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American Renal Associates rings the bell on its IPO

  • KEN YUSZKUS/Staff photo: American Renal Associates founder, CEO, and chairman Joe Carlucci. 05/02/16
  • Courtesy photo: American Renal Associates Chairman and CEO Joe Carlucci, center, rang the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street on April 21 as the Beverly company celebrated the completion of its initial public offering of stock. Also pictured is co-founder and President Syed Kamal, front row to the left of Carlucci; Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Wilcox, back row in back of Kamal, and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer John McDonough, far right in the front row.
  • KEN YUSZKUS/Staff photo: From left, American Renal Associates executive vice president and chief operations officer John McDonough, chief financial officer John Wilcox, and founder, CEO, and chairman Joe Carlucci.
  • KEN YUSZKUS/Staff photo: American Renal Associates founder, CEO, and chairman Joe Carlucci.

Aricle from The Salem News, by Ethan Forman Staff Writer - May 8, 2016

Click Here to view the article on The Salem News website

BEVERLY — American Renal Associates, which owns and operates 192 dialysis clinics nationwide, has quietly become one of the largest employers in the sprawling Cummings Center office park.

It has grown to the point where it is now a publicly traded company, with its officials recently ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street.

The company’s CEO said its success is due to the way it is changing how dialysis clinics are operated, by partnering with local kidney specialists and putting patient care first.

“We work for the patients, we are advocates for patients,” said the company’s affable co-founder, chairman and CEO Joe Carlucci, a Beverly resident. “They are our customer, that’s who we work for.”

American Renal Associates employs approximately 400 people in Beverly, 700 in Massachusetts and 4,000 people across the United States. It has outpatient dialysis clinics in 24 states and the District of Columbia, and it partners with 347 local nephrologists, or kidney doctors. Its clinics treat more than 13,000 patients with end-stage renal disease a year.

The company’s operation in Beverly handles back office functions to support its dialysis clinics, including things such as patient admissions, billing, general accounting, human resources, and clinical and technical support.

Explosive growth

American Renal Associates saw double-digit growth last year, but Carlucci said the company does not like to sing its praises. It does have its logo on the side of 500 Cummings Center.

The company occupies almost 70,000 square feet, spread across the top three floors of the six-story office building. It outgrew its former offices on Cherry Hill Drive before becoming one of 500 Cummings Center’s first tenants several years ago.

American Renal Associates rang up $653 million in revenues in 2015, and it recently completed its initial public stock offering.

“Going public was just the next best strategic option for us,” Carlucci said. 

When the company’s stock went public on April 21, Carlucci rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange with fellow co-founder and President Syed Kamal, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President John McDonough and Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Wilcox.

“It was one of the nicest, most fun days we’ve had,” Carlucci said.

Carlucci, 62, emphasized the company’s local ties when talking about its growth.

“We are just a big employer in Beverly,” he said, “and we have a great company and we do great things for patients.”

Carlucci’s wife, Mary (Flaherty, the sister of former City Councilor Tim Flaherty), is a native of Beverly. He’s also a former six-year board member of St. John’s Prep in Danvers, where his three sons went to high school.

Built from scratch

Carlucci and Kamal built the company from scratch starting in late 1999. 

Carlucci grew up in Malden and Melrose, and has an accounting degree from Bentley University. He got into the kidney dialysis services industry when he answered an ad for a job at National Medical Care in Waltham in 1978. He thought it would be a good industry to go into, and has been at it for 38 years.

National Medical Care later became Fresenius Medical Care North America, a division of Germany-based Fresenius Medical Care, which is a global company that operates 3,400 dialysis clinics worldwide and cares for 290,000 renal patients.

Carlucci rose to become president and CEO of Optimal Renal Care, a joint venture between Fresenius Medical Care North America and Kaiser Permanente of Southern California. He left after 23 years to start American Renal Associates with Kamal. At the time, he was living an Rockport and worked out of his home for about a year, he said.

American Renal Associates opened its first clinic on Dec. 8, 2000, in Butler, Pennsylvania, followed by a clinic in Washington, D.C. The company has two clinics in Brockton, and clinics in Taunton, Waltham, Wareham, Wellesley, Fall River, Springfield, Agawam, Chicopee, Ludlow, Dartmouth and Attleboro.

Carlucci said he left his former company because he saw opportunity in the partnership model.

“The difference,” he said, “is that what we recognized early on was that the patients were the patients of the doctor, and with the doctor owning the clinic, then the doctor has clinical autonomy and operational autonomy to do what is right for his or her patients every day.”

This gives kidney doctors the ability to pick the supplies and medications they feel are best for their patients, for instance.

“We ask the doctors one very simple thing — if they partner with us, just be good doctors,” Carlucci said. “Just take good care of your patients.”

To illustrate that emphasis on patients, the office’s main corridor has large pictures of patients and doctors on the wall. It’s not marketing, Carlucci said.

“I think it’s really important for everyone here in this office to be connected to what we do, and we take excellent care of patients who are chronically ill all around the country,” he said.

Wilcox said the headquarters supports physicians and clinic staff in the field, so they in turn have more time to spend with patients.

And the emphasis on patients and doctor partnerships has paid off, according to Carlucci. He said one of the key messages shared with investors was a presentation slide that emphasized the company’s core values.

The slide read: “Take good care of the patients and the financial success will follow.”


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