Respira expands in mid-Atlantic

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

LINTHICUM, Md. – Respira Medical has acquired Respiratory Therapy Associates of PA, a move that will allow the provider to expand geographically and add new insurance networks.

“They also do some lines of business that we’ve done, but are not our area of expertise,” said John Welch, president and COO. 

The Chadds-Ford, Pa.-based RTA offers long-term care, ventilation and hospice care—a complement to Respira’s sleep business. RTA is now part of Respira, with President Chuck Ciccone now acting as vice president at Respira.

A large immigrant community in the area is also a draw, says Respira founder and CEO Maria Martinez.

“We have an understanding of different cultures and a patient base that is growing,” she said. “We want people to feel comfortable and our team reflects the community. When I see someone caring for an older Hispanic woman that can speak to her in her language, I am so happy.”

Respira launched in 1991 when Martinez, who got her start in home care with a one-day per week job doing billing for a healthcare franchise, decided she could provide better, more compassionate care.

Today, Respira serves more than 80,000 patients in the Mid-Atlantic region. Although the provider offers a full line of DME and is diversified across payers, it does the bulk of its business in sleep (75%), with TriCare and private insurers. It relies on Medicare for only 18% of its business.

With the deal, Respira has increased its employee rolls from 60 to about 100. The provider attributes its success to a “domino culture” of caring and team building among employees, whom they call “business partners.”

“Dominoes have to stand up straight and in a row,” said Martinez. “If one is out of whack, it won’t work. Without our business partners, none of this would be possible.”

Despite chaos in the HME industry, Respira believes investing in the company—in employees, in processes—allows it to get out in front of the competition, says Welch.

“It allows Respira to be more aggressive in a marketplace where a lot of people are pulling back investing money,” he said. “It’s how we invest in our infrastructure that allows us to better serve patients and create new opportunities with our referral sources.”

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