Who's afraid of competitive bidding? Not GMEA

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

PHOENIX - While many providers these days shy away from competitive bidding, Harold Halman is boldly embracing it.

From rolling up companies in Round 2 CBAs to developing coded products for the home care market, Halman, CEO of Phoenix-based Global Medical Equipment of America (GMEA), sees the dreaded program as an opportunity.

"We believe that there's a challenge we can meet and satisfy with regard to certain price points," he said. "With the right mix of products, having the ability to manage costs and being able to provide service, we are confident we will qualify."

A big part of Halman's plan involves rolling up strategically located providers with a strong Medicare business. In November, GMEA made its first such buy: The Palm Coast, Fla.-based Hospitality Oxygen & Medical Equipment. In December, the company acquired Bridgeport, Ohio-based Patriot Medical Supplies.

When it comes to looking for companies to buy, Halman says, he looks at the company's Medicare standing and certifications; product mix; local demographics and market share; and, perhaps most important, its reputation.

"With other industries I have been involved with, it did not require being as service centric--this industry requires a much larger focus on the service aspect of the business," he said. "The healthcare community is not about simply strong sales and marketing. This is a service industry that is supported by good products."

GMEA has a hand in the supply side, as well. The company formed in 2010, after Halman met people who had product ideas, but no way to bring them to market. He saw an opportunity to line up suppliers, create a research and development group, and contract with manufacturers to produce products that could then be distributed through his own retail locations. Products currently in development include incontinence and wound care supplies, rehab equipment and air quality products.

"I assembled a group about three years ago, and said if we could put this together, we could have a nice little group of retail locations focused on servicing the market," said Halman. "Lo and behold, here we are."