MaxMed Rehab and Medical Supply is on the move, and there’s no slowdown in sight. The durable medical equipment (DME) provider first opened five years ago, and recently moved into a 16,500 square foot showroom with a 10,000 square foot service department near the East Library on Union Boulevard. Our growth and expansion has surprised even us,” says Jack Rocks, MaxMed’s President. “We grew 10 percent per month for the first couple of years,” and we actually had to turn away business. Today MaxMed is the largest rehabilitation equipment company in Southern Colorado.”
So what’s the secret of MaxMed’s success? Partners, Jack Rocks and John Friend believe their strategic vision goes beyond dollars and cents. They understand the challenges faced by disabled citizens and decided to start a firm specializing in rehabilitative customization and fit for customers with disabilities, pain or mobility issues.
Both men are prolonged equipment users and are well-qualified to advise customers on the advantages and disadvantages of a product.”We’ve seen tremendous improvements just in the time we’ve been in business,” says Rocks.”Today we sell scooters and wheelchairs with a 19″ turning radius. That scooter will fit in a private home where hallways and furniture used to create major hurdles to mobility. He adds that many wheelchairs now also have excellent shock absorbers (made here in Colorado Springs by Rock Shox), and electronic modules power computerized wheelchairs. “The progress has been pretty incredible,” says Rocks.
Rocks and Friend seized the opportunity to open a retail center featuring the latest options in scooters, wheelchairs, walkers, spine and leg support, rehabilitative furniture and important adaptive bathroom equipment when one local supplier decided to close in 1995. Says Rocks, “DME suppliers typically fall into two groups: those interested in price or volume and those interested in rehabilitation and service. Most clients need recommendations on which products will provide the support they need – and at what cost. We have three rehabilitation therapists on staff (including a certified physical therapist) who meet with clients, discuss their specific challenges and help custom fit our products. That’s so important -and I really think we’re here to help people,” Rocks points out. “We decided not to carry oxygen, for example – many large national companies like Lincare and Apria are staffed to handle mandated response times more efficiently. We’d rather focus on giving our customers greater attention and service.”
Approximately 65 percent of MaxMed’s customers are elderly in need of adaptive equipment for homes and everyday mobility. The company carries a broad range of high-tech and low-tech equipment – including four different weights of wheelchairs, ranging from 49 pounds to the sporty titanium 17 pound chairs. One important purchase or rental consideration is whether or not Medicare or Medicaid will cover the cost. “We carry rental equipment like medical beds, traditional non-motorized wheelchairs, walkers and scooters that Medicare will cover, but doctors, clients and MaxMed must work closely together to get equipment approved. The federal regulations have tightened thanks to all the Medicare fraud in the past. That’s too bad for our customers,” Rocks laments, “but we work with their budgets.”
Visitors include athletes with sports injuries, elderly couples, and even children. “Almost everyone has some need,” notes Rocks. Rock says the company has an obligation to the customer. “Our business impacts lifestyles – and we can often give people back their independence or reduce their discomfort.” Knowledge and education is so important to being able to provide that service.” MaxMed also provides a complete service department for rental as well as purchased equipment.
As an industry, durable and standard medical dealers meet annually at the MedTrade and MT West conferences. In 2002, Rocks will serve as President of the Colorado Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers (CAMES). He also was appointed as a representatives to Colorado’s Advisory Board for Medicaid. “After all,” Rocks points out, “we’re a service, not just a business. We want to educate each of our employees and clients as we learn about evolving programs and equipment. We need to stay involved with lobbying efforts, with changing Medicare requirements, and with our customers if we’re going to really be successful.”