'A pretty good year' for Remco

Thursday, November 30, 2006

JOLIET, Ill. - With the recent reimbursement cuts for oxygen and power mobility devices, it's unlikely that providers will look back at 2006 fondly. But for the Joliet, Ill.-based Remco Medical, it has been a "pretty good year--better than last year," says President George Block.
A big reason for Remco's success: A handful of specialty clinics has kept patients moving through its doors and the company's name on the tip of the community's tongue.
"We knew we needed to find different ways to put our name out there," said Michele Schroeder, director of operations.
This year, Remco has hosted two clinics for vein testing (to see if patients need compression hosiery), one clinic for CPAP and BiPAP testing, and two clinics for flu vaccinating. Each clinic attracted about 60 patients.
Also, during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, two Remco clinicians appeared on a local radio talk show to discuss breast cancer and the provider's products. At its store, Remco hosted a clinic that featured free consultations for bras and breast forms.
To boost the educational value of its clinics, Remco teams up with sales representatives. At the CPAP clinic, an RT worked with patients to clean machines and make sure settings worked properly.
Industry consultants applauded Remco for rejecting the natural tendency to obsess about cash flow in times of duress. Instead, they say, the company has kept its eye on long-term success.
"If you don't do that, a competitor will step forward, and then there's a cost to you, in market share and brand recognition," said Jack Evans, president of Global Media Marketing in Malibu, Calif. "That's going to affect sales. You may grow only 5% when your competitor grows 20%."
But industry consultants caution providers to treat clinics like any other marketing campaign. In addition to targeting attendees, placing ads and developing itineraries, providers need to be realistic about the time and manpower needed to make them a success, said Vince Crew, president of Reach Development in Naples, Fla.
The clinics have been worth the effort for Remco, which is celebrating its 25th year in business, Schroeder said.
"We want to let patients know that we're also involved in their long-term care," she said. "It's been exciting to see the response to that."