Provider, social community share commitment

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – Comfort Medical’s recent acquisition of Wheel:Life will allow the provider to further its service offerings to its customers.

“We feel that it’s going to fit nicely with providing further educational resources to our patient base,” said Ryan Flannery, president of Comfort Medical. “We have long differentiated ourselves by having that connection with the community, and support for our customers vs. packing a box and shipping it.”

Comfort Medical is a leading provider of ostomy and urological supplies. Wheel:Life is a digital publication and social community for wheelchair users that boasts more than 26,000 followers on social media.

There are synergies between Comfort Medical’s customers and Wheel:Life’s users, says Lisa Wells, Wheel-Life founder and director.

“It was important to me to partner with or become part of an organization that shared the same value we do in terms of how we treat our members and our commitment to helping them live healthier lifestyles,” said Wells, who launched Wheel:Life in 2013.

Offering support to wheelchair users can help them stay more compliant with their care regimens. They are less likely to develop UTIs and pressure sores, which are a leading cause of death for people with spinal cord injury, said Wells. 

“We are trying to get people through the acceptance phase of life in a wheelchair,” she said. “If we can do that, we can extend their life in the end.”

There are no immediate plans to cross sells Comfort Medical’s services to Wheel:Life’s users per se, says Flannery. Rather, Comfort Medical will sponsor the Wheel:Life website, potentially appearing as an

Wells will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of Wheel:Life, which will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Comfort Medical.

The acquisition, handled by Rick Glass of Steven Richards & Associates, is the third for Comfort Medical in recent months. In October, it acquired the ostomy and urological business of Liberty Medical; in December, it acquired Medical Direct Club.

Flannery attributes much of the company’s growth to its willingness to invest in technology and infrastructure.

“We realize, with shrinking reimbursements, it’s important to have a very efficient operation,” he said. “How do we use technology to improve the whole order flow?”