Thursday, March 25, 2010

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - When the economy tanked, Doug and Shawn Schober figured the time was right to branch out on their own.

The husband-and-wife team opened Schober CPAP and Supplies.

"I had been with my company a long time, but there was all kinds of downsizing going on," said Doug Schober, a former public utility employee. "And Shawn is a respiratory therapist who has worked in the field a long time. She had some ideas about how (CPAP therapy) should be done."

The new business offers CPAP machines, supplies and accessories as well as nebulizers. The company accepts most insurance and expects to be able to bill Medicare soon.

Most fittings are done in the patient's home.

"I think the patient is so much more comfortable in their comfort zone and what better comfort zone than when they are able to lie down in bed to be fitted properly," said Shawn Schober. "Also, a lot of patients don't drive, so it's good to be able to go to them."

The biggest challenge is getting the company's name out there, said Doug Schober, who oversees the provider's business side. The couple is doing the marketing themselves, reaching out to physicians and sleep labs.

"Certain companies have been here quite awhile," he said. "Those are the ones that people think of first. My wife has always done a good job with the patients. Over time, they'll come on our side."

It's been a major change, but a good one, said Doug Schober.

Shawn Schober agrees.

"When patients call me up and say 'I feel so good and have more energy,' that makes it worthwhile," she said. "We've come a long way from a year ago."