For Sean Balke, the goal is ambitious: He wants Craig HomeCare to be nationwide in the next five to 10 years.
Balke is the president and chief operating officer for Craig HomeCare, a company that focuses on in-home pediatric nursing. What started as a single location in southeast Kansas in 1994 has grown into eight offices in three states, and two more locations are set to open this year. The company operates in all counties of Kansas and in portions of Nebraska and Missouri. It plans to open an office in Kansas City, Mo., next month and another office in St. Louis before the end of the year.
“Our goals are to expand our mission and our service delivery as far as we possibly can,” Balke said. “Ideally, we’ll be a nationwide, coast-to-coast provider for this service. We think we have a real opportunity.”
Balke attributes the growth to Craig’s niche in child-focused care and the high quality of care provided, which stems from providing continuing education for nurses.
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In the past three years, the company has experienced about 15 to 20 percent growth annually, Balke said, and it now has 500 nurses working.
“My goal is just that we maintain who we are, continue to focus on our mission that we provide services with integrity and continue to expand geographically to provide more services to others,” said Richard Giblin, the founder, CEO and chairman of the board of Craig HomeCare.
The company is named after Giblin’s father, Craig Giblin, who died a month before the business was incorporated.
“I named the company after my father 18 years ago because I wanted us to be a program of integrity and follow some of the basic characteristics he had of caring for the less fortunate, being compassionate and honest,” Giblin said. “I feel proud of the organization. I’m very proud of the team we have and how well they work together.”
The for-profit, privately held company opened a new office in Omaha last year, nearly doubling its overall business in Nebraska.
“We’re in the midst of an aggressive expansion in Missouri and looking at future states, but we won’t name those yet,” Balke said.
In addition to expansion, Craig HomeHealth moved its corporate headquarters to a new location in May from 910 East Douglas to 1100 E. First St., the former location of Lottridge Advertising Design. Maintaining a presence in Old Town was important, Balke said.
“We love being part of the downtown environment,” Balke said. “The playful, fun atmosphere fits our culture really well for our company.”
The move has provided more space, parking and visibility for new signage, created by local artist Todd Whipple, Balke said.
Craig HomeCare focuses on serving children with congenital health problems and those injured in accidents.
“We’re a pediatric-focused provider. So what we do is caring about medically fragile kids that would otherwise have to be hospitalized or institutionalized,” Balke said. “We provide that high tech, kind of NICU-type nursing care in a home setting. Really, it’s a win-win service for the families and certainly the children, since it improves their quality of life not having to spend all of their time at the hospital.”
Because of its structure, Balke said the program allows for shifts of nurses to take care of children, which in some cases allows guardians to work outside the home, care for other children or handle other responsibilities.
Its services are reimbursed through state Medicaid, third-party insurance and private payments. Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City is one of its major referrers.