Lexington suits rural HME

Sunday, August 31, 2003

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Two years ago, Cooley Medical Equipment said enough is enough.

For ages the company watched as patients in the rural communities it served travel to Lexington for specialized medical care. Nothing wrong with that except frequently the patients returned home with a piece of DME - items Cooley could have easily provided. That got company execs thinking about opening a location in the big city.

So two years ago Cooley took its DME smarts to Lexington, and there’s been no looking back. This month the company moves into a new 4,000-square-foot Lexington location. The new site is twice as big as its old location, which was twice as big Cooley’s first Lexington store.

“This will hold us until we need 8,000 square feet, and hopefully that will be soon,” quipped Kathy Nichols, vice president of operations.

In these days of specialization when respiratory is king, Cooley is a bit of a throw back. The company recognizes the importance of respiratory and its superior reimbursement, which accounts for roughly 60% of the HME’s business. On the other hand, Cooley is a true one-stop-shop, doing everything from supplies to custom rehab.

“We have always catered to the patient’s specific needs,” Nichols said. “We’re a blast from the past: We keep a broad range of everything.”

The company’s other locations are in Prestonsburg, Pikeville and Hazard, all located in rural eastern Kentucky.

Upon setting up shop in the big city, one might think Cooley had to change its sales strategy to compete successfully, but that was not the case.

“We have built the business here on the same philosophy that we did the rural areas: provide good service, good follow up,” Nichols said. “It’s just a follow through of the way we have conducted patient care over the past 20 years.” HME