Invacare Assists Providers Entering the Bariatric Market
Invacare's Bariatric Starter Kit was developed to help providers new to the bariatric market and those who are tentative about really diving into it, according to Mike DiFranco, product manager for Invacare's bariatric line.
"Because this is such a new market, providers aren't quite sure how to position themselves or their business reputation in bariatrics. They also have a deep-rooted fear about reimbursement levels that have grown to mythical levels," DiFranco said. "We knew we had to step up and help our providers understand the emerging market. We wanted to show them where the bariatric business is, and clearly demonstrate that when you buy Invacare bariatrics, you can make a reasonable profit."
The Bariatric Starter Kit includes a marketing guide for providers including new referral sources such as home health agencies, bariatric surgery units and primary care physicians. The kit also includes product selection materials, a bariatric Medicare HCPCS guide as well as bariatric educational programs with specialist Dr. Kevin Huffman.
"We have created a full-day event of Dr. Huffman as a keynote speaker, a Medicare reimbursement section, optional provider content section and a bariatric product workshop. The provider co-hosts the conference with Invacare in their local markets where therapists, nurses, clinicians and doctors come into a central location to participate in this CEU-approved bariatric program," DiFranco said.
Bariatric products exist throughout all categories of DME beds, wheelchairs, walkers, bath safety "so most all providers are already selling higher capacity DME products in the 300 lb.-400 lb. range," said DiFranco. "They are beginning to see the requests for extremes of 500-700-lb. products and recognize new demand, but aren't sure what to make of it. They are supplying these on a requested basis and believe that is good enough. The kit is intended to entice providers into bariatrics with attractive kit discounting.
"Bariatrics is also the best way to offset the highly unstable Medicare environment in high-end rehab. The rehab-centered provider is panicked for how to offset the Medicare cuts and uncertainty in rehab. They need to survive and sustain their business. The solution is to diversify your business and create new revenue streams with bariatrics.
"Most providers know obesity, know the epidemic, know there is potential, but are still uncertain how to connect it with their business. This is the magic of our Marketing Starter Kit."
This article originally appeared in the June 2006 issue of HME Business.