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CHME starts year on high note

CHME starts year on high note

FOSTER CITY, Calif. – California Home Medical Equipment kicked off the new year by acquiring a local pharmacy, part of its strategy to grow the business. 

CHME, which was founded in 2003 by Bernie Zimmer and which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2023, offers a full line of HME, including respiratory, custom mobility, nutrition and negative pressure wound therapy, to seven counties in the San Francisco area through two locations. 

“This is a huge win for us,” said Melodie Shabat, who was recently hired as director of marketing and business development. “We will be able to service our clients not only with respiratory equipment, but we’ll be able to give them the meds that go with it. Eventually, we’ll be expanding to do vaccines for the area.”  

At press time, CHME was waiting for its pharmacy license before naming the acquired pharmacy. 

Another big opportunity for CHME in 2024: As of Jan. 1, the state of California now requires that each county have only one designated Medi-Cal managed payer, resulting in thousands of patients needing to transition payers and, in some cases, providers. The company engaged a call center to address the resulting influx of patients, says Shabat. 

“(On Jan. 2), we had our highest call a volume, I think, in the history of CHME,” she said. “We’re just handling all of our new patients and getting them on board to get them settled.” 

The independent company – an increasing rarity in the rapidly consolidating HME industry – has built a reputation for its customer service, says Shabat. 

“We carry so many products and then if somebody is asking for something we don't carry, typically, we can get it,” she said. “(Our process) is very streamlined and we're able to get what patients need quickly.” 

That customer service is underpinned by CHME’s employees, says Shabat. 

“We do a lot of training and get togethers for teamwork and building momentum and letting them know that we support them,” she said. “When I came on board, I made a point to sit down with every employee and get to know them. I’m here to bring on business and we’re just going to do our best to double down. It’s really a team effort.”


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