Medical care providers often have to choose between service focused American Mom-and-Pop companies who lack resources and technology, or large and impersonal offshore companies that prioritize technology above customer service. Fellow Health Partners supplies a solution to both of those challenges. We provide high-touch, responsive customer service and high-tech billing and workflow processes that guarantee accuracy and quality. The company, founded in 2016, started out with a focus on orthopedics and cardiology and has now expanded to cover 21 specialties with more being added all the time.
Having an executive team with knowledge and experience, Fellow Health Partners started its journey with its first M&A transaction, which went very well as they knew what “not to do”, allowing the company to avoid some traditional pitfalls. However, Fellow Health Partners did learn some valuable lessons which it applied to its second transaction, enabling the company to realize tremendous improvements in profitability throughout, especially when applying its technology and workflow solutions.
Over the years, the company has grown organically via doctor referrals, and today it is growing at jet speed, combining organic growth with M&A and making Fellow Health Partners one of the leading medical solutions firms.
Interview Snippet with the Founder & CEO, Michael N. Brown:
Q.What kind of mixed responses have you received from your customers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your offerings and grow the company?
In the beginning, we built Fellow Health Partners based on what we heard from doctors and practice managers who told us what they were dissatisfied with among existing offerings. So, we built from the ground up to deal with their dissatisfaction with existing services including technologies, customer service and follow up.
We spent a lot of time, money, and effort over the years in fine-tuning our offerings and services. We added services and focused our offerings in areas of technology, reporting, and customer service — all designed to make our clients more money and relieve stress. We not only competed, but we exceeded the expectations of our clients and gained market share.
Q.What challenges did you face in your initial years?
As a start-up, the biggest challenge for us was to raise capital. Unlike other billing companies, we had a different model and we built our infrastructure for accelerated growth before we began to grow fast. This included our Knowledge College™ curriculum, our SAVi™ workflow, and billing software, compliance programs, accounting processes, talent acquisition strategies, and building out advisory committees and trusted members of our Board of Directors. Another challenge was being asked about how many customers we had, rather than about how well our (growing) customer base was being served and how satisfied they were.
Q.A company’s behavior is as important as its economic performance or the quality of its products. How do you interpret this saying?
A company’s collective behavior is actually the company’s culture. And here’s our philosophy on this: First, a company’s culture is created by management. It’s their job to model, measure, and reinforce appropriate behavior and behave impeccably at all times. This will then be reflected back by the employees – and that’s how you get a “culture” or a company’s behavior.
We look to companies like Apple and Amazon, where the focus is on the customer — on satisfying them completely, even if, from time to time it might “cost” more than it seems to return in dollars at the time.
Q.Trust is a difficult attribute to measure and a delicate dynamic to maintain. How do you maintain this with your clients?
We begin by understanding that you can’t make “trust” a goal because it’s a moving target. You can trust someone on one thing and not another. For example, you can trust your best friend with your life, but you might not trust them with your lawnmower or to grill you a steak.
We at Fellow Health Partners teach the basis of trust at our Knowledge College™, starting with the fact that trust is actually the end result of comfort over time. So, when you’re trying to establish trust you’re really trying to establish comfort. And, comfort is the end result of 4 pillars: propriety (everything you do and don’t do), competence (skills applied appropriately), commonality (something you have in common with the client), and intent (where you’re coming from). And by focusing on these 4 items and striving to always model them impeccably, we have a much higher likelihood of building and maintaining trust with our clients.
Q.Is Fellow Health Partners a ‘leader’ or a ‘follower’? Do you formulate your own core values?
I believe we are not only the leaders but also followers and partners. Followers only so far as we use some best practices that have been established over the years and don’t need to change. However, we mostly consider ourselves as leaders and partners.
We are the only company in this space that has a Knowledge College™, a full-time, ongoing training facility that focuses equally on technical AND people skills. Our core values are simple. First, we expect that our relationship with our clients is based on mutual trust and respect and this extends to our employees as well. Without trust, success is not sustainable.
The Future Roadmap
Based in New York, Fellow Health Partners strives to be the leader in workflow technologies and customer service. Through organic growth and M&A transactions, the company plans on collecting over $500 million annually for its doctors within the next 3 years. “We hope to be recognized and trusted as a leader in customer service with a 5-star rating from our clients,” says Michael.
Michael N. Brown, CEO:
Michael has more than 15 years of business consulting experience at companies such as Price Waterhouse Coopers and Loughlin Management Partners + Co, where he was a Director. His operational working experience includes retail, manufacturing and healthcare companies that generate annual revenues of between $50 million and $2 billion+.
Michael holds a BA in Accounting and an MBA with a specialization in Accounting, Finance, and Taxation.