Joe Ramon III, always knew he wanted to be in business at some point in his life, but first he decided to follow his love of health care.
“I wanted to be a dentist, and decided to become a pharmacist before dental school in case I didn’t like dentistry.” Ramon said.
As it happened, Ramon fell in love with the pharmaceutical world and chose to follow that path.
Ironically, as much as he loved being a pharmacist, he found the retail side was not his niche. After his first day on the job as a licensed pharmacist in a drugstore in San Antonio, having stared down the 50 bottles waiting to be filled to customers’ cries of, “Where’s my medicine?,” he called his dad.
“What did I do, Dad? I don’t like this!” he remembered asking.
Ramon persevered, however, believing he could be a good pharmacist. For three years he tucked more experience under his belt, finding his calling working with a clinical team administering new high tech drugs. A Baby Boomer, Ramon answered his mothers challenge to do a good job.
“I learned from my parents about hard work and what it used to be like when they grew up,” he began. “It taught me that drive to become somebody, to be successful in a certain way.”
Emulating his real estate broker dad, Ramon put his two ambitions together – incorporating the business side with health care – and Health Care Unlimited, Inc. was born in 1990.
“When I started there were only six home care agencies in the Valley,” he said. “I started my agency with the intent of being a one-stop shop. We offered nursing, infusion service, and medical equipment for adults and pediatrics. Today, we offer all home care except hospice.”
Ramon set his sights high, wanting nothing less than the best for his clients.
“It’s my team who helps us shine,” he said. “I have employees, now friends, who’ve been with me for 20 years. With about 1,250 employees, we drive to perform. We strive for perfection so we can at least be great!”
And that HCU is: Part of only two percent of home care agencies in the nation that have attained the coveted 5-star rating with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service.
“It’s a tough business. We deal with life and death every day,” Ramon said. “Though we deal with a lot of regulations, we consistently keep the patients at our center, to support them and keep them well cared for and content.”
The company’s commitment to quality health care is exemplified over and over from relieving a 12-year old of his pains during the last days of his fight with stage 4 bone cancer, to the pride in caring for an ALS patient for 16 years who never had to go to the hospital and never had a bed sore, to the time a client’s pump had to be changed at three in the morning.
“I went with the nurse to help,” Ramon said. “We knew he would be passing in a few days, so when he asked us to stay for a glass of grape juice, of course we said yes, staying just to talk. The time of night didn’t matter. It constantly gives me a sense of peace and comfort knowing we are able to help our clients in ways we wouldn’t have thought of when we were designing the plan for the company.”
With goals built on quality and efficiency with the end result of improving patient’s care, Ramon feels confident that HCU will keep moving forward in the industry.
“We’re in this to not only care for our patients, but make the industry proud,” he said. “Someone once said, ‘If you do nothing for change, then you die. If you keep up with it, you survive. But, if you cause the change, you lead.’ That impressed me when I heard it, and I like to feel that we are leaders in this industry in the Valley. We participate with state and national associations, and I’m on a Value Based Purchasing Board for the State of Texas.”
Ramon described how he created Health Care Unlimited, Inc., the long hours he put in at retail pharmacies as he was in the throes of start-up, and the determination he had to succeed. He talked of his pride of HCU’s four locations in McAllen, Harlingen, Laredo, and Falfurrias, and of the quality of his extensive team’s care.
“What we do is something we are all proud of,” Ramon said. “From every phone call, every opportunity to serve, every time we talk to somebody, we have a chance to make a difference in someone’s life. Not a lot of people can go home and say what they do means something to people. It gives me joy to know that we can.”
Ramon seated with his management staff from left are Chief Financial Officer & Vice President of Century Medical Marisa Gallegos, Director of Human Resources Thelma Leal, Chief Compliance Officer & Vice President of Community Care Ana Solis, Chief Executive Officer & Administrator Joesph Ramon, Director of Skilled Nursing Services Nilda Sanchez, Compliance Auditor Primitivo de la Rosa, and Physician Liason Coordinator Johnny Oliva.