Volunteer Role: Content Contributor
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GET INVOLVED WITH MGMA?
I spent the first seven years of my career in hospital administration. My next move 'up' would have been a move to another state. My wife and I decided then that family was more important, so I ventured into medical practice management with the hope I could spend my entire career in one locale. I got involved with MGMA so I could hang out with the smart kids and learn from them.
WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST REWARDING ABOUT VOLUNTEERING FOR MGMA?
St. Francis of Assisi said it is in giving that we receive. That is so true of my MGMA involvement at the National, state, and local levels. The friendships, the adventures, the mentors...I am a very lucky guy. It took a village of MGMA staffers and members to raise this idiot, and for that I am forever indebted. MGMA is about helping each other, and when we do, we get back so much more than we give.
Personally, two chapters stand out. The first is Virginia MGMA's role in passage of the Fair Business Practices Act. We were supposed to get crushed by lobbyists of the big insurance companies, but we found bliss in our ignorance. We rallied an entire state of medical practices managers and doctors and somehow got this game-changing piece of legislation passed. On behalf of the Virginia MGMA, I received the award for Legislative Liaison of the Year. It was a team victory if there every was one, and I remain incredibly proud to have been part of that team.
The second is my work in the American College of Medical Practice Executives. I came from the hospital side of things and did not feel I really had earned my wings in medical practice management until I passed my certification exam. It was one of the proudest moments of my career. Fellowship came later...okay, much later. Norma Plante, FACMPE, and Ann McFarland, FACMPE, are two of my mentors and dearest friends. Without their encouragement and prodding, I never would have completed my Fellowship paper. Walking across the stage at Annual to receive my Fellowship was one of the coolest and best experiences of my life.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE THAT PRACTICE MANAGEMENT WAS THE CAREER FOR YOU?
I mentioned my reasons for getting into practice management earlier. Why do I stay in practice management? It's home. I don't know that special communities exist in other industries. We look out for each other, we learn from each other, we share...anyone who has invested time in the MGMA communities gets it.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIP YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST STARTING A CAREER IN PRACTICE MANAGEMENT?
The first tip is to wake up happy. It's a choice, and it becomes a habit. People like people who like people, so it's a good career strategy as well.
Second, the magic of any conference happens outside of the classroom. With every coffee break, every meal, and every event, you have the chance to meet new friends and learn from them. Imagine having a "Phone a Friend" for each and every practice management question or dilemma you face...it's possible. Ditch your cell phone, sit down with a stranger, and let the magic happen.
Third, be yourself. You will be much more successful being yourself and being comfortable in your own skin than trying to be someone you are not.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK OR WEBSITE OR RESOURCE FOR PRACTICE MANAGERS?
If I were on a deserted island, there are three books I would carry. The first, What Exceptional Leaders Know, is the work of Tracy Spears and Wally Schmader. It is the best leadership book I have ever read, and it changed the trajectory of my latter career. The second, Better Data, Better Decisions: Using Business Intelligence in the Medical Practice by Nate Moore and Mona Reimers, is a wonderful book about using data to guide your medical practice. It is an essential practice tome. The third is an odd one, Peter Shankman's Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans. It's a great book about customer service and a fun read. And knowing me, I would find space to pack anything ever written by Elizabeth Woodcock.
HOW DO YOU RELAX AFTER A BUSY WORK WEEK?
My wife and I have a little getaway on water in the middle of nowhere. It's our piece of paradise. Whether we are eating crabs on the screen porch, fishing from the kayak, or just hanging out, we feel absolutely blessed. If we are not there, I can be found in the backyard piddling in the dirt with my dog or playing disc golf.
WHAT IS YOUR TOP TIP FOR MAINTAINING WORK/LIFE BALANCE?
I am anything but an expert on work/life balance. It has taken me almost my whole career to get close. I am better with the balance than I have ever been, but I sacrificed too many nights and weekends for most of my career. Having confessed, here is my advice.
If your tombstone says you were a good spouse, a good parent, and a good friend, you've lived a great life. You've won! Nothing else is as important in life as friends and family, so make sure you make time for them at every stage of your career.