ROCKFORD, IL – Integrated HomeCare Services is bigger than a mom and pop, but not big enough to be called a regional operation. With three locations in the Chicagoland area, and an 11,000-sq-ft space in Rockford, Ill, the 26-year-old business finds itself in much the same situation as many other similar HME providers in the United States.
Competitive bidding has taken its toll, with no contracts won and staff reductions due to reduced revenue. And yet, Mark T. Hatch, president of Integrated, is optimistic about the family business. Part of this optimism is reflected in state association involvement and the will to make a difference.
“We are members of the Illinois Association for Medical Equipment Suppliers (IAMES), and it recently joined forces with Indiana and Michigan to form the Great Lakes Home Medical Services Association,” says the 39-year-old Hatch, who has served as president of the Illinois-based business for five years, and in many other capacities prior to that. “Tom Ryan [president of AAHomecare] was the keynote speaker at that recent Chicago event. I had a chance to sit with Mr. Ryan at lunch and discuss ideas with him.”
The dose of inspiration from Ryan and the state associations will also be augmented by a visit to Medtrade this year, where Hatch regularly finds the knowledge he needs to nurture his business. “I attend Medtrade mostly in the Fall, but we did send someone to the Spring show in Las Vegas this year,” he says. “The networking and the education is excellent. Owners like us at Medtrade are willing to share ideas, new ideas, and strategies. It’s a great place to meet with multiple vendors in one location, and I have plans to attend this year’s show in Atlanta [Oct 20-23, 2014].
“I get my optimism when I speak to other owners who are going through the struggles of competitive bidding like we,” he continues. “We can see their ability to get through by making lots of operational adjustments to become very efficient in our business, which I’m confident will allow us to be successful in the future.”
When Hatch is not tending to the family business, he gets to the golf course, and takes his family skiing in Vail, Colorado. “I used to live in Colorado and did quite a bit of skiing, so the black diamond slopes are no problem,” he says with a chuckle. “My 7- and 9-year-old sons are also pretty good at skiing these days.”