UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA – When retirement got tiring, Will House went searching for something to do. After 15 years in the medical equipment business working for someone else, the 69-year-old House ultimately bought Affordable Medical Supply in University Place, Washington.
The business relied on Medicare for only 15% to 20% of its revenue, and that ratio served House well when he decided not to participate in competitive bidding. “Now we have to turn away many of our Medicare customers,” says House. “But I am not sorry I did not bid. It has cut down our time in audits, so it looks like it was a good decision. However, competitive bidding has certainly affected the whole industry, and not for the better.”
Cash, private insurance, and a large military business (TriCare) are now the bread-and-butter of the business that set down its roots in 2008. The relatively small reliance on Medicare has made for an easier transition, but House recently went to Medtrade Spring in Las Vegas in an effort to continue the momentum.
“We found interesting things at Medtrade Spring that will help our cash sales,” says House, whose store has a 2,000-sq-ft showroom. “We are also going to create an online store, and I hired a company right there at Medtrade Spring to help us do that. There were good ideas at the show, and some good over-the-counter supplies for aids to daily living. The show was useful for me, no doubt about it.”
Affordable Medical Supplies is one of the newest members of the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare) and House made the decision to join at Medtrade Spring. “Membership is something that I considered for many years, but just never took the steps to do it,” he admits. “At Medtrade Spring I spoke with one of the people who actually deals with the politicians and legislative matters. I was really impressed, and that’s when I decided to join AAHomecare. I believe that AAHomecare is the organization that will lead the fight for our industry.”
Retirement didn’t take for House, but he does get out of the office, at least occasionally. “I play golf, which is a tormenting activity,” says House, the father of two daughters, two sons, and a granddad to three grandchildren. “Golf gets old, and I have worked all my life. I work when I want to work, and that is most of the time.” — Greg Thompson