The only game in town

Saturday, March 31, 2007

FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine - Acadia Medical Supply's main service area is 89% forest and stretches over 6,700 square miles. As a locally-owned provider, Acadia understands the needs of residents in this rural outpost on the Canadian border.
"(Nationals) can't really put their thumbprint on the needs of Aroostook County or Maine," said Scott Clark, president of the six-year-old company. Clark's 18 years of experience include a stint with Rotech. "We are a full-line DME. The others tend to lean toward respiratory."
Acadia has about 200 oxygen patients. The company does CPAP, incontinence and diabetes supplies, as well as traditional DME. Clark's brother, Vice President Steve Clark, is the only certified rehab specialist in the area for specialty wheelchairs.
"People in the state of Maine, especially in the rural sector, expect and appreciate a one-stop shop," said Clark. "They like to shop local and deal with local businesses."
Regularly scheduled routes minimize delivery costs, and Acadia employees know the secondary roads and rural routes well.
"Everybody knows somebody who knew somebody and where they live," said Clark. "We rely on Gazetteers and use the Internet. When you've done this for 20 years, you tend to get to know people and where they are."
With the nearest large city a three-hour drive, Arcadia recently opened a larger, mall-based retail branch in tiny Presque Isle specializing in uniforms, stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs and other professional supplies, as well as ADLs, seat lift chairs and safety devices.
"It makes sense to have a retail division to help improve cash flow," said Clark. "So long as you can provide a good quality product, give good selection and good prices, it's a way for Acadia to give back to the referral sources."
The mall location is bright and warm and the foot traffic provides additional exposure for Acadia, which markets directly to consumers rather than referral sources.
"If there's new technology or equipment, we feel it's important to go out and explain it to the medical professionals," said Clark. "Otherwise, we feel physicians are far too busy to be bothered with frequent visits."
Focusing on the patient allows for better care, borne out by patient outcomes. That commitment sets Acadia apart from national competitors, said Clark.
"As a DME we have the responsibility to put the right product in the patient's home," he said. "If we can give the best quality of life to our patients, then hopefully they are going to let their friends know and the community know that we did our job."