EMS is changing. At the forefront is Medic-One, based out of Jonesboro, Arkansas. Advocates, ambassadors and heroes in the communities they serve, the agency has dedicated themselves to providing healthcare services through a compassionate, personal and selfless approach to the most precious thing we have – human life.
In his 15+ years in the emergency medical services industry, Medic-One President Ryan Kibler has had many memorable stories.
“I want to tell you a story,” he said. “There was a health care provider who collapsed and died. Our crew took the call, revived her and took her to the hospital. She got care, and five months later, she was a guest speaker at our Christmas party.”
In their first year of business, January 2001, Medic-One’s 24 employees completed 1,250 ambulance transports. In 2014, the crew went on over 30,000 runs. The explosion in growth comes down to Medic- One and Kibler’s own personalized care philosophy.
“Through that personalized care, you build relationships,” he said. “Being that you’re talking about life, which is the most precious commodity, with this personalized care people begin to give their trust and the facilities start wanting to transport their patients with someone who is going to take care of their patients.”
Today, Medic-One handles emergency and non-emergency ambulance transportation with additional wheelchair van services that run throughout northeast Arkansas. Licensed in two states, the agency has the ability and opportunity to quickly transport patients from one state to another. It wasn’t always like this. Kibler remembers a time where Medic-One occupied a very small share of the care with other competition. With foresight, he realized he needed a point of differentiation.
“I thought about how I was going to grow my market share in our community and I took the approach that if I were to build this one patient at a time and give great personalized care and customer service that word of mouth would get around and people would begin to choose Medic-One because they knew they would get value,” he said.
With a steadfast vision to becoming a benchmark ambulance service, Medic-One focuses on innovation and technological reinforcement to ensure the agency remains a crucial point of action when community needs arise.
“We have a new state of the art digital radio system that allows our central dispatch center to communicate to all of our crews in the field,” Kibler said. “This system is microwave linked and enables seamless radio communication throughout our entire two-state service area.”
“The improvements from digital to analog have had a huge impact on the safety of our crews, there’s now very clear and precise communication from our dispatch center out into the field,” Kibler continued. “There are no dead spots where we can’t communicate with our staff.”
A CHANGE IN PHILOSOPHY
Winners of numerous community awards, Medic-One remains one of the top companies to work for in the state of Arkansas and Missouri. When asked about individual award success, Kibler was quick to shun the attention; instead, he praised the efforts of his team and stressed the importance of community.
“I’ve changed my management philosophy this last year to on-boarding,” he said. “What I’m trying to do is get my employees’ ideas and thoughts brought into the leadership cycle while working as a whole in a group.”
“By getting the men and women who are working out in the field every day to bring home that personalized and compassionate care, I want them to realize that they’re a very key piece of our business.”
This change in thinking and philosophy has led to further developments by Medic-One. As a community program, Kibler has embraced the partnerships in a bid to enhance and expand not just marketing efforts, but outreach.
“I’m using my market strategy to also market for our communities and tie them together and hopefully Medic-One’s success will be able to make our communities better places to be,” he said.
“As a community culture, I’m not trying to make Medic-One just a private business but part of its community, since we’re out there helping these people,” he continued. “I’m trying to get other agencies that are helping the community put our marketing together where we can find greater success.”
Not looking necessarily at profits, Medic-One’s growth potential remains a modest objective. To Kibler, the most important thing is continuing to carry on building the momentum forged when he started 15 years ago by using a relentless attitude in pursuit of building Medic-One one patient at a time.
“The growth potential with EMS is slow. There’s not a lot of turnover with EMS agencies and there’s not a lot of asset purchases like you have in most companies,” he said. “My mindset is to do an exceptional job and get our name out. Our reputation is strong and we offer good customer service.”
“I think in due time, we will be a company that people want to sell to, that people want to give their surface area up to, because we’re going to take care of their citizens.”
The difficulty in marketing EMS also poses challenges to the growth of Medic-One, simply for the fact that when you dial 9-1-1 in a time of need, you’re immediately connected with the hospital and its ambulatory system. Not to be outdone, however, Kibler is continuing on the course towards growing at a right and healthy place by bringing technology into the fray.
“With all the health care cuts, some of the creativity in technology is going to come to surface and it’s going to change the entire landscape of free hospital care,” he said. “I’m excited for what the future holds and how paramedicine is going to change as far as being a community paramedic program.”
A GREAT PURPOSE
Another story that comes to mind for Kibler details the plight of a young woman and her child. Both had showed up to Medic-One’s corporate facility, and the child was unresponsive. The crew took care of the child, and three weeks later, the duo showed up at the office and Kibler was able to hold the baby.
Enriched by the stories and experiences from years in the field, the humble nature of Medic-One’s influence is something not lost on Kibler.
“As I have gotten older and worked in the ambulance business for 15+ years, I have come to realize that money isn’t everything,” he said.
“Through all the good and bad, it gives you a great purpose to be in this business,” he continued. “Any time the day gets tough or the job gets tough, you can always think back to certain situations that give you that extra push to put in more effort.”