DMES 'seals the deal'

Friday, August 23, 2013

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – Provider Adrian Ioja says competitive bidding has patients considering cash options like never before.

“People are struggling to get mobility products,” said Ioja, general manager at Huntington, Calif.-based Diversified Medical Equipment and Supplies (DMES). “They need walkers and wheelchairs, but they can’t find providers.”

Filling that need has been a key priority since the provider opened  a 1,750-square-foot retail location on the corner of a busy thoroughfare in June. The retail store offers lift chairs, power scooters, bath safety items, pain management and braces.

DMES, which started in 1994, specializes in enteral nutrition, incontinence and other supplies. While not a contract supplier, DMES is subcontracting for enteral.

One major difference Ioja has already noted with the retail model: Customers can try before they buy.

“They used to ask if they could come in and see it, and I’d be like, ‘Well, if you want to come out to the warehouse, we can put one together for you,’” he said. “Now we have an indoor track where people can try scooters out, and it always seals the deal.”

Before opening the new location, Ioja did his homework and researched local demographics. The area has a population of 80,000, with an average income of $100,000—15% of whom are seniors.

“The size and focus of your store has to be tailored to your market,” said Mike Kuller, president of Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Allstar Medical Supply, who recently published a book on HME and retail. “It’s important to recognize that this is a different business, with a different set of skills and way of marketing.”