by Mike Vogel
In 1986, Steve Mackie, a consultant and computer programmer by training, wrote a program that allowed a nursing home to keep track of assessments of patients, as required by a then-new federal mandate.
It worked so well that the nursing home owner wanted it in 23 facilities he owned, and Mackie had a company on his hands. Today, his Optima Healthcare Solutions in Palm City in Martin County specializes in software that integrates clinical, administrative and financial reporting for therapy for 7,000 nursing homes, skilled nursing centers and assisted-living facilities and also for home health.
Optima, Mackie says, wants its 90 employees to understand whom they’re serving, so it requires new hires to visit the Martin County Council On Aging adult day care site. It pays employees to volunteer there monthly. Optima stresses rapid resolution of therapy providers’ issues with its products — and pays bonuses to underscore the urgency — because, Mackie says, he recognizes providers only get paid when therapists are providing therapy, not hassling with record keeping. He also hopes satisfied therapists make better caregivers.
Company perks include massages from a licensed therapist, a stocked break room and a game room with a pool table, foosball and table tennis and Wii. Optima has family picnics, a miniature golf tournament, a weekly catered lunch and breakfast and free gym membership. The hope is that all the benefits will convince programmers to relocate to out-of-the-way Palm City. “We really do try hard to differentiate ourselves to try to attract top talent,” Mackie says.