All-Med’s all better

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

MIAMI LAKES, Fla. - All-Med Services has gone through the HME equivalent of to Hell and back.

Three years ago, the company was flying high, making a name for itself by servicing capitated managed-care contracts. All-Med’s staff numbered 160; the company operated 32 vans; it generated about $12 million in annual business, much of it by covering 800,000 lives through capitated contracts.

Then disaster stuck. In 2001, the company was underbid and lost two of its managed care contracts and about half its business. As a result, All-Med laid off 60 employees, said Senior Vice President Linda Barbanell.

“It was scary,” Barbanell said. “We had a lot of people whose families we were feeding, and we had to let them go. We had a great product but had to take a hard look at how we were doing things and then go climb the ladder again. It took a lot.”

In clawing its way back, All-Med looked at how it performed all its business functions and streamlined where possible. The company installed a billing person in the customer service department to improve its intake procedures.

“If we don’t get good information on the front end, we can’t bill it on the back end,” Barbanell said.

It brought in new management talent, executives from the managed care world who had experience in contracting, billing and collections.

All-Med started up its own home infusion division. It then married that service with its HME offering, subcontracted out for home health services and began marketing that “ancillary integrated delivery system” to managed care companies as a one-stop-shop product.

When all was said and done, the revamped All-Med had won itself several new managed care contracts, and as of early August the company employed about 150 people who worked out of four locations - Tampa, Orlando, Jupiter and Miami Lakes.

Despite its past travails, the company still “loves” managed care, which accounts for 85% to 90% of its business.

“We know how to do it,” said the vice president. “Capitation is cash flow. We don’t have to bill. We don’t have to collect.”