By Debbie Adams
The Dynamic Medical clinical laboratory opened with little fanfare in a secluded spot on Third Street in Vinton in spring 2019. Co-founders Billy Cole and Jeff Howard purchased the property which had been the Pennington Crown and Bridge Lab and spent about four months renovating the building, setting it up for their own purposes.
When they first opened, the lab did mainly drug testing, providing services for medical practices. In 2021, Cole says their “true vision came into focus; we chose a new direction.”
They made the decision to concentrate almost exclusively on providing “reliable, accurate, state of the art precision laboratory testing designed specifically for senior care residents and facilities—in a timely fashion, ‘coupled with compassion.’”
They retooled their laboratory to meet those goals. Now, Dynamic Medical features PCR DNA Molecular Diagnostic Testing (including COVID-19) and general blood and urine chemistries to serve senior care facility laboratory service needs. The lab is also on the Virginia Department of Health referral list of drive-through Covid test sites for the general public.
Cole is the Chief Operating Officer (COO). He is a Roanoke native and graduate of Cave Spring High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Virginia Tech in 1998 and began a medical sales career in 2000 in pharmaceuticals. He progressed to hospital sales, medical device sales, and medical diagnostics, working with some of the medical industry’s titan employers such as Eli Lilly and Co., Stryker, Wright Medical, and Millennium Health.
Howard is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Dynamic Medical. He earned his BA from Ohio State University and his MBA from Virginia Tech. He has 25 years of experience in corporate sales and marketing with Ford New Holland, Novozymes, and Automatic Data Processing. He is also the owner of ARCpoint Labs of Salem, helping business owners design and administer effective drug and alcohol testing programs.
Cole says that their pivot to focusing on senior care began with two “impactful” events in March 2020. First, his mother, affectionately called “Noni” by her grandchildren, had a severe turn in the progression of her Parkinson’s Disease. Severe dementia became apparent, and Noni was admitted to, and now resides in, a local memory care assisted living facility.
Secondly, “the Covid pandemic riddled the world.”
Because of these two events, Dynamic Medical “gained insight into the world of senior care facilities and resolved “to revolutionize the way our seniors are cared for, to interact with each senior resident in the same manner of respect and empathy that we would extend to our own elders; and to be a valued and trusted partner in the senior care marketplace.”
Their website says they believe “a familiar face, compassionate connections, and thoughtful interactions are as much a part of our job as the lab-work we provide.”
Cole emphasizes that the senior care facilities in the area provide excellent care; he wants clinical laboratories to meet or exceed those standards.
Dynamic Medical has quickly negotiated service contracts with several premier senior care facilities in the valley.
Cole says that there is an advantage to focusing on one specialty area—“you get really good at it.” While there are other prominent labs in the area, none has a specific focus on senior care. Dynamic Medical is unique.
Cole says it’s the little things that are making the biggest impact for Dynamic Medical in working with senior care facilities. Many facilities have no input as to when and who draws their labs; residents are treated as a number or a production run, not as individuals.
Dynamic Medical makes every effort to test according to the schedule of the senior care residents—no middle of the night wakeups to collect specimens from memory care residents with the subsequent downward spiral in their behavior for days.
The lab employs its own qualified phlebotomists to draw the specimens, who establish a relationship with the seniors. Dynamic Medical currently employs two phlebotomists and, with a growing clientele, is ready to hire two more.
Dynamic Medical has also committed to providing drive-through COVID PCR testing for the public, with a 24- to 48-hour turnaround time for results. While the demand for COVID testing had abated somewhat, “we are seeing a resurgence with the variants.” They are currently running from 50-100 tests daily—with the numbers climbing.
Cole says that many of those who come to Dynamic Medical for COVID testing have plans to travel internationally and need to quickly meet the requirements for proof of a negative COVID test. Many of the other testing sites, such as pharmacies, are unable to return results for several days.
Word has spread about the efficiency of their system: the client drives up and parks outside, where the test is performed; the swab goes straight from their car to processing inside the lab. Results are back in just a day generally, reducing the stress of the entire process.
Hourly workers, who need to get back on the job as quickly as possible if exposed, can also benefit from the quick turnaround, as well as students who need to verify a negative test to enter or return to class.
Those who need COVID testing with quick results can email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment. Or call Dynamic Medical at 540-206-2621. Or use the link on their website to register at https://www.dynamicmedicalusa.com/.
The cost is $100 without orders for testing from a doctor. You pay on site at the time of testing. With orders from a doctor, insurance may cover the cost of the testing.
Other Dynamic Medical staff members include Lab Director Dr. Faheem Taha (based in Atlanta), who is responsible for clinical oversight, on-site Lab Supervisor Loreley Mack Seay, and Client Services Liaison/Account Manager Jaret White, in addition to lab technicians and phlebotomists.
Seay says that a typical day at Dynamic Medical starts with the phlebotomists visiting the senior care facilities fairly early—around 7 or 8 a.m. While they are out collecting specimens, the lab is getting instruments and equipment up and ready to run samples when they return. (Time is of the utmost importance in producing test results for seniors, who may need to get started on treatments as quickly as possible—such as in the case of urinary tract infections.)
There are two main lab areas at Dynamic Medical—one for clinical chemistry and another for molecular testing. Covid testing is performed in a linear process with extensive precautions, limiting the opportunity for exposure or contamination.
Dynamic Medical is located at 953 Third Street in Vinton. Cole says he and Howard looked at many properties throughout the valley, but the Vinton lab was the perfect location. It was already set-up well as a laboratory: the building was appropriately zoned for their purposes; their footprint is about two acres so there is room to expand; and the site was close to home for Cole, who lives in Vinton.
Cole is enthusiastic about the facility, its testing program, and his staff. He says that all his employees have the same vision and passion for working with senior care facilities and their residents. “They are a good crew, who get along well. There is definitely a good vibe in our workplace, and that transfers to the facilities we work with.”