How Paralympic Athlete Bert Burns Started UroMed Catheter Supply Company

Editor’s Note: Many people may think that Bert Burns, after having had a successful athletic career, helping to grow a successful business and developing two different methods–LASCI Online and Onsite–to help others, will kick back, retire and take life easy. But Burns has learned that his work ethic and desire to help others doesn’t allow for retirement. We’ve asked Bert Burns what’s in the future for LASCI. Part 4 of a 5 part series.

Bert Burns has always been very competitive which made him a Paralympic gold medalist!

Bert Burns has always been very competitive which made him a Paralympic gold medalist!

I’ve always been a very competitive person. Some of the guys who were beating me in wheelchair sports weren’t as disabled as I was. However, I didn’t use that as an excuse. I decided if I trained harder than those other athletes I could beat them – even though they were more physically capable than me. Sports enabled me to do that.

The lessons I learned from sports spilled over into my business. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t know what type of business I wanted to start or join. I was working at the Shepherd Center, and I realized that getting catheters and other medical supplies was very difficult, not only for rehab centers, but also for individuals who were injured.

One of the big problems was that once you got your supplies, then you had to fill out all of the insurance forms to get reimbursed. If you didn’t fill them out right, you didn’t get reimbursed. I went to work for a company that was billing the insurance companies for the patients and also providing the patients with the products they needed.

However, I felt like if I had my own company, I could do a better job of meeting the medical needs for people in wheelchairs than the company I was working for did.

I learned that dissatisfaction in knowing that you could do something better than somebody else could be a key ingredient for entrepreneurs to succeed. I knew that if I had more rapport with a patient than other companies had, I’d have an advantage in the business.

I felt like if I could solve the problems that people in wheelchairs went through to get urological supplies that I’d be successful in business. Although I realized I couldn’t solve all the problems that people in wheelchairs had, I could solve their urological supply needs and hopefully answer any questions that they might have about life in wheelchairs that I’d already learned.  And that’s why we started UroMed – www.uromed.com.

UroMed Customer Service Team

UroMed Customer Service Team

One of the things I’ve learned and try and teach in LASCI Onsite is that living in a wheelchair can be an advantage, if you can just seize those opportunities. For instance, my wheelchair has allowed me to be a world class athlete. Even though I may have had that dream in high school, I didn’t put forth the effort required to reach that degree of proficiency in sports. When I went in business, part of my plan included that people would feel like whom better to buy supplies from than someone who’s using them? Who could better understand the needs for your supplies than someone who is using them as well?

I felt like that gave me an advantage, because I understood the total needs and equipment required for people in wheelchairs. I picked a business to get into where being in a wheelchair was an advantage instead of a disadvantage. And if you continue to read Hometown Heroes and LASCI, you’ll learn that other people have done the same thing. 

One of my clients asked, “Bert, I’m going on an airplane, but how will I catheterize myself on an airplane?” Or, “How do I get into sports in a wheelchair?” So, I get asked a lot of questions – not just about urological supplies – but I also can add value to our customers by answering questions about life in a wheelchair.
 
And we’ve set up a support group for people in wheelchairs that goes around the world: LASCI online. I give even more value by going to where people in wheelchairs gather, answer questions and explain how good life can be, even though you’re in a chair. I also speak to therapists and doctors who can’t understand all the great and wonderful things that wheelchair people can do now that they once couldn’t do.
 
We try and address not only the urological needs of people like me, but also their social and emotional needs and explain to them that they can have anything in life they pursue.
LASCI offers positive advice to people with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities.

LASCI offers positive advice to people with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities.

About UroMed
Many of UroMed’s employees have a personal connection to understanding their customers’ urinary health and incontinence needs, as 20% of UroMed’s customer care associates either has a disability or has a family member with a disabling condition.  Most of UroMed’s customers experience urological or incontinence issues, and have conditions like Spinal Cord Injury, Spina Bifida, Transverse Myelitis or Multiple Sclerosis.

Beginning with 4 people, Bert and his team has grown UroMed into a 100+ person company! UroMed was named one of Metro Atlanta's Top Workplaces in 2011 by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

Beginning with 4 people, Bert and his team has grown UroMed into a 100+ person company! UroMed was named one of Metro Atlanta's Top Workplaces in 2011 by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

Headquartered in Suwanee, GA [a suburb of Atlanta], UroMed is one of the nation’s leading providers of single-use catheters, urological and disposable medical supplies, including intermittent catheters, closed system catheters, condom catheters, pediatric catheters and continence care products. UroMed is a nationally accredited organization, a Medicare provider and a participant in most state Medicaid plans.

UroMed also partners with thousands of private health insurance providers and health plans to provide patients with single-use catheters, catheter kits and incontinence products. UroMed has seven staffed regional offices located in Richmond, VA; Columbia, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Dallas, TX; Carlsbad, CA; Knoxville, TN; and Baton Rouge, LA; enabling next-day delivery after a customer’s initial medical supply order. For more information, please visit http://www.uromed.com  or call 1-800-841-1233.

Next: Paralympic Athlete Bert Burns’ Attitude About Being In A Wheelchair

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

About UroMed Catheters
Headquartered in Suwanee, GA [a suburb of Atlanta], UroMed is one of the nation’s leading providers of single-use catheters, urological and disposable medical supplies, including intermittent catheters, closed system catheters, condom catheters, pediatric catheters and continence care products. UroMed is nationally accredited for Medicare reimbursement and most state Medicaid plans, and partners with private health insurance providers and health plans to provide patients with single-use catheters, catheter kits and incontinence products. UroMed also has seven staffed regional offices located in Boston, MA; Columbia, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Dallas, TX; Carlsbad, CA; Knoxville, TN; Richmond, VA; and Baton Rouge, LA; enabling next-day delivery after a customer’s initial medical supply order. For more information, please visit http://www.uromed.com or call 1-800-841-1233.

One Response to How Paralympic Athlete Bert Burns Started UroMed Catheter Supply Company

  1. Pingback: How Paralympic Athlete Bert Burns Started UroMed Catheter Supply Company | Senior Medical Care

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