COVID Courageous Award

When PAL Health Technologies closed its doors in late 2017, it appeared the Pekin-based firm was gone forever. A national leader for more than 40 years—producing handcrafted custom orthotics, shoe inserts and braces, and arch supports—the company struggled after the 2012 death of founder Jeff Schoenfeld. As it turns out, PAL’s second life was just around the corner.

In the spring of 2018, Dr. Aaron Rossi and Dr. Gerald Paul teamed up to purchase and reopen the business. Not only did the orthopedic surgeon and podiatrist rehire many of PAL’s former employees, they quickly expanded its offerings to include practice management, revenue cycle management and IT service lines—creating a “one-stop shop” for podiatrists across the country. Then in June 2019, Dr. Rossi launched Reditus Laboratories, the Midwest’s only full-service pathology lab catering exclusively to podiatrists, in partnership with the Peoria Tazewell Pathology Group. 

When the pandemic hit, PAL was focused on its normal operations, which had grown to include cannabis manufacturing in an adjacent facility. The company quickly reconfigured its supply chain and manufacturing facilities to produce face shields, helping to ease the shortage of personal protective equipment. At the same time, Dr. Rossi diverted Reditus Laboratories’ state-of-the-art instrumentation toward COVID-19 testing, and soon it was collecting one third of the state’s test specimens. 

PAL Health Technologies / Reditus Laboratories


PAL Health Technologies / Reditus Laboratories

In August, Reditus began offering COVID-19 antibody tests—another step forward in the ongoing pandemic. “Most results are administered within 24 hours of the blood draw,” Dr. Rossi notes. “While these results are beneficial for patients, it is important that all people continue to abide by guidelines set by the Illinois Department of Public Health, including social distancing and wearing a mask.” 

Barely a year old, Reditus Laboratories has already doubled its staff and expanded to serve clients in seven states, while PAL has manufactured more than 500,000 face shields—even as it continues to produce the finest handcrafted custom orthotics in the industry. As Dr. Rossi sets his sights on taking the laboratory, pathology services and orthotics nationwide, he continues to investigate other potential uses for their equipment, including respiratory panels and detection of other infectious diseases. “We look forward to continuing to grow as a company, furthering our expansion, and providing the public with the utmost care and service for their healthcare needs,” he adds. / PM