Member Spotlight: Tammy S. Robert, Owner and Operations Manager of Louisiana Special Needs Consultants, LLC
on July 28, 2021
Serving one’s community with compassion and integrity is a value that Tammy Robert, owner and operations manager of Louisiana Special Needs, pursues every day.
“My passion has been, and still is, to provide quality goods and services to the people of our community and throughout the state of Louisiana,” said Tammy. “My team and I work hard to improve our processes, productivity, and efficiency in providing these needed services.”
Tammy’s family owns and operates two pharmacies and one durable medical equipment (DME) company, which is how Tammy was introduced to the DME and home modifications industry. Ken’s Thrifty Way Pharmacy and Home Medical, the DME portion of the business, began in 1986. In 1990, Tammy began working and learning all aspects of the business.
(Back row left to right: Mark O’Connor, Matt O’Connor, Tucker Royer, Clint Brasseaux, Kurt Darbonne; Front row left to right: Tonya Roberie, Tammy Robert, April Charles, Nicole Andrepont)
“I was thankful to have the opportunity in the family business,” said Tammy. “DME was where I felt a strong calling to help others.”
Starting with only a hand full of employees, the family‐owned business started out by servicing their local residents with hospital beds and wheelchairs. As time went on, the needs of their community grew, so they expanded by offering more services and extending their service area. As of 2021, their DME service area covers the state of Louisiana for ventilator patients and special needs clients while not losing site of other DME, such as oxygen, PAP, and all bent metal.
In 1994, the business created a special department, which they named their “babies.”
“We called them babies not because of their age, but because of the special attention that is required in taking care of them,” said Tammy. “The talented team in this department works with care and compassion to handle clients with specialized needs, including trach supplies, suction, oxygen, ventilation, and more.”
The business now has over fifty employees with three locations, including two pharmacy locations and the DME warehouse and retail showroom. Then in 2009, Louisiana Special Needs was created to provide other opportunities to serve the people of the state.
Throughout the years in DME, clients would come into the Ken’s Thrifty Way DME location and purchase a grab bar and ask if the staff could install the bar for them. Because they did not have the staff and liability insurance to cover the installation of these items, they would refer them to their local lumber company.
“In 2009, I, along with other staff, attended Medtrade where we learned about VGM’s Home Assessment Certification Program, CEAC,” said Tammy. “Upon returning, we met with one of our experienced DME technicians, Kurt Darbonne, to discuss becoming CEAC certified. He agreed, and from there Louisiana Special Needs was born.”
Louisiana Special Needs originally started by doing grab bar installations and assessing clients’ homes for safety issues. Today, Louisiana Special Needs covers the entire state of Louisiana and works with physical and occupational therapists throughout the state to address clients’ home modifications needs.
“By opening this business, we have been able to fulfill the client’s needs with other services outside of DME,” noted Tammy. “This truly completed the circle of providing a safe home environment with the necessary medical equipment, allowing clients to live longer and safer in their homes.”
Louisiana Special Needs’ motto is, “We care about your health,” and their goal has always been to keep clients home while using equipment that meets their needs. The addition of Louisiana Special Needs completes this goal by having their clients’ homes modified to meet their living needs and allow for them to live safely at home. Tammy gets the most satisfaction when she gets a call from a caregiver stating that they have changed their lives in helping create a safe environment for them to care for their loved one.
“My family educated us to provide great service with compassion and integrity to our community,” said Tammy. “My 'why' is knowing we are making a positive difference in our clients lives. How many people can say they are able to make that kind of difference in someone’s life?”
One of Tammy’s most memorable projects included a job for a family that had no insurance funding to assist with necessary modifications for their child. This family needed a barrier‐free shower and ceiling lift to take care of their child. Louisiana Special Needs reached out to their vendors, and they graciously donated the products, which included a barrier‐free shower and a ceiling track with ceiling lift and slings. The staff of Louisiana Special Needs donated their time for the installation.
“The call I received from the family thanking us is one I will never forget,” said Tammy. “Previously, this teenager had to have a family member in the shower with her while she showered. Now the client can have the dignity of showering on her own, making a positive difference in this family’s life.”
One of the growing pains for Louisiana Special Needs was making the decision to add additional staff. The company was getting busier with referrals and job approvals, but they questioned if that would continue and if they would we be able to keep an additional installation crew busy without causing undue harm to the business. Louisiana Special Needs overcame this issue in three ways:
- Louisiana Special Needs meets with referral sources on a regular basis to discuss their services and products. Their referral sources have a high employee turnover, therefore meeting with them regularly allows for current staff to be educated on what home modifications are available for their clients.
- Providing high quality products and high work integrity. From the beginning, Louisiana Special Needs chose to provide quality products with the highest work integrity. By using high quality products, they have kept their referral sources and clients happy, and their call back for issues have been kept to a minimum. Louisiana Special Needs’ staff takes great pride in the work they do for their clients, and it is reflected in the positive feedback they get from the referral sources.
- Making sure their clients are completely satisfied at completion of the job. While not an easy task, it is one of the most important ones.
“My team and I work very hard to provide education and quality service and products to the people of Louisiana,” said Tammy. “We have a very special staff. They truly care about our clients and meeting their modification needs, and we value our referral sources who share in that same commitment.”
Serving her community is something that Tammy has always found to be important, and she instills this value at Louisiana Special Needs, where helping others live an independent and functional life is the cornerstone of what they do every single day.
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