Published in the Mineral Wells Index, June 8, 2005 issue:
Local Company Lands Government Contract
Tracey Kirsch, president of Electromedical Products International, Inc.
holds one of the models bought as part of EPI’s recent government contract.
EPI to provide veterans alternative treatments for stress disorders
By Lacie Morrison
Index Staff Writer
Mineral Wells-based Electromedical Products International Inc. has obtained a five-year contract with the U.S. government that utilizes some of their latest technology in cranial electrotherapy stimulation for veterans.
CES, also known as Alpha-Stim, will be able to address the issues of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Combat Stress Disorder.
It wasn't an easy road to travel to obtain the contract, said Tracey Kirsch, president of EPI. "We had to establish a need," Kirsch said. With CES, EPI is able to offer a safer alternative than medication to treat PTSD and CSD, she said.
"We educated them [the government] on why they needed it and then educated them about an alternative with minimal side effects," Kirsch said. Noted side effects include a mild headache or a slight reddening of the skin at the sight of electrode application.
The lack of side effects is what makes it very appealing, said Kirsch. Unlike medications, which can have a long list of adverse reactions, CES "leaves the user alert while inducing a relaxed state."
Dr. Daniel Kirsch, a neurobiologist and the driving force behind development, said "there's a lot more interest in [us] now than ever before." He credits it in part to a backlash from prescription medications.
After EPI established the need, they were under heavy scrutiny from the government to verify their product worked and the company was sound.
"We had to provide all our testing and results [among other things]," said Tracey Kirsch. "We're actually seeing great results."
The inspection process resulted in negotiations between EPI and the government. "We had to negotiate pricing, shipping, warranties," said Kirsch. "We actually had to extend the warranties on some of our products." On the thoroughness of the negotiation process, Kirsch added, "I was very impressed with how our tax money is spent."
The end result of EPI's endeavors was a renewable five-year contract for EPI and a government agreement to purchase a set amount of product within the first year.
"I'm happy to say the government is taking advantage of [an alternative treatment] and we'll be able to help our troops," said Kirsch. "We know it's effective … and we're giving back a little bit to veterans."
EPI has been working with a Veteran Affairs hospital in Houston for some time utilizing its technology. The VA recently received a grant for $750,000 to use Alpha-Stim in treating spinal cord injuries at four different locations across the country.
For EPI, "it's a whole new endeavor to start in the government sector," said Kirsch. This is just the beginning as EPI continues to explore other markets like veterinary medicine for their technology.