Liberty Medical Supply launches PERS monitoring station

Liberty Medical Supply (www.libertymedical.com), a home-delivery provider of healthcare supplies, is expanding into the world of central station monitoring. The firm is launching a central station for PERS (personal emergency response systems).

Barry Brannon, the past president of Marlin Central Monitoring -- a provider of central station security alarm monitoring -- is spearheading the monitoring unit, which will be called Liberty Medical Response. Before serving at Marlin Central Monitoring, Brannon was director of national sales for Security Associates International (SAI).

Liberty Medical Response will be staffed by medically trained employees, and the business will solely monitor PERS alarms. The company is reportedly already in the process of developing a dealer program, and "plans to grow through bulk acquisitions as well as new contracts," according to a statement released by Liberty Medical Response.

And there is a lot of room for new account growth in PERS, said Brannon.

"In actual monitoring, PERS is by far the fastest growing sector in terms of numbers of accounts," said Brannon, "and it will continue to grow as the Baby Boomer generation ages and seeks that independence -- along with safety -- in their own homes."

Brannon notes that there are an estimated 1.7 million PERS devices being used in the United States, but industry estimates inidcate that there is apotential PERS market of another 6 to 8 million customers who fit the common demographics and health profile.

With a high number of potential customers, Brannon said he's also working to develop the dealer programs and to turn the security industry onto this technology. He said it's a nice fit during an economic downturn for dealers already working in the residential space.

"This gives dealers an option to get over the next year of this economic slow-down," Brannon said. "It's a 3-minute install; there are no trucks and no wire pulling needed. The salesperson can sell and install it in a one-call close."

The systems for PERS (LMR is using Linear's equipment) provide two-way voice, line capture, a panic button and a remote pendant. The system automatically seizes the line and dials the monitoring center where the monitoring staff focuses on ascertaining their needs (does a neighbor need to help them out of their bathtub, or do paramedics need to be called for a true emergency?).

At Liberty Medical Response, Barry said he is lucky to have access to the triage-registered nurses of Liberty's affiliate, Intellicare. Calls which come into the monitoring station can be directed up to these nurses or to pharmacists that Brannon has on staff (many of the questions concern pills that patients are taking).

According to Brannon, the model for the business is moving ever more high-tech into what the industry calls "telehealth" or "telemedicine" -- which involves being able to take basic body health measurements (blood pressure, for example) remotely and move that data to either a monitoring station or to the patient's doctor. It's an emerging area he says which he hopes to have Liberty Medical Response involved in during 2009.

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