Liquid O2 poised for comeback

Thursday, July 7, 2011

MURRYSVILLE, Pa. - If you're an HME provider and you think liquid oxygen is too costly to provide, Philips Respironics wants you to think again.

The manufacturer in late June introduced the HomeLox, a portable liquid oxygen system that allows users to generate and store liquid oxygen in their homes. That, in turn, allows providers to eliminate twice-a-month tank deliveries, which can cost $75 a pop.

"One of the market needs for the HomeLox was really centered around the provider and the tough economic times," said Jay Vreeland, director of marketing for North America, Home Respiratory Care, Home Healthcare Solutions. "It gives them the ability to get into the liquid oxygen game or manage their existing business more efficiently."

Philips Respironics has secured a Medicare code, E0433, and reimbursement, $51.63 per month, for the HomeLox. Much like with a portable oxygen concentrator, providers can bill for both the HomeLox and a stationary oxygen concentrator.

In addition to eliminating deliveries, HomeLox means providers don't have to worry about having and maintaining the special generators and trucks associated with providing liquid oxygen, or paying a distributor like Airgas or Lifegas to service their patients for them, Vreeland said.

With those roadblocks out of the way, providers can focus on the fact that, while liquid oxygen represents only 10% to 12% of the oxygen market, it's often preferred by physicians and patients because it's light and quiet, Vreeland said.

"One of the other things we tried to focus on with the HomeLox was simplifying the process of filling," he said. "Patients would worry about the device being completely filled or wonder if they had the duration they need. This is hands-free filling. It fills and shuts itself off."

The HomeLox completes Philips Respironics' "Right to Fit" portfolio of oxygen products. It joins its sister device, the GoLox portable liquid oxygen concentrator; and the EverFlo stationary oxygen concentrator and its sister device, the EverGo portable oxygen concentrator.