Penrod Medical's niche: Veterans Affairs

Thursday, March 25, 2010

SALISBURY, N.C. - Penrod Medical Equipment hopes to further increase its business with the local Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with the latest addition to its product mix: aluminum ramps.

The provider already relies on the VA for about 65% of its business.

"I go up there every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon," said Gary Straka, who owns Penrod Medical with Roger Bowman. "I've been doing it for about two years now."

Penrod Medical also provides the VA with lifts, and services its wheelchairs and scooters.

While some HME providers shun the VA due to poor reimbursement, Straka embraces it with open arms.

"We get paid quicker," he said. "We get a request from the VA, we do the work, we send them an invoice and they send us a purchasing order with a Visa credit card number. It's done in seven to 10 days."

It helps that, as a disabled vet himself, Straka has a soft spot for veterans and the VA.

"I go there myself for my medical care," said Straka, who served in the Vietnam War. "I'm 20% disabled. Some of these guys are 80%, 90%, 100% disabled. The way they still feel about this country--they'd do it all over again--makes you feel good about what you're doing for them."

To announce the news outside of the VA, Penrod Medical has placed an aluminum ramp outside its location.

"We have 10,000 cars go by a day," Straka said.

In addition to ramps, lifts, wheelchairs and scooters, the recently accredited Penrod Medical offers lift chairs and diabetic shoes. It has one location here, eight employees and four delivery vehicles.