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Ex 1-800 DENTIST Marketer Shines Light On Snoring

The guy associated with 1-800-DENTIST has moved on to snoring. Larry Twersky, the former president of the well-known dental-related business, has started a Tarzana-based company to address the dangerous sleep disorder of sleep apnea, which is often flagged by heavy snoring. His company, Solid Climb, is marketed under the brands 1-800-Snoring and 1-800-Sleep-Med. Sleep apnea occurs when a person has reduced or stopped breathing for 10 seconds or more during sleep, and it can often lead to other problems such as obesity, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, gastric reflex disease and others. 1-800-Snoring doesn’t sell treatment to its clients. Instead, it is a marketing company that uses various forms of media to educate people about the problem and guides clients to the necessary resources for testing and multiple treatment options. The company works with a network of dentists, medical doctors and durable medical equipment manufacturers that sell CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, devices. Health professionals participating in the network are specifically trained to treat sleep apnea. Participating health professionals pay the 1-800-Snoring company a monthly fee to promote the disorder and to be part of the referral network. They also get connected to other professionals working with sleep apnea patients and get to attend sleep apnea-focused seminars and webinars. Overlapping fields “1-800-Snoring is really about a medical dental dialogue,” Twersky said, adding that it often gets less attention than it deserves since it doesn’t belong to just one medical field. “Who owns it? Is it an enterologist? Is it a pulmonologist? Is it a dentist? Really there’s not a good group and a lot of times, the (medical doctors) need to work with a dentist. … “We’re out building the community so that the consumer has a place to go, which currently they don’t really have a place to go.” Elizabeth Rogers, vice president of Chicago-based educational organization Oral Health America, said the opportunity for health professionals to better connect is one of 1-800-Snoring’s greatest strengths. “That is the most exciting and intriguing part of his business, and we’re always inspired by Larry’s creativity,” she said, adding that Twersky is a board member for the organization. “I think it’s an interesting vehicle to get at a variety of health issues and be able to link oral and overall health.” 1-800-Snoring beginnings 1-800-Snoring was incubated out of 1-800-DENTIST, which Twersky was president of for more than nine years. After joining the dentist marketing network, Twerksy helped take it national and raise its revenues from about $18 million to more than $40 million, he said. However, for years Twersky had wanted to market sleep apnea, having grown up seeing his father suffer with the problem. So, he started 1-800-Snoring within the dentist network. In February last year, Twersky stepped down from his position with 1-800-DENTIST and divested in the company to work on 1-800-Snoring full-time. With the help of those at 1-800-DENTIST, he was able to get it off the ground by the end of July. The snoring and sleep apnea brands appear to be catching on with a couple thousand calls coming in a month, compared to just hundreds that were coming in when Twersky started. While the company brought in slightly less than $1 million in revenues for 2010, revenues are expected to increase to between $2.5 million and $3 million for 2011. Building a network Twersky currently has 12 employees. There are about 50 dentists in his networks, as well as medical doctors who serve as affiliates. Twersky expects that number of dentists and doctors in the network to be up to several hundred by the end of the year. The company’s professional network now primarily exists throughout California and in New York. However, there are also several participating professionals located in Washington, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Connecticut and New Jersey. And Twersky wants to build that geographic span even further. “We want to be nationwide,” he said. “We want to make sure more people are getting therapy and that therapy is helping reduce their overall medical needs. … This is a bad problem and we need to take care of it as a society, and I am proud and happy to be one of the voices that is getting this out there.” Bill Jennings, dean of the College of Business and Economics at California State University, Northridge, said Twersky’s superior marketing skills will likely help him advance his snoring-focused business. Twersky has served on Jennings’ board of advisors for the last four years. “He has great leadership and he’s just an outstanding communicator,” he said. “I think that’s important in leading a business, telling people about your business and about what you’re going to accomplish and how you’re going to get there. He was obviously very successful with 1-800-DENTISTS, so I suspect he’s going to be equally successful with 1-800-Snoring.” See related stories in Healthcare >

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