ENFIELD, NH – You can’t accuse officials at Enfield, New Hampshire-based Keene Medical Products of not pulling their weight. As dues-paying members of AAHomecare (back when it had a different name) since 1980, the Granite State company has never wavered in its support of industry efforts in Washington, DC.
As the son of Keene Medical’s founder, 54-year-old Kurt Filiault (pictured), now president and CEO of the twelve-location fixture, has been at the helm since 1995 when he and his brother bought the business from their dad. Ending AAHomecare membership after the purchase was never considered. “AAHomecare is the best voice for the industry,” says Filiault. “We also belong to our state association.”
Filiault oversees six locations in New Hampshire and six in Vermont where the company’s 154 employees sell a variety of DME, with CPAP emerging as a prime category in recent years. “Sleep therapy is still growing tremendously,” he says. “And we’re constantly trying to provide services that better match the shrinking reimbursement.”
So far, Filiault counts himself “pretty lucky” when it comes to competitive bidding, primarily because Vermont and New Hampshire are rural states and have largely avoided the reviled program—all but Portsmouth, NH, that is. “Corporate wide, competitive bidding has not had a substantial impact, but for that Portsmouth branch it has had a substantial impact,” he says. “There we won two bidding product groups—hospital beds and oxygen therapy.”
As for the prospect of expanding comp bidding nationwide, Filiault’s unvarnished reaction may not exactly be printable. For purposes of Medtrade Monday, he calls the idea “very concerning,” but reveals he has been preparing for the worst for a long time. “We have been been trying to align our ducks in a row for about five years now,” he laments. “For example, we’re about 99% delivery-free model on oxygen therapy. We use all kinds of trans-fill devices and portable oxygen concentrators.”
With a total of 36 years at the company, it’s safe to say that Filiault lives and breathes HME, and that includes periodic trips to Medtrade for his purchasing people and different levels of management. Of the Medtrade experience, he says: “I recognize the show as being a huge educational opportunity. I wish there were a way I could send my entire branch management team of 12 people…because with all the Medtrades I’ve been to, I always come back with some great stuff—and you’re always very happy you went.”