US Med-Equip is a Houston-based company that rents movable medical devices like respiratory equipment, incubators and infusion equipment to hospitals and health care centers across the country and around the world. Founded in 2003, USME was a fledgling company in Texas and Louisiana when Hurricane Katrina hit just two years later. They worked tirelessly by helping hospitals meet the incredible demand for medical equipment after the natural disaster. Because of the hurricane, many of their hospital customers were in financial turmoil, having had damage to or lost their facilities, and were therefore slowing payments to USME. The Company managed through and they learned a lot of important lessons on crisis management, which has helped them every subsequent crisis through the one we are facing today with COVID-19.
In 2007, they began investing in respiratory therapy equipment to rent to their hospital customers. For cash-strapped hospitals, renting means not having to invest in expensive technology – and being able to upgrade to new equipment when it comes out without a huge capital investment. Plus, it gives hospitals access to equipment they wouldn’t necessarily buy outright, especially items that would only be needed for a handful of patients at unpredictable times. By providing rental equipment, US Med-Equip relieves stress and expense so caregivers can focus on what matters most: the health of their patients.
Today, US Med-Equip is facing a serious health crisis that requires their equipment at an unprecedented scale. This time, however, they’re fully prepared to supply health care providers that are facing their own worst-case scenario. Here’s how they’re doing it:
- The company has invested heavily in respiratory equipment in recent years; long-term chronic health issues, including COPD, and global pandemics like COVID-19 are increasing customer needs
- USME customer support representatives are on call 24/7. Their equipment will be delivered in a matter of hours
- Customers are utilizing the Company’s online app which enables hospitals to quickly order equipment
- Dispatch employees have been supplied a laptop, cell phone, and Bluetooth headset to provide full capabilities while working out of their homes, fielding requests seamlessly
- Accounting, billing, collections, IT, marketing, procurement, equipment management, and other overhead functions have been setup for work-from-home and have rotated into the office if necessary
- USME has provided lunch daily to Biomed, Quality Control, Receiving and Shipping departments to lessen the food search burden, which has resulted in higher production hours
- Biomed teams are voluntarily pulling shifts on Saturdays and Sundays given such high demand for equipment
- The company is overcommunicating with customers (local hospital decision makers, regional supply chain and national supply chain) to coordinate how they can best assist inventory needs across all partners – as inventories have become scarce, USME has had to ask tough questions about whether the need was in preparation or for immediate patient care
- USME employees are offering to help healthcare partners where they cannot fill every equipment order. For example, employees have helped move hospital-owned ventilators from one hospital facility to another to provide full care
- With 32 branch locations, 45,000 pieces of medical equipment and a culture focused on high-quality service, USME is well positioned to meet increasing customer needs during this difficult time
Owner Resource Group would like to express our appreciation to US Med-Equip for everything they’re doing to help people make it through the crisis. But they aren’t the only ones pulling together and making a difference. Our other Partner Companies are stepping up in a variety of ways to do what they can to help. Here are just a few examples that you might consider as you seek ways to help your community:
- Having healthy lunches delivered to healthcare workers on-site
- Reimbursing employees for coffee or lunch purchases at local, independent businesses
- Deploying old (wiped) laptops for employees to take home so their kids can use them for school. Many families don’t have multiple laptops or tablets for more than one child to do online schoolwork at a time. The computers might be outdated, but are still useful for lessons.
- Executives are sending daily video updates to stay connected, reassure their employees/partners/customers and share positive stories
- Companies with operations in Asia are sharing what they’ve learned from the crisis there, which is a couple of months ahead of us
- Initiating communications to help employees navigate the new normal: mental health resources, childcare resources, ideas for staying healthy, etc.
- Relaxing sick and personal time leave policies
- Setting up GoFundMe pages for displaced employees
- Sending gift certificates to employees and customers to stream first-run movies at home or order food delivery
We’re all in this together
ORG is here and ready to assist. Please reach out if we can be helpful in any way as you look to navigate these uncharted waters.
Mandy Patterson is a Vice President in the Industry Group at Owner Resource Group (ORG). She is fortunate to meet with hundreds of business owners across the country each year to learn about their unique challenges and goals for the growth of their businesses. Outside of work, Mandy enjoys traveling, college football and anything outdoors – hiking, fishing, hunting and skiing.