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HOW TO 2014 GUIDE

Techniques and tips for choosing local businesses A special advertising supplement

May 4, 2014


HOW TO GUIDE

HOW TO 2014 GUIDE

Techniques and tips for choosing local businesses

TABLE OF CONTENTS Tips for Selecting a Quality Hearing Aid.......................................................... 3 How to Choose a Memory Care Center........................................................... 4 Best Methods for Selecting a Physician ......................................................... 7 How to Choose an Interior Designer ............................................................... 9 How to Choose the Right Landscaper........................................................... 10 How to Choose a Gym ....................................................................................12 How to Choose a Real Estate Agent ...............................................................14 How to Choose a Web Developer....................................................................17 How to Choose a Medical Equipment Provider..............................................19

The Southern I

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thesouthern.com/special-sections The Southern Illinoisan (USPS 258-980) is published at 710 N. Illinois Ave., Carbondale, IL 62901. The Southern Illinoisan is owned by Lee Enterprises of Davenport, Iowa. TO SUBSCRIBE Call (866) 735-5912 from 6am to 5pm weekdays or 7 to 10am on weekends.

Page 2 Sunday, May 4, 2014 THE SOUTHERN ILLINOISAN

FOR A CLASSIFIED AD (618) 351-5002 from the Carbondale, Murphysboro and De Soto areas; (618) 997-3356, option 7, from Williamson County; or (800) 228-0429, option 7, from anywhere else, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday or www.thesouthern.com/placemyad. JOHN PFEIFER, PUBLISHER john.pfeifer@thesouthern.com


How To Guide

‌Tips for Selecting a Quality Hearing Aid Hearing loss affects more than 40 million Americans. People of all ages and backgrounds experience hearing impairment or loss. Many people seek out hearing aids to help relieve the serious consequences of this condition. As a result, they lead richer, fuller lives. These devices are highly technical, customized to meet each individual’s needs. Types of hearing loss vary widely, and are sometimes quite different from person to person. Innovations in hearing aids include using digital processors to isolate and amplify the frequencies a patient needs most. Many of the latest hearing aids are so small they are practically invisible.

Styles

The good news is that you no longer need to purchase bulky, obvious hearing aids of yesteryear. The most popular hearing aids on the market fit completely within the ear canal. While they are attractive and barely noticeable, their small size means they are typically more expensive. Other styles include half-shell, fullshell, behind-the-ear and open-fit hearing aids. Because these hearing aids come in a range of sizes and prices, consult with a specialist to help you choose the right style to fit your needs.

Internal Electronics

The design of a hearing aid will make a large difference in cost and performance. Two devices may look similar but produce dramatically different results. The difference is in the internal electronics. Nearly all hearing aids available today are digital. They will filter out background noise, enabling the wearer to hear a conversation clearly. This technology is particularly effective in crowded settings. A programmable aid can be tailored to help with your particular kind of hearing loss. If you have an outdated hearing aid, consider upgrading to a more modern device. This will help your hearing be as close to natural

Philadelphia Inquirer

David Decker is fitted for a hearing aid by audiologist Elizabeth Gray-Karagrigoriou in Southhampton, Pa. Like many, Decker resisted getting a hearing aid partially due to high costs.

as possible. Of course determining which hearing aid is right for you would be nearly impossible without knowing how much hearing loss and what type of hearing loss you may have. Your hearing aid specialist will first check your ear

canals to make sure you don’t have a simple wax blockage or some other visible problem affecting your hearing. If everything is OK, the next step is to do an air conduction test followed by a bone conduction test and word discrimination testing. All these things are

necessary to get accurate information about your hearing. After testing your hearing your hearing aid specialist will be able to guide you in selecting the best hearing instruments to fit your needs for your hearing, cosmetics and finances.

The Southern Illinoisan  Sunday, May 4, 2014  Page 3


How To Guide

‌How to Choose a Memory Care Center

Memory loss can be a frightening experience. For elderly or infirm patients, it is sometimes seen as a turning point. Julia Keith, Executive Director of Reflections, adds “It is important that communities are there for the families as much as they are for the residents themselves.” There are new options in care services. People with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can get specialized medical care which can lessen the impact of memory loss. These memory care centers are different from nursing homes or traditional assisted living centers in some important ways. Staff members at these centers are specially trained and experienced in caring for those suffering with dementia. Activities and rehabilitative therapies keep residents as independent for as long as possible.

STAFF

The experience and attitude of the staff members is one of the most important considerations. They should treat all patients with kindness and respect. The center should also provide continuing education to employees to assure that everyone is up to date with the latest in memory loss research and care. Always visit a memory care center before admitting a loved one. Tour the facilities to make sure the building is clean and organized. The atmosphere should be calm and relaxing. Consistency and stability are important to those suffering from memory loss. The center should have a low turnover rate among staff members. No memory care center should rely heavily on part-time workers. Ask about the ratio of staff to residents, as well as the backgrounds of any medical

practitioners employed by the center. Your loved one needs personalized care and attention. It is vital that the center has enough workers on staff to provide quality care for your loved one.

look like hospitals. Ask questions about the activities offered to residents, how visits are handled and the types of therapies available. The facility should be clean and sanitary without appearing sterile. A center’s cleanliness is an indication of the dedicaSECURE, COMFORTABLE tion and price of everyone who SETTING works there. Because patients can someQuality memory care centers times forget where they are, will resemble comfortable, inviting homes. They should not it is important to ask how the

Page 4  Sunday, May 4, 2014  The Southern Illinoisan

center protects its residents. What kind of security features do they use? Note your general impressions of each center you visit.

“Person-centered-care is important for meeting each individuals needs and abilities.” Julia Keith commented. The best centers have support groups for residents and family members. SUPPORT You and your loved one Quality memory care centers should be comfortable with the have support services for resimemory care center you choose. dents and families. Symptoms from dementia can The best facilities can give range from mild to extreme. The patients a much needed boost and improve their overall qualcenter should be equipped to ity of life. handle all stages of dementia.


STOP BY TODAY AND TOUR THE NEWEST STATE OF THE ART MEMORY CARE FACILITY IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS...YOU’LL BE AMAZED AT WHAT YOU SEE! e with A Memory Care Residence for Thos eeds Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care N • 24 hour medical alert system • Assistance with all ADL’s • Medication Services ogram • Innovative activities and wellness pr ined staff ra l-t el w d an , nt te pe m co l, na sio es of • 24 hour pr • Laundry and housekeeping service ! • No Hidden Cost... All Inclusive Pricing

For a personal tour, please call Executive Director Julia Keith at 618-305-0958 Located at 517 Rushing Dr, Carterville, IL (next to The Villas of Holly Brook)

www.villasofhollybrook.com The Southern Illinoisan  Sunday, May 4, 2014  Page 5


Page 6  Sunday, May 4, 2014  The Southern Illinoisan


How To Guide

‌Best Methods for Selecting a Physician “Finding a personal physician or health practitioner is an important step toward living a healthier lifestyle” says Patsy Jensen, Executive Director of Shawnee Health Service. “The best practitioners offer you a patient centered approach to your care and help you focus on prevention and wellness. They provide creative solutions to health issues and keep you informed about your health conditions.” Here are some elements to consider when you are searching for a new doctor.

MEETING YOUR NEEDS

Experts recommend selecting a primary care practitioner. This professional might be a physician in Family Medicine or Internal Medicine. Often, primary care physicians have Physician Assistants or Nurse Practitioners working in their offices under their supervision. Under some circumstances, a person may prefer to select a practitioner practicing within a particular specialty. Women might feel more comfortable with an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) as a primary care physician. A pediatrician might be the primary care physician for children. Seniors could even have a geriatric specialist for their primary care physician.

INSURANCE OR HEALTH COVERAGE

covered by Medicare (coverage for those over age 65 or those of any age with a disability) or Medicaid (coverage for qualified individuals provided by the State where you live), you should confirm that your practitioner accepts your coverage and will submit claims for you.

CONVENIENCE

Convenience is another important factor when choosing a physician. His or her office should be easily accessible from Your choice of practitioner your home or workplace. may be limited by your health Ensure that the doctor has insurance carrier or health coverage. Insurance companies have admitting privileges at your preferred hospital in the event you contracts with individuals or group practices. It is highly likely need treatment. Today, most practitioners that you cannot go outside of arrange for a Hospitalist physiyour insurer’s provider network without paying an additional fee. cian to manage your care during a hospital stay. Some insurance carriers do Ask where your practitioner not impose restrictions on your can perform diagnostic tests and choice of physicians. If you are

procedures. Some doctors might use a separate facility rather than their own offices. Find out how the appointment process works at your practitioner’s office. Most medical offices schedule the next visit before you leave the office and provide appointment reminder calls. Many medical offices offer same-day appointments to established patients when an urgent need arises. Ideally, your first visit will include a routine physical examination and documentation of your medical history. Be prepared to know your previous diagnoses, medications, dates of any medical procedures, surgeries or hospitalizations. If you have a complex medical history, you may want to arrange for a transfer of records to your new medical office.

ASK FOR REFERRALS

A recommendation from family, friends, and other trusted sources is the most common way to find a new practitioner. People will gladly give referrals when they have had positive experiences with their health care providers. This may be the best way to learn about a practitioner’s practice philosophy, personality and communication skills. You may want to consider a Federally Qualified Health Center in your community. In addition to providing primary medical care, they may also offer dental services, nutrition counseling, behavioral health and case management services. Other resources include web sites for your local hospital or health organizations. Some communities have

nurse call centers or you can consult with your local health department to guide you to a particular type of practitioner or medical service. Telephone directories and on-line directories also list physicians by type of specialty. Not every practitioner accepts new patients. Once you have the name of a practitioner you are interested in, contact their office to make sure they will accept new patients as well as the insurance or coverage you carry and to learn about any matter of importance to you. You may want to confirm that your practitioner has a current license to practice with the state medical board. This licensing body will also tell you if he or she has any pending disciplinary action or complaints.

The Southern Illinoisan  Sunday, May 4, 2014  Page 7


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How To Guide

‌How to Choose an Interior Designer Does your home need an update? Is the outdated appearance making you feel bored? Or maybe you have recently built a beautiful new home and need someone to help you complete the project? Choosing an Interior Designer can be a very important factor in the decision to remodel one room or a whole house. Many feel that the expense will be more than they can afford, but actually can save the homeowner time and money, and keep the homeowner from making the wrong choices.

Know Your Personal Taste

Before hiring a designer, think about your personal tastes. Leaf through magazines and clip out designs that appeal to you. You could also look on the Internet and print out looks you like. Put them in a three-ring binder or file folder with a comment about why it attracts you. Seeing your preferences will help the designer understand how to fulfill your needs. It is also a good idea to learn some interior design terminology so you can speak the same language as the designer.

Locate Interior Designers

Research the names and contact information of interior designers. The National Kitchen and Bath Association and the American Society of Interior Design have a list of interior designers in your area. Check with your family and friends as well. In particular, if you know someone whose home you adore, ask who did the work. Choose three interior designers to interview. Typically, these meetings occur in their offices, but sometimes a prospective interior designer will want

to meet in your home. He or she might want to see the house in order to provide specific details. Others designers prefer to hold interviews in their offices so you can see their previous work and look at samples.

Cost of an Interior Designer

Ask about how bills are handled. Usually there are three methods of payment. The first is by-the-hour. The interior designer will ask that you pay for a minimum number of hours. Once those hours are gone, you may choose to purchase more time in bulk or they may opt to work on an hourly basis. The second payment option is costplus. When interior designers purchase items for your home, they simply add a percentage to the cost. If the designer uses this method, be sure to discuss your overall budget with them. They will welcome your honesty. The third way that some interior designers are paid is a combination of by-the-hour and cost-plus. Regardless of the payment method, this should be discussed in the first meeting and an agreement made prior to the start of the project.

Certification and Training

Currently, 26 states require interior designers to be certified. The National Kitchen and Bath Association and the American Society of Interior Design oversee these certifications. These professional organizations have their own requirements. By their rules, decorators must have at least an associate’s degree, serve an apprenticeship, and then pass an exam to become certified. Once a decorator has passed an initial exam, professionals can continue their education to prove mastery in specialized skills.

Style

The best interior designers have strong personal design philosophies. You will see it in their portfolios and when you speak to them. The ideal professional will have an ability to understand and reflect your style. After all, you are the person who will live in your home. They should fit in with your style, not

the other way around. Find someone who is flexible and communicative. If the person doesn’t take criticism well, that is not a person you want to work with. Once you have interviewed three interior designers, choose one you have a connection with. Continue discussing time frames, costs and other details

about the project. Do not make payments until you have a contract. Finding an interior designer might seem like an overwhelming task. Through research, communication and staying true to your own style, you can find a designer who will transform your house into a true home.

THE SOUTHERN ILLINOISAN  Sunday, May 4, 2014  Page 9


How To Guide

‌How to Choose the Right Landscaper

One of the best ways to increase the value of your home is to have a well-landscaped yard that is carefully cared for by a professional. These landscaped yards fall into one of five types, each requiring a different skill set from your landscaper. The first type is a formal garden with its many geometrical shapes where plants are planted to draw attention to the overall balance of the yard. When hiring a landscaper for this type of yard, find one who will carefully prune hedges to enhance the design. The second type of landscaped yard is informal, where plants appear to be placed randomly to create an appearance of organized chaos. When hiring a landscaper for this type of yard, be sure he or she loves to work with planters and urns. The third type of landscaped yard is the English garden where everything must flow together to place emphasis on the cottage. When hiring a landscaper for this type of yard, it is important that he or she love to work with climbing vines, which are often critical to the English style. The fourth type of landscaped yard is Oriental, with its many rocks, mosses and evergreens. The landscaper working on this type of yard must understand how to create a calm environment. The last type of landscaped yard is woodland, with its natural plants and ground covering. The landscaper here must have a great knowledge of native plants and how to make them look their best.

OTHER HELPFUL INFORMATION Judy Parks at Clark Natural Stone in Marion, IL, gave a few more pointers on how to approach cultivating your backyard.

WHERE DID YOU GET THAT?

how much the bag is or if it is sold by the scoop, how much it will cover. You may be loaded with a skid steer at one business and a backhoe at another and the bucket sizes are different. So when it seems cheaper it might not actually be because you will receive a lot more mulch with the backhoe. So always ask coverage.

Just because you hire a landscaper doesn’t mean you can’t tell them where you would like to purchase your product or pick out your HOW MUCH ROCK own product. When working with a landscaper SHOULD I BUY? always ask to see your scale tickets for the One ton of most rock will cover an area of 65 rock, ask where it was purchased and the square feet 3 inches deep. Take your total prices on the product. If you ever need to go square feet and divide it by 65 to get the back to get more of the product you will know amount of tons you will need for a 3 in depth. where to get it. When purchasing rock always check to see how it is sold. Its best if the place you are HOW TO BUY MULCH purchasing it from has a set of scales that way Mulch is usually sold 2 ways: by bag or by you are guaranteed to get what you pay for, if bulk. So when comparing prices ask to see not ask what their coverage is for their scoop.

SET YOUR BUDGET

Take into account how much you can afford to spend. Cost is always a major consideration when hiring a landscaper, and the best way to stick to a budget is to set one. Be sure you know how much you are willing to pay for the landscaping services you need and what you can afford and are willing to spend annually on your landscaping. This will help you to determine which services on the list you created are truly necessities. In order to stick to your budget, you may need to make sacrifices. If you need to have a new landscaping wall built in order to protect your home, you may need to hold off on the topnotch sprinkler system you want to install. If the irrigation

Page 10  Sunday, May 4, 2014  The Southern Illinoisan

system is a must, you may need to limit the number of times you have your lawn mowed each month. Don’t get discouraged, however, if your budget for landscaping looks a little tight. You’ll find that some landscapers charge less than you might expect for these types of projects in order to get your business.

possibly even the construction of retaining walls or other structures. You may want a landscaper who will mow your lawn regularly but find that having someone who prunes the trees is more critical. Be sure to identify which services you need and which you want.

GET REFERRALS

Word of mouth is a great form of advertising, and a good landscaper will come with excellent recommendations. If your neighbors have been using a service and you like what you see, ask them which company they are working with — and ask them about the pros and cons that they see with the services. If your friends or family uses a landscaper, seek their advice as well. You may also want to do an online search for local landscaping companies. Check the Better Business Bureau and the Internet for consumer reviews of the companies you find. If you see many negative reviews for one company, it may be better to move to the next one on your list.

CONSIDER AVAILABILITY

One of the first questions you should ask any landscaper you interview is when they are able to complete your limited-time projects and how often they will be available for maintenance. If you want to be PRIORITIZE YOUR NEEDS home when the landscaper is working, be Make a list of your specific needs and decide which services you will require from sure that they work in your area when you can be there. You’ll also want to address the landscaping company you hire. Most other questions you have. For example, if landscaping companies offer the followyour community has noise regulations, ask ing: weekly or monthly lawn and garden each landscape company what they will do maintenance, weed control, tree pruning and shaping, garden installations, inspec- to adhere to them. tion and maintenance of irrigation systems and


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clarknaturalstone.com The Southern Illinoisan  Sunday, May 4, 2014  Page 11


How To Guide

‌How to Choose a Gym Do you find gyms intimidating? Do you feel like there’s just nowhere that meets your needs? When people think of fitness facilities, they imagine a bunch of thin, beautiful people wearing expensive workout clothes. In reality, people of all shapes and sizes join gyms. “There’s not a stereotype you can put on members of a fitness facility”, says Michelle Cottonaro, General Manager at World of Fitness in Herrin, Il. These facilities are a fantastic way to lose weight, stay fit and have fun. Gyms can help you achieve your health and weight goals. Experts at the facility will be happy to educate you about nutrition and wellness. “With increased awareness on preventative medicine and methods to stay healthy, fitness centers are there to help members achieve better health”, Cottonaro says. A good workout releases endorphins, which improve your mood and fight stress. Exercise also increases energy levels and improves sleep. Building muscles helps you burn calories more effectively. Consistent workouts lower blood pressure, while reducing the risk of some types of cancer, osteoporosis and Type 2 diabetes. Cottonaro adds “working out and going to the gym may not cure all your ills but it will give you a better overall quality of life. “Look for a fitness facility that meets as many of your desired requirements, such as 24 hour access and fitness classes. Your final choice should meet your basic needs”, Cottonaro says. Many people have a hard time forming good fitness habits. Fitness regimens can be difficult to maintain. We often create excuses or our schedule simply doesn’t permit time to exercise. It can be hard to stay motivated. But when you have exhausted all of your excuses and a healthier lifestyle becomes a priority, then finding a gym is a fantastic first step on the path toward a happier life.

Joining a gym will help cure the boredom you might feel when working out. These facilities have a variety of equipment, programs, classes and teachers. You can alter your workouts easily and keep exercise interesting. Paying for membership increases your chances of working out. It is harder to form excuses to skip exercise. Becoming a member is a great opportunity to meet people with similar health goals who can offer motivation and support. “Seeing regulars at the facility can motivate you to

Page 12  Sunday, May 4, 2014  The Southern Illinoisan

come more often and enjoy the social environment a gym can provide”, Cottonaro notes. Once you’ve decided to join a gym, the number of choices can seem daunting. Keep in mind that gyms should be inspiring places. You will need to feel comfortable and motivated to keep coming back. The right facility for you might not be the right place for someone else. Each gym has different classes, programs, amenities and services to help members work on their abilities and goals. Personal trainers can be especially helpful if you need instruction or encouragement. Each trainer will have his or her

style of communication — from mild and uplifting to severe and harsh. They will help you map out realistic goals that are tailored to meet your individual needs. “Make sure the facility you choose can tailor a fitness plan to specifically meet your goals”, Cottonaro says. A good personal trainer will offer a health assessment before working out with you. He or she will understand your physical limits and then work to expand those boundaries safely. He or she will constantly ask you to do just one more rep, one more minute on the machine. If your trainer seems without compassion or pity, it is only because he is pushing you or your own good. These professionals will also give advice on nutrition, effective gym routines and proper stances for weight training. If you have health restrictions such as joint pain, lowimpact workouts are available. One such low-impact workout is Pilates, as it uses smooth motions and gliding actions to tone muscles and improve flexibility. Many gyms have a pool. They might even offer aqua aerobics. This comprehensive workout uses the water’s resistance for extra toning. It is usually very safe for people with joint pain. If you can find a private instructor, you can get an excellent workout involving both cardio and endurance training. When choosing a gym, remember your future goals. Whether you opt for the services of a personal trainer, or participate in a Pilates, weight training or water aerobics class, your aim should be to improve constantly and have fun. “Joining a gym is not an instant fix for better health but it’ll start you down the right road.”


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The Southern Illinoisan  Sunday, May 4, 2014  Page 13


How To Guide

‌How to Choose a Real Estate Agency A reputable Realtor and real estate agency can make a big difference when you buy or sell a home. There are thousands of dollars at stake. You could get the asking price or maybe you will have to settle for the best offer on the table. A real estate agency will act in your best interests. That’s why it’s essential to find a high-quality real estate agency. Reputation says a lot about a company. What do people say about their services. Ask your family, friends and neighbors for recommendations. Their experiences will guide you toward a reputable agency. Once you have a list of possibilities, do some research. Find out how long the agency has been in business. Ideally, you want people who know your community. If the real estate agency is merely a side business, it might not give you the best results. Buying and selling homes is a full time job. Look on the Internet and read customer service reviews. They should also have an impact on your overall impression of an agency. Once you have narrowed your list, contact some businesses and ask them questions. You should know about their listings, fees and commissions. If an agency is focusing on their own best interests rather than marketing your home, you should drop them from you list. You need someone who will help you. Choose an agency that has connections with the community, a sharp understanding of neighborhoods that interest you and solid contacts with other realty companies. This assumes major importance for you because the Realtor is equipped to help you sell your present home and assist you in purchasing your new home. The marketing strategy and advertising is what makes each agency unique. It will greatly

influence the sale of your home. Although most companies might look the same, real estate agencies have a big difference regarding the venues they use to market your home to those ready and able to buy. Try to find an agency with a focus on the largest set of marketing tools available to get the exposure

Page 14  Sunday, May 4, 2014  The Southern Illinoisan

your home deserves. Look at an agency’s listings. If you were purchasing a home, would you find their listings easy to read and informative? Be prepared to ask an agency the following questions if you are selling your home: zz How will you advertise my home? Will you use the Internet

and newspapers? zz How many pictures of my house will appear online? zz On which sites will my home be featured? zz Do you have other homes that have recently been sold in this price range? zz How long has the agency been selling homes in

my neighborhood? zz What makes your agency unique? The two biggest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime is buying and selling a home. Protect your investment and peace of mind by choosing the best and most trustworthy real estate agency you can find.


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The Southern Illinoisan  Sunday, May 4, 2014  Page 15


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How To Guide

How to Choose a Web Developer

First impressions matter. An attractive website is your doorway to new customers. Like a brick and mortar storefront, your online presence needs to leave a positive impression with potential customers. That’s why web development companies are so valuable. They can help you coordinate your branding, so the whole world will know what to expect from you. Are you out-of-date, clunky and unhelpful, or inviting, modern and stylish? More than ever, people spend their free time online these days. They are continuously making snap decisions about how they will spend their money. It is always smart to invest in a knowledgeable web designer.

RESPONSIVE DESIGN

Years ago, websites only needed to look good on desktop computer monitors. Times have changed. One of the most important trends in web development is called responsive design. This design strategy will help your site look good on a multitude of devices, including smart phones and tablets. The dimensions on each device are different, but your site can still look beautiful and readable on different screens. An accomplished web development company can make your site look gorgeous on mobile devices and desktop computers alike.

CUSTOM CODING

While there are plenty of services offering inexpensive websites based on templates, your site will likely need customization. It will need to function specifically or your business. A web development company will help you set up a simple, template-based site if that’s what you need. But they will also be able to help you with

much more complex projects that will make your site efficient and proactive. Find a company that will present various options to you. They should consider your budget and level of customization you need. Make sure you clearly understand what’s included in each proposal — the specifics of the building process, how it will

be updated, who creates content for the site and where it will be hosted. All of these details should be discussed before you sign a contract.

MARKETING SERVICES

Web development companies understand that a vibrant website is only the beginning of the marketing process.

There are an infinite amount of ways you can increase visibility for your business or organization online. Popular ways include having a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Other companies buy ads on sites, set up blogs and buy keywords on search engines. Not all of these methods work for every business. Online

marketing is a trial and error process. It will require some time to discover what works best for your situation. But a talented web development company will help you navigate these choppy waters and help you decide how to promote your site. They will keep you from making expensive mistakes on your own.

The Southern Illinoisan  Sunday, May 4, 2014  Page 17


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Page 18  Sunday, May 4, 2014  The Southern Illinoisan

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How To Guide

‌How to Choose a Medical Equipment Provider People with long-term or chronic illness find that medical equipment can improve their comfort and quality of life. Your doctor can prescribe the type of device or equipment you need. Follow the correct guidelines, and then choose a company in your area who has the equipment and supplies that best meet your needs.

RESPIRATION EXPERTISE

People with respiratory problems should look for a medical equipment provider whose staff has training and expertise with CPAP machines and supplies, bottled oxygen and other equipment. A certified respiratory therapist on staff can guide you on how to use the equipment safely and effectively. Choose a company that delivers the correct supplies at the right time and that employs skilled and compassionate people.

look for a provider with experience in mobility aids. They should offer you a wide range of walkers, scooters and wheelchairs. While you may only need a simple cane now, you might need more advanced aids in the future. Creating a good working relationship with a medical equipment provider will help you as your needs change over time.

OTHER SUPPLIES

Medical needs change over time. Be sure to choose a company that carries a wide array of medical supplies. In the future, you might need ostomy supplies; diabetic shoes, hosiery and supplies; home oxygen; CPAP machines and supplies and other types of treatment and monitoring equipment. Choose a medical equipPERSONAL SERVICE ment provider who becomes Locally-based providers are always best. familiar with your needs over the You are likely to receive personalized seryears and who can develop a sense vice. They can also respond quickly in case of you as a person. of trouble. Speak with your doctor and Equipment fails and supplies run out. staff about good companies When your provider is in your community, in your area. Their you can usually reach someone right away. A local provider can send someone quickly. recommendations will help you Larger companies may stock supplies a few find the right hundred miles away. That means you may have to wait days for a technician or urgently company for your needs. needed supplies to arrive. A good track record GOVERNMENT BILLING Medicare and Medicaid often cover medical of customer service, equipment and supplies. Choose a provider who is experienced in handling patient billing the ability to handle for these plans. Medicare Government regulations and documentaand Mediction are often complicated. There are deadaid billing, lines to meet and rules to follow. The equipment provider may be able to bill Medicare or and trained Medicaid directly, which lessens the deduct- staff should ible you will have to pay. It also speeds up the be the factors to guide you in entire billing process. your search for an excellent medical MOBILITY EXPERTISE When you are dealing with mobility issues, equipment provider.

The Southern Illinoisan  Sunday, May 4, 2014  Page 19


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