Is a Global PAP Shortage Enough to Make You Diversify Your Business?

Published in Respiratory & Sleep on August 18, 2022

Boone Lockard

By Boone Lockard, CRT, Director, VGM Respiratory

Can your business continue to weather the global PAP shortage, and if so, for how long? Are you losing referrals to other providers that can source PAP devices? Now is the time to take advantage of an emerging market: home ventilation. You don’t want to miss the buck on this opportunity.

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Starting an NIV Program

Starting a non-invasive ventilation (NIV) program is easier today than ever before. VGM and our vendor partners can assist you every step of the way. We realize that stepping out of the status quo is easier said than done. Together, VGM and our vendor partners have created a plug-and-play program to ensure your success in the NIV market.

Numerous suppliers are currently dispensing ventilators throughout the U.S. Diversifying your program is key to success in today’s market. And as we’ve discussed in this playbook and others, the days of simply issuing equipment and billing are at an end. DME providers will have to become more clinically involved in their patient care.

A recent study conducted by Viemed showed patients diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic respiratory failure (CRF) who were treated with NIV at home had:

  • 50% decrease in all-cause mortality during the study period
  • 28% decline in the risk of hospitalization
  • 52% reduction in the risk of an emergency room visit

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The Value-Based Care Model

The value-based care model seems to be coming at us full steam ahead. Incorporating a robust clinical program is necessary for two key reasons. The first reason seems self-explanatory. Advancing your clinical program in the home is critical to keeping patients from readmitting to the acute care setting. You may have dispensed an $8,000 piece of equipment, but do you have a care program that promotes usage and helps identify changes in a patient’s condition? The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that a patient’s home is critical to their continuum of care.

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HME providers utilizing the Nexus software from Encore Health have reduced readmissions by more than 60%.

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The second reason to adopt the value-based care model is just as attractive as the first. Becoming a home-based pulmonary service partner has been shown to win over key referral sources and even payer relations.

How often have you heard that we live in a data-driven world? Collecting patient-focused measures, and transforming that data into clinical metrics, is the key to success in the respiratory DME model going forward. Many accountable care organizations (ACOs) are looking for provider partners with a strong clinical presence in the patient’s home.

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Building a Patient Base

We also need to discuss the “low hanging fruit.” Starting a ventilation program doesn’t necessarily mean you have to win over discharge planners or referral sources. DMEs with a strong oxygen and PAP patient base may already have a few patients who are ideal NIV candidates.

Do you have a patient with COPD or a CRF diagnosis who is currently on bilevel and oxygen therapy? Has this patient been readmitted to the hospital due to an exacerbation of either of these diseases? Identifying these patients allows you to have a deeper clinical conversation and build rapport with the patient’s physician. Home capnography testing is a great tool to determine if your patient is a CO2 retainer.

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Note: End-tidal CO2 (EtCO2) technology does not sufficiently correlate with partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PaCO2) used in ventilator management. Still, it is the ideal technology for screening large populations of COPD patients to help identify patients with CO2 retention. Many DMEs will provide a pre- and post-NIV capnography test to show clinical efficacy.

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This article was originally featured in the VGM Playbook: Emerging Opportunities in DMEPOS. To read the full article and more like this, download your copy of the playbook today!

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