Small Business

Nurse turns WSU competition into a business that makes house calls

Nurse practitioner Rae Lyn Mefford started Advanced Mobile Healthcare with $10,000 she won as the top prize in the Wichita State University Shocker Business Plan Competition in 2011.
Nurse practitioner Rae Lyn Mefford started Advanced Mobile Healthcare with $10,000 she won as the top prize in the Wichita State University Shocker Business Plan Competition in 2011. The Wichita Eagle

When Rae Lyn Mefford went back to Wichita State University to get a doctor of nursing practice degree, one of the classes she took was a business class for nurse practitioners.

The class required her to write a five-year business plan, which Mefford thought was unnecessary because a few years earlier she had her own practice as a nurse practitioner. She had that practice for five years before closing it so she could raise her children.

So instead of developing a business plan based on a traditional office-based practice like she had previously owned, she changed things up for her doctorate class.

The new business plan was based on a practice that makes house calls. The plan won Mefford first place in the 2011 Shocker Business Plan Competition at WSU, and she used the $10,000 winnings to establish Advanced Mobile Healthcare six months after graduating in May 2011.

Since its opening, Mefford has grown Advanced Mobile from herself and a company car to a practice with eight nurse practitioners — two of whom are independent contractors — and six support staff. And there are now three company vehicles.

“I was the provider, receptionist, coder, biller, janitor and IT department,” Mefford said of the early days of Advanced Mobile.

Mefford said she has a partner in the practice, physician Larry Bumguardner, who when needed also makes house calls and can also admit the practice’s patients to a hospital when necessary. He also serves as Advanced Mobile’s collaborating physician.

Advanced Mobile primarily serves the Wichita area but has expanded to provide service in Kingman and Pretty Prairie.

“I’m living somebody else’s dream,” Mefford said of the way her business has progressed. “I never fathomed myself with eight providers, three vehicles. I actually had to hire an IT guy — an IT guy.”

The practice’s business is focused on making house calls to homebound patients who typically suffer from multiple, chronic medical conditions, Mefford said. “The patients we deal with are very complex,” she said, describing them as people for whom it’s a “taxing effort” to show up at the doctor’s office for a routine visit.

She said the goal of Advanced Mobile is to help patients regain enough health that they can leave their homes and be a “functioning part of society. That would be the ultimate (goal).”

Mefford thinks Advanced Mobile has strong potential for further growth. While the practice receives patient referrals from other providers, hospitals and agencies, it also receives referrals from insurance companies.

She said insurers have a vested interest in what Advanced Mobile does because its staff can catch new medical conditions that arise and treat them before they worsen. What’s more, she said, people who wouldn’t go to the doctor because they couldn’t get out of their homes are now being seen by a health care provider, which she said cuts down on emergency room visits and hospital admissions.

“The number of people that are going to need our services is going to increase,” Mefford said.

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or Follow him on Twitter: @jsiebenmark.

Tier I

Name of Business: Advanced Mobile Healthcare

Year Founded: 2011

Principal: Rae Lyn Mefford

Address: 2020 N. Tyler, Suite 112

Phone number: 316-312-0002