HLS Health and Wellness to change handsJuly 20, 2018
By LEANN BURKE
JASPER — After 37 years in business, HLS Health and Wellness will change hands.
The business, located at 201 W. 6th St., fell victim to negligent billing when HLS made the decision to outsource customer billing in January 2016, according to Meredith Voegerl, HLS marketing and compliance officer. The decision was part of an effort to streamline service and cut costs, she said.
“It was a big deal for us to do that,” she said. “It was devastating when we learned they weren’t doing what they were supposed to do.”
The billing company came to HLS highly recommended and endorsed by a major national healthcare company, but the billing company failed to live up to its promises, resulting in major write-offs for HLS and eventual bankruptcy.
HLS brought billing back in house, but too much damage had been done, Voegerl said.
Throughout 2017, HLS struggled with product delays and shortages that resulted in more losses and in some cases, poor service.
For owner Rick Stradtner, the poor service was the worst part. He purchased Flick’s Hometown Pharmacy, a business with a 100-year history, in the ’80s. Slowly, he sold off parts of the business until only the home medical equipment portion remained.
Stradtner hoped to save the business, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization about seven months ago, but was unable to do so. He made the decision to sell and is currently looking for a buyer.
Although Voegerl and Stradtner want the community to know what happened, both said they’re not looking for pity.
“We’re choosing to celebrate 37 years of the people and relationships we’ve built,” Voegerl said.
Stradtner and Voegerl encourage their customers to stop in or call with stories about the business’s 37 year history. They also encourage people to support local businesses, as so many people supported them through the years.
“It’s very important to me that people support local business,” Voegerl said. “We couldn’t be more appreciative of all the support we got over the years.”
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