First Impressions:

CareLinc Medical Equipment: “Cunningham Communications is an Extension of our Life-Sustaining Business”

By Sue Cunningham-Milito

Derek Damstra of CareLinc Medical Equipment and Supply says Cunningham Communications telephone answering service “is part of the 24/7 life-sustaining service we supply to our customers.”

Cunningham Communications telephone operators answer after hours calls overnight and on weekends for CareLinc.

Derek Damstra, CareLinc vice president, says “The key benefit of Cunningham Communications is they have a live operator answering our calls after hours.

We have been a Cunningham Communications client for so long (since 2003) that they know our business and our customers. The operators are able to help as best as they can. They replicate the same things we say to our customers.”

CareLinc Medical Equipment is a leading provider of durable medical equipment for sleeping, mobility, home access such as ramps and lifts, airway and breathing. The company also employs registered respiratory therapists.

Derek Damstra’s father, Mike Damstra, started CareLinc Medical Equipment and Supply in 1997 with three employees and one delivery vehicle.

Today 20 CareLinc Medical locations serve Michigan and Ohio with 400 employees and 100 delivery vehicles.

Damstra says CareLinc receives nearly 40,000 calls per month from residential clients and health, long term care and hospice facilities to order supplies and services.

“We do a lot of business with hospice, which is 24/7. If a hospice nurse has to order from us after hours, Cunningham Communications answers the call. Your operators find out if there is an urgent need for the equipment right away. The operator communicates with our on-call representative who can make the delivery that night.”

A key benefit of the overnight answering service says Damstra is that CareLinc does not need to staff its own telephone operators five nights a week, and on weekends and holidays.

CareLinc appreciates the ability of Cunningham Communications operators to triage incoming calls and use a secure method to contact and stay in touch with on-call staff.

“Your operators follow through until they get the right person to answer. They are constantly communicating, and you have follow-up procedures,” Damstra says.

It is not just large facilities calling overnight. Clients with sleep apnea who use CPAP breathing machines will call if their equipment malfunctions. “We take calls in the middle of the night from travelers who forgot a piece of their CPAP equipment. We can connect to the respiratory therapist on call who can “save the day” and ensure a good night’s sleep.”

Damstra says his expectation is that Cunningham Communications operators “are an extension of our staff. They show the same compassion and care to the callers that we show our customers.”

“Daily there are stories about how Cunningham has helped our customers improve their quality of life.

Your operators are making an impact every day. Your service conveys the message to our customers that there is a seamless transition between open hours and closed hours. They bridge that gap.”