Southeastern Medical switches gears

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

LAKELAND, Fla. – A long-time ATP/CRTS has taken over Southeastern Medical Supply and plans to narrow its focus from full-line HME to complex rehab.

Jose Escobedo, a 30-year veteran of the complex rehab industry, took over as president and CEO in July.

“My thought is to make this primarily a complex rehab company that does some DME,” he said. “We’re going to keep products like beds and rollators and standard wheelchairs, because they can lead into complex rehab.”

Escobedo used to work for Southeastern Medical six years ago. When the owners decided they wanted to retire, they gave him a call and he agreed purchase the company’s stock, allowing him to keep the same Medicare, Medicaid and tax ID numbers.

Southeastern Medical is dropping all of its respiratory business and in August Escobedo was already transitioning those patients to a handful of smaller providers in the area.

“I reached out to the big guys, but no one called me back,” he said. “The local guys were more than happy to take the patients.”

Speaking of “big guys,” Escobedo is aware the complex rehab market is very competitive and largely dominated by national players, but he plans to put Southeastern Medical on the map with its faster turnaround times.

“We’re able to transition patients a lot faster than the big guys,” he said. “Instead of three to six months, we’re doing it in 30 to 60 days. That’s our model: to turn around chairs faster and give patients what they need.

“Also,” he said, “I think there’s plenty of business to go around.”

Southeastern Medical is certainly off to a good start, surprising even Escobedo a bit.

“We took over the first of July and just with myself and a sales rep we’re up to seven Group 3s in the first month that we’ve completed assessments for,” he said.

Escobedo says a key to ramping up Southeastern Medical’s business further is hiring additional ATPs, which can be a tall order in an industry where the certification is a ticket-to-work.

“But I feel like the ATPs in Florida like working for smaller companies,” he said. “When they heard I started my own company, they started lining up to work for me.”

With additional ATPs, Southeastern Medical will expand its service area from central Florida up to the Jacksonville area and down to south Florida, says Escobedo, who was previously a vice president at MS Supply, where he helped to grow the company from $2 million to $15 million in revenues, largely in complex rehab.

“I’ve had opportunities to own companies in the past, but it didn’t feel right,” he said. “I turned 50 this year and now it just feels right.”