vice president of business development for VGM & Associates. “What has changed in recent years is the number of locations a provider has, has shrunk and so the amount of work each location has to do has grown. They haven’t been able to maintain that ratio of FTEs to patients and so who is going to do the setups and who is going to stay in touch with patients?” 

Sleep Services, which had a soft launch at VGM’s Heartland Conference in June, is led by John Carter, vice president of sleep and respiratory compliance services at VGM, and a team of respiratory therapists, clinicians and care coordinators. 

At the core of the program is the belief that there is no “secret sauce” to compliance, Carter says. 

“One of the big components of the program is we’re making live calls with real people 48 hours after setup,” he said. “It’s about being in touch with them early and often. One of the biggest mistakes that the industry has made is setting up patients and then waiting 30 days to see how they’re doing. That’s too long.” 

After 48 hours, the program includes calls every week until the 30-day mark and, depending on a patient’s progress, every 15 days until the 90-day mark, Carter says. 

“We’re checking in; we’re looking at their data,” he said. “It’s about having knowledgeable people talking to patients and coming up with solutions when they’re having issues.” 

Thwaits sees Sleep Services as the foundation for VGM to provide patient monitoring services on a larger scale – it’s looking to offer a similar service for non-invasive ventilation – and to leverage the company’s various divisions, including VGM Fulfillment, a licensed third-party logistics provider and wholesale distributor of medical supplies and devices. 

“We believe our mission is to build services that will allow our providers to be more efficient and more profitable,” he said. “This is just another piece of the puzzle that allows us to be flexible in how we operate. Imagine a provider can literally have product shipped, have it set up, have their patients be compliant and have their supplies needs fulfilled and never touch a piece of inventory.”


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