Letter from the President

Well here we are, 2021!  We have put 2020 in the rear-view mirror and it is now the dawn of a new day/year!  So what is in store for us this year? The possibilities are endless.  Planning for a new year should bring hope and positive thoughts to all of us. Why, some may ask?  Well, for one, we made it through the year that was, 2020!  Not many alive have lived through a pandemic before.  Given that the last one was in 1918, the number of people to whom this was “been there, done that” will be few.  And, even though we are still in the midst of our current pandemic, we are surviving and working together to defeat it. 

We learned many valuable lessons in the past 12 months and we adapted.  We may not like all of the adaptations, but we did what was necessary to make it through.  I have always subscribed to the theory that a mistake is not bad, unless you don’t learn from it.  Let’s learn from our mistakes of the past year and move forward to finding better solutions and doing so much more quickly than our “typical” speed.    Look at the implementation of Telehealth if you want an example.  Without the pandemic forcing our hand to implement Telehealth solutions, Insurance companies would still only cover Telehealth in very specific circumstances.  Let’s embrace that methodology and apply it elsewhere to keep moving forward more expeditiously. 

 I consider myself an optimist (maybe not wide-eyed), but I choose to look for the positive every day.  Every year National MGMA holds a meeting for the leaders of their State Affiliate Associations, Council of State Leaders (COSL). The meeting is typically held in Denver in January and I’ve attended several times.  It is largely focused on bringing the State Leaders together to facilitate collaboration and to learn from each other. The meeting last year (2020) was the last time I have traveled anywhere outside of Pennsylvania. In 2021, I was skeptical about the impact it would have being held via a virtual platform.   This meeting always seemed to offer an interactive experience with more networking than any of the other conferences I have attended.  Although everyone attending separately did not allow for the level of collaboration we may have experienced in the past, it was a very collaborative activity.  Using a Zoom platform and using tools I have not used with Zoom previously; it was surprisingly interactive and we found ways to involve everyone in attendance.  Even self-proclaimed introverts were contributing to the conversation while remaining in their comfort zone.  Those of us who attended from Pennsylvania, came away with several unique ideas for events we plan to hold in 2021. Additionally, we were awarded Second Place in the State Affiliate of the Year competition!   I encourage you to watch our events calendar and plan on attending at least one of our virtual events this year.  We continue to offer top-quality content and hope to add elements of networking, stress relief and entertainment to your experience. 

Keep Pennsylvania MGMA on your watch list and reserve your spot at one of our upcoming events. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the experience.  Even though we may not be able to be together in person (yet) you will feel the connection across the lines of electronic communication.  Let’s turn our broken eggs into an omelet.  Let’s make 2021 the year we emerge from our cocoon, transformed and ready to fly into our re-imagined future. 

Traci Evans, FACMPE
Pennsylvania MGMA, President

Upcoming events

There’s no going back: Time to PIVOT for Productivity and Profits

By: Mary C. Kelly, PhD, Commander, US Navy, Retired

It is time to pivot. There’s no going back to the habits, routines, and the normal that we all enjoyed before the COVID-19 virus. Some leaders are hoping for a return to what life was like in 2019. There is no going back. Let that sink in. We are not going back. It is tempting to be nostalgic for a simpler time, when a dirty doorknob or a hotel remote was not considered a potential deadly threat.  As leaders, we cannot wallow in self-pity for a simpler time.  

The new normal is the new reality. It is time to P.I.V.O.T.
This virus has changed how many people view products, sourcing, supply chains, and inventory. It is also changed how people approach how and where they work, and how and where they interact with others.  For some this is a great opportunity to start fresh, to re-imagine, reinvent, and relaunch their business.  For others, it is more challenging.

For the past 10 years, the United States enjoyed unprecedented growth. The economy was strong, unemployment was at record lows, and businesses were flourishing.

The virus is an external shock
. In economics, that is an event or impact that cannot be controlled, cannot be predicted, and has far-reaching effects.  No one could have predicted it this, we didn’t budget for this, but we do have to react and act to deal with it.

Great leaders have to understand that they need to change processes, procedures, and how their people work as situations change.  They P.I.V.O.T.

There are 5 areas to examine to start looking for opportunities and action steps to move your team forward.


P - Purpose

People need to feel needed.  Employees need to know that what they do matters.  Great leaders imbue people with a sense of importance by listening to their ideas, getting their input, and listening to their concerns.  They help them stay focused on the goals, give them a sense of belonging, and provide them with a vision that becomes their purpose.

I - Influence/Inspire

Great leaders exert influence and inspire others in the right ways, and they encourage those around them to do the same.  How are we using abilities to create a positive influence on our people, our customers, our communities, and our families? The Hawaiian word for this was coined by George Kanahele, “Do the right thing, at the right time, to the right person, with the right spirit, every time.” As my niece says, “Use your powers for good.”

V - Volatility

People are struggling.  Before making a judgment or an assumption about someone at work, in a store, or at the post office, understand that people are in a volatile situation.  In the history of the world, we have never experienced anything like this. Rein in your first reaction and give people a little grace.  Every major shift comes with uncertainty.  On the volatility spectrum, assess what phase they may be in:  Vague, Vulnerable, Vexed, Valuable, or Victorious and act accordingly.

O - Opportunity

Yes, the situation is serious, and we do not want to capitalize on the suffering of others, but in times of great change there are also great opportunities to serve others, shift your focus, change your product offerings, and respond to a rapidly changing market.
Ask yourself:

  1. “Where is there a need in my community?”
  2.  “Where is there a need in my industry?”
  3. “What do my customers need now?”
  4. “How can we serve them in the best possible ways?”
  5. “If I was starting from zero, where would I focus my energies?”

T - Tools/Training/Technology

What do we need to use, learn, or develop moving forward?  What do we need to upgrade? Who can we contact for advice? What do we need to learn how to do?
To pivot, we need to be not only looking forward, we need to be taking action to move forward.  Pivoting involves changing course, strategizing on how to best serve the changing needs of our markets and communities, and helping others through the difficulties.  

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About the Author

Dr. Mary Kelly

Dr. Mary Kelly is an internationally renowned author and keynote speaker on leadership, productivity, and business growth. In 21 years as a Navy intelligence and logistics officer, Mary trained more than 40,000 military and civilian personnel.

Mary holds a degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, master’s degrees in both in Economics and History, and a PhD in economics. She has more than 20 years experience teaching economics, finance, leadership, and management at the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, and Hawaii Pacific University.

Mary is also a member of MENSA and the American Economics Association. She is the recipient of the U.S. Air Force Academy Outstanding Educator and Instructor of the Year awards. She has published books on leadership, productivity, communication, and business growth.

Mary loves business strategy, succession planning, and leadership development that yields results.  She also loves helping other people succeed, which is what makes her an effective executive business coach.

 Value of Membership

  • Leading analysts, experienced practice executives and industry suppliers discuss relevant practice issues
  • Enriched educational content from within the accredited American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE) management skill-set
  • Leadership development through your contribution on the Board of Directors and/or Committees
  • Network and Collaborate, with your peers at regional events
  • Understanding emerging technology and applications to efficiently and effectively manage medical care and improve patient satisfaction
  • Listserv for you to share challenges and successes with healthcare leaders
  • 24/7 Access to the online Practice Resources and the MGMA Washington Connection
  • Complimentary registration to 12 webinars on current topics to benefit your practice
  • Advocacy on legislative issues and regulatory compliance
  • Participation in practice staff compensation survey

Membership in Pennsylvania MGMA is a rolling 12-months. You can enroll as an Individual, Affiliate, Faculty or Student member.

For practices which want to enroll in our Organizational Membership: Benefits include everything afforded to General members and:

  1. Discounted Dues - The more individuals you enroll as members, the higher the discount on membership dues;
  2. Transferability – If a member leaves the organization, the membership can be transferred to another individual who is affiliated with the organization; and
  3. E-Z Billing - One consolidated invoice for membership renewal.

Join PA MGMA Now!

Practices & Life Science: Leverage reps for success in 2021

By: Linda Jacky

During COVID-19, technology has truly come to the rescue for medical practices nationwide in
terms of preserving patient relationships. Practice managers, for example, have been able to
increase patient access using telehealth and remote patient monitoring. They’ve been able to
communicate with patients via the portal and text messaging.

They’ve also been able to preserve relationships with life science reps. More specifically,
they’ve continued to receive critical education about new drugs and protocols using virtual

However, the current pandemic has also caused relationships to evolve. This article will focus on five ways in which relationships between medical practices and drug reps will evolve in 2021.

1. More virtual meetings.

Even when the COVID-19 vaccine is more available, it doesn’t necessarily mean that medical
practices will automatically open their physical doors to drug reps. Many may continue to limit in-person interactions and engage in virtual meetings instead. Providers may value the efficiency of video conferencing, and freeing up the waiting room is always a bonus.
A recent Accenture survey found that 87% of healthcare providers want either ‘all virtual’ or a
mix of ‘virtual’ and ‘in-person’ meetings even after the pandemic ends. The same survey found that 28% of providers with onsite restrictions for reps may extend those restrictions permanently. Another 44% said they would keep restrictions in place for the foreseeable future.

2. More focus on products that support self-administration and remote monitoring.

The Accenture study also found that 65% of all healthcare providers value self-administration
methods for patients (i.e., auto-injectors or on-body devices) more than they did pre-COVID-19. Sixty-two percent said they value tools for remote monitoring of their patients at home more than they did before COVID-19. Practices will increasingly make time for reps who promote these types of products that enable ease of administration and an ability to maintain adherence without physically visiting the office.

3. More focus on patient education.

Reps will increasingly go beyond providing product information alone. Sixty-nine respondents to the Accenture survey said digital patient education is more helpful now than ever before.
Sixty-five percent said they’ll look to their drug reps for information on how patients can
manage their condition in light of COVID-19.

In 2021, we’ll likely see more of an effort to provide clear and easy-to-understand patient
education materials on a variety of topics.

4. More focus on patient financial assistance programs.

The majority of providers (68%) said affordability programs are particularly helpful. This is
especially true for general practitioners and immunologists.
Life science reps will be increasingly tasked with providing information about these programs to help patients in financial distress who might otherwise delay or forgo treatment.

5. More relevant conversations in general.

Fifty-eight percent of healthcare providers said their pharmaceutical company has spammed
them with content during COVID-19, and the majority say that these companies don’t
understand the real impact of the virus on medical practices and patients. In the year ahead, we’ll likely see pharma companies provide reps with novel data to make conversations with healthcare providers more productive, personalized, and meaningful.

In summary

The year ahead will certainly be an interesting one for healthcare providers and life science reps alike. Navigating this critical relationship in the context of COVID-19 requires flexibility,
communication, and technology. How will your practice ensure that it makes the most of

relationships with reps in 2021 and beyond?

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About the Author

Linda Jacky

Linda is the Customer Marketing Manager of RxVantage. She is focused on improving the customer and product experience to increase engagement. Linda lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two young boys.

2021 Physician Staffing: 6 Takeaways from Physician Poll Questions

By: Trevor Strauss, MBA, Jackson Physician Search

As healthcare administrators pursue their 2021 physician staffing plans, it’s a perfect time to share the intel we’ve been gathering from physicians over the past six months. Jackson Physician Search asked physicians via our candidate email newsletter and job opportunity emails to answer a single poll question related to their career plans each month. The results offer insight that can help healthcare organizations gain an edge in their 2021 physician recruitment plans.

June 2020: Has COVID-19 prompted you to search for a new job?

Each year, the healthcare industry experiences physician turnover at a rate of 6-7%. Once the country began re-opening, we asked physicians if the pandemic had prompted them to search for a new job.

A striking 67% of physicians said, yes, COVID is influencing their decision to seek a new job opportunity.

With the first vaccines rolling out now, it will be interesting to see how many physicians continue to pursue new roles. But clearly, they have taken stock of their current situation, and it may lead to higher physician turnover rates than in past years. Now is the time to ensure that you have contingency plans in place in order to keep your 2021 staffing plan on track.

July 2020: Would you accept a position based on a virtual interview alone (no on-site visit)?

Another component of physician recruitment that has been heavily impacted by the pandemic is the interview process. With in-person and on-campus meetings severely curtailed at various points throughout the year, we wanted to learn how virtual interviews impacted candidates’ decision-making process. We asked a yes or no question about whether a candidate would accept a new position based solely on a virtual interview.

The responses were split down the middle as 52% of physicians said yes and 48% responded no.

Obviously, virtual meetings and interviews have proven helpful during the shutdown protocols and several of our clients made successful hires via virtual interviews alone. But for many physicians, a face-to-face meeting is an essential part of the process.

August 2020: How many on-site or virtual interviews are needed for you to be comfortable making a career decision?

In that same vein, we sought to learn more about the ideal number of interviews before a physician candidate reaches a decision.

In response, 45% of physicians chose one interview, while 26% needed two, and 29% chose 3 or more as the ideal number.

Since almost half of the candidates only need a single interview before deciding if an opportunity is right for them, administrators should focus on delivering a great first impression.

September 2020: Which aspect of the community tour most influences your decision to accept or reject a job offer?

One aspect of the recruitment process that should never be discounted is the community tour. Site visits and community tours were significantly challenged by the pandemic. However, according to physicians, they remain a vital influence on whether or not they will accept an opportunity that involves moving to a new community.

More than 90% of physicians responded that a community tour is essential.

In support of community tours, 42% cited the local housing market as the most important factor, while 31% pointed to the schools and childcare resources. These are timely data points to consider when planning out a community tour for physician candidates.

October 2020: In making your employment decision, how important is it that your significant other accompany you on the interview and community tour?

Another factor that should never be ignored when planning your in-person interview is the candidate’s significant other. In their own words, physicians are telling us that having their spouse or significant other accompany them on an interview is key.

Over 53% considered it very important, while another 18% chose somewhat important.

Just 12% said it was not important, while 17% chose not applicable. Knowing that 71% of the candidates with a significant other cite the importance of their inclusion solidifies the notion that the whole family should be recruited, not just the physician.

November 2020: What is your ideal interview schedule?

The last question posed to physicians was designed to determine a preference in how the interview process was scheduled overall.

The majority of the respondents split between having several visits (35%) and finishing the interviews all in one day (37%).

A smaller number indicated a preference for a 2- to 3-day long visit (13%), while 14% stated that it didn’t matter to them. While these numbers may seem inconclusive, they suggest that you may want to ask candidates what they prefer.

6 Key Takeaways

  1. COVID may be prompting physicians to seek new job opportunities.
  2. Virtual interviews have a place, but physicians prefer face-to-face.
  3. Almost half of physicians only need one interview to decide if an opportunity is right.
  4. Community tours focused on housing markets and school systems are important.
  5. Over 70% of candidates felt it was essential to have their significant other involved in the process.
  6. Physicians don’t have a strong preference for the number of days to commit for interviews, so ask them.

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About the Author

Trevor Strauss, MBA
Regional Vice President, Jackson Physician Search

Trevor currently serves as a Regional Vice President for Jackson Physician Search, part of the Jackson Healthcare, a $1.4 billion dollar family of companies focused on healthcare staffing and technology solutions.

Since 2008, he has been partnering with healthcare organizations from clinics, to FQHCs, to the largest health systems and non-acute care/retail organizations in the country to meet their human capital needs.

Through these partnerships, he has focused on all aspects of recruitment and staffing ranging from permanent, to executive search, to locums, to full scale workforce solutions covering hundreds of hires.

He is based out of the Jackson Healthcare corporate office in Atlanta, GA where he resides with his wife Misun.

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