When life throws you a curveball and puts you in a wheelchair, in need of oxygen or in a hospital bed, most consumers want to find an organization that will empathize with them, not treat them as a number, and understand that their situations are unique. That is what differentiates Boardman Medical Supply (BMS) from other durable medical equipment (DME) companies; with BMS, patients always come first.
BMS supplies home medical supplies ranging from respiratory products such as oxygen tanks and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices for apnea treatment, to scooters, wheel chairs and mastectomy products.
The company also has an experienced staff of respiratory therapists, nurses, delivery technicians and technology specialists.
“We are a family business and we take care of our patients like we take care of our family,” explains Robin S. Ivany, general manager and vice president of BMS.
Ivany’s parents founded the company in Girard, Ohio, in 1982 and she has been involved in running the business since its inception.
“A lot of big corporations lose touch with the human side of the business,” she says. “We haven’t lost it, and that is one of the biggest advantages we have. We put ourselves in the patients’ shoes.”
This personalized approach gives Ivany and her staff the satisfaction of knowing they have a positive impact in someone’s life.
“My biggest reward is seeing patients that are much more comfortable in their home environment,” she explains. “There are a lot of happy moments in this business, but there are also a lot of sad situations. I am happy when my patients get everything they can possibly need to take care of themselves in the best possible way.”
Ivany notes that the wide product selection and services BMS offers are a major difference between her company and national organizations.
BMS maintains a large product selection to make it easier for its clients to get everything they need in one spot. “You can have a patient that has three or four areas of need,” Ivany explains. “Someone can be in a wheelchair, need oxygen and a CPAP, or some other product. It is much easier for those people to come to us and have us take care of all their needs.”
BMS clients include rehab patients in need of special wheelchairs. “We have custom-made chairs that are specifically molded for their body position,” she notes. The company also has a division called “Pink Promises” that addresses the issues affecting women who have had mastectomies, lumpectomies or needle biopsies.
“We take care of fitting women for forms, bras, swimwear, lingerie, wigs, hats and scarves and are also there to help them on their journey,” Ivany says. “They have gone through an emotional and physical battle with cancer, including biopsies, mastectomy, lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. BMS’s Pink Promises department walks with these women through their journey.”
Many things have changed during the 30 years since BMS entered the DME industry. The healthcare industry has undergone many changes including payment reductions and regulation changes. Reimbursement has been cut drastically by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies.
“We are expected to provide the same services; however, the additional documentation requires additional employee expenses,” Ivany states. “Medicare continuously changes the rules to make it harder to obtain the necessary paperwork to get claims submitted in a timely fashion.”
Most private insurance companies are following Medicare guidelines and creating the same issues across the board.
Technology has had a major impact on the products and services BMS has to offers, too. “Not much has changed when it comes to commodes and crutches,” Ivany says. “Respiratory products like oxygen concentrators, BiPaps and CPAPs have changed a great deal. Medical devices have come a long way over the last few decades. Concentrators used to be the size of a large end table and now they have portable concentrators that you can carry on your shoulder. Units have gotten smaller by utilizing pulse-dosing to conserve oxygen. Now patients only use the amount of oxygen they need when they inhale.”
BMS is looking to expand from coast to coast. “Our plan is to increase business across the United States in order to supplement loss revenue due to the implementation of the government’s competitive bidding program,” Ivany says. Competitive bidding requires DME companies to win bids in order to take care of Medicare patients.
BMS plans to continue to take care of patients the same way it did at its inception.
“We will also continue to focus on our loyal customers,” Ivany says. “The key to this business is our patient-first philosophy. I always tell my employees to treat our patients just like they would treat their own family.”