HME News

NOV 2017

HME News is the monthly business newspaper for home medical equipment providers. This controlled circulation publication reaches 17,100 home medical equipment services providers, including traditional HME dealers & suppliers, hospital- and pharmacy-o

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Providers h M e N ew S / N ove M ber 2017 / www.h M e N ew S . C o M 13 medtrade boot H 1105 By t r AC y o rzel, Contributing w riter y AKIMA, Wash. – When Erik Mickel- son heard fellow local HME pro- vider Keeler's Medical had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June, he was shocked. "They were in business for 40 years," said Mickelson, CEO of Howard's Medical Supply in Yaki- ma, Wash. "When we started, they had 125-150 employees that did $10 million worth of business." Howard's agreed to purchase Keeler's inventory for $600,000 in cash, which included everything from used Group 3 wheelchairs to oxygen concentrators. The pur- chase didn't signify any new prod- uct lines for the company. Founded in 2004 as a division of Howard's Pharmacy, Howard's Medical Supply offers a full range of HME, and has locations in Yakima, Selah, Ellensburg, and Sunnyside— that last one opened last year in an underserved area. "There's about 100,000 people there, but there wasn't a medical supply store; they had gone out of business in 2011," said Mickelson. Howard's Medical scoops up inventory in under-served areas This isn't the first time Howard's has acquired assets from his com- petitors: nearby Kittitas Hospital DME and Memorial DME, both hospital-based DMEs, closed their doors in 2015 and 2017, respec- tively. Howard's purchased Kittitas Hospital's inventory and Memorial's customer base. While the company expects to pick up most of Keeler's custom- ers, Mickelson remained mum on Howard's plans for future growth. "We've gone from (the market) being over-served to under-served so we anticipate that more compa- nies are going to move in now," he said. "That's why we always strive to be on our A-game." Mickelson credits part of How- ard's success to the fact that the company never experienced the DME prosperity of the early 2000s. "And so, when everything hit the fan, we were used to running a DME in a very lean way," he said. And the other part? Howard's is debt-free. "I've never heard of a company going bankrupt that did not have debt," said Mickelson. H me moved from nurses and case man- agers to directors, vice presidents and the C-Suite, as we used hard data to demonstrate our discharge efficiencies, enhanced compliance rates and lower readmissions." Operationally, LifeH2H reversed the intake process and put it all on the front side of the order process, using software to prevent non- compliant orders from being taken. This process has allowed the com- pany to be fully compliant and col- lect 90% of each dollar, rather than "being 'mostly' compliant' and only collecting 80%," Roof says. "Once we got to this place we felt fundamentally sound and now have the ability to scale," he said. Roof says the ultimate goal is "doing it right the first time." "Admittedly, we have different levels of integration with different referral sources," he said. "This results in different levels of efficien- cies. But ultimately, a higher level of discussion allows for more efficien- cies, better compliance, and better outcomes." H me LifeH2 H brands itself as a 'hospi- tal to home company . ' bringing the A-g A me LIFEH 2 H C o N T i N u e D f R o M P R e V i o u S PA g e

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