VGM remodels home mods division

Thursday, November 5, 2009

WATERLOO, Iowa – Accessible Home Improvement of America (AHIA), a division of The VGM Group, may have launched in February, but Jerry Keiderling couldn’t say, “The program works now,” until eight months later.

VGM re-launched AHIA, a program to help HME and rehab providers diversify into the home modifications business, at Medtrade last month.

“Before Medtrade, some of AHIA was still a vision and hadn’t come together yet,” said Keiderling, president of U.S. Rehab, another division of VGM.

AHIA now has its ducks in a row: a new Web site (; a 450-page manual, available in print or electronic formats for $399; a growing list of vendors and service providers, including HME and rehab providers, and contractors; and a continuing education program for U.S. Rehab’s certified environmental access consultant (CEAC) program.

There was definitely a buzz surrounding AHIA at Medtrade, Keiderling said.

“We found ourselves talking to two or three providers at a time, rather than each provider one-on-one—that’s how much interest there was,” he said. “Providers love what they’re doing, but they’re looking for new cash-flow generators.”

Providers were particularly interested in AHIA’s new manual, which spells out everything from how to work with subcontractors to how to prepare liability insurance waivers, Keiderling said.

“The manual’s a key component of the program because providers are saying, ‘This sounds like what I need to do, but I don’t know how to do it,’” he said. “Even though they’ve owned and managed companies for years, this is still a new idea for them.”

VGM now plans to market AHIA to not only HME and rehab providers but also insurance carriers, through its Homelink division; contractors, through construction trade shows; and end users, through consumer publications and TV ads.