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Posted: April 28, 2010 12:00 a.m.

Peoples Home Medical

Photo by Gabriel Khouli/

Even though the economy is sluggish and even though the medical home equipment industry is a tough business because of cumbersome regulations, Phil Stone believes Covington needs a business to supply oxygen, sleep apnea devices and other medical equipment.

That's why Stone and his son Cham opened Peoples Home Medical earlier this year. The store provides everything from hospital-style beds, walkers, seat lifts and wheelchairs to orthotics to all kinds of respiratory devices - everything a person needs to stay in their home longer and more comfortably.

It's a natural fit for the Stones because they previously owned an OptionCare medical home equipment franchise in Covington for more than 20 years. They sold their franchise in 2003, and the buyers eventually ran the business into the ground. So, Stone decided he needed to open a new business.

"We feel there is a gap and a need in the community. We know how to do it and we like to do it. We want to be a part of the community and give back. We're really excited about being open," Stone said.

Peoples recently received its Medicare number so the company can cover Medicare patients, as well as most private insurers.

Stone said he so far oxygen and sleep apnea machines, known as CPAPs or BiPAPs or continuous and bilevel positive airway pressure machines, have been the most popular products so far.

"The sleep business is a big thing. Obstructive sleep apnea is such a better diagnosed disease now from, say, even 10 years ago. It can be fairly serious. The physicians and diagnosticians are doing such a better job in identifying this disease in people; therefore, there's more a of a need for the products we provide," he said.

CPAPs and BiPAPs push air through the airway passage at a pressure high enough to prevent apneas.

Peoples doesn't just sell these products; they provide training on how to use them, billing services, home delivery, maintenance and 24/7 care.

Stone said the key is to help the customer live comfortably at home. Seatless chairs allow people with severe arthritic conditions and weak hips and knees to get more easily from a sitting to a standing position.

"A lot of the people can walk, but they're not strong enough to get to a standing position. I've seen this with my own parents. With our products people can stay at home longer, whether it's something as simple as being able to get out of chair, or a bath aids or ambulation aids," said Stone.

Stone said he's glad to be back in the business and has enjoyed hiring back many of his former OptionCare employees.


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