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Columbia Business Monthly

#9 - Equiscript LLC

Dec 26, 2018 10:48AM ● By Kathleen Maris
Year Founded: 2008
Founder: Michael B. Burkhold, Jr.
Headquarters location: North Charleston
Number of other locations: 1 (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Number of employees (start): 2
Number of employees (present): 88

Equiscript helps high-risk, high-need patients get the medications they need while also generating revenue to support community health centers and hospitals. We do this by managing 340B home delivery pharmacy programs on behalf of hospitals and health centers across the U.S.  

Through personalized service and convenient free delivery of medications, we can help patients become healthier and more compliant with their provider’s prescribed course of care. For our hospital and health center clients, Equiscript offers them a way to provide a new line of service for their patients and a new source of revenue for the health center.

What are the keys to your company’s rapid growth?  
Michael B. Burkhold, Jr. (President and CEO): We offer an innovative patient-centered service and work diligently to earn the trust of our clients.  While there is clearly a need for our services, we have been able to sustain rapid growth because we operate by our core values and hire exceptional personnel that have a passion for our cause, which is for us to “improve access to health care in the communities we serve.”

We provide a unique service that helps patients stay healthier, and helps our health-industry clients generate new revenue and provide additional pharmacy options for their patients.

What’s in store for your company?  
In Q4 2018, we will open a second office in Salt Lake City that will allow us to better serve our growing number of clients and patients in the western part of the U.S.  In addition to this, we will be launching new client programs in California, Washington, Massachusetts, and Michigan in the second half of this year.

What are your firm’s biggest challenges and how do you plan to overcome them?
Regulatory uncertainty as it relates to 340B is our greatest challenge. 340B is a program that touches almost every community across the U.S., yet most Americans haven’t heard of it. This program helps community health centers and hospitals keep their doors open and continue to provide health services to thousands of communities, but they are facing hundreds of millions of dollars in lobbying from big pharma that wants to restrict the program’s reach. It benefits us all to understand that 340B is part of how our health centers stay open. The program costs taxpayers nothing, and the benefits touch all our communities. We support our clients and help them communicate the importance of the program to members of Congress.

Do plan to add any employees in the coming year? If so, how many?
Yes, approximately 30.

What trends and innovations do you see down the line for your industry?
It is our opinion that personal relationships are indispensable in the provision of excellent healthcare. While much of the noise in the healthcare industry is around new data and new apps, we think that reaching out to people and being kind and helpful is the true path forward. We certainly expect to leverage technology to communicate with patients, but personal interaction is vital for many of the high-need, high-risk patients that we serve. 

What word of advice, if any, has shaped your career and who gave it or where did you read it?
I try to read Proverbs on a daily basis. There are 31 chapters, so I just match the chapter to the day of the month. The deep wisdom that can be found in Proverbs has helped to shape my personal life, and as a result, has helped shape my career. I have found that any form of success relies on executing sound fundamentals.  

How important is continued learning to your success and if so, what do you do to ensure that you are always learning about your industry, your company, and yourself?
Very important. I’m a natural learner. There are really two different types of learning you have asked about here. First is learning information like industry trends and opportunities. For that I keep up with my clients and business contacts and subscribe to business news feeds. I also read the daily Harvard Business Review  email every morning. It’s applicable to our business one of 10 times, but that’s plenty. Learning about our company, which means our people, and myself is a much different process that takes time — lots of listening, considering what I heard, and reflection.  I find I learn more about myself the more time I spend focused on my faith.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started your professional career?
That it takes about 10 years of hard work to become an overnight success.
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