HME Industry Remembers Invacare Corp. Founder Mal Mixon

The home medical equipment (HME) industry is remembering Invacare Corp. founder and HME pioneer Mal Mixon, who died Nov. 30. Mixon was 80.

In a Dec. 2 news announcement, Invacare noted Mixon’s “humble background in rural Oklahoma” and that he attended Harvard University and served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

In 1979, Mixon acquired a small American company whose portfolio at the time included a single wheelchair. “Through his relentless drive for growth and innovation and with a series acquisitions that broadened the company’s offering, Mal revolutionized the durable medical equipment industry and built a diversified global organization,” the news announcement said.

In the following years, Mixon created “one-stop shopping” via Invacare product lines that ranged from Complex Rehab seating and wheelchairs to standard wheelchairs and walking aids, respiratory equipment, and patient aids, such as commodes and bath safety equipment. Today, Invacare’s worldwide portfolio includes highly complex powered seating systems, alternative driving controls for power wheelchairs, and power-assist systems for ultralightweight manual wheelchairs.

Matt Monaghan, Invacare’s current CEO/President, said in the announcement, “Mal was a pioneer in our industry who helped so many people. He led in growth and innovation. He was a tireless advocate of the industry and supporter of providers everywhere. He was an especially strong ally of all those who rely on our products to ‘make life’s experiences possible’. Although Mal retired as CEO in 2010 and as chairman of our Board of Directors in 2015, we recognize his tremendous impact and decades of dedication to making Invacare the success it is today.”

In a bulletin sent to stakeholders on Dec. 2, Tom Ryan, CEO/President of the American Association for Homecare, said, “Mal Mixon had an incredible impact on this industry. He channeled his passion and business to build Invacare into an industry leader, and yet still had energy to spare to take on leadership roles to the benefit of the entire HME sector.

“Mal was great friend and source of support to me personally going back to my days as an oxygen supplier. My company was an early adopter for new technologies, and we were a large Invacare oxygen HomeFill system provider. We had an aggressive goal to replace all of our ambulatory oxygen patients with HomeFills, and Mal took the time to come out to my New York office personally to see first-hand how this was going.”

Ryan also lauded Mixon’s work in HME funding and policy. “Mal played a leading role in strengthening our industry’s presence on Capitol Hill,” Ryan said. “He had an innate ability to connect with policymakers and make sure that they understood and appreciated our industry’s priorities. I learned a lot by watching Mal interact with Congressional leaders at fundraising events, and I saw how he inspired other individuals to become more actively involved in policy efforts.”

Mixon is survived by his wife, Barbara; two children; and many grandchildren.

About the Author

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