Michael McDonald: 'It's unlike any other business'

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Friday, September 30, 2005

WEYMOUTH, Mass. - Michael McDonald looks forward to coming to work everyday for the same reason many people leave the HME industry: unending reimbursement challenges. Not only does he zealously chase down each elusive reimbursement dollar, he sees every collection as a triumph.
"It's unlike any other business," said the president of Clinical 1 Home Medical. "Getting paid is a difficult process, and there isn't a day I come in that I don't face some sort of challenge with it."
Perhaps his background as a high school and college hockey player fuels this competitive spirit. Curiously, he eschewed the psychology career he studied for at the University of Massachusetts to pursue a livelihood as a home medical equipment provider. For McDonald, the decision was a no-brainer: the industry is in his genes.
McDonald grew up in his uncle Joe Sheehan's business, ABC Oxygen in Woburn, Mass., sweeping the floor and performing other menial tasks as teenager in the 1980s. When Sheehan sold the business to Foster Medical (which eventually became part of Lake Forest, Calif.-based Apria), McDonald stayed on, eventually becoming an Abbey-Foster management trainee. He briefly managed a branch in Albuquerque, N.M., but got homesick and returned to join Advanced Home Healthcare in 1992. By 1998, McDonald had worked his way up to director of operations before the company folded after a failed merger.
He formed Clinical 1 in 1999 and an ambitious four-phase plan helped double the company's size in just two years. The company's nursing home and hospice supply business fizzled out, but its commercial oxygen supply and traditional DME are thriving.
Being in charge and making decisions that lead the company in a positive direction is a role McDonald relishes. He can't, he says, imagine doing anything else.

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MICHAEL MCDONALD
Age: 36 Company/position: Clinical 1 Home Medical/President Headquarters: Weymouth, Mass. Annual sales volume: $3 million Years in HME business: 20 Membership in professional organizations: Vice president of NEMED Business motto: "Quality care...quality service"

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