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As a young adult, Phil Melugin observed two quite different end-of-life experiences.
As his grandfathers aged and became sicker, one went to live in a nursing home. The other remained at home, where he received care.
One died “sad and alone,” Melugin says, while the other “died literally in the middle of eating my grandma’s potato soup. He passed at lunchtime asking for his second bowl.”
Melugin says he knows there are some very fine skilled-care homes, but his grandfathers’ experiences led to his calling to provide in-home health care services.
Since Phoenix Home Care and Hospice was founded in 2011, it has blossomed from a handful of employees to more than 3,300 employees in 14 offices across three states. Phoenix employees deliver some 41,000 hours of care per week to an average of nearly 6,000 clients.
Melugin attributes his company’s growth to its dedication to people, both clients and employees.
Over time, company offerings have grown to include private-duty nursing for adults, hospice, pharmacy, home health care, skilled home health care, disease management, pediatrics and financial management services.
To help retain employees, Phoenix offers its caregivers health insurance and no hour restrictions. It also launched Phoenix Home Care University Too, which provides field staff the opportunity to develop personal and professional skills, and it created a gym through Physical Therapy by Phoenix, and this is free for employees to use.
Despite these efforts, Melugin says keeping staffing levels high throughout the pandemic has been a challenge. He cites enhanced unemployment benefits and the increased demands the pandemic placed on families with children when schools shut down as complicating factors. “We’re beginning to see some relief, but it’s still slow,” he says.
The company directly contributes to the community by participating in fundraisers for nonprofits, including the American Heart Association and Alzheimer’s Association, and sponsoring Springfield Little Theatre, Springfield Symphony Orchestra and Stained Glass Theatre, among others.
Melugin says the company is poised for continued growth.
“We believe that a careful commitment to diversification is important. We have seen the services we provide at times be reimbursed well and other times not be reimbursed. Because of diversification, we have been able to weather all storms that can be created by public funding,” he says.
Citing slim profit margins, Melugin sees an expanded footprint as the best path forward.
“We see a lot of opportunity for a company of our scope and the niches that we’ve taken on,” he says. “We can see a bright future.”
The first downtown Springfield branch for Arvest Bank opened; a longtime licensed massage therapist became a first-time business owner; and 7 Brew Coffee opened its fourth shop in Springfield.