HME Excellence Awards winners are ...

Friday, October 31, 2003

YARMOUTH, Maine - Call Connecticut Rehab, Associated Healthcare and Home Care Medical the standard-bearers of quality after they clinched top honors in the 2003 HME Excellence Awards for rehab, respiratory and home medical equipment.

The winners were named last month at Medtrade in Atlanta.

In naming the winners of the second annual awards program sponsored by HME News and Medtrade in coordination with AAHomecare, members of the five-judge panel said they were most impressed by companies that focused on the details necessary to “make things work” in their businesses. That includes demonstrating superior financial operations, quality assurance and community relations proficiency in their respective categories.

The excellence didn’t end with the first-place finishers, however. Those in runner-up positions also demonstrated solid attributes, panel members said. Named first and second runners-up in each category respectively were: Health Aid of Ohio and Custom Mobility, Rehab; Apria Healthcare and Lifeplus, Respiratory; and HomeReach and Virginia Home Medical, HME.

The show’s sponsors honored all of the 2003 Excellence Award recipients in a special ceremony held at the close of Day 1 at Medtrade on Thursday, Oct. 9.

In the Rehab category, judges said the market’s tough economic climate was a key consideration in determining the winner. While all the finalists persevered financially in a challenging environment, Connecticut Rehab “outperformed the others with very strong financials, industry involvement and community participation,” one judge observed.

Payer education is another reason why the judges unanimously chose Connecticut Rehab.

“Not only do they run their business well, but they have taken the leadership role in presenting rehab to payers to get them to understand the facets of the business,” another judge said.

Associated Healthcare’s success in sharpening its focus on respiratory last year gained respect (and votes in the Respiratory category) from the judges.

One judge noted that Associated - last year’s first runner-up in the respiratory category - overcame “an enormous challenge” by focusing exclusively on respiratory while simultaneously exiting the rehab business, while another added, “they’ve done a super job managing their product mix and model from an independent standpoint.”

Judges also segmented out Associated’s “strong involvement” in community affairs as a winning trait.

In HME, judges described Home Care Medical as “a full-service, quality organization” that earned high marks in all areas.

“They manage receivables well, they’re active in the industry and offer great programs,” one judge said.