Adapt. Believe. Compete. A Q/A with ABC Medical CEO Keith Jones
Q: Please tell us the story behind ABC Medical and how you became involved. How have you turned ABC into one of the strongest brands in the DME Industry?
A: The Company has been in existence since 2003, primarily servicing customers in Texas and Illinois and marketing to wheelchair basketball athletes. In January 2012, I, along with a group of seasoned healthcare professionals and a private equity firm focused on healthcare, acquired ABC Medical with specific goals in mind.
First, we needed to define our mission and purpose. We operate in the durable medical equipment and supply business, which is typically transaction-based and highly regulated: companies focus on volume and margins and managing through the difficult world of reimbursement. While all of those things are critical for a business to be successful, it is quite frankly boring and uninspiring and not a mission or purpose. After attending several adaptive sports events, our mission became obvious – To Do Well by Doing Good. That is, we wanted to create a successful business for our shareholders, but also support the communities that we serve. We would set out to accomplish our mission by being A Different Kind of DME; our customers would be part of an extended ABC Medical family and we would leave no customer behind; we would invest our time and talent supporting and expanding adaptive sports because we saw firsthand the power adaptive sports has to the social, physical and psychological well-being of people; we would operate and lead with the highest level of ethics and accountability in the industry.
Being a small company with limited resources, creating our brand identity was not going to be easy. We developed a unique event marketing program, focused on extending our brand in a cost-effective manner.
I’m excited to share that we currently attend over 200 events each year and we organize clinics and educational sessions. We also incorporated a strong media presence, including educational webinars, newsletters and highly active social media channels.
We are proud to be the creators of the National Adaptive Sports Month, which we celebrated two years in a row already in April. Just check out our blog or take a look at one of our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) when you get a chance. It is more active and engaging than most other similar pages!
Individuals not only look to ABC Medical for medical supplies, but also as an advocate for education and adaptive sports and activities. Our unique messaging is consistent regardless of the audience (consumers, adaptive sports organizations, healthcare professionals) and is encapsulated in our name, ABC Medical, where ABC stands for Adapt. Believe. Compete.
Q: What services does ABC medical provide and to whom do they provide it?
A: ABC Medical primarily provides urological supplies, such as intermittent, external and foley catheters. In addition, we provide ostomy, wound care and incontinence supplies and bowel management products. Our customers include individuals with a spinal cord injury, spina bifida, bladder exstrophy or anyone that has a neurogenic bladder or bowel. In addition, we service individuals that have had any type of ostomy surgery.
Q: What makes ABC medical different from other DMEs as well as manufacturers?
A: First and foremost it is our commitment to providing exceptional customer service every time. Whether our customer is someone needing medical supplies, a physician office, an adaptive sports organization or a health insurance company. As an example, many customers are not aware of the innovative products on the market. Since some of these products are more expensive to providers, many of them do not want to offer these items. However, we believe that it is our obligation and duty to make sure individuals know about these products and have the opportunity to use them. With that in mind, we recently hosted a webinar, titled “Is Your Catheter Cool?“, where we introduced some of the most advanced products from leading manufacturers. In addition, we conducted a survey which showed us the lack of awareness on hydrophilic catheters in the community. So, we took that piece of insight and built an entire educational piece on hydrophilic catheters.
To wrap up this point, what really makes us different, I think, is our ability to listen carefully to our customers and deliver accordingly. Our 24/7 nurse hotline is available to anyone who may have questions about using intermittent catheters, ostomy supplies or wound care supplies.
Second one is our commitment to adaptive sports and activities. I am confident in saying that no other organization or company dedicates as much time or support to as many adaptive sports and activities throughout the U.S. as ABC Medical.
Third, our commitment to medical record documentation, ensuring Insurers such as Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance are reimbursing for products that are medically necessary.
Q: Say, I am a consumer and am having trouble getting my urology supplies from my current provider. What do I do now? Can I switch to ABC easily?
A: This is unfortunately a common issue. Consumers need to keep in mind that it is not always the provider that may restrict individuals from getting certain products. Many insurance plans have drastically reduced reimbursement which could limit selection. But this is not always the case. If an individual is having any difficulty with their current provider, the good news is they can always change suppliers. Typically insurance plans have a large network of contracted DME suppliers and many times consumers can use out of network providers. The key is to know the consumer has the power and ability to change and it is very easy. If someone wants to change providers to us, it only takes a 10 minute call. We will gather all of your product, insurance and physician information and then take care of the rest, verifying your insurance and coordinating with your physician. Once we speak with your physician we can usually also send product samples to you to avoid any gap in therapy. The process really is quite simple and quick and once you are a customer of ABC Medical, you won’t have to worry about running out of supplies as we provide friendly, reminder calls before your next order is due.
Q: How do you define growth and success at ABC medical? What are some initiatives you have taken to achieve that?
A: Growth and success at ABC Medical is defined by both our financial metrics as well as impact we have on the community we serve. From a financial perspective, we have invested in the latest, cloud-based technology that is scalable and cost effective in order to support our ongoing growth. We are diligent in managing costs and focus on operating effectively and efficiently. To grow our business we have implemented a direct sales team that currently covers the East Coast and Texas and that we are expanding into the Mid-West and beyond. We have also grown through select acquisitions of other DME providers. From a community perspective, we have increased the number of events we support from just 4 in 2012 to over 200 in 2015 with a goal of exceeding 300 in 2016. We have created a comprehensive database and resource guide of available adaptive sports and activities that is available to anyone on our website. We have helped numerous individuals get involved in adaptive sports and activities over the years and supplemented Rehab Hospital programs by presenting our Bridge Program to inpatient and outpatient audiences. We have compiled all the adaptive resources across the country, including organizations, blogs, college programs, and travel guides into one single document, which is available to anyone with one click. One way we have measured our success in this area is by the number of customer compliments and “thank yous” from organizations. In 2015 alone, we received hundreds, if not thousands of emails and letters thanking us for our support of them and the community. Receiving this gratitude on a consistent basis is the fuel that propels Team ABC to keep doing what we are doing every day.
Q: What is your vision for ABC Medical in the upcoming years? Where do you see it going in the next 5 years?
A: We want to be seen as the Provider of Choice by consumers, physician offices and rehabilitation professionals because we support our customers and communities and do so with the highest professional standards. We would like to have field sales reps throughout the U.S. and attend over 500 events nationwide. Healthcare is a challenging field and it is not going to get any easier, but we want to continue to build upon what we have created and continue to execute on our mission.