Rumors are spreading like wildfire about Advanced Mobile Healthcare selling to a local home health company. Rae Lyn began the interview saying, “Of course I didn’t sell the company. However, we do have some exciting things happening. I’m sure this has fueled the rumor mill.”
To get to where things are now, we need to look back a bit to the origins of Advanced Mobile Healthcare. AMH’s story didn’t start with Rae Lyn setting out to start a healthcare business. It started out with a class assignment that eventually snowballed into a $10,000 winning business plan. “It was never really in the plans. It was never my goal or dream to be self-employed. I had done it before, and I had no real desire to do it again. But, as the WSU Shocker Business Competition progressed, and I moved on in each round, it became more interesting to see this thing work. The morning of the final round I said some prayers, and I asked the Lord to show me His Will. Since that day, I’ve always said this is not my company. This is the Lord’s company. You can see that in the company Core Values.”
Ray Lyn used the $10,000 to start AMH with no real plans of it growing as large as it has over the past five years. “Multiple investors have approached me over the years, even during the competition before I won. They knew the business would succeed before I ever did. There is obviously a huge need with the growing elderly population for our services.” AMH has grown to 13 employees and a few independent contractors with no investors, no loans, and no lines of credit. “Dr. Bumguardner has been my business partner from the beginning. Neither of us have ever had to put any money into the company besides the $10,000 prize as startup money. We have always been strictly a cash flow business, which is apparently unusual”. Rae Lyn was pretty satisfied with how things were evolving.
But, life happens. “When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, it really put a twist on my emotions, what I wanted to do, and how I wanted to do it. My mom is not only an integral part of the business since day 1, but she is a huge part of my daily support system. She’s always taken care of all of AMH accounting, which includes paying all of the bills. Within the first year as we began growing and hiring employees, she took over all of the medical billing and payment posting as well. She comes to the office early every morning, so she can go home in time to catch a nap before my girls get off the school bus at her house. She gives them a snack, helps them with homework, and hangs out with them until my husband picks them up (since he usually gets off work before I do).”
With her mom’s health in question, Rae Lyn put the company growth on hold, while she pondered and prayed about her next steps. AMH quit taking new patients for awhile, as she assessed the situation. AMH was already at maximum capacity for the number of nurse practitioners they had on staff at the time. “I didn’t know if I wanted to keep the business right where it was, get out of the business altogether, or what. But, I definitely was not in the right place to grow and hire more practitioners. I realized I needed help running the business, if we were going to grow. We have an amazing team, and I didn’t believe it was fair to them (and all those patients needing us, but haven’t found us yet) to just maintain rather than grow. So, I prayed for an answer. I was led to an extraordinary Christian nurse practitioner, who shares the same values as myself and AMH”.
August 1st, Rae Lyn added a partner to the business, Ashley Melugin, another nurse practitioner in the Wichita area. Rae Lyn didn’t make a huge announcement over the addition to the team because “I knew nothing was going to change about how we go about doing our day to day business.” Even with the addition of the new team member, Rae Lyn Mefford still retains her position as owner and CEO of Advanced Mobile Healthcare. Becky, Rae Lyn’s mom, made it through her cancer treatments with only a few missed days of work.
Which brings us to the rumor mill that suddenly fired up several months later. “Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve had a slew of people tell me they had heard I sold the business to a local home health company”. Anyone familiar with Kansas business laws knows a home health agency could not own a physician or nurse practitioner practice, just like they couldn’t own a law firm or accounting firm. “One person had even heard I was only going to be with the company for three months to help the transition”. Rae Lyn continues to work in the office everyday as usual. She has no plans of ever leaving AMH. “Another said the rumor included Dr. Bumguardner was no longer with the company either.” Not only is Dr. Bumguardner still one of the owners, he’s actually more active with the company now than he was previously. Last month he began working with AMH full time. “That gives us a little bit of an edge over our competition, since we’re the only company with a physician going out and doing house calls.”
How is business going after the addition of a new partner? “Since August 1st, we’ve had 3 of the best months in the history of the company.” AMH added two new nurse practitioners during that time period, with one of the nurse practitioners being a psychiatric nurse practitioner, which now allows AMH to offer mental health visits as well. “We’ve also added a second collaborating physician, Dr. Denis Knight, since we are growing so much. Plus, we are actively seeking another nurse practitioner to add to our team”.
With the addition of new resources and personnel, Rae Lyn expects AMH to continue to grow for quite awhile. But, some things will never change. “We will continue to team up with the companies that are going to give the best care to our patients. We will continue to refer to the home health and hospice companies with nurses who are willing to communicate with us on a regular basis. We will continue to use durable medical equipment companies that have someone who’s willing to work with us on the ever-changing complexities of Medicare, and don’t make our lives – and our patient’s lives – more difficult. We work with companies that have a mutual relationship of communication.”
“The most interesting part to me is that we’re more than three months out from the changes to the company, and now all of a sudden it’s become a giant rumor mill. I think we’ve not only proven our reliability through the years, but we’ve definitely proven ourselves over the past few months to show we will continue to refer to companies that focus on quality patient care and coordination of care. Nothing has changed in that aspect. We continue to refer to the same companies as we were prior to August 1st. We are willing to broaden that opportunity to any company who shares our focus on quality and coordination of care. All they have to do is call or come by our office to discuss opportunities.” Of course, AMH is always accepting new patients, and they accept all insurances. So, if you know anyone, who has difficulty getting out to see their regular primary care provider, contact us.