Providers share spotlight

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Twice a week, Ron Reed and another local provider tag team their referral sources.
It's not as unusual a partnership as it sounds. Reed, owner and CEO of Benchmark Mobility in Indianapolis, and the other provider aren't competitors. Benchmark supplies everything from crutches to bath safety products to wheelchairs; the other provider supplies continuous passive motion (CPM) machines.
But it's still an unusual enough partnership that not a lot of other providers do it (See box below).
"We're not stuck in the old fashioned way of doing things," Reed said.
When Reed and the other provider struck up the idea, they thought they'd save a few bucks by splitting the cost of buying lunches for their referral sources. As they made their visits and hosted in-services, however, they did that and more.
"We went into this trying to save money, but we ended up opening new doors for each other," Reed said. "We ended up expanding our businesses."
Additionally, the partnership has changed the perceptions of referral sources.
"We're not pigeonholed as a certain type of provider anymore," Reed said. "We're providers who can take care of all of their patients' needs."
Referral sources have been receptive to meeting Reed and the other provider at the same time.
"They like it," Reed said. "It doesn't waste their time."
Dennis Iles agrees. Iles, manager of respiratory and durable medical equipment for Aurora VNA in Sheboygan, Wis., sometimes tag teams referral sources with a high-end rehab provider.
"What makes our industry a lot better is working with experts," he said. "The industry gets a bad reputation when it tries to do things it doesn't do well."