Adapt and survive Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2008

Billie K. Dragoo was making a good living as a recruiter but wanted to have her own business and do things her way. She also had developed a passion for the medical staffing business, so she founded RepuCare in 1995.

The company initially operated from her home and focused on providing licensed physical and occupational therapists on a temporary basis to hospitals and clinics in central Indiana. The premise was to provide quality health care staffing in an environment that generally focused more on costs, regulations and limited services.

The business thrived until 1999, when a change in law flooded the market with therapists and nurses. Revenue decreased by 70 percent in one month, threatening the survival of the business. She had to immediately cut overhead and salaries, including her own, renegotiated vendor contracts and slashed noncritical expenses.

With the market changing, she decided to deploy some of her therapists in a different manner. She discovered a market to provide on-site rehabilitation services for injured workers directly on the employer’s site. As a result, she was able to ride out the storm and emerge a stronger company.

By 2004, this new business had become a liability. Margins had deteriorated, and another change was needed. She shifted gears, retaining the same clients but redefined the service as on-site health care services. Rather than deploying a therapist, she would deploy a nurse in an on-site clinic to address urgent care, primary care and occupational health for employees. She eventually split her business in two, and today, both RepuCare and RepuStaff LLC are thriving.

HOW TO REACH: RepuCare Inc., www.repucare.com; RepuStaff LLC, www.repustaff.com