Donald Stumpp, CMPE, CPA
When you volunteer, you can meet people in all stages of their career.
Volunteer Role: Indiana State President (several tours of duty), Midwest Section Chair, State Liaison, Legislative Liaison and Government Affairs Council. Donald is retiring later in 2021, after many years in healthcare and numerous MGMA volunteer roles throughout his career.
Why did you decide to get involved with MGMA?
The first part of my career was in hospital finance and I belonged to HFMA during that time. When hospitals started acquiring more physician practices in the 1980s, my role became Controller of the medical practice subsidiaries including primary care, emergency room and a few specialists. After I joined a large (200 physicians) independent group in 2003, a colleague suggested joining MGMA rather than HFMA, since it would be a better fit.
What do you find most rewarding about volunteering for MGMA?
It’s always about the people - the connections. If you are the Practice Manager, you need someone to talk about concerning issues with, whether physician relations or staff relations. While MGMA has subject matter experts, I have found the greatest value in having friends through MGMA who could give advice or counsel on issues you might not be able to discuss inside your practice. When you volunteer, you can meet people in all stages of their career. There are many more successful people than me in MGMA who work at bigger organizations or have more responsibility. In addition, every state has their unique situation perhaps due to state law or market forces due to health systems or insurance company dominance.
How did you decide that practice management was the career for you?
I decided healthcare finance and administration was for me when I heard the President of Methodist Hospital, Jack. A.L. Hahn, tell us Managers in 1979 that we should never forget we are “carrying out the healing mission of Jesus Christ”. Now of course, I’m not the one prescribing medicines or doing the surgery, but I felt my role was vital to support those who were. “No Margin, No Mission” was frequently quoted (from Sr. Irene Kraus, first female and religious Chair of the American Hospital Association), and my role was to help the organizations continue to have a margin.
I actually didn’t have a true practice management role until a few years back. The appeal was the entrepreneurial nature of the private practice. Of course, that could also be frustrating trying to keep physician owners from thinking too far out of the box! But as a practice manager you see the whole business cycle, from hiring the right people to delivering service, keeping the doors open and bills paid, and then to collecting for services.
What is the best tip you give to people who are just starting a career in practice management?
You will need to read, learn, listen, attend. Join MGMA nationally AND IN YOUR STATE! and get involved. If this is your career, you must be part of the professional organization which serves that industry. Convince your physician owners that you aren’t ‘spending’ money to attend or be involved, but ‘investing’ money into the practice by letting you gain the knowledge. I learned about and convinced my group to apply for the Advanced ACO MSSP option with CMS which garnered the group a $1.5m advance from CMS. Without MGMA and my push, we would have passed. I have other instances where specific knowledge from MGMA contacts or organized MGMA presentations benefitted the practice financially. In addition, the legislative knowledge kept my group in the know and able to respond during the days of Affordable Care Act implementation, Medicaid expansion and the annual “Doc Fix” ritual!
If you want a single top tip it is: ATTEND EVERY MGMA (State and National) MEETING YOU CAN AND TALK TO PEOPLE!
What is your favorite book or website or resource for practice managers?
I don’t have a book or website. My favorite resource are my State conferences and the annual conference [Medical Practice Excellence Conference].
How do you relax after a busy work week?
I’m a lifelong NBA Indiana Pacers fan and have been a season ticket holder for 40 years. I can't attend all games, but go to about half. Currently, I’d say my favorite activity is just sitting on the deck with my wife of 34 years. Or playing board or card games with my family.
What is your top tip for maintaining work/life balance?
Simple; Just Do It. My comments might be different between my bosses (Physician owners versus Direct Reports). Set expectations that while you might be available 24/7 because perhaps that’s the expectation of the job, non-critical things can be handled during work time. If there are phone calls on nights and weekends about routine things, the response should be “I’ll look at that on Monday, or tomorrow when I’m in the office”. Simple statement up front, “contact me until 7pm but otherwise something better be on fire!” All that being said, if you are compensated to be at the owners beck and call – then yes, call me anytime!