New CHME CEO makes good on cliché

Friday, February 16, 2018

FOSTER CITY Calif. – After a lengthy tenure at Apria Healthcare, Lauren Barranti says taking the helm at the much smaller CHME presents exciting new challenges.

It’s a great opportunity to go back to a very local health care operation and the service that we provide—there’s fewer and fewer of us out there,’” she said. “I love the challenge and I want to make good on that whole cliché that health care is a local business and want to keep proving those services locally and grow this company.”

Barranti was promoted in January to president and CEO, succeeding industry veteran Bernie Zimmerman. She originally came onboard in June 2017 as executive vice president.

Marrying the margins

CHME offers a full line of DME and respiratory equipment, enteral nutrition, negative pressure wound therapy, medical supplies and complex rehab.

Those last two product categories are something many HME providers shy away from these days, says Barranti.

“Not every product has a good margin, but we have been able to marry the margins, if you will, of the good with the bad to continue to have a full scope of services,” she said. “We are always looking for new products that will complement the type of patients we are taking care of.”

Managing the cycle

One of the biggest challenges Barranti believes HME providers face is revenue cycle management, a never-ending cycle of purchasing items upfront, getting them delivered quickly to patients, then waiting—and waiting—to get paid, a lag time which has only increased.

“I spend my time trying to shore up these cycles so I can know my turnaround time for getting paid is shortly thereafter,” she said.

Musing the future

It’s no secret that the HME industry is, like so many others, male-dominated. When asked whether she thinks the industry will see more women move into the C suite, Barranti says she hopes she’s not an anomaly.

“It does seem to be the ‘Year of the Woman’ with everything that’s in the news and all the movements,” she said. “It’s coincidental but I happened to be lucky to get into this position at this time and I believe that in the future that will be (more common).”