What are the big challenges you face as CEO in this new healthcare environment?
Well, I mean, I think the biggest challenge it’s just getting folks to change. It’s hard to change. They’ve been operating under the [old] system for quite some time and they’ve perfected their techniques in how to operate and how to survive in that reimbursement market. And so it’s a little bit like turning an aircraft carrier. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes continual reinforcement with data and people. So, I’d say that’s the biggest challenge.
I think also getting providers, individual physician providers to engage as well is a big challenge. One of the benefits of this [new] process is aligning physician specialists with the acute-care partners where these patients are being discharged from. I think that’s been a very important connection point, and they now have a reason to connect and participate together, and together they can create a better outcome and enjoy a better financial incentive for having done that. But it’s not natural, right? These guys have been apart for quite some time.
And the nuances of this business are quite significant. It’s hard. It’s hard what we do. It’s hard to develop fair and reasonable target prices in a bundled approach for taking care of all the different complexities that these patients display. Remember, we’re not talking about a 25-year-old softball player. We’re talking about an 80-year-old, a 90-year-old with multiple co-morbidities. So you’re trying to find pricing that takes into account all of the patient’s complications and acuities and at the same time, being able to hold people accountable for managing all of those different conditions. It’s challenging.
You can’t just be that mechanic that says, “Oh, you asked me to replace a tire, so I replaced the tire. I saw that the front door was falling off, but you didn’t ask me to do that. You just asked me to fix the tire.” Now, we’re saying, “Hey, take care of the car. Fix the car. I want to drive the car. I want to drive from point A to point B. Give me a car that works.”
How has your leadership style has evolved over the years and how do you see yourself now as CEO of Remedy Partners?
Leadership is a learned activity. You learn and you discover things, you discover how things are accomplished. You hope that you had good role models in your life, and fortunately, I have. And importantly, when I invested in companies that were successful and I watched how successful CEOs manage their businesses, it reinforced a lot of things that I thought about when I was CEO of my first company. I was a first-time CEO who had started a new business from scratch. So, there’s a lot to learn there. You make mistakes, for sure, and the only thing you can ask of yourself is to try to learn from them and not repeat them.
“If I could stress anything, I think reacting quickly to change is really, really important. And I think if I’ve learned anything over my duration, it’s reacting quickly.”
And when I was on the investing side and I was on the board, one of the things I thought about consciously and I talked to my CEOs about was, “Hey, one of the things I can help you with is trying to have you not make the same mistake I did, to maybe avoid a pothole or two along the way.” And I think folks appreciated that because it’s always good to have another set of eyes looking and listening. And so I think as I get here with Remedy, I mean, it was another build from scratch. CEOs come in a couple different varieties. I like building. I like getting my hands dirty. I like being deep in the details. I like being involved. When you’re building companies and you’re trying to recruit and retain folks, I think staff truly appreciates when the executives of the company are actually doing stuff and are actually involved in the details.
It’s the culture that differentiates these companies and I think it starts with our executive team here and the fact that we are engaged and involved and in the weeds and working every day. We don’t have big staff supporting us. I think people see that and understand that. I think that first-time folks, maybe if this is their first job, they might not appreciate it so much, but they will when they go to their next company. They might walk into a big company and say, “Hey, I’ve never met the executive. I don’t even know if that guy knows who I am or what I do or what we do.” And so you create these cultures around what your company needs to be successful, and for us, I think, it’s really paying attention to the details, understanding what our staff, what the needs are of our company and reacting quickly.
If I could stress anything, I think reacting quickly to change is really, really important. And I think if I’ve learned anything over my duration, it’s reacting quickly. “Okay, we got a problem. Boom, let’s fix it. What’s next? Got another issue? Let’s fix it. What’s next?” My personal slogan is, “Get [stuff] done.” I’ve got coffee mugs, I’ve got memo paper that the employees have given me over time, and it’s always got that at the heading. And so that’s sort of the theme here, is get stuff done.