How to Start a Medical Oxygen Supply Company

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It’s no secret that today’s hospital stay is shorter than that of our grandparents who spent weeks convalescing from everything from childbirth to broken bones. Today’s patient is regularly discharged just days following surgery since doctors agree that patients tend to recuperate faster in the loving care of family and friends. Doctors no longer make house calls but medical oxygen suppliers do, so if this is your career choice, you'll provide a much-needed service.

Apply due diligence to your research efforts so you understand all that’s required to launch, run and make a profit in the home or institutional oxygen therapy business. Expect to attend to administrative business tasks while keeping up with laws, regulations, permits and licenses that affect the ownership and distribution of oxygen equipment, particularly reimbursements that are contingent upon Medicare and Medicaid billings.

Draft a business plan, search for a facility to house your medical oxygen supply company and obtain loans or use your own cash to cover startup and operating expenses. Conceive a marketing plan that outlines the strategies you’ll use to find and keep customers, handle referrals and, if applicable, prepare for separate wholesale and retail pricing and delivery plans for institutions and homebound individuals.

Invest in quality equipment. Keep a healthy supply of cylinders of liquid oxygen, compressed oxygen, transtracheal oxygen, oxygen concentrators, nasal cannulas, oxygen masks, contents indicators (pressure gauges) and flow meters. Maintain a safe, hygienic environment for your equipment at all times.

Follow the advice of Kelly Riley, director of The Med Group's national respiratory network: “You can only stay in this business if you start working smarter.” Keep in mind results of a survey commissioned by the American Association for Homecare that proves the average oxygen supply company spends more than 70 percent of its revenues on operating expenses.

Commit to staying abreast of new technology—particularly oxygen concentrator technology that cuts back on cylinder delivery frequency. Learn to properly fill out insurance forms so you receive a continual flow of compensation from third-party providers in return for properly completed and submitted claims filed on behalf of clients.

Keep oxygen maintenance and repair professionals on speed dial if you’re not adept at fixing your own equipment so you can get help fast when emergencies arise. Schedule regular maintenance checks to minimize breakdowns and malfunctions to your oxygen delivery equipment that can scare even the best client into contracting with a competitor.

Network with respiratory therapists and cardiopulmonary practitioners and clinics to mine for new business. Encourage these health care professionals to recommend your medical oxygen supply company to colleagues and health care agencies.

Track trends in the medical oxygen supply industry so you’re always at the forefront of new advances and delivery systems. Pay particular attention to updates on low-cost modalities, cylinder duration tests, lightweight cylinder material introductions and time- and cost-efficient transfilling systems and equipment.


About the Author

Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.

Photo Credits

  • diving tank image by Marcin Wasilewski from