HME News

OCT 2018

HME News is the monthly business newspaper for home medical equipment providers. This controlled circulation publication reaches 17,100 home medical equipment services providers, including traditional HME dealers & suppliers, hospital- and pharmacy-o

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Vendors 28 www.hMenewS.CoM / oCToBeR 2018 / hMe newS Invacare woos consumers in bid to build POC brand By Liz BeauLieu, editor ELYRIA, Ohio – Invacare's respiratory busi- ness has been slow to grow, even with the recent release of its Platinum Mobile Oxy- gen Concentrator with connectivity, but the company has plans to change that. Invacare plans to spend $2 million to $3 million in the next two quarters to raise awareness among consumers for its POC, said Matt Monaghan during a conference call on Aug. 8 to discuss the company's financial results* for the second quarter. "It's a channel that we're not accus- tomed to being so effective in, in terms of the amount of effort that has to go into consumer awareness," he said. "Normally we're selling to providers and the provid- ers have (referral sources), and that's all that's required to be effective. But there's so many dollars going into media…that you have to compete in a different way. So while we have a really great product that we're excited about, we've got to do more in the channel (and) that's new for us." A d v e rt i s i n g P O C s directly to consum- ers is a strategy that h a s b e e n e m b r a c e d by Inogen for years. Invacare acknowledges that $2 million to $3 million is "starting small," but the company plans to increase that spend after determining "a good reci- pe," Monaghan said. "We'll see what next year looks like," he said. Raising awareness for the Platinum means educating consumers that the Ino- gen One isn't synonymous with POC. "One of the big problems that we see in the marketplace today is consumers con- fuse a certain product brand name with the product category," Monaghan said. "For us, No. 1 is making sure consumers understand that our product is out there, and we're confident that once they realize it's a multi-product category, we're going to show well." Even as it works to grow sales for Plati- num, Invacare expects continued choppi- ness in its respiratory business, as it steers its product mix more toward POCs and away from stationary concentrators and HomeFill systems. "People should recognize that going from 100% of everything else to some percent of POCs will involve some can- nibalization," Monaghan said. "HomeFill has been great. It's a favorite of providers as cost effective care. But anything with an aluminum cylinder is not fashionable." As it tinkers with its respiratory busi- ness, Invacare is enjoying solid growth in its mobility and seating business one year since it succeeded in lifting a con- sent decree with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The business posted a more than 10% increase in net sales year over year for the second quarter. "Seating and mobility is a strong port- folio segment for us," Monaghan said. "The products and solutions reflect a good understanding of user needs and alignment with our customers." hme Company goes direct to consumer for cash sales See page 1 PhILIPs ULTRA C O n T I n u E D f R O M P R E v I O u s PA g E VIRTUOX C O n T I n u E D f R O M P R E v I O u s PA g E INOGEN C O n T I n u E D f R O M P R E v I O u s PA g E The news that Philips plans to discontinue the UltraFill comes on the heels of the com- pany's decision to start selling the SimplyGo and SimplyGo Mini for cash on its website, "I have no problem with that, and anyone who criticizes that is not embracing what's happening in the market," O'Neal said. "Let everyone advertise POCs for you, and when they show up at your door, be prepared to sell it. We sold three Inogen units this week for retail. It's our No. 1 retail item." Philips stands by its belief that POCs are patient preferred and cost effective. "For a DME provider, POCs have proven to provide a way to efficiently serve the patients by potentially eliminating costly visits to the home," the company said in the statement. "We believe that POCs will continue to pro- vide tremendous value for DMEs to efficiently serve their patients and improve the patient experience with their oxygen therapy." hme as well, so their customers shouldn't see or feel a difference. "The only thing that changes is the back-end billing that we do to the patients and insurance companies," Miko said. Now that it has a secure foothold in the oximetry testing market, VirtuOx is looking to broaden its scope into the mobile cardiac telemetry market, with acquisitions in that space possible. "A lot of patients have crossover," Miko said. "Some may need one test and would benefit from additional tests. Someone with atrial fibrilla- tion might have sleep apnea, which is causing the AFIB. If we had car- diac testing added to our existing platform, we'd have the possibility of four different procedural tests with overlap." hme to hire additional sales reps and invest in advertising activities to increase consumer awareness, as we believe this is still our most effective means to drive growth of direct-to-consumer sales," Wilkinson said. Inogen also reduced the price of its Ino- gen One G3 and G4 by $200 on June 1, after a price elasticity trial. "We routinely run pricing trials to develop a representative demand curve for our products and, in turn, an optimal pricing structure to maximize total gross margin dollars," Wilkinson said. Additionally, Inogen has plans to give consumers even more options with its forthcoming G5. "We've been working on the G5 for two years," Wilkinson said. "We are not ready to talk about the G5 in detail today, but we will talk about the G5, as well as our connectivity plans, before the end of 2018." hme INVACARE C O n T I n u E D f R O M PA g E 1 to providers, who have been a huge part of our success for a long time," said Matt Rechin, senior director of marketing communications and con- sumer marketing at Invacare. "But in supporting our strategy of mak- ing the product available to as many people as possible, it doesn't make sense to close off one channel over the other." Inogen has been selling its POCs to consumers for cash and through insurers for several years, and Philips Sleep and Respi- ratory Care began selling them for cash this summer. Invacare is work- ing with partners to take calls from the toll-free num- ber on its website, and to staff respi- ratory care coordinators to process orders for the Platinum and set up consumers on the device by phone, Rechin says. "We don't want to sell something and leave them out there by them- selves to figure out how to use it," he said. Invacare will build awareness for the Platinum and drive traffic to the new website with a multimedia adver- tising campaign on social media, radio and TV. The company is also lever- aging search engine optimization, Rechin says. "We're starting slowly because we have a lot to learn in this and we have a large competitor that we're trying to differentiate ourselves from," he said. "The idea is to start slowly, be smart with our investments and, over time, as we learn more, increase our invest- ment. This isn't a one and done." While some providers won't be happy that another manufacturer has joined the direct-to-consumer ranks, Rechin says "everyone benefits" from increased access to the Platinum: the company, providers and, most impor- tantly, users. "We view our strategy as increas- ing the size of the pond," he said. hme medtrade booth 2254 Matt Rechin Thurs. Nov. 8 1 pm ET New Webcast Register online today: The next round of bidding is imminent, but it won't look the same as prior rounds. Ask the critical questions to inform your next moves between here and there. • What do you need to know about the key competitive bid provisions in the proposed rule: lead item pricing and maximum bid/clearing price? • What can you expect from the final rule? • What should you consider before operating in bid areas during the gap period? • Will you bid in the next round? The New Face of Competitive Bidding: Between Here and There Presenter: Andrea Stark, Reimbursement Consultant, MiraVista Moderator: Liz Beaulieu, editor, HME News

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