Hub's Home Oxygen & Medical Supplies has been a mainstay in Williamsport for more than 50 years. And over that time, the medical equipment business has kept up with the changing technology and climate of the health care industry it serves.
Local residents are perhaps most familiar with the Hub's location at 600 Rural Ave. near Williamsport Regional Medical Center. But Hub also has sites in Wellsboro, Lock Haven and Lewisburg.
In addition, a Hub's subsidiary, Cresscare Medical, operates stores in Harrisburg and Carlisle. Overall, about 60 people are employed at the Hub sites.
"Having a local footprint is important, but with everything going on in the industry we wanted to have a larger footprint, said Hub's President Caryn Plessinger.
Or as Eric McNulty, vice president of Finance put it: "We wanted to position ourselves as a regional provider, not just a local provider."
Among the supplies sold and rented to customers at the Williamsport Hub store are hospital beds, orthopedic braces, CPAP supplies for sleep apnea sufferers, and walkers.
About 60 percent of the supplies service patients in need of respiratory therapy.
Hub's works with individual customers, physicians, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and home health care agencies. Customer outreach is important to the business.
"We still do deliveries. We go to homes and set up hospital beds. Our service is a big part of us," Plessinger said.
Hub's is unique in that it employs a clinical staff trained in nursing and respiratory therapy.
That's important for better meeting the needs of customers.
After all, Plessinger said, customers are best served when they know how to properly use their
supplies and equipment.
"We have a large responsibility," she said. Staff can set up equipment, perform assessments
and do followups as needed. It comes down to matching the needs of the customers through education.
McNulty noted that if equipment isn't used right, it simply won't do the customer or patient much good.
With a growing aging population, McNulty and Plessinger feel the business is well positioned to serve the
area for years to come.
Still, growing decreases in Medicare reimbursements are presenting their own challenges for the business.
McNulty said that will not prevent officials from doing what they can to stay abreast of changes and strive to provide the best products and service to customers.
"We are hoping to be here a long time," he said. "You got to adapt to change."
McNulty said the business is blessed to have a good staff, which includes many long-term employees.
The solid and experienced employee base, he said, allows for more dependable service to customers.
McNulty's grandfather, Irving Walter, started the business in 1955 under the name Hub's Surgical. For a number of years the store location was in downtown Williamsport before moving to Arch Street in 1976.
McNulty's father eventually took over the business and handed it down to him. "I sold it to Dan Klingerman in 2002," McNulty said.