I received a business inquiry last week through our website which I responded to quickly and arranged a meeting with the prospective client. Following the conversation, the prospect signed up for our services and paid the Kickstarter Practice Package fee for new physicians of $5,000. Immediately I began reviewing the credentialing paperwork for the new group Medicare number they were seeking due to a new doctor starting the practice. Very quickly I noticed something which the client had not previously realized during the hiring of the new physician. I noticed that the new physician did not have what I thought was the necessary certification needed to sit as Medical Director for the new group per Medicare guidelines. I also was not fully convinced of my feeling so upon returning to my office I asked my assistant to dig deeper into the Medicare requirements. My assistant reported back to me that Medicare said the new physician is qualified and we should not have a problem moving forward. We deposited the check of $5,000 for the Kickstarter Practice Package, signed the contract and began moving forward with credentialing. Despite the response from Medicare I was still struggling with the thought that this new physician did not meet Medicare guidelines, so I asked my assistant to ask the same questions to Medicare but in a different manner. Surprisingly, she received a different answer from Medicare this time. The physician, in fact, did not qualify to be Medical Director based on Medicare guidelines. My thoughts had been validated. Without hesitation, I called the owner of the group and immediately offered a full refund of his money stating that we cannot undertake the credentialing and that I did not want him to waste his money on an effort that would not lead to their goals being accomplished. The owner then told me that this is the first time he had met someone who refunded his money based on the principals of ethics and not by contractual obligation. He then mentioned that he had paid large sums of money on two different occasions to consultants who could not get the job done either but offered no refund.
I have seen this type of scenario play out several times during the past few years where consultants do not pay close enough attention to small, critical details at the time of grabbing a new contract, then later come back with an excuse that due to third party involvement or situation they could not assure the success of the project. Nothing is new in the situation mentioned above. The point I want to make here is that by being honest and upfront with this client, I have made a lasting, positive impression about the credibility of myself and my company.
I have another recent example where one of my clients who has been working with me for a long time did not agree on one of the judgment calls I had about their IT situation. As a result, they ended up losing a tremendous amount of clinical data during a hard drive crash, or so they thought. I have a habit of protecting my client’s interest even if they are not careful enough to do it on their own. While this client had moved their IT support elsewhere and was not using our services at the time of the crash, we were still able to recover the data from a copy of a backup which we had setup previously for him before he moved to the other IT company. The same IT company who failed to step up when he needed them most.
There is one more incident that happened recently which reminded me of how important it is to deal with others in an ethical manner. Another billing company in the area lost many clients recently because of trust issues. I wrote about them in an earlier blog, but this billing company was siphoning physician’s money into their personal bank account without the physician’s knowledge. They did this by giving their own bank information instead of the physicians to the various insurance companies. Later on, when one of their physicians moved their medical billing to us, he noticed a huge increase in his revenue which triggered concern in his mind about the previous billing practices of his old billing company. A few phone calls later, and the other billing company was involved in a large-scale federal investigation involving the mishandling of money.
The above personal behavior and professional ethics reaffirm our ability to judge situations correctly and make the right choices for our clients resulting in long-term sustainable trust. This is something we can all do. It is repeatable, and it pays big rewards.
Be honest, transparent, and firm when you deal with your prospects or clients. Your company culture is nothing but your personal reputation, build it carefully or continue spending money endlessly on your marketing for the rest of the life.