Provider surrounds himself with 'people who feed us'

Thursday, May 31, 2007

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Tom Hanchar had a vision. Green spaces, waterfalls, statues. Doctor's offices, increased parking and a high-visibility location.
Hanchar, president and CEO of Thomas International, plans to break ground this month on a new, 85,000-square-foot medical office park. Thomas International offers full-line DME, oxygen, rehab, lymphedema and wound care, especially pressure reduction.
"We're going to surround ourselves with people who feed us," said Hanchar. "And this makes it more convenient for the patient."
The project, estimated to cost $15 million, calls for seven buildings set on four acres that will be leased or sold to medical professionals. Thomas International will occupy 16,000 square feet, up from its current 3,000. The location is near a major hospital.
"We met with the (hospital) CEO to see if they wanted anything in the area to support their facilities," said Hanchar. "We're extending services to benefit the community."
While he declined to provide specific numbers, Hanchar said Thomas International grew 285% in 2006. Medicare comprises 50% to 65% of its business, while Medicaid and private insurance kick in the rest.
By the end of 2007, he plans to increase his employees from 14 to 22, including nurses and other clinical professionals.
"We're moving away from the retail end of the business," he said. "Not that it doesn't provide income, but we want to provide total care based on doctor recommendations. We want to push the bar."
Hanchar would like to add a wound care bath and exercise pool. With such close proximity to a major hospital, the company sees a lot of patients with wounds from gunshots, knives and auto accidents.
Hanchar said he has seen patients with chronic wounds incurred in hospitals. Within six weeks, he said, the wounds are closed.
Part of the office park calls for a sanctuary of sorts.
"It will be very peaceful, very calming," said Hanchar. "A lot of the families bring equipment back in to us (after a patient dies) and they can go sit out back and just relax and get the balance back into their lives."