HME News

MAY 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 hme news / may 2018 / www.hmenews.com 21 VGM's Markusen takes retail on the road By Tracy Orze L , c ontributing Writer WATERLOO, Iowa – The VGM Group is taking its new series, "Brick by brick: Retail learn- ing workshop"—which explores the three core areas of retail: product, experience, and marketing—to 10 cities this year. Here's what speaker Maria Markusen, director of operations & development for VGM Retail Services, had to say about how the game plan for a successful retain busi- ness has evolved. HME N E ws: VGM started the retail road- show in 2015 . How has the workshop changed over time? Maria Markusen: When I first entered the industry people really wanted to know how to redesign their stores to create a retail environment. Then people asked, "What products do I need to offer to the custom- ers that I already have?" The next iteration was, "How do I get customers I don't have into my store?" This workshop is going to take it one step further by showing you how to strategize your marketing so that you can make retail a viable business model, as opposed to an add on to your existing business. HME: What are providers doing in retail now? Markusen: A lot of providers do the first thing they should, which is asking who their core customers are, what they are buying, and how to get them to grow their average ticket by adding things that they need that are not reimbursed by insurance—the cash things. HME: What can providers do to improve their retail business? Markusen: A lot of times I walk into a store and I don't see enough products. The second thing is a lot of people don't segment their market and try to figure out what they could do differently from someone else. HME: If attendees leave the workshop learning one thing, what should it be? Markusen: That retail is not as mysterious as it might seem, but you can't just set it up, hope people show up and be success- ful. y ou have to track your data points daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, and readjust your behavior accordingly to be successful. HME P ARACHUTE c o N T i N U e d f R o M PA G e 1 said CEO David Gelbard, who launched Parachute in 2016 after his father, who was recovering from back surgery, never received a walker that had been ordered for him at discharge. "With Parachute, there's no question they'll get that equipment. If we can solve that problem across the country, we'll be incredibly successful." To date, Parachute says it covers 60% of the healthcare market in New y ork and, with minimal effort, has grown a presence in more than 20 states. With its new funding, which includes investments from former execs at United Health Group and McKesson, Parachute plans to hire "implementation teams" to grow its presence nationwide. "Our main competitor is inertia and the fax machine," Gelbard said. Parachute has first targeted DME orders, but it also plans to use its new funding to launch additional healthcare products and services. "Nearly every post acute-care product and service comes across via paper and fax, with the exception of prescription drugs," Gelbard said. "This puts DME at the cutting edge across post-acute care right now. It's also one of the more com- plex markets, with tens of thousands of products and thousands of insurers." Parachute charges providers a per- transaction fee to use the platform, but that's not a difficult sell, Gelbard says, when you consider that providers like Landauer Medstar, a beta partner, have been able to turn their businesses around using the platform, even in the face of reimbursement cuts. "We've reduced faxes and phone calls by 80%, we've reduced order abandon- ment from 40% to less than 5% and we've seen an increase in productivity on our order verification team by 20%," said Tony Gonzalez, regional vice president at Lan- dauer Medstar, which is based in Manhas- set, N. y ., but services a number of mid- Atlantic states. "We've seen an increase in co-pay collection rates of 25% to 30% and we've seen denials drop by 1% to 2%." QMES, the parent company of Lan- dauer Medstar, has now adopted the platform in other DME businesses in its portfolio, and in January alone, they had processed orders for more than 11,000 patients using Parachute. "We're solving a real problem—a real choke point—in the market," Gelbard said. HME CARBON k ING s c o N T i N U e d f R o M P R e v i o U S PA G e CO m PA ss HEALT H c o N T i N U e d f R o M P R e v i o U S PA G e When asked why there aren't more wheel- chair manufacturers using carbon fiber, Sim- oneau says it's a very complicated material compared to aluminum and titanium, which are traditionally used to make wheelchairs using well understood manufacturing tech- niques. "With carbon fiber you need to think dif- ferently," he said. " y ou need to do a lot of computer analysis, you need to design a mold and set your parts, and you need to think of ways to make your wheelchair fully adjust- able and customizable." There's also the misconception that car- bon fiber is reserved for very active wheel- chair users or to make racing wheelchairs for the Paralympics, says Simoneau, who expects that to change in time. "I totally see composite materials becoming more and more mainstream," he said. "The difference between a power and a manual wheelchair (will become) less and less in the future." HME CODY VERRETT c o N T i N U e d f R o M P R e v i o U S PA G e ST, that is affordable and well loved in the Eastern market—the product quality is great, the customer service is great," said Verrett, who has become a part-owner of the company. "I plan on using good, old fashioned guerilla marketing to increase their awareness and brand position." For Motion Composites, a manufacturer of ultra-light manual wheelchairs, Verrett aims to take a company that is well known in Canada and help them stake a claim in the United States. "They've been around for about 10 years, but they're just getting started in the U.S.," said Verrett, who's serving as the company's Eastern sales manager. "It's a company I'm excited about because they have perfected the application of carbon fiber—other companies have tried and haven't done it right—and their CEO Eric Simoneau is like the Steve Jobs of manual wheelchairs—he's excited and passionate about their products and where they're going." Although Verrett's still very much involved at ROVI, it's bittersweet for him to "step back" from the company whose X3 he helped launch in 2013. But he felt it was necessary for the company's next stage of growth. "I took a haircut compensation wise to protect my team members and to keep the company healthy," Verrett said. "ROVI is competing with companies that have been in the market for two decades and it needs more time. My stepping back allows us to breathe a little bit and breathes more life into the team and future products." HME for their DME product needs," Straus said. The increased sales presence means each of Compass Health's provider customers will have a dedicated sales rep and a customer sales and service rep to provide what it calls "concierge-level" account management. "We plan to continue our geographic expansion of our field sales team through- out 2018 so that we can reach all of our cus- tomers in a more personal fashion to make sure they feel part of the Compass Health family," Straus said. Compass Health hasn't ruled out addi- tional acquisitions, either. "We are always looking for ways to add additional brands, products and services to our offering whether that be through acqui- sitions or partnerships," Straus said. HME NOW SERVICING THE ENTIRE U.S.A. VALUE ANALYSIS FREE NOW SERVICING THE ENTIRE U.S.A. VALUE ANALYSIS FREE DIVERSE PRODUCT LINE • CREATIVE PRICING STRUCTURES COST-EFFECTIVE • VALUED VENDOR PARTNER TraceMedical.com | 888.627.0950 *Offer valid for new customers only. A Better Ventilator Rental Solution Trace Medical is a national leader in ventilator rentals working closely with customers to develop innovative rental programs that deliver desired clinical and fi nancial outcomes.

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