Hawthorne Medical gets on the bus

Thursday, June 3, 2010

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Reimbursement pressures have created a sense of urgency among home medical equipment providers to have the right products and payers, but at Hawthorne Medical Equipment, it's about having the right employees, too.

How does the provider do that? By making sure its employees work by a set of 10 core values, like "leave it at the door and focus on the patient."

"A great company can make whatever transition it needs to make because it has the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus," said Kim Cannan, director of Hawthorne Medical. "It doesn't matter where the bus is going."

Using the book "Good to Great" by Jim Collins as a guide, Hawthorne Medical's two owners, Cannan and three other employees came up with the core values late last year. Since then, they have been educating their managers on the values and, in turn, managers are educating their employees.

Hawthorne Medical reinforces the core values in numerous ways. For one, they're printed on 36-inch by 28-inch posters that hang in the common areas of each of its six locations, Cannan said.

Additionally, "if an employee is doing a great job with one of the core values, we'll recognize them in front of the other staff," she said. "That way it's a motivating tool."

The project has been such a hit that Hawthorne Medical has embarked on additional training on different communication styles, Cannan said.

"I think we've all become more focused, not just on what Medicare covers and what it doesn't, but on our overall business," she said. "Everyone realizes that non-fun times are coming, and we have to pull together and pull ourselves up by our boot straps."