Lawmakers, Industry Laud Mixon

Rep. Tiberi presents retiring Invacare head with eponymous award; House Speaker Rep. Boehner, Sen. Portman also offer their praise.

Not many people can claim to have a lifetime achievement award named after them, but founder of DME manufacturing giant Invacare Corp. A. Malachi “Mal” Mixon certainly can.

Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), a senior member of the House Ways and Means committee who introduced the recently passed Binding Bids legislation into the House, presented Mixon with AAHomecare's Legislative Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award.

Legislators and HME professionals lauded the retiring Invacare chairman at a special reception held at the Washington Court Hotel's Atrium Ballroom on May 20 during the American Association for Homecare’s 2015 Washington Legislative Conference. In his opening remarks, AAHomecare President and CEO Tom Ryan said that the association’s Legislative Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award would be named after Mixon “in perpetuity.”

"Not too long ago, we were able to enact some good reforms of Medicare that will mean better outcomes for seniors. I know you’ll all agree that if anyone in the industry deserves credit for this, it’s Mal," said Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) in remarks presented via a special video.

Perhaps the most notable lawmaker to share his admiration and congratulations for Mixon was Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) who presented his remarks via a special video.

“Mal and I have known each other for many years now, and we’ve worked together on a number of things, including fixing Medicare’s DME program,” Boehner said. “Not too long ago, we were able to enact some good reforms of Medicare that will mean better outcomes for seniors. I know you’ll all agree that if anyone in the industry deserves credit for this, it’s Mal.”

Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), a senior member of the House Ways and Means committee who introduced the recently passed Binding Bids legislation into the House, presented Mixon with the award. Tiberi recounted first becoming familiar with Mixon’s long-running advocacy on behalf HME providers and patients back when current Ohio Gov. John Kasich was a Congressman.

“I met Mal when I was working for old my boss John Kasich,” Tiberi said. “John was a Congressman for 18 years and I have to tell you, when he first went to Congress, he wasn’t the biggest fan of the DME community. I would say one person [Mixon] educated him and educate him and educated him, and made him a supporter in the end. John and I now count Mal as a friend.

Legislators and HME professionals lauded the retiring Invacare chairman at a special reception held at the Washington Court Hotel's Atrium Ballroom on May 20 during the American Association for Homecare’s 2015 Washington Legislative Conference.

“He is passionate for what he believes in and he wears that passion on his sleeve,” Tiberi added. “… He continues to advocate in a passionate way about the impact government can have in a positive way and he has certainly in a very clear and concise way also advocated the tragic impacts that government has had on businesses and entrepreneurs in a negative way.”

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) called Mixon a "Horatio Alger-style American success story."

Also at the podium was Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who joined Ben Cardin (D-Md.) to launch Binding Bids legislation into the Senate that was eventually passed as part of the “doc fix.” Portman didn’t skimp on his admiration for Mixon’s accomplishments as a businessman.

“I heard that Mal was getting an award, but I didn’t hear that the award was going to be named after him,” Portman joked “… He’s a Horatio Alger-style American success story. He started off with a $19 million business; I come from small business and have a business that’s less than that, so I was impressed with that. By the time Mal left as CEO it was almost a $2 billion company with 6,000 employees — and making a product that actually helps people.”

Finally taking his turn to express his gratitude for the award, Mixon said that the mission and importance of HME has always remained clear to him, and drove much of his advocacy efforts.

“I’ve always felt that you and I together take care of patients,” Mixon said. “That’s what we do — and we do it damn well. We take care of disabled people; older people. We provide a really wonderful service. When we go home at night, I really feel good about the kinds of things that our industry has done. It’s not like selling pots and pans; it’s something really worthwhile in our society.”

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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