Handi Medical Supply is a full-line medical supply and rehabilitation equipment provider located in the center of the Twin Cities metro area. The company was founded in July 1988 and is owned by Mary Benhardus who was a personal care attendant (PCA) for a quadriplegic while attending nursing school.
In those days, as an independent contractor you were required to invoice the state for PCA services provided. This experience gave the 19-year-old Benhardus the communication skills and determination to learn the billing requirements in this industry. As a PCA, Benhardus had also experienced many difficulties in receiving the medical supplies and wheelchair repair services necessary for her client, who was also attending college. There had been several instances when the shipment would arrive without the necessary catheter supplies, or wheelchair repair would be unavailable for two or three days, stranding her client at home.
After these disappointments, Benhardus realized the area’s need for a company to provide worry-free and timely service to customers. She opened a little place in Golden Valley providing urologicals, incontinence supplies, and wheelchair repair. Her mission was to make the medically necessary supplies and services available when needed, to provide emergency wheelchair service including evenings, weekends, and holidays and to provide high-end custom wheelchairs and equipment. Within the first year, Handi Medical Supply had outgrown its original location and the business was moved to University Avenue in St. Paul’s Midway area.
It was Handi’s goal to learn about and understand the varieties of durable medical equipment by setting up a repair shop, listening to customers’ concerns, and implementing training on various equipment brands before offering equipment sales in 1990.
As the company grew, the original vision also grew to include educating insurance companies about medically necessary options. Handi has made numerous visits to our Regional Medicare Carrier in Indiana as an advocate for our customers. Additionally, we provide education regarding insurance coverage for referral sources such as nurses, discharge planners, and therapists. We have hosted annual education fairs for our referral sources providing continuing education credits.
Handi has also invested in a computer system that allows our staff to maintain extensive ordering history, and manage utilization for our customers. Handi will even contact customers, if desired, to remind them to place their monthly supply orders.
Recently, we remodeled our retail showroom to provide a pleasant shopping experience and to display what’s new in daily living aids and convenient comfort items. A full-time customer service representative is ready to greet and assist our customers as they enter our store. In addition, our warehouse stocks more than 7,800 different medical supplies and pieces of equipment available for pickup as well as delivery.
Presently, the Handi family consists of 38 employees that accept the challenges of the business and appreciate the opportunity to make a difference in our customers’ lives. Weekly, each department as well as the management team meets to discuss customer service issues, share experiences, and improve processes and procedures. Monthly, the whole company comes together to share customer thank-you notes, choose an employee of the month, and discuss new goals.
For the future, Handi will streamline the ordering process with on-line ordering, provide better communication with referrals and physicians for quicker delivery of product, further develop our business plan to bring on a full line of respiratory services, and continue to provide our evening and weekend emergency supply/repair services for our regular customers (without any service charges or fees).
Handi Medical Supply’s ongoing purpose is: To provide a sense of security and confidence to those dependent on medical supplies, medical equipment, and service by meeting their time-sensitive needs in a compassionate manner.
Desiree Schlangen works in the Operations Department of Handi Medical Supply.