By Daniel Casciato
Compression products are used to provide support and increased circulation to patients suffering from various conditions including edema, lymphedema, and varicosities of varying severity. While there are many companies that offer compression-related products and services, one Pittsburgh-based company—Compression Management Services/The Lymphedema Centers (CMS)—clearly distinguishes itself from other compression therapy centers.
Compression Management Services is the largest and most experienced center of its kind throughout Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. JOBST, the leading manufacturer of custom compression garments, recognizes this company as the only Center of Excellence in the Pittsburgh area for their superior skill in custom garment fittings. The company is also a leading provider of The Lympha Press Optimal™ sequential compression device, a home-therapy system for lymphedema treatment. Based on the principles of manual lymph drainage, the Lympha Press Optimal adapts to patient needs and is safe and easy to use at home.
CMS takes great pride in the quality of its products, but the most important aspect of this company is its focus on individual patient care. “We take a one-on-one, hands-on approach to working with our patients and try to develop strong partnerships with physicians and physical therapists,” explains Jerry Clark, eastern regional manager for CMS. “We establish a patient management plan,” says Clark. “Ready-to-wear garments are widely available for purchase off the shelf, but there is often no professional guidance to determine proper sizing, wear or care. We will work with physicians to assess these patients, customize the right products for them to manage their condition, and make sure they are fitted properly.”
Clark says CMS also schedules follow-up appointments with their patients every six months. Continued contact is a priority as many of these patients experience chronic symptoms and garments often wear out due to heavy use. It is important that they are replaced.
Founded in 1996, CMS has been providing products and garments related to lymphedema and other swelling for 15 years. Many of the patients they see are women who have undergone procedures for breast cancer, such as breast surgeries and biopsies. These procedures can sometimes affect the lymph nodes and some individuals develop lymphedema as a result.
“We heard from many of these patients that it would be nice if we also carried mastectomy products,” says Clark.
Responding to that need, in March 2007, CMS acquired Devoted to You Mastectomy Boutique to form the Comprehensive Care Center for Women (CCC) which offers products ranging from post-operative garments to bras, camisoles and breast prostheses. The goal is to ensure every woman is fit properly in the most comfortable product.
“We want them to feel relaxed and be at ease when they’re here,” says Clark. “When they come in for an assessment, we have a feminine, comfortable atmosphere.”
In addition to caring for local women with breast cancer, CCC partnered with the Christian East African and Equatorial Development Trust (CEED) and the Susan G. Komen Foundation last year to sponsor a Woman-to-Woman bra drive, collecting 2,000 donated bras. After washing and bagging the bras, CCC donated them to Uganda, Africa. According to Clark, many of the women living in this part of the world never owned a bra because they cannot afford them and they are not readily available.
“[It is] … something that women in our country take for granted every day,” says Clark.
Accredited through the Board of Certification/Accreditation International (BOC) and PA Association of Medical Suppliers (PAMS), CMS currently has six locations in the state—four in the Pittsburgh region (Shadyside, Cranberry Township, South Hills Village, and Tarentum), and two in the Eastern region (Johnstown and Altoona).
“Our patients and suppliers tell us that our approach and level of service is one of a kind,” says Clark. “We really strive to have a unique and comprehensive model…To find everything you need under one roof and have that close one-on-one relationship with the patients and their physicians is truly rare.”
For more information, visit www.compressionmanagement.com.