By Damion Smalls
Essential Medical Supplies, LLC (EMS) was established in September 2017 by Samuel Brown CW3, U.S. Army veteran and information technology entrepreneur. The Mississippi native who now calls the Lowcountry home has found another way to serve the public with morality and goodwill: providing durable medical equipment options for those suffering from diabetes.
“I just saw a need out there and people needed help,” says Mr. Brown. As a middleman between health insurance providers and diabetic patients, he emphasizes that his clients “never pay out-of-pocket”. Most health insurance plans have funds allocated for diabetic supplies and EMS has curated a catalog of items that consumers can browse and select through to suit their tastes. “We are here to be an information base to the general public and to let them know that these products are here for you for two simple reasons: to improve your quality of life and the fact that you already paid for them. Go ahead and get what you’ve already paid for,” Mr. Brown clarifies.
Brenda Myree, manager at Essential Medical Supplies, runs the day-to-day operations at EMS and is the backbone of the company. “I think that there’s two companies that still do orders for diabetic shoes [locally] but they do not bill the insurance companies, so people have to pay out of pocket,” she explains. “As for us, we actually do the billing to the insurance company and they pay up to 80 percent. We write off the difference, so we never charge anyone out of pocket for any remaining funds. We take it as a loss on that part.” EMS handles all the paperwork for their clients to ease the shopping process and erase confusion. Additionally, most health insurers allow for a new pair of shoes to be acquired each year, Myree discloses.
EMS distributes a variety of fashion styles that are unknown to the majority of diabetic patients that enter the market seeking orthopedic gear that will alleviate disease complications. “They are not just those ugly black shoes that everybody thinks of when you say diabetic or therapeutic shoes,” Myree informs. Sneakers, dress shoes, Mary Janes, running shoes and more offered by EMS bring a multitude of attractive choices to their clients. As an owner of multiple pairs of diabetic shoes, Myree can vouch that they are exceptionally well-made, durable and can last for two years or more.
Diabetic shoe sizes range from 5-12 for women and up to size 14 for men at EMS. The width of the shoes can go up to double extra wide and have heat-moldable insoles, as well as toe fillers for those who have had partial amputation. They also feature non-skid and slip-resistant bottoms for added safety. EMS works with vendors such as Skye Comfort & Performance, Apex, Dr. Comfort and OrthoZone who also produce diabetic braces and wraps. Even though he does not have diabetes, Mr. Brown wears his own products due to their everyday usefulness. “I can wear them for 14 to 16 hours and still feel like walking another mile,” Mr. Brown states.
EMS services offer in-home visits for customers throughout the Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley County area, but Mr. Brown adds that the company is flexible travel-wise and have ventured as far as the state capital of Columbia for clients. On these trips, EMS representatives provide reading materials, help consumers find the items they need, deliver products, and make sure the products fit to the consumer’s liking. EMS also accepts office appointments and walk-ins.
Myree notes that there are opportunities to be had for sales representatives. “We’re always looking for new ones,” she says. Independent Representatives for EMS conduct the in-home consultations, earn commission and compensation for consultations, and allow for industrious individuals to go into business for themselves by expanding their network and growing a client base.
EMS is reaching out to the Tri-county community to assist any and everyone interested, especially the elderly, who may not be informed of all of the benefits that their health insurers offer. “We are here to serve,” says Myree. Working with churches and organizations like the United Way and Black Health Matters through workshops and conferences has been a staple of EMS since its inception. Recently, Mr. Brown has been in and out of the office supporting the responders during and after the effects of Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas as he is still on active military duty.
Essential Medical Supplies, LLC is located at 5803 Robinson St., Hanahan, SC 29410. The HIPAA-compliant enterprise can be contacted by phone (854-444-2243), fax (854-444-2262) and email ([email protected]). Visit EMS online at www.essentialms.net for more information.