Whatever It Takes To Do It Right
Written By: Larry Stevens
In the early days of our existence at Med One, we were very short on resources, but we seemed to have an abundance of optimism. In the beginning, we were focused exclusively on developing relationships with manufacturers of medical equipment to create programs for them that made it easier for their customers to acquire their equipment. We had our eyes focused singly on building a leasing company, and being a rental company was far from our minds.
Back then, the Medicare reimbursement rules had just gone through a revision that made it difficult for hospitals to purchase capital equipment for cash as they had long been accustomed. Manufacturers were mostly unprepared to offer financing alternatives. Everyone was in an era of change and uncertainty, and they were looking for solutions.
I remember often sitting in meetings listening to sales executives describe what they needed and assuring them, “we can do that.” We would then leave the meeting and realize what we had just committed to do and ask each other, “how are we going to do that?”
It was in that time frame of our existence that we first came up with the Med One motto – “At Med One, we do one thing very well, WHATEVER IT TAKES.” With that rather bold and presumptuous statement in mind, we came up with some significant departures from the standard operating procedures of the equipment leasing business as it existed at the time (and in many ways still does today). We knew that we had to differentiate ourselves in order to attract the attention of our target customers – the 6,000 acute care hospitals that then existed in the United States.
We introduced to the marketplace such a simplified way of doing equipment leasing that those who competed against us disliked our approach, predicted our demise, and openly wished they could do what we were doing. Those who did business with us rewarded us with opportunities and began to hold our approach as the standard with which others had to comply. Until our business became commoditized, and customers became (wrongly) convinced that the only distinguishing difference between any two lease transactions was the price – it was a very fun, challenging, and creative time for the industry.
To offer solutions for challenges that were presented to us by vendor partners and prospective customers, we came up with innovations like the equity rental, pay-per-use leases, specialized payment schedules, simplified lease-end options, and many other customized solutions.
As Med One grew and became more successful, we added more capabilities, including our peak-need equipment rental offering and our full-service equipment biomed capability. We came to understand that our true mission as a company was not just to “make medical equipment available” but it is to “help our customers provide for better patient outcomes.” Our motto of doing “whatever it takes” started to take on new meaning and relevance.
I recently asked every one of our employees what they thought about when they heard that phrase. Some of those answers jumped off the page at me. All of them confirmed my confidence that the culture of our company is in very good hands and our people seem to understand why we are in business and what sets us apart.
One of the answers that particularly stood out to me was:
“Creativity – finding the best solution to meet the need even if we haven’t done it in the past. Which then reflects on our customer service and providing the best we can by going above and beyond to become a trusted advisor in the eyes of the customer.” - Amy Vizanko
At Med One, we have several tried-and-true solutions, but we never try to force a customer’s problem into one of our “canned” programs. We want to find the best solution in every case. If it hasn’t been done before, we don’t let that become a roadblock. We seriously want the solutions we develop to satisfy every issue that a customer has.
Several years ago, we provided a modification of our equity rental for one of our customers. We developed a master agreement that allowed easier access to the program, preferred rental pricing, and an accelerated purchase credit as the rental term extended. Over the years, this customer used this plan occasionally to acquire equipment that they needed and was not provided for under their capital budget. Recently this customer merged with the largest not-for-profit hospital system in the United States. Upon discovering this rental program, the new group was elated! During 2020 and early 2021, they have used it extensively to acquire equipment that was not contemplated in the budget but was needed immediately to care for patients. Med One has assisted this group by renting them over $5 million under this program during the last half of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. Note this quote from one of their executives.
“We have actually saved quite a bit through our business relationship, so much actually, I need to find a way to start tracking the savings to report up to leadership. I think the way you are structured does truly set you apart.”
This solution has proven to be the answer to a very perplexing problem for this customer. Prior to adopting this program, the system did not have a satisfactory way to deal with these unplanned for situations. Working together with Med One, they have been able to improve patient care in many of their hospitals and at reduced costs.
One important principle that was emphasized in our employee responses about our motto is that “doing whatever it takes” does not provide a license to abandon sound business practices, break the law, or push the integrity envelope. Nor does it ever give us an excuse to prioritize the needs of one customer ahead of another. The message it conveys is that we will do whatever it takes to get it done right.
The other important concept that came through loud and clear is that this has to be a team effort, and all of us have to buy into the concept. On one hand, it is counterproductive if one side of our team is trying to be creative and offer solutions to a customer that may not have been done before, and another part of our team has an inflexible stance on operating procedures “because we’ve never done this before.” On the other hand, it is totally disruptive for any team member to totally disregard and disrupt sound business practices and established operating procedures that have been established to efficiently serve the greatest number of customers possible, to solve a single problem that might even disadvantage other customers in the process. We must find a constructive, efficient balance to be a customer-driven company that truly solves problems and gets things done.
Med One has an admirable record in living by the motto that we really do whatever it takes, whether it is the resourcefulness and courage of our team in northern California plotting alternative routes through the recent wildfires to deliver needed lifesaving equipment to a facility that was cut off and had been refused delivery by other providers. The entire staff at the home office pitching in to prepare thousands of infusion pumps for an emergency delivery to a hospital in desperate need to avert a clinical crisis in Chicago. Or our leasing, credit, and accounting teams coming together to complete a multi-million-dollar lease transaction that provided significant end-of-year benefits for both the customer and the vendor. We have for 30 years tried to live by this motto and make it a meaningful part of our company culture.
As maturity has set in, and the reality of critical mass always stares us in the face – we constantly evaluate our motto to make sure we are not frivolously promising something that we cannot deliver in a meaningful way. Our mission statement, “Making Medical Equipment Available,” is not of any great value unless it also speaks to and addresses an impact on improving the outcome of patient care provided by our customers. By the same token, our motto is of no value if it misstates what we can actually do. After 30 years of maturity and growth, I am proud to say that Med One’s motto has also grown and matured. At Med One, we do one thing very well, WHATEVER IT TAKES TO DO IT RIGHT.