By Jennifer Keirn
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 17, 2013)—Mike Marnhout was just a kid when he learned the business principle that guides him today as president and CEO of Bluegrass Oxygen.
Bluegrass Oxygen received the 2012 Home Medical Equipment Excellence Award for Best Home Respiratory Provider.
“My mom was a hospital administrator, and we learned about patient care from the very beginning,” Marnhout said. “You take care of all patients regardless of whether you get paid for it or not. Always have, and always will.”
Marnhout admits it’s gotten tougher to adhere to that principle in today’s reimbursement climate — he’s about 60 percent dependent on Medicare — so he’s now getting creative in his business model. The most significant change has been to provide all of Bluegrass Oxygen’s respiratory patients — about 2,400 across the company’s six locations — with a portable oxygen concentrator (POC) with their stationary concentrator at set-up.
The company is the 10th business Marnhout has started over his 32-year career. He started Bluegrass Oxygen in 1996 with one business partner — RT Craig Coleman — and has grown it to a 45-employee operation that services 100 counties in six states. Some of his service area includes urban areas like Lexington, Louisville and Cincinnati, but about 35 percent include rural areas in Eastern and Southern Kentucky.
Now he’s focusing on the changes that accountable care organizations (ACOs) will bring. He believes HME providers must do more to educate patients and referral sources about their role in that care model. Just like his mama taught him, Marnhout insists only patient-focused providers will survive.
Read HME’s full story here.