It is often said that the world is a classroom. For Marcel Overweel, this adage couldn’t ring more true. The CFO of Byram Healthcare, a leader in disposable medical supply delivery, has received a global education in business while advancing his career in the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, and the United States. The diversity of his professional life has directed him to become a chameleon who can communicate effectively across borders.
“My international experience has taught me how to work in a variety of cultures that are all very different,” Overweel says. “I had to learn to be patient and to learn by doing. It has been easy and natural for me to adapt to the changes. I find it exciting.”
Overweel is a native of Rotterdam, the second-largest city in the Netherlands. He earned his MBA in management and operations at Erasmus University in Rotterdam before serving in the Royal Netherlands Army. He started his career in accountancy at the former Coopers & Lybrand, now PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
“PwC supported me in getting my CPA degree,” Overweel says. “They offered a broad training program, as well as opportunities to work nationally and internationally with many different clients in all kinds of industries. With this foundation, I could switch to any type of business.”
Equipped with the skill set to transition to a new field, Overweel took his next position at Mediq, a global medical devices and care solutions provider. There, he served in different financial management roles. At another Mediq subsidiary, Medeco, he was the CFO for five years. The company, which is a market leader in medical supplies for institutional healthcare, acquired companies in Switzerland, Norway, and Hungary. The company also set up a European distributors’ network in twenty countries. Next, Overweel served as the business development manager for Mediq Netherlands and later as CFO for Mediq Germany and Mediq Norway.
“Fueled by my previous international experience, I did mergers and acquisitions for Mediq,” Overweel says. “Among other countries, we acquired three companies in Germany. I worked there for three years, combined with a year working in Norway, and I still kept my old reporting lines with Switzerland and Hungary.”
Around the World
A career spent working in different countries has made Marcel Overweel aware of the distinct cultures of work environments around the world. He has learned to tailor his leadership approach to fit his surroundings.
“In Scandinavia, life/work balance leans toward life,” he says. “In Germany, life and work are strictly separated, and work culture is very formal. The Dutch culture is very direct and liberal, in the sense that everyone has an opinion. The United States is kind of a happy mix of both. The most prominent thing is that Americans are very action-driven and focused on success.”
In 2011, Overweel relocated to the United States to join Byram Healthcare, which Mediq acquired in 2008. Overweel is based out of the company’s headquarters in White Plains, New York. As CFO, he manages the financial risks, planning, record keeping, and reporting for Byram Healthcare. His typical week consists of meetings and conference calls with shareholders and internal teams. He also travels to Byram’s regional billing centers in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Los Angeles and Chicago metropolitan areas.
“My role is somewhat broader than what you usually see in CFO jobs,” Overweel says. “I am involved in the revenue cycle side of our operations, which entails everything from verifying patient eligibility and insurance coverage to releasing the order and collecting the cash.”
With more than two decades of experience in the healthcare arena in both the United States and Europe, Overweel has a unique perspective on the system. He says that the US and European models are similar in that they are both highly regulated, but that’s where the similarities end.
“In Europe, the regulations have led to base insurance, which offers packages defined by the government for standardized care,” Overweel says. “If people want more coverage, they can buy it. The US healthcare model is successful but much more complex. The complexity comes from choice, levels of coverage, standards of care, and regulatory requirements by federal, state, and commercial plans.”
The challenges and constant changes of the healthcare landscape are a daily reality for Overweel and others at Byram. The company is an in-network provider with over 225 million covered lives in the United States. Its service provides a vast portfolio of supplies including wound, ostomy, diabetes, urology, incontinence, enteral nutrition, and breast pumps. Byram works closely with home health agencies, managed care organizations, and healthcare professionals to maximize clinical outcomes while aiming to minimize patient and plan expenses.
“We need to make sure we understand exactly how our services are reimbursed in every situation,” Overweel says. “Many situations are unique. Our colleagues who take the orders and check the eligibility and coverage need to be supported by thorough systems and tools to make the correct decisions and give the right answers to our customers.”
Overweel believes that a blend of smart investments and an attention to teamwork is what keeps Byram on course with its mission to improve outcomes and affordability of care for people living with chronic diseases. He also notes that Byram Healthcare/Mediq is owned by a private equity firm, which forces them to dig deep into the drivers of the business, but also offers opportunities to develop at an accelerated pace.
“I am proud of the successful acquisitions that Byram has done,” he says. “By combining the business models of the different companies, we have created a stronger company going forward. We have also made large investments in new technology. Our team mentality is strong, with a single focus on continuously improving our operations and services to our customers. We collaborate for the same outcome, and we share our successes, irrespective of who scored the goal.”