Vol. LXI, No. 20
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
HELPING HANDS: "We help people who want to stay in their home environment. We provide the equipment that can make it possible. It allows them that possibility, and helps the family and caregiver to help the patient." Gail Morrone (left), manager, and Kathy Horvath, co-owner of SMH Surgical Supply, take a moment to relax in the patient chair lift.
For individuals faced with long-term health problems or for those in rehabilitation after an injury or surgery, SMH Surgical Supply fills an important need. Whether it's walking aids and accessories, wheelchairs and motorized scooters, or hospital beds and lift chairs a full range of products, including bariatric equipment for seriously overweight patients, is available.
Opened in February, 2006 in the Marketplace at 3885 Route 27, SMH (Safe Medical Health Needs) has become a resource for patients, physical therapists, doctors and nurses.
"It's important to keep the patient safe," says Kathy Horvath, owner of SMH with her husband Ernie Horvath. "The health care field has changed, and people are going home from the hospital sooner. We can provide benches for the shower, special mattresses, bathroom safety equipment, special dressings for wound care, ostomy care, motorized or regular wheelchairs, scooters, lift chairs, and hospital beds.
Customers cover the full spectrum, she adds, including those in private homes, assisted living facilities, and sub-acute care (rehab).
Ms. Horvath, who is a physical therapist and worked with the Visiting Nurse Association, and her husband, whose background is in finance, had looked forward to opening their own business. "It was our goal to do this," she notes, "and we wanted to do something associated with health care. We believe we are filling a need here.
"Also, I've always enjoyed dealing with people. I focused on home and patient care, and now we have a different perspective in interacting with people. We explain how the equipment works, and provide patient education, safety, and maintenance."
Ms. Horvath's background in physical therapy is very helpful. She can understand what a patient is experiencing, and as she says, "When we deliver the equipment to the person's home, we demonstrate it and instruct the family members."
Currently, Princeton, Rocky Hill, Skillman, Montgomery, and South Brunswick are areas covered by SMH, and Ms. Horvath reports that in addition to private patients, "We do business with assisted living facilities. They buy large quantities in bulk from us, such as 50 wheelchairs, etc."
Private patients typically rent wheelchairs, patient lifts, and hospital beds, while equipment such as shower chairs, commodes, walkers, rollators, and canes are all purchased.
With the complexities regarding insurance issues in the health care field today, clients of SMH Surgical benefit from the services of office manager Gail Morrone, says Ms. Horvath. "Gail has been in the surgical supply business, and she does everything. Within her position here, she wears a multitude of hats. She can help customers with insurance and knowledge of products, and she is also a certified fitter for compression stockings."
Adds Ms. Morrone: "I want people to know we are Joint Commission-accredited, which is based on quality care, delivery, treatment of patients, and quality assurance. It covers every aspect of the business. The clients' needs always come first here."
In addition to the larger pieces of equipment, a full selection of retail products is offered. Items such as bathroom grab bars, bath benches, crutches, walkers, rollators, cast covers, and products for incontinence are all in stock, along with blood pressure monitors, nebulizers, compression socks, ostomy bags, and bandages to promote bed sore healing.
Above and Beyond
"We also have literature for people, and we want to provide patient education," says Ms. Horvath. "We even have patient literature in Spanish to help someone learn the proper way to use the equipment."
Going above and beyond to ensure patient understanding, well-being, and safety is part of what makes SMH unique, adds Mr. Horvath. "We go out of our way here, and Kathy has a great personality and a special way of dealing with people; and Gail does too. Kathy shows people how to use the equipment in a very nice way. Also, although we are not open Sunday, we always check our voicemail, and will be available in emergencies."
The Horvaths are taking a thorough look at the business to determine the best way to help people. There are many aspects to this," points out Ms. Horvath. "The business is evolving, and we have taken it slow so we can familiarize ourselves with everything. We want to see what the needs and demands are, and we want to be thorough and grow the business carefully.
"This is rewarding work," she adds. "With our equipment, we try to improve the patients' quality of life and help them lead a productive life. We could just sell products, but the more knowledgeable we are, the more we can help people."
SMH Surgical is open Monday through Friday 9:30 to 6, Thursday until 8, Saturday 9:30 to 1. (732) 422-1200.
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