Aaron Lauver: Dedicated to rehab
MONTANDON, Pa. - When Bob Lauver decided to expand into the rehab market in 1991, he told his then 20-year-old son, Aaron: "Go do it."
Now 34, young Lauver has come a long way since his father - who ran a respiratory company called CPO2 - gave him that terse directive. Though he encountered many difficulties in learning the rehab market, over the course of his education he grew very attached and staunchly dedicated to it.
"When I started in rehab, the parts were scattered on the floor and I had to learn how they fit together," he said. "I learned everything the hard way. Rehab is a stressful and frustrating market, but I love it and can't imagine myself doing anything else."
Though humbled as he studied the rehab market, Lauver's biggest education came when he started Susquehanna Valley Mobility Services in 2003. He aced his first challenge of securing funding by presenting a comprehensive business plan to the bank. The next obstacle was much more formidable, however.
"As soon as I signed my life away to the bank, Medicare issued a moratorium on new provider numbers," he said. "We held an emergency meeting to come up with a plan for survival. We put our noses to the grindstone and went at it. We were determined to succeed."
The fledgling company desperately needed an exemption, so Lauver and his staff launched an intensive lobbying campaign to state and federal legislators, notifying them about how Medicare clients in rural central Pennsylvania were being deprived of access to essential rehab services.
They found an ally in Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., whose considerable Capitol Hill influence helped the company secure its provider number.
During that period of uncertainty, Lauver explained, the company focused on its Medicaid business and worked within its limitations.
"There were two or three months where we had to refer Medicare patients away, which was painful," he said. "Fortunately our referral sources understood our dilemma and stayed loyal. That was a lifesaver."
Now on solid ground, Lauver is focused on serving his clients - some of whom have been with him since he started. "I love working with clients and the challenge of getting the right equipment and funding for them," he said.
Age: 34 Company/position: Susquehanna Valley Mobility Services/owner and president Headquarters: Montandon, Pa. Annual sales volume: $2 million Years in HME business: 20 Membership in professional organizations: PAMS, MED Group, applying to NRRTS and RESNA Business motto: "Extending the reach of the practitioner"