Jair Drooger ‘97 and Scott Yoder ‘96 are co-founders of CT Assist, a healthcare staffing company that contracts with hospitals to fill personnel shortages. The company began in Philippi, West Virginia, and recently opened a second office in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Among their 50 employees are several EMU alumni, including Daryl Bert ‘97, chief financial officer; Jason Good ‘05, director of CT Assist locum tenens; Minnette Burkholder Hostetler ‘95, director of human resources and operations; Jen Schlabach Litwiller ‘95, director of business development; Bonnie Moore ‘14, recruiter and marketing manager; and Delight Tigoe ‘18, accounting and credentialing specialist.
The company was founded in 2013 as a staffing company for cardiac surgery physician assistants and nurse practitioners. A year after procuring its first contract, CT Assist expanded into other states. In 2018, the company earned certification by The Joint Commission, a private independent accreditor, and was ranked in the top 500 of Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing private companies in America.
The company has since expanded service offerings to include cardiac surgeons, nurses and perfusionists, which are skilled professionals who operate cardiopulmonary bypass machines.
How the business started
Scott Yoder: Nearly 20 years ago, as a new graduate physician assistant (PA) working for a hospital, I saw many experienced PAs quit the surgical subspecialty of cardiac surgery because they were becoming “burned out.” It seemed almost tragic to me, knowing how much effort these persons have poured into developing skills and achieving knowledge, never to use them again. Most of the “burnout” could be blamed on scheduling issues, such as working long hours, working weekends, being on-call too frequently, getting called into emergencies at night, etc.
I believed that if the hospitals or another company would provide their employees with a better lifestyle, they would not leave the specialty. This notion was the basis for my company which came to fruition many years down the road when a representative from a former employer, a hospital, repeatedly called me every three months asking if I would return to support their program. After about a year of graciously declining their offers, I formed a business to hire other providers along with myself to cover the hospital’s needs.
EMU gave me a solid base of scientific knowledge to do anything I wanted. Upon admission into PA school, I realized I was as well prepared as anyone in our class. I wasn’t formally trained in business, but the world needs business leaders to rise from the STEM fields of study. EMU helped develop a work ethic and world view that definitely was beneficial to our business.
Helping employees learn, grow and lead
We try to make CT Assist the best place for our employees to learn and grow. We want our company to be a setting where leaders are can develop, whether continuing to work for us or taking their achievements to another organization. We value our relationships and we trust and support each other. We believe these values, empower our employees to make wise decisions which strengthens the company.
One way we’re able to share our values is through the support of important experiential learning opportunities for EMU students who plan to be healthcare professionals. The CT Assist Health Experiential Learning Program awards funds to pre-professional health science students to support clinical experiences that help prepare students for professional health programs and to be better healthcare providers. [Read about summer 2018 and summer 2019 student experiences provided by CT Assist scholarships.]
Best business insights
- It’s OK for people to make mistakes but we need to learn from them. If mistakes are punished, then people won’t try new things.
- As a young company, we have used a lean start-up mentality, where we build something, measure it, and learn before repeating the process with the next iteration.