Handi Medical Supply: Not willing to hide behind all those excuses

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Editor’s note: This is the first of three profiles of the 2012 HME Excellence Awards winners. Next month: Best Home Respiratory Provider.

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The boy was nine years old, terminally ill and a huge Green Bay Packers fan.

When he was referred for service to Handi Medical Supply, the clinical team noticed his sports obsession and pitched in on a package of Green Bay memorabilia. The team delivered it to him accompanied by a service dog named Louie the Pug.

The visit made such an impact on the boy that, just before he died, he made a final request—to see Louie the Pug one last time. 

“It’s not about the dollars that come out of your coffers,” says Mike Bailey, CEO of Handi Medical, winner of the 2012 HME Excellence Award for Best HME Provider. “It’s about human beings who care beyond themselves.”

The boy is just one example of how 24-year-old Handi Medical’s devotion to outstanding customer service has helped the company excel. 

“A lot of my competitors are bowing to their profit-and-loss statement,” Bailey says. “It’s important to be fiscally responsible, but it’s also important to create experiences that delight your customers internally and externally.”

Handi Medical has achieved average annual revenue growth of 15.5%, more than three times the industry average of 3% to 5%.

From one 7,500-square-foot showroom, it handles 400 orders and 120 customers a day.  

The company mission is “to enrich lives,” which Bailey says requires employees who share his fanaticism for customer service.

Every Tuesday, for example, Bailey gathers his staff for a 30-minute “book club.” The team reads and discusses books on service excellence and process improvement, books with titles like Ron Zemke’s “Delivering Knock Your Socks Off 


“I’m looking for employees who are first great human beings,” Bailey says, “but also have the skill sets to execute their discipline.”

Handi Medical has devoted relationships with its referral sources, thanks in part to its Annual Education & Equipment Conference, which offers education on products and relevant industry topics.

This year’s 15th annual event drew 750 attendees, 50 exhibitors and 24 educational sessions. 

Today, Handi Medical’s product mix is 70% supplies, which Bailey says provides somewhat of a buffer from Medicare cuts.

But he’s preparing for Round 2 of competitive bidding to arrive in St. Paul—he placed bids for eight of the 10 categories—using technology to improve productivity and cross-selling to increase sales per customer. 

“We can all hide behind that excuse,” Bailey says of reimbursement challenges. “You either are willing to push the envelope and find ways to do it, or you can take the path of least