Work-in-progress approach wins

Friday, December 28, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – When David Hartley purchased a tiny $300,000 orthopedics company in 2004 to create Home Health Depot, he was driven by the poor standards of care he observed as a rehab manufacturer's rep.

“I absolutely could not believe the dysfunction in our industry,” said Hartley, CEO of Home Health Depot. “It was systemic. There were horror stories of people waiting six months for a chair. I said, ‘There has to be a better way.’”

Home Health Depot was awarded the 2012 HME Excellence Award for Best Rehab Technology Provider.

After growing Home Health Depot on his own for five years, Hartley knew he needed a hand. He found that help from an old high school buddy with a nontraditional background. 

That friend is Nathan Feltman, now Home Health Depot’s president, who’s an attorney with a specialty in Russian law, a former Indiana Secretary of Commerce and the CEO of the Indiana Economic Development 


“We came from the business world where the customer has to come first or you won’t be in business,” says Feltman. “I saw a need for a provider who could do it the right way.” 

Hartley and Feltman created a business model that breaks the process from intake to delivery into 24 steps, matching up each to a properly skilled employee. A WIP (work-in-progress) scoreboard tracks each complex rehab patient as they move through these steps.

Eight years later, Home Health Depot has achieved a 45-day WIP time for rehab patients—the industry average is 90 to 120 days, Hartley says—with a goal of reaching 30 days. Every patient is surveyed within one month of delivery, with an impressive 20% return rate and average 4.65 satisfaction rating on a five-point scale.

Home Health Depot has grown rapidly, a growth that has accelerated since Feltman’s arrival. In the last two years, the company’s revenues have nearly doubled, and Feltman says he expects to reach $25 million in 2012. The company has 15 locations in four states, with a staff of 160, including 15 assistive technology professionals (ATPs). 

The company maintains six retail stores and other product lines like respiratory, DME and home accessibility, and makes strategic acquisitions that strengthen each. This year alone, Home Health Depot has made three acquisitions, including Iowa-based Advanced Rehab Technologies.

Every employee signs off on a 12-point code of conduct that includes standards for professional appearance, ethics, patient interaction and continuous 


“It has to start with culture,” says Hartley. “You have to work on a culture that intake-to-delivery equals success. No one loses with that focus.”