HME banks on one-stop shop

Sunday, September 30, 2007

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa - Before the doors even opened at Hammer Medical's newest branch, the phones were ringing.
"We're a full-service DME and we've been in business since 1872," said Terry Flatt, vice president and co-owner.
Hammer specializes in mobility, oxygen and sleep equipment and carries a full range of medical supplies. Flatt is banking on Hammer's one-stop shop approach for success at its eighth location in a town of 25,000 that's being served by two nationals with a focus on respiratory.
"Typically, we would have stayed away from markets like that, but we see a lot of people getting left in the cold," said Flatt. "Having to go 40 to 60 miles to get a wheelchair? That's crazy."
The new 6,000-square-foot space is handicapped accessible and decorated with bright colors and motivational signs. It offers plenty of parking and sits directly across from a hospital.
One feature of the new store reflecting the times: larger fitting rooms for CPAP patients.
"The national CPAP market has gone crazy," said Flatt.
The provider has 95 employees. Its payer mix is 60% Medicare and 25% Medicaid, with private insurance and cash rounding out the balance. Hammer has grown 20% in each of the last five years, said Flatt.
"We have a recipe for success," he said. "No. 1, customer service. No. 2, we try to work with all insurance carriers."