PAWTUCKET — It can happen suddenly...a spouse, parent, child or other loved one has an injury, health issue or medical condition requiring specialized equipment or supplies. Now, customers in the Blackstone Valley have a place to find what they need with the arrival of Charm Medical Supply in downtown Pawtucket.
A new Charm Medical Supply retail store just opened at 237 Main Street. The store offers a wide variety of healthcare products at the store and also offers access to thousands more through its delivery or on-line service. The store carries items for all ages, from specialized baby formula and nutritional items to canes, walkers, wheelchairs, hospital beds and bath safety equipment.
In addition to its excellent service, Charm will determine a customer's insurance coverage for obtaining the equipment or supplies and will process the paperwork, when applicable. Charm is a Medicare, Medicaid and BCBS provider and is contracted with many additional insurance companies.
In business since 2000, Charm is a leading source of healthcare supplies and equipment for hundreds of caregivers, human service organizations, nursing homes and medical providers, as well as thousands of individuals throughout New England. President and CEO Peter Tallas first founded the company at its headquarters in Pembroke, Mass., to provide home deliveries of monthly healthcare equipment and supplies. Tallas later expanded the business by adding a retail store in Manchester, Conn., and now opening the second store in Pawtucket.
Working at the Pawtucket store is Rebecca Godley, business development consultant; Eric Fernandez, account executive, and Kendra Morales, customer service representative. All are fully trained and knowledgeable about Charm's product lines and all facets of the business. Morales, in particular, can assist with the insurance paperwork and questions about coverage, and is also fluent in Spanish.
Fernandez explained that there are two parts to Charm Medical Supply: the home delivery service that the company was based on and which is still growing, and the newer retail sites. The stores offer customers the chance to come in and see the equipment and products and ask questions of the staff, and to leave with the item in hand. If the store doesn't have a particular item, they can quickly obtain it from Charm's warehouse or from another supplier.
Godley noted, “We can get anything for the customer. We welcome special orders.” For example, she said that a frequent request is for bariatric equipment designed for people weighing over 300 pounds. Items like canes, walkers, wheelchairs and hospital beds, and even incontinent supplies are available for larger individuals.
Fernandez added that Charm's niche is in helping customers navigate their insurance benefits so they don't have to pay out-of-pocket costs unnecessarily. “We talk to folks every day who didn't know their insurance would cover something like a walker or incontinent supplies,” Fernandez said. He added, “There can be a lot of paperwork involved and hoops to jump through. We offer to do all that for you at no cost.”
Fernandez said that a big part of Charm's business involves educating customers as to what is available in the field of medical supplies. He regularly takes part in senior programs and health fairs, and holds meetings and demonstrations for individuals involved in social service agencies, senior centers, assisted living complexes and special needs facilities.
Charm also holds “equipment clinics” at senior housing centers and assisted living facilities, where staff will clean medical equipment such as walkers and wheelchairs, check for safety issues and do repairs as well as provide information on the best way to use the equipment.
Godley said that in addition to the more common types of medical equipment, Charm offers personal care items, including specialty soaps and shampoos, lice shampoo and “bed bug” spray; diagnostic products such as thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes and diabetic testing equipment; diabetic footwear, and daily living aids such as alarms, reachers, hip kits and clothing protectors.