Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.
What do you do and how long have you been doing it? We are a Medicare-approved, independent diagnostic testing facility. We do interpretation of blood oxygen and pulse-rate tests for medical equipment companies. They send it to us digitally; we do interpretation and send it back to the ordering physician and durable medical equipment company in all 50 states. We do home sleep studies using small recording devices we put on patients in their own homes, identifying obstructive sleep apnea; the cost is a third of what it is in sleep laboratories. We also do in-home simple pulmonary stress testing as well, which can qualify patients for portable oxygen. I've been in the respiratory field for four years.
Business: Advanced Respiratory Diagnostic Services LLC
Owner: Randy Romero
Address: 724 S. Central Ave., Medford
How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley? I moved here from the Woodland Hills and Canoga Park area in Southern California in 1985. I graduated from Grants Pass High School.
What inspired you to go into this line of work? I worked at Three Rivers Community Hospital in Grants Pass as a respiratory therapist and simultaneously at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend. It was just draining me. What I like about respiratory therapy is the diagnostic part. That's what sparked me to go into business for myself. I found a networking company out of California that helped me get credentials with Medicare, and that took about a year.
What decision or action would you change if you could do it again? I would have started off with an office in Medford. I started out of my home office. That was difficult, and I didn't want patients coming to my home. I knew I would have to be traveling more, so that's when I got an office space. As the business has grown — we get several hundred orders per day — I'm traveling to Klamath Falls, Roseburg and Yreka. It's nice for the patients to come here instead of traveling all over.
What's the toughest business decision you've made? It involves billing operations and managing the operations. Making the transition from being a clinician to a businessman was interesting and it's still a work in progress. I'm going to need an office manager and possibly a business partner to run the operation. I certainly can't do this all on my own.
Who are your competitors? There are some independent diagnostic-testing facilities in the Portland area and in Washington. There are large, commercial, independent diagnostic-testing facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area, but they mail the home sleep studies out, and we like the clinical one-on-one interaction.
What are your goals? I want to expand in a correct fashion up north, beyond Roseburg. We're moving into our second office in Grants Pass right now. Every time we open a site, it has to be approved by Medicare. Within the next year I plan to add 10 employees, half of them will be therapists and half clerical. We also hire nurses, and are looking at hiring a nurse practitioner, as well. In five years we want to do Oregon, Washington, California and Arizona. We can say yes to all these folks, but I'm a little nervous about expanding a little too rapidly.
What training or education did you need? I got my respiratory care training at the now Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls. I don't have the credentials to score the home sleep studies, so we have hired two sleep-credentialed pulmonologists.
What's your advice for budding entrepreneurs? When you have a dream, pursue it and just don't give up. I didn't take out any loans, I just went after it, nonstop. I knew the studies would benefit the community. Now is a good time to start. There are a lot of benefits to being an owner. But keep in mind it's not just a Monday-through-Friday job; it's a seven-day-a-week job.