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Joel Marx: ‘What we do is very noble’ 

Joel Marx: ‘What we do is very noble’ 

Joel MarxCLEVELAND – Joel Marx isn’t crazy about calling himself a home care champion – he prefers to say he’s a champion for home care. 

Call it what you like, Marx is this year’s Van Miller Homecare Champion and was the guest of honor at AAHomecare’s Stand Up for Homecare reception at Medtrade in March. 

“It’s nice to be recognized, but no one person makes the difference,” said Marx, chairman of Medical Service Company, which his parents founded in 1950. “It takes a lot of people. I mean, we stand on the shoulders of those that came before us, and we learned from others.” 

Marx spoke with HME News about the “noble” calling of HME and why, sometimes, you have to accept the inevitable to move forward. 

HME News: You’ve been very involved in AAHomecare, OAMES and other organizations. Why is it important to get involved in industry issues? 

Joel Marx: The more engaged and involved you are on a national level and with advocacy, the more you learn about the future of the industry. Getting involved with AAHomecare allows you to see around corners – you understand where the industry is going, you understand what the trends are, and what you need to be doing one year, two years, five years from now. I got involved at the urging of John Geller. Until I partnered with him, I didn't feel like it was ever a good time to step away from the office, but it should be a priority because you get much more out of it than you put into it. 

HME: Did it also allow you to connect and network with others and learn new ideas? 

Marx: The people I've learned from over the years, whether it be Alan Landauer, Joel Mills, Van Miller, Jim Walsh, Shelley Prial, Cara Bachenheimer – these are all smart people, and I learned a lot from all of them over the years. One of the only things I do well is listen to others. I don't have any original ideas; I learned from people smarter than me. 

HME: You were active in efforts to fix Medicare’s competitive bidding program. What do you think of when you look back on that time? 

Marx: It got to a point where we had to accept competitive bidding and understand how it was going to affect us. You get to a point where you can only abstain for so long; at some point you accept what's coming down the pike and adapt your business to work with it. Those that had their head in the sand weren’t too successful. It was not a pretty time, and it caused a lot of dissension within the industry until we learned how to adapt. 

HME: What keeps you and others going in the industry every day? 

Marx: I'm very proud of what this industry does, and I often use the word “noble.” What we do is very noble. We don't take credit for it, but we let people get out and see their kid’s soccer game or go home from the hospital and to their own bed. These are things that we do, and we should all be very proud of the contribution we make to our patients’ lives. 


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