UroMed dispenses dating advice, urologicals

Thursday, August 1, 2013

SUWANNEE, Ga. – He’s not exactly Dear Abby, but when Bert Burns visits hospital patients with spinal cord injuries, the biggest questions he gets are all about relationships.

“I get asked most often, ‘Who wants to date me if I am in a wheelchair?’” said Burns, founder of UroMed, a mail-order catheter supplier UroMed, and himself a wheelchair user for more than 30 years.

Never one to miss an outreach opportunity, UroMed in July launched a popular three-part series of articles: dating, marriage and blended families. The first two are based on Burns’ own experience, the third on that of a UroMed employee.

“Everybody is different, but these talk about how it was for me,” said Burns. “Getting married, having kids—you can still do all of that stuff.”

Using personal experience as a way to connect with customers isn’t limited to Burns. UroMed has about a dozen employees who use wheelchairs, which enables them to understand the needs of customers and better serve them, something the referral sources also appreciate, says Burns.

“That’s a big selling point for our company,” he said. “We have people that work here that use the products on a daily basis.”

It’s working. The 17-year-old UroMed in June opened its seventh regional location in Ridgeland, Miss., allowing it to get catheters and other urological supplies to patients across the country more quickly. It will also allow the growing provider to keep up with customer demand. These days, UroMed has 110 employees, and holds more than 1,000 private insurance contracts and 38 state Medicaid contracts.

“When I started this, I had no idea I’d still be involved in it 17 years later,” he said. “I see us growing and growing. I don’t see any reason why not.”