It's not always easy to recognize how our personal behavior and professional ethics impact our own ability to judge situations correctly, and ultimately enable us to make the right choices for the people around us, including our colleagues and clients. But with the right ethics and behavior, we can nurture long-term sustainable trust, and create an environment for our business to thrive. To that end, I wanted to share a brief anecdote about how the right combination of ethics and behavior helped my business to prosper. And how it could do the same to yours.
Recently I received a business inquiry through our website. I arranged a meeting with the prospect client. We had a productive conversation, ending with the prospect signing up for PracticeForces’ services, and paying the Kickstarter Practice Package fee for new physicians of $5,000.
Afterwards, I began reviewing the credentialing paperwork for the new client, when I noticed that the new physician did not have the necessary certification needed to sit as Medical Director for the client, per Medicare guidelines. Concerned, we contacted Medicare to confirm. Medicare reported back saying that the new physician met their standards, and that we should not have any problems moving forward. So, together we signed the contract, and get started with credentialing.
Even though Medicare gave us the green light, I felt it would be prudent to reconfirm. We contacted Medicare again, this time rewording our questions to express our concerns. This time Medicare gave us a different answer. The physician did not qualify to be the Medical Director based on their guidelines.
I immediately contacted our new client to explain the situation. I offered them a full refund, and explained that the last thing we wanted to do was to waste their money on an effort that would not lead to the results they expected.
The owner was speechless. They told me this was the first time they had ever met someone who refunded their money based on the principles of ethics and not by contractual obligation. They even mentioned that they had paid large sums of money on two different occasions to consultants who could not get the job done either - but offered no refund.
Kunal Jain presenting a keynote on ethical business practices at the Oxford Global Business Summit, December 2016.
Unfortunately, I have seen this type of scenario play out several times before. The success of a client's project is affected by the lack of attention to critical details at the time of drafting a new contract, but later only third parties or other external factors are blamed if the project fails.
The point I wanted to make is that by being honest and upfront with this client, I made a positive and long-lasting impression about my personal integrity and the credibility of my business.
I have two more stories I'd like to share with you today.
One of my long-standing clients didn't agree on one of the judgment calls I had about their IT systems. As a result, they ended up losing a tremendous amount of clinical data during a hard drive crash, or so they thought. But 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 backup copy created prior to them joining this new IT company. The same IT company who failed to step up when he needed them most.
And finally, one more recent incident 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 a previous blog post, but this billing company was siphoning physician's money into their personal bank account without the physician knowledge. They did so 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 concerns about the billing practices of his old billing company. A few phone calls later, and the other billing company was part of 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 and transparent when dealing with prospects and clients. Your company culture reflects your personal behavior and professional ethics. Build it well and your healthcare business will thrive.