Provider becomes triple treat with sleep lab venture

Thursday, March 24, 2011

RALEIGH, N.C. - They don't do anything small at Active Healthcare, so when the CPAP provider decided recently to get into the diagnostic side of sleep, it opened not one, but three sleep labs.

"We saw that there was opportunity in the three markets so we wanted to take advantage of that and get it up and running quickly," said Lisa Feierstein, company founder and president. "We felt we could stand out (in those markets), and we had an existing referral base."

The IntegraSleep Centers, in Raleigh, Clayton and Smithfield, N.C., offer a full range of sleep services, including polysomnography, CPAP titration and home sleep studies. Active Healthcare can then follow up with equipment, therapy and compliance monitoring.

After nearly 21 years in business, Active Healthcare had worked with enough sleep labs to see what worked and what didn't.

"We were able to look at what other sleep labs had to offer and try to bring that together under IntegraSleep," said Jo Lloyd, respiratory clinical manager. "We all work together to try to bring our best to the quality of studies that we do and give the physicians what they need to be able to treat their patient."

ActiveCare has been marketing IntegraSleep to its existing referral sources, leveraging its reputation--and its compliance data. The provider started collecting patient compliance data about six years ago--well before CMS started requiring it in 2008, said Feierstein.

"Bottom line: Use our integrated sleep program," she said. "We have the highest patient success rate in our market and we have it documented."

Despite reimbursement cuts and onerous documentation requirements, ActiveCare has managed to thrive, mainly because it keeps looking for ways to "innovate," said Steve Feierstein, CEO.

In the case of moving into sleep diagnostics, the provider is also protecting its own turf, he said.

"What we saw was that the sleep labs were getting more into the DME and CPAP provisioning part of it," said Feierstein. "We felt it was important to maintain our place in the market by becoming more vertically integrated and also to maintain our place in the hearts and minds of our patients."