Employees 'help us grow and move forward'

Friday, August 31, 2007

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Advanced Healthcare acquired a new branch in mid-July, with an eye toward spreading its clinical focus on oxygen and sleep therapy.
Currently, PharmaCare Home Medical's branch in Angola, Ind., focuses on retail sales, something Advanced doesn't do much of.
"We want to touch on retail, but we want to remain focused on higher-margin businesses like respiratory," said Russ Johnson, a respiratory therapist who co-owns Advanced and serves as its president.
Despite its struggles, PharmaCare's location in Angola allows Advanced to better serve Noble, Lagrange and Steuben counties, all just north of Allen County, where it's based. The location also brings Advanced closer to Cameron Memorial Community Hospital.
As part of the acquisition, Advanced picked up about 300 patients.
"The number of patients is relatively small, but it's a lot for that community," said Chad Bechert, who co-owns Advanced with Johnson and Jeff Simpson. "There are probably 10 to 20 people walking through their doors each day."
Eventually, PharmaCare will take Advanced's name. Advanced, which has about 35 employees, has offered employment to all of PharmaCare's five full- and part-time workers.
PharmaCare represents the first acquisition ever for Advanced, but it probably won't be the last. Johnson and Simpson brought Bechert, a lawyer, on board in November to make acquisitions.
"I think it's a pleasant surprise that we're able to do this with the changes that have happened in our industry," Johnson said. "We have people in place who are dedicated to the company and who are good at what they do. They help us grow and move forward."