Lisa Sackuvich knows what it’s like to take infusion therapy for a chronic medical issue. She’s been there herself.
“As I child, I had to get infusions at the hospital with a kidney issue,” Sackuvich said. “But I can remember those times being quite traumatic and they would take your mom away from you.”
That’s partly why she became a nurse — to offer reassurance, comfort and care.
A nurse with more than three decades experience, Sackuvich is owner and president of ARJ Infusion Services, a Lenexa-based company that provides infusion therapy. ARJ stand for the words accountable, reliable and joint partnership.
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Q: What does ARJ Infusion Services offer?
“We provide pharmaceuticals and nursing services for people with chronic disorders in their home. … It is IV therapy for chronic disorders that need therapy that have to have services provided by nurses.”
ARJ works with children as young as 2 months through older adults who deal with such conditions as hemophilia, bleeding disorders, immune deficiency and neurological and autoimmune disorders.
Sackuvich said most of these are lifelong disorders.
“We are blessed to know our patients for a long time,” she said.
ARJ Services does not provide not chemotherapy or dialysis services.
“Our referrals come from physicians and hemophilia treatment centers like the ones at Truman Medical Center and Children’s Mercy Hospital,” Sackuvich said. “We obtain the orders from the doctor as to what needs to be done, we handle all the insurance company and authorize everything.”
ARJ pharmacists dispense the medications and the supplies and then nursing staff travels to homes to administer the therapy.
Q: When did you start the company and why?
Sackuvich started ARJ almost 16 years ago incorporating in May 2000 and opening the doors for business by August.
“I love to provide patient care,” she said.
At the start, it was just Sackuvich and one pharmacist with the goal of providing personalized, patient-centered care. Sackuvich got her first clients through relationships she developed as a nurse.
Sackuvich also used her experience in nursing to help learn how to run a business.
“By working in a hospital setting, in ICU, cardiac and then developing physician practices…it helped me learn everything it takes to run a company — hiring people, doing the billing — not only the clinical piece but the business piece,” she said.
While working with a company that did home IV therapy, one of the doctors made a suggestion.
“He said, ‘If you are going to work this hard, you should do it for yourself and a lightblub went off,’ ” Sackuvich said.
Q: How did you put ARJ Services together?
Sackuvich had lots of ideas but one major hurdle.
“I had no money. I had two children and myself. (But) I had an angel — my brother — who is an entrepreneur and wonderful businessman, and I sold the idea to him to loan me money to create this company,” Sackuvich said.
Her brother, Doug Martin, made the initial investment that Sackuvich was able to pay back in 18 months. Today Sackuvich owns 60 percent of ARJ Service and Martin the remaining 40 percent.
ARJ is headquartered in Lenexa with offices serving patients in Kansas, Missouri and other parts of the Midwest. ARJ has 81 employees, mostly nurses or pharmacists.
Q: How do you market your services?
“We have account managers and salespeople who are able to go and meet with physicians and their nurses,” she said.
A year and a half ago, Sackuvich hired a marketing director.
“It has brought a whole new world to ARJ,” she said. “We’re starting to do more social media and looking at how to serve different audiences.”
Sackuvich said there is plenty of competition in the marketplace but ARJ is able to counter it.
“Because we have a niche in providing IV therapy, we are specially trained and certified … and that’s how we try to differentiate ourselves. Also we are a local company,” said Sackuvich, while many competitors are national firms.
Q: You started in Kansas City and have expanded. How did you accomplish this?
“It has been slow but methodical growth,” Sackuvich said. “I had to be hard headed because I needed things to be a certain way and I needed to train our nurses and pharmacists the way we wanted them to treat patients. … Going into someone’s home is much different than going into a hospital setting. You are the only nurse in the home and you have to be highly skilled.”
Q: Where do you see ARJ going in the future?
Sackuvich anticipates further growth and a doubling of revenue over the next year.
In a nutshell
COMPANY: ARJ Infusion Services
ADDRESS: 10049 Lakeview Avenue, Lenexa
TELEPHONE NUMBER: (866) 451-8804
WEB SITE: www.arjinfusion.com