Better Care Medical is celebrating its 30th anniversary. There are few, if any, medical supply vendors in the twin cities that are family-owned and run that have been around for 30 years. This is probably due, in part, to the number of changes in Medicare and Medicaid that have been made over the years and which directly affect the medical supply industry. Owner Dan Prose says, “Despite the many challenges, we have been able to adapt and provide a quality of service that we’re proud of.” Over the past 30 years, the Prose family has done more than just adapt to
changing regulations. By listening and responding to the needs of their clients, they have established themselves as an important part of the disability community.
Jerry Prose, founder of Better Care Medical, started his business in Robbinsdale in 1971. From there, they moved to St. Louis Park before settling at their current location in Hopkins, where they have been for the past 25 years. Better Care Medical was originally known as Sick Room Service, an affiliate of a Milwaukee-based medical supply company.
In the beginning, Better Care Medical was only Jerry, his wife Marilyn, and two other employees—one salesperson and one serviceman. In 1972, the business expanded to five with the addition of son Dan Prose. Dan took over management of the business in 1986, continuing
on through Jerry and Marilyn’s retirement in 1988, and finally becoming the owner in 1991.
Dan has been running the business in the traditional Prose way, based on honesty and trust. For the Prose family “a handshake and your word” has always been enough. Dan says that this style has created many loyal clients.
Throughout the years, the industry has changed dramatically. Dan remembers the days when the employees at Better Care Medical actually wrote the prescriptions for medical supplies themselves and just sent them to the doctor to be signed, and that was all that was needed. He
also remembers that clients used to be able to order as much as four to six months worth of supplies. Today, however, Medicare regulations require prior authorization and limit the quantities of supplies that can be purchased, making monthly vendor-client contact a necessity. Prior to some of these regulations, a vendor could expect payment within 30 to 60 days. Now it is not unusual for them to wait up to four months, which creates a considerable cash flow problem. Today the folks at Better Care Medical pride themselves on their ability to wade through the mountains of governmental regulations to supply their clients with the highest quality products available at the lowest cost to the individual client and to the state and federal funders.
Many of Better Care Medical’s clients have been with them since they first needed medical supplies. Dan talks about the many loyal clients that know much of his staff by first name and the many friendships that have been created over the years. These friendships have helped form who the folks at Better Care Medical are today. Dan met many of his clients after the onset of an illness or a tragedy. Many of them were at a place in their lives where there seemed to be little hope. Seeing so many of his clients adapt to and grow with their disabilities and become professionals, scholars, and advocates for the disability community has made a big impact on Dan’s outlook on life.
We’d like to congratulate the folks at Better Care Medical on building and maintaining an important and thriving business, overcoming many obstacles and dealing with many changes over the past thirty years. We wish them good luck and many more anniversaries!