HME Excellence Awards: Caring for Cape Codders

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In 1977, Cape Medical Supply started with a simple premise: “Do the right thing.” With that in mind, founders Mark and Nancy Sheehan worked round-the-clock to provide a superior level of service to local residents and, over the years, it has developed an organization worthy of a 2009 HME Excellence Award: first runner-up in the HME category.

Now retired, the couple’s son, Gary Sheehan, is in charge of the company, which has grown to 43 employees and four locations.

“We had been aware of the HME Excellence Award for several years, but didn’t enter until this year because we felt we were finally ready to win,” said Sheehan, who serves as president and CEO. “We have been busy with operational and growth issues for the past few years, but when I finally stopped to take a look at the criteria for entry, I said ‘This is what we are.’”

The judging panel certainly agreed, singling out several facets of Cape’s operation for praise. In particular, Sheehan received commendation for being “a strong, benevolent leader,” while the company’s grassroots lobbying, civic involvement and staunch commitment to service also impressed the panel.

In fact, when it comes to accolades, 2008-09 turned out to be a banner year for Cape Medical. Besides the HME Excellence Award, Cape took home the 2008 Business Excellence Award from the Planned Giving Council of Cape Cod and 2009 Member of the Year Award for Legislative Activities from the New England Medical Equipment Dealers Association.

Humbled by all the attention his company has gotten this year, Sheehan credits a staff “that is truly second to none.” Throughout the organization, each team member is aware of the critical need to collect co-payments, limit operating expenses and satisfy referral sources without sacrificing service, he said.

By the time Sheehan came on board full time in 2002, he assumed control of a company that had “a great track record and solid reputation in the community.” Brother Michael Sheehan joined the company two years ago as assistant business manager.

Sheehan admits that the company has evolved to become a much more sophisticated enterprise than in his parents’ day, but he maintains that it remains true to the core principles they established at the beginning: Providing ultimate service to patients, their families and referral sources.

“Absent of service, nothing can happen,” Sheehan said. “Our formula for success is incomparable service combined with a strong focus on P&L, the balance sheet and driving new business.”

Although Cape started as a respiratory company, it added more services at the local hospital’s request and is now a full-range company offering durable medical equipment and bath safety products. It has sharpened its focus on retail by opening three branches dedicated to cash sales.

“We always had a retail store in our headquarters, but we added locations and strategically approached that division as something that could help us in the future,” Sheehan said. “It gives us more visibility, a diversified payment portfolio and the opportunity to host community events. Although they’re not driving highly profitable growth at this point, they are sustaining themselves and we see them as a long-term investment.” hme

Company: Cape Medical Supply

Headquarters: Sandwich, Mass.

Category: First runner-up, Home Medical Equipment

Employees: 43

Revenues: Approximately $5 million

Professional affiliations: VGM, New England Medical Equipment Dealers Association, American Association for Respiratory Care

Community outreach: 30 years of non-profit leadership with the Planned Giving Council of Cape Cod; employees are encouraged to participate in various charity projects, including United Way.