Sage Medical finds way to grow supplies biz

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Friday, September 27, 2019

DOWNINGTON, Pa. – Sage Medical Supply has secured contracts with approximately 80% of Pennsylvania’s insurers, including commercial payers and Medicaid managed care plans, in the two years since its launch, says Robert Robinson, operations manager.

That’s not a bad day’s work for a 27-year-old, who attributes his success in the supplies market to innovative thinking.

“I’ve been able to identify trends and different focus points in the market due to competitive bidding,” he said. “Disposables are still profitable. There’s recurring revenue.”

Sage Medical Supply offers enteral, incontinence, orthopedic, ostomy, urological and wound care supplies using a drop-ship model. It also has a retail location that carries mobility equipment like lift chairs, scooters and wheelchairs.

Where Sage Medical separates itself from the competition is in its approach to dealing with closed networks, says Robinson. The provider identifies the insurer’s root mission and makes that part of its play to get in, he says.

“If you come in with an innovative program or tool, nine times out of 10 you are going to be accepted,” he said.

Sage Medical also sells a clinical approach that reduces overutilization of supplies and improves patient outcomes, says Robinson.

“We are going to manage their supply levels month over month to save the insurers money,” he said. “And we’re actually managing the patient’s plan of care to make sure the patient is healing. If that treatment plan needs to be changed, then we go back to the doctor and say, (for example) his wound is not healing.”

Despite his age, Robinson has worked in the HME industry for well over a decade, starting at age 11 with an after-school job at Burmans Medical Supplies. One thing that hasn’t changed is the need for local service, he says.

“You are going to have those bigger giants who have the ability to spend and invest, but if a patient up the street needs something, they’re not going to do that in two hours,” he said. “We all know in health care, everyone has an emergency. We see a lot of opportunity.”