New NSM President: "This Is a Unique Business"

William C. "Bill" Mixon has extensive experience in the healthcare industry in management roles, including tenures as president and CEO. He most recently was president of Universal Hospital Services, described in a recent news release as the largest provider of clinically focused asset management solutions and services involving mobile medical technology for the American healthcare market.

Yet in his first interview with Mobility Management since being introduced as the new president of National Seating & Mobility (NSM) on July 22, Mixon described the complex rehab technology (CRT) segment as unique.

For the July 29 interview, Mixon joined NSM CEO Mike Ballard and NSM VP of Marketing Bill Noelting via conference call because Mixon was in San Diego rather than in NSM's hometown of Nashville.

"I am going to be spending time on the West Coast with the California team," Mixon said of his itinerary for the week. "Next week, I'm going to be on the East Coast in Charlotte. This is a unique business. There are many aspects of this that are custom and not like other traditional businesses. So I'm excited to be spending time with the existing leadership team and with the field teams, learning the business."

Mixon was adamant about the importance of spending significant time with NSM's ATPs as part of his learning process.

"It's where our folks in the organization serve our patient customers," he said in describing NSM's 80-plus branch offices spanning the United States. "I'm going to be spending a lot of time in the field. I'm going to try to balance my time between our corporate headquarters in Nashville and field time."

Ballard said NSM brought Mixon aboard because the company's continued growth - accomplished via a combination of acquisitions and new office creations - requires more resources to provide branches with what they need to run smoothly.

"Bill has the background of knowing and doing that: instituting best practices, and tweaking if you will things that you have to do, along with the experience of running businesses and the complexities and nuances of businesses that are much larger than we are today," Ballard said. "My span of control is maxed out, and I need more bandwidth at the top. It's as simple as that."

Asked why he chose to join NSM, Mixon cited the company culture.

"What excites me about this business is the culture that this business has," Mixon said. "This business really cares about the patient. It cares about the patient customer, it cares about our other customers, and there's a team within NSM that is completely committed to delivering the highest-quality clinical solutions to these unbelievable patients that have all kinds of real challenges.

"It's not every day that you run into a business that has over the years developed such a strong culture. It's exciting to be a part of."

At the time of the interview, Mixon pointed out he was in the midst of his first days at NSM and in the CRT business. But he also demonstrated that he's already recognized what makes CRT different.

"This technology is not a voluntary technology for these patients," Mixon said. "These patients need this technology. I think that Mike has helped to lead the industry in making very, very clear that at the high end, these solutions should not be subjected to things like competitive bidding, should be rationally treated by CMS in their policies, and the state treatment of the services provided should be separated and thought of differently. I think that Mike and other industry players have done a great job of being successful there, and everything that I'm hearing is there continues to be progress on that front."

Mixon also mentioned the significant role that home-based healthcare is expected to play in coming years.

"I've spent the majority of my healthcare career in companies that have focused on the acute-care space, largely hospitals, and generally pretty big companies," he noted. "The future of healthcare from a macro perspective in this country as we all know is evolving towards the home. The ability of companies to provide outstanding care in the home is something that's going to continue to evolve in the next 20, 30, 40 years, and I wanted to get into a company that had that capability and was in that part of the market.

"That's another aspect of NSM that excites me. Largely, much of this care occurs in the home. Perhaps in a clinic, but much of it does occur in the home, and I think that's the direction we're going to see in healthcare, so I'm excited about that aspect of NSM as well.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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