Contributed by: YourHub.com on 3/6/2006
BY ANGELA PATTERSON
Paul King describes Doctors Management as the Bruce Pearl of medical practice management.
“We’re the coach and the teacher,” said King, owner and president of Doctors Management. “We take a team, or in our case a practice, and turn them around, take them to the next level.”
King and his 80-plus person staff are in the business of bringing medical practices back to life or giving birth to new ones. The medical management firm manages medical and dental practices in all 50 states, helping doctors minimize costs and maximize profits. The firm has specialized department heads in everything from facilities management to HIPAA (the medical privacy act), so that doctors can focus on patient care rather than administrative tasks.
“We write business plans for the practice, implement the plan and continue to fine-tune it as we develop a relationship with the business,” King, who bought the firm in 1987, said. “We’re focused on four things for the business: to increase patient satisfaction, improve the profits, enhance employee morale and reduce everyone’s stress level.”
Doctors Management now helps practices all over the country, but it took 50 years of growth and hard work to get to that point. In 1956, Doctors Management was a small-scale operation founded by Robert Fraim.
“I had an opportunity to become a business manager for a medical group,” Fraim, who moved here 55 years ago from Louisville, Ky., said. “I found it fascinating. They invited me to become an administrator. A couple of years later, I thought that rather than (consulting for) five orthopedic surgeons, it makes more sense to do it for the world. And 50 years later, this company is in fact doing this for the world.”
The company has consulted for medical practices in Great Britain and other countries, but despite the locale, the idea remains the same: to help the doctor do his job better.
“I think the thing that differentiates us the most is our focus on implementation rather than development,” William Bristow, who oversees new business development, said. “We come in and make the business plan a reality. We stay there as long as they want us, and try to take them to the next level.”
They even try to save them money. Doctors Management has created the Power Buying Plan, a program where the firm’s connections with vendors give doctors in small practices the same purchasing power as a hospital, which results in discount prices on everything from office supplies to MRI equipment.
But not only are they concerned with the efficiency of medical practices, they’ve also taken it upon themselves to make sure there are educated people in their own field of practice management.
“We’ve started a school to train medical practice managers,” Philip Dickey, human resources director, said. “We’re in our ninth year and we have 20 people on the faculty. It’s a one-year program with 24 educational sessions, and they become certified medical practice managers. We’re one of the few in the country that offer such a certification.”
Fifty years in existence has taught the staff a lot about the medical field and business in general, but they all agree that no matter the nature of the business, the customer always comes first.
“We like to take a practice that’s been suffering and take them to a level they thought they’d never get to,” King said. “Something Bob taught me is if we can get a staff of six to improve just a little bit, think how much that practice improves. The result of that work is a happier patient and a happier employee. We get to help people, and the reward for that is gratifying personally.”
And the plan for the next 50 years? King said no one ever reaches the peak in this business; the goal is to strive a little every day to better a practice.
“We’ve just hit the ball and are running toward first base,” King said. “Home plate’s a long way away.”