Western Sleep Medicine, LLC
For some people, a good night’s sleep is more a dream than a reality.
In 2006, Mark Schultz and Michael Kearns visited the Scottsbluff office of the Nebraska Business Development Center to discuss their idea for an independent sleep lab to assist physicians in the identification and treatment of sleep disorders. A regional hospital was performing those services, but the delay on those studies was from six to eight weeks.
Schultz and Kearns believed they could expedite the service. “We knew about sleep,” Schultz recalls, “but we didn’t know anything about putting together a business proposal. The NBDC helped us define who we were and what we wanted to do.”
Three months later, they opened the first Western Sleep Medicine, LLC laboratory.
Today, Western Sleep Medicine operates eight laboratories for sleep-related breathing disorders in western Nebraska, eastern Wyoming and southwest South Dakota. The company employs 14 people. The studies they perform include full polysomnography, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) titration, multiple sleep latency testing and other specialized testing which may be required to diagnose seizure disorders or other sleep-related movement disorders.
Schultz is a registered polysomnographer credentialed by the Board of Polysomnographic Technologists and a member of the American Association of Sleep Technologists and American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He and his partner, Gerald Amundsen, M.D., combine clinical, administrative and medical teaching experience to effectively manage sleep medicine programs.
With Norman Imes, M.D., providing medical direction and expert clinical interpretation, Western Sleep Medicine has earned the respect and trust of referring physicians throughout the region.
In May 2011, Schultz and Kearns again enlisted the services of NBDC to discuss the buyout of Kearns as a partner, as his health was failing. The terms of the partnership share and the loan were approved in August 2011, with Schultz and Dr. Amundsen as the remaining partners.
Schultz says post care and follow up is critical in sleep medicine, with CPAP or Bi Level therapy being the preferred treatment option for sleep-related breathing disorders. This motivated the partners to create Western CPAP Supply, LLC.
“We deliver the highest quality auto titrating CPAP equipment that includes a downloadable ‘Smart Card, which tracks a patient’s progress and is reported to the referring physician, thus assisting with the plan of care outlined by the physician,” he says.
The company strives to provide the best care possible and build rewarding relationships, Schultz says.
“Our patients are literally our family, friends and neighbors,” he says. “We see the people we care for at the store or at the county fair. You can either go up and greet them or turn away. I always want to have the kind of business where I greet our patients as friends, with a smile and a handshake.”