MedCare's got a system

Thursday, February 25, 2010

GREENSBURG, Pa. - MedCare Equipment Company gained a bigger footprint recently when it brought two new hospital systems onboard.

In February, MedCare, part of the Excela Health System, partnered with Butler Memorial Hospital; last September, it shook hands with Heritage Valley Health System. Neither had offered DME before.

"They saw this as something that would meet with their community-based missions in each of their hospital systems," said John Sphon, CEO of MedCare. "Being able to service their patients once they are discharged from their hospitals gives them another business line to offer."

MedCare formed in 2008, when Excela Health System joined forces with Conemaugh Medical Equipment. MedCare now has 80 employees serving 14 counties in western Pennsylvania, as well as eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia. The provider offers a full line of durable medical equipment and respiratory services; Sphon expects MedCare to net about $20 million in revenues in its next fiscal year.

For MedCare, aligning with established health care entities allows the provider to ramp up more quickly in new markets then if it opened standalone locations. That doesn't mean overnight success, however, said Sphon.

"We still have to earn the business," he said. "It's all about customer service. We stress teamwork, communication, and taking pride in what we do.  I think customers can sense that and will place a high value or satisfaction on that if they feel it is sincere."

Joining forces with other health systems can improve patient care and reduce costs, for both patients and payers, said Sphon. With more Medicare patients shifting to Medicare Advantage plans, and payers looking at bundling payments, it's a model that's well-poised for the future, he said.

"Payers are looking beyond just the care provided in the hospitals," said Sphon. "It puts a little more responsibility on everyone involved to make sure the patient is the primary focus."

MedCare has locations in Greensburg, Johnstown, Coraopolis and Beaver and plans to open additional locations in the Butler area this year.