A mom and pop grows up

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Robert Weinroth and his wife started American Diabetes Services "from nothing" 10 years ago. These days, they have 40 employees and 30,000 patients.

In May, the company merged with the much-larger Port Saint Lucie, Fla.-based Support Plus Medical to form ADS Medical Services. The move nearly tripled the provider's customer base and added catheters and some limited DME to its product mix, which had consisted of testing supplies, syringes, insulin pumps and other diabetes products.

"It was sort of the guppy eating the whale," said Robert Weinroth, president. "With competitive bidding, we realized that we needed to broaden our offerings so that if the worst happened--which it seems to have--we needed to have opportunities outside of diabetic supplies."

ADS does very little private pay, focusing mainly on Medicare/Medicaid and private insurance. While the provider bid in Round 1.2, Weinroth said its bid wasn't "anywhere close" to the winning bid amounts, which reduced reimbursement, on average, 56%.

"There's a need to moderate pricing but this has gone so far to the other side," he said. "You could bankrupt the industry."

From day one, customer service has been the driving factor in growing from a "mom-and-pop" to a national mail order company, said Weinroth.

"We embed in our employees the notion that customer service is what's going to differentiate us from everybody else," he said. "Back when I was making the calls and talking to the patients, I would get to know them, their spouses. We were able to get people to look at us as something more than just a mail order delivery service."

That relationship has paid off, said Weinroth.

"(Many callers) still ask for me by name even though it's been a long time since I've made re-order calls myself," said Weinroth, who isn't above grabbing the phone if it rings more than two or three times. "Yesterday, I took an order from a person I remember from a few years back. It's nice."

The new company will operate under the name Support Plus Medical.