Medical Service Company seeks larger markets

Friday, January 15, 2016

CLEVELAND, Ohio – HME provider Joel Marx has a new strategy when it comes to growing his business: He’s seeking out markets where he can get the most bang for his buck.

“If we are going to get paid the same in a large market as in a small market we might as well be in a large market that has a greater concentration of patients,” said Marx, CEO of Medical Service Company. “There’s no reason to drive 60 miles to service one patient when you can drive five miles to service five patients in an urban market.”

That’s a change from the rural markets he’s focused on for the past five years. In November, the provider kick-started its new strategy by opening two “satellite offices,” in Crestview Hills, Ky., and Rochester, N.Y. Both locations will offer oxygen, respiratory and sleep equipment and services, with delivery and clinical support staff. Customer service, billing and other functions will be shared among other branches, a model that Marx has employed with success already, thanks to cloud-based technology.

For example, if one branch has too many phone calls, those calls can roll over to another branch, eliminating the need for duplicate staff, he says.

“That’s one way we have been able to grow,” said Marx.

The 65-year-old Medical Service Company is a full-line provider with more than 200 employees throughout 23 locations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia. Respiratory services comprise between 30% and 40% of its business. The provider holds multiple competitive bid contracts.

“We are all doing a lot, it’s just getting tougher and tougher,” he said. “Regrettably, it’s the patients that ends up suffering. At some point, this is going to have to change.”

Although Marx expects Medical Service Company to grow within DME, he is actively looking at other industries, both in and outside of health care.

“I don’t see us abandoning DME, but I don’t see it necessarily as our sole opportunity to grow,” he said. “This is a family-owned business and it’s the engine that provides for our family and our staff. It’s my responsibility to find the right markets to support our team.”