Josh Watts is the co-founder and CEO of MedTrust, “a South Carolina based mobile healthcare provider with a business model focused on serving hospital-systems throughout the southeast. We operate 24/7 365 for ambulance services driven to become the ‘provider of choice’ in each area we serve. To support our goal of ‘Improving Patient Outcomes’, we use data-driven, innovative methodologies to ensure our key performance metrics exceed industry standards and client expectations.”
Tell us about the early days of MedTrust.
MedTrust was “dreamed up” in 2011 by myself and co-founder, Buddy Koon, in Charleston, SC. With exactly ZERO experience in the Private Ambulance industry, we set out in early 2012 to provide an honest service in an unfortunately dishonest industry. My background was in sales and people in general, having spent years since graduating from Clemson in recruiting, medical sales, and real estate. Buddy was my best friend’s father and I had known him for 30 years. In that time, I had known him as a football coach, chairman of our private school board, business owner, and father figure.
After a fast start, MedTrust grew from running two ambulances per day to six in its first 18 months based on a commitment to good service and integrity. Unfortunately, we hadn’t figured out the business yet with the regulatory, compliance, and process intricacies of medical operations and billing. In January 2014, I received a phone call from my best friend that his dad, my business partner Buddy, had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. After an 11-month fight, Buddy passed away in November 2014. This year was the first real test for MedTrust (of many) as I struggled to manage the “back of the house” that had been Buddy’s forte and responsibility.
I was introduced to a local angel investor, Lenna Macdonald (now our CAO and chairman), who took a chance on a struggling company with a passionate CEO and we set out to rebuild MedTrust from the studs, but with the same fundamental commitment. We both were committed to building a company worth owning which meant that we had to understand, at a granular level, the levers of the business from a capital, operational, and human perspective. For the remainder of 2015, we did analysis, research, and worked hard to build on the reputation. We also decided to hyper-focus on serving a specific sub-market of hospitals, to be the “medicine between the buildings.”
2016 was a year of planting seeds and making investments in people, equipment, and training, and since April 2017, MedTrust has become the primary/preferred provider for thirteen health systems spreading the entire coast of South Carolina, to Lexington/Columbia, Southeast Georgia, and Jacksonville, FL. With more than 350 employees and a fleet of 75+, MedTrust now proudly transports in excess of 55,000 patients/year. We were named the fastest-growing company in SC in 2018 and were twice named to the Inc. 5000. With a mission of “Improving Patient Outcomes through Excellence in Mobile Healthcare”, MedTrust will continue to grow throughout the Southeast as the premier provider of transport solutions for health systems.