At Home with Dealers

Company Name: DeFeliceCare Inc.

Location/Contact Info:
P.O. Box 6442
Wheeling, WV 26003
304-232-4210 Fax:304-232-4213

Established: 1995

Types of products sold: Home oxygen therapy, home respiratory products and services, home medical equipment

Size of Company: $4.6MM

Home Health Products spoke with the company's President and CEO, Les DeFelice.

Q: What sets your store apart?
A: What might be considered unique is that many of my co-workers say that working for DeFeliceCare is the best job they have ever had. We cover a rural region where employees of smaller companies have not always been trained properly, been given authority along with the responsibility to get the job done, been encouraged to make decisions, and been treated fairly. It often takes time for new associates to get used to thinking for themselves and making decisions without having to ask permission.

Fun Fact: I am the father of two sons 25 and 18. The oldest works on Wall Street as did I in the 1980's. It is satisfying to talk with both of them about, in the words of former sportscaster and Olympic commentator Curt Gowdy, 'the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat' of starting a company from scratch. I know they are getting some lessons for a lifetime.

Q: What component of your business works well for you?
A: We have a basic set of core values; take care of the customer above all else, work hard and continually improve yourself, get along with your co-workers, and never be satisfied. We are also continually trying to develop the right set of metrics to provide feedback to our associates so they can know how they are doing and where we can improve.

Q: What is something you have learned from your experience in the HME industry?
A: Many of the problems in our industry are not unique as most industries face similar challenges of their own. I believe some of the solutions can be found by looking beyond the homecare industry.

Q: What has worked well for you in the past and now in the present?
A: A factor in our past success has been providing an environment for our associates where anything is possible for their professional and personal growth. Over the past 10 years I have learned a great deal more from our failures than our successes. This has allowed us to become a more well run company that should set the stage for even greater success over the next 10.

Q: Do you think the HME industry is changing?
A: Yes and one of the most significant changes is in the supply chain from manufacturer to consumer. We are not paid for the services we provide, yet I believe that is the key to the future success of our industry. Consumers are going to continue to realize that they have choices when it comes to home care providers. In any reimbursement environment and in any industry for that matter, companies that provide a positive consumer experience will win.

This article originally appeared in the March 2005 issue of HME Business.

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