UroMed rolls with it

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

SUWANEE, Ga. - UroMed had a busy November. The catheter provider launched a new website, kicked off a TV advertising campaign, expanded its sales territory and, oh yeah, sponsored a local spina bifida event.

"We've been very fortunate," said Bert Burns, founder of the 15-year-old company. "We started with two people and (immediately started growing)."

Today, UroMed serves patients in 50 states--in 31 of those it also accepts Medicaid--and holds more than 700 private insurance contracts.

President and CEO Craig Stevens estimates UroMed is one of the top three catheter providers in the country and says he expects further growth.

"I would say the sales force as well as our revenues could easily double over the next two years," he said.

The new ad campaign is expected to drive much of that growth. The commercials, in English and Spanish, aired on major cable networks in targeted cities, and featured people dealing with urological issues.

Burns, who was paralyzed in 1982 after being hit by a drunk driver, said UroMed aims to make ordering supplies as easy as possible for its customers, many of whom have spinal cord injury, spina bifida or multiple sclerosis.

"It's always been hard to find a provider to ship my products and to bill my insurance," said Burns. "We (handle the billing), ship it to their front doorstep every month at the same time, and it shows up in an unmarked brown box."

Besides its founder, about 25% of UroMed's employees are disabled or have a family member who is disabled.

"They understand the sense of urgency needed when it comes to getting the supplies to the customer," said Stevens. "There's no dilly-dallying around."

With the new website, UroMed seeks to expand that caring attitude. The site offers educational information and videos; it also contains links to lifestyle and support resources.

"We provide the same catheters as everybody else," said Burns. We think we do a better job at it and we can provide more things to individuals than just catheters."

The provider is also involved in community awareness and fundraising events, like a recent "Walk-n-Roll" for the Spina Bifida Association of Georgia, which the company sponsored and participated in.

"I have been involved in sports my whole life," said Burns. "So, whether we support a quad rugby tournament or wheelchair racing, it's a strong passion I have."