What's holy grail of growth? Service

HME providers reflect on what landed them on list of fastest-growing companies
Monday, September 24, 2012

NEW YORK – With competitive bidding and other Medicare policies forcing providers to rethink business strategies, companies on Inc. Magazine’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies 500|5000 list say service is key.

“It goes back to our mission statement: the desire to deliver really, really good customer service,” said Frank Trammell, president of Matthews, N.C.-based Carolinas Home Medical Equipment which ranked No. 231 for health care. “We listen to referral sources, try to fulfill their needs and solve any problems—sales come as a byproduct.”

Carolinas Home Medical Equipment was one of several HME providers to make the annual list published in August.

William Deary, CEO of Jackson, Mich.-based Great Lakes Home Health and Hospice (141 in health care), says reinvesting in his company, especially in technology, has fueled growth, but agrees with Trammell that really comes back to service.

“When we get feedback about our employees, they say things like ‘kind, helpful, sweet,’” said Deary. “We never see anyone talk about technical proficiency. And when they do a great job, we get a great reputation. When we get a great reputation, we grow.”

Another strategy for growth: avoid Medicare. 

Provider Craig Daley, president of Ormond Beach, Fla.-based Comfort Medical Supply (72 in health care), has completely changed his business model, moving away from traditional power wheelchairs when Medicare’s first-month purchase option ended. He added six locations to offer more complex rehab and retail. 

“When the rentals started it got pretty lean—we had some cash flow issues,” said Daley. “We shifted our paradigm to complex rehab and cash, consolidated our manpower and looked for efficiencies.”

Dave Pazgan’s string of 101 Mobility (37 in health care) franchises also avoids Medicare, instead offering items like ramps and stair lifts that users pay for with cash. He expects his company to continue to expand.

“We’re in the right spot at the right time,” said Pazgan. “The senior population is going to see big growth, and we want to capitalize on the opportunities out there.”