It’s in the bag

Sunday, October 31, 2004

BUFORD, Ga. - After three years of operating in and around Atlanta, the Neb Doctor exported its bag of pediatric products in September and October to nine new cities: Denver, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Mo., Kansas City, Kan., St. Louis and Little Rock.
The Neb Doctor (AKA Steven Gavin, president and co-owner) is hardly your typical provider. The Doc built his pediatric business by including in a carry bag a nebulizer, mask and filters. He stocks the equipment with referral sources who train kids on how to use the nebulizer. Gavin bills for the equipment. About 55% of his payer base is Medicaid, the rest private pay.

Gavin launched his niche business after working for a DME company that treated pediatric nebulizer patients as second-class citizens, giving first priority to oxygen, hospital bed and wheelchairs.

“The nebulizer was usually the last thing that you set up,” Gavin said. “When you got to little Johnny’s house, he was sometimes in the ER. I said that is enough of that.”

Gavin has asthma, as does his son, and that made him more aware of the needs and suffering of kids with respiratory problems.

In cities where the Neb Doctor has expanded, Gavin has hired sales people to contact referral sources - hospitals, pediatricians and clinics - and explain to them how the Neb Doctor approach works.

“DME companies can’t do everything so we fell into a niche,” Gavin said. “And I’d much rather have the doctor or nurse training the patient than someone I’m paying $10 an hour to drive a truck.”