cpapSolutions pushes cash sales for sleep providers

Thursday, February 10, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY - When it comes to treating patients for sleep disordered breathing, Bret Randall's primed and ready to help HME providers boost their cash sales.

For several years, Randall has run a website ( and sold hose covers, aromatherapy, cheek pads and other products for cash to CPAP users. Now he's quitting direct-to-consumer sales, and has created a new business, cpapSolutions (, that offers a point-of-purchase display, the CPAP Comfort Center, and a suite of products that HME providers can sell for cash to their CPAP patients.

"I'm transitioning out of direct sales because I don't want to compete with (providers)," Randall said. "I've sold thousands of products over the years (online), and I've got a good sense for the CPAP accessories product space. Now I'm dedicated to serving a retail setting."

Until now, most sleep providers, like most HME providers, have ignored retail sales. But with reimbursement going down, Randall believes more and more sleep providers will be willing to explore cash business.

"The tide is turning," he said.

It certainly is for Nick Hulsing.

The owner of Reliable Medical Supply in Kansas City has "dabbled" with selling CPAP wipes and hose covers for cash and has had great results.

"I'm really excited about (Randall's) stuff," he said. "We are not only going to grow our in-house business. I've also created a website that we are going to build just for CPAP accessories."

Randall, 44, is a lawyer by day and a CPAP user by night. When he first started using CPAP in 2004, he found it nearly impossible.

"Even though my life depended on it, I just couldn't use it," he said. "I don't know if it was the air pressure or the discomfort. I think I was mouth leaking a lot."

Aromatherapy changed that. A few years ago, after working on a business plan with his brother to sell essential oils, Randall decided to experiment. At bedtime one night, he placed some lime and basil essential oils next to his CPAP's air intake.

"I slept all night," he said. "I remember sitting back and thinking, 'This is too good to be true.'  It occurred to me that other people must be having this same problem and here is the solution."

CPAP accessories are part of a holistic approach to treating sleep apnea, Randall said. In addition to the CPAP machine and mask, accessories add a human touch, helping to make the therapy more comfortable and less clinical looking. The result is often better compliance, he said.

 "We are human beings," he said. "Human beings are complex. There are a lot of factors that come into play with CPAP use, and it goes well beyond the mask use. It's sight, sound and smell, and convenience for traveling."