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Howard’s Medical Supply bonds staff with ‘community building’

Howard’s Medical Supply bonds staff with ‘community building’

Howards Medical Supply









YAKIMA, Wash. – Staffing shortages have finally “leveled out” at Howard’s Medical Supply, thanks to the provider’s remote – really remote – employees, says CEO Erik Mickelson. 

After using an outside staffing company for a few years, Mickelson launched Offsite Team Inc. in the Philippines in 2021 to handle the clerical side of the business for Howard’s. 

“We started what’s known as a business process outsourcing company that allows us to give them health care and other benefits instead of just hiring them out as consultants,” he said. “We had to check off every box that needs to be checked off to be legal. It took so much time and effort, but we figured it all out.” 

Offsite Team employs 32 full-time employees who work from home focusing on prior authorizations, insurance verifications, billing and “fax wrangling,” says Mickelson.  

“When faxes come though electronically, they take them, enter them into Brightree, verify the insurance, and by the time it gets to my U.S. staff, they have saved us so much time,” he said. “We took all sorts of paperwork off my ATPs. They are doing fittings, which is what they want to do. They don’t want to sit by a computer doing quotes and this and that.” 

Having employees dedicated to the clerical side of the business has not only made the company more efficient and profitable but also less likely to make errors, says Mickelson. 

“Every time you leave to do something else, there’s the opportunity to forget something,” he said. “My Philippines-based staff is not getting interrupted all day.” 

There are 6,700 miles between Howard’s Washington state locations and Manila, but Mickelson travels to the Philippines once a year and also brings the leadership in the Philippines to Yakima. He makes every effort to mesh the two teams through quarterly meetings, a messaging program called Basecamp and a video program called Vimeo. 

“There’s a lot of group meetups and a lot of fun banter that goes back and forth,” he said. “Outside of work, they are on Facebook and Instagram, and there’s a lot of community building that way.”


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