Building & Running a Successful Healthcare Biz

Building & Running a Successful Healthcare Biz

Check out the latest episode below. Mr.Biz Radio provides business owners with the knowledge and insights needed to drive their companies forward.

Mr. Biz Radio: Building & Running a Successful Healthcare Biz

Unedited transcription of the show is included below:


Welcome to Mr. Biz radio, Biz. Talk for Biz owners. If you're ready to stop faking the funk and take your business onward and upward, this show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth.


All right, welcome to another episode of Mr. Biz Radio with me Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth. And we're gonna talk about topic this week. We're gonna dive right into this that hits each and every one of us every single day all the time hits our family. We're talking about healthcare and a lot of different aspects of that. Don't worry, we're not gonna get too deep into the weeds with it, but we have an absolute expert, of course, on the show this week, and she's gonna help us. We're gonna talk through a lot of different things, but of course, in the third segment, she's gonna help us, give us some tips on how to build and run a successful healthcare business. So this week's guest on Mr. Biz Radio is not other than than Ms. Doris Dike. She is a healthcare business lawyer who focuses her career in helping healthcare entrepreneurs and providers start and run healthcare businesses successfully. Hence the tips she's gonna give us. She's a former,general counsel at a hospital, former compliance officer for a home healthcare company, and owns her own healthcare business in Dallas, Texas with her physician spouse. Doris, welcome to Mr. Biz Radio.


Thanks for having me, Ken. I'm so excited to be here.


Yeah, yeah. No, we've been, I know we've been gosh, it's been a while since we actually set things up and got everything going. So I've been looking forward to having you on the show for a while now. Before we start diving into everything, if you would, Doris, walk us through sort of your entrepreneurial journey. What led you to where you're at now?


You know, that's a very interesting question. I think when people hear healthcare business attorney, it's just a, you know, nobody knows what that really is until you really start to explain it. And you know, I, I would not have thought that this is where I would be, but I, I should have thought that. I my background is in health administration. That was what I went to undergrad for. My parents really wanted me to be a doctor and I really wanted to be a lawyer. So we kind of met in the middle. I said, Okay, let me get this health administration degree. And it's funny, even when I got that degree, like we had to have like an internship in undergrad at University of Illinois. And my internship was at the legal aid where I had to do a healthcare project.


So I always kind of weed healthcare into everything I did. So then when I went to law school, I made sure I took classes that were related to healthcare cuz I thought, okay, I've got this healthcare administration undergrad, let me just kind of keep with it. So I took the basic classes, but took classes in, you know, related to healthcare. But really being an entrepreneur was not something that I thought I would do. It was really meeting my husband who is a physician and him just being really disgruntled at his job and us just kind of strategizing and thinking together, like, what is he gonna do? How is he gonna get out of this contract? A lot of physicians have, you know, egregious non-compete and large fees they have to pay to leave a a practice. So really after graduating law school and, you know, starting working it, it was really helping him start a practice and leaving working for an employer that made me think, okay, I was able to successfully help my husband leave, you know, an employer deal with the non-compete and not have this egregious fee, you know, let's be successful at it.


And, you know, he's been in private practice for five years. It is been a wonderful journey of just learning how to build a successful healthcare practice. I mean, we started with like two or three employees and we're like 16 employees strong, well over a million dollars in revenue. And once you see someone doing that, you know, yeah, I'm the spouse, I'm, you know, I help with his practice. You, the entrepreneur bug kind of just hits you and you say, Well, okay, if, if I can do that, let me see if I can do that for myself with my law career. So I worked at, you know, some firms and then I went to the hospital that I was at, and that hospital was a rural hospital. The corporate office was in Plano, Texas, which is not too far from my house in Frisco, but their the hospital was actually in North Carolina and they just had some financial problems. So once they started having some problems and I had some money saved up in the bank, I said, You know what, let me take a bet on myself. I've helped other people within private practice. I've, you know, why can't I just replicate that for myself? Why can't I just make my own money? Why I reach my own entrepreneur dreams? I'm already doing that with my husband who already helped him. So it, to me it just kind of made sense.


Yeah. Well, I mean, it does make sense. You had proof of concept. Exactly right. You'd kind of been there, done that. You probably faced some trials and tribulations, some challenges, et cetera. Know what those things look like. I, I went through a similar, I had a client years ago, I probably could have used your help <laugh> that I was hoping the same thing you had mentioned at the outset of what your husband dealt with was they were physicians at a practice and their, their agreement was just egregious. And I feel like a lot of that needs to be some education up front that, you know, both of these particular physicians said to me, they said, you know, we got outta school and we were just super happy to have an offer. Didn't really have an attorney per se look at it to see if anything looked, you know, kind of crazy. Like, Oh, this is great. They looked at how much am I gonna get paid, How am I gonna get paid? You know, kind of what's the path? And kind of ignored some of those details, not thinking that, you know, there, there could be an exit. You might want to get out of this at some point or start your own practice or what have you.


And, and that is the problem. So when my husband got out of residency and had somebody look at the contract, we weren't together. So I never saw it. And he hired, you know, I'm, I'm not gonna say anything bad about that attorney. I'm sure he's great, but it wasn't someone ver like very well versed in healthcare law and you know, they might have been a great attorney in other practice areas, right? But this is such a nuanced area of law. You kind of need to know, you know, key guide points of what you should look for. And you've gotta think about what's the exit strategy for that physician. Because like you and I, we all have had jobs that we've hated. You got to think that physician might not like their first job. And you know, if you don't strategize for that, you kind of left somebody in a really difficult situation.


I mean, and, and that's kind of what we went through, but, you know, we were able to navigate it, but it, it, it was with a lot of heartache and you know, some hurt feelings on the other side too. You know, you never wanna leave an employer who, you know, paid you well and you didn't have any issues, but you still wanna be able to achieve your dreams. Like we're all built to do what is best for us. Some people like being employees and some people don't. And Right. I always say like, if you're learning from, you know, your employer, go learn and go make the best of your situation. If that means you can make more money financial on your own, do it. You don't owe anybody really anything. So I dunno, that's just kind of my school of thought.


Yeah, I mean, it was the same scenario. They, they each had had an attorney look at it, but it was an attorney, as you mentioned, that did not specialize in that they, you know, as you said, were probably really good at their specialization, but it was a buddy or a friend, Hey, can you just take a look at this? See if anything looks, you know, crazy. And again, they specialize in other areas of law and they're probably really good at in those areas, but not in this particular area. You know, I, I mentioned to them at the time, I said, you know, this is, you think about these agreements are, it's kind of sort of like a prenup, right? It's, it's a, it's, it's a career or business prenup in some ways, you know, is odd as it sounds. And so you gotta be really careful about that, you know, with some of the exit clauses and things like that.


Not only the financial aspects, but as you mentioned, the non-compete. I mean, some of 'em are just absolutely insane and having to negotiate that, it's just, it's really crazy. But we're almost up against a break here. Again, this work, we're talking with Doris Dike. You can find out more at her website, which is You can follow her on Instagram. She's trademark Lady Health,Health law underscore trademark lady. Yep. UDK Law Group on TikTok and DK Law Group on YouTube. On her YouTube channel. So we're gonna come back after the break. We'll give, give the Mr. Biz tip of the week and we'll continue talking with Doris Dike.


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All Right, welcome back to the show. It is time, as always from Mr. Biz tip of the week. And this week's tip, again, it's, it's hilarious. If you guys loyal listeners, you guys know this, that I promise I do not schedule these in advance. These tips are all shared out on social media. So it just happens to align so often that it's, it ties in with the guest and what the guest is talking about. So this week's tip is to focus on your strengths and hire expert for your weaknesses. And perfect example is what Doris helped her husband with, right? He's a physician, he's probably really good at being a physician, but he is not an attorney. You gotta hire that. And just like we talked about during the first segment, don't cheap out on those things because it could cost you a lot of money.


You know, think about, you know, again, this example we just talked about, again, it's so funny how it resonates and, and, and ties right in is, you know, these physicians, her husband as well as the two that I had worked with, had hired an attorney to help them, but they weren't specialized in that particular area of law. And so they weren't maybe great at that part. And so it ended up causing some issues. I know with the two I worked with, there were some financial issues that it caused and they probably, well, they didn't probably, they definitely lost out on some money that they would've had otherwise if they had had their, the structured a little bit differently. So don't cheap out on those things. Higher weaknesses, don't try to gts I say all the time Natalie Workman said gts, Google that stuff especially on the law side, but find an attorney, you know, know I've got someone just real quick.


Another example of Mer merger and acquisitions. Someone who's looking to sell a business, find an attorney who works only on mergers and acquisitions. The difference in that can make could be millions, if not tens, maybe hundreds of millions of dollars depending on the agreement and the lengthy agreement, how big the business is. So do not chief out on those things. Focus on your strengths, hire out your weaknesses. That's the Mr. Biz Tip of the week. Sorry, I got a little long winded there, but I got a little passionate about it and it tied into what Doris and I were talking about. So Doris, tell us a little bit more about sort of what you do at DK Law Group. And I know you, I know you work with trademark stuff as well. Give us some examples of how you work with folks.


So we really like to focus on trademarking healthcare businesses only because I think that sometimes healthcare gets, they, they forget that they've got to not just protect their business on the contracts and the compliance side, but if you're trying to build a legacy and a brand for yourself, you've got to protect that as well. I mean, there are so many companies that have similar names. Like my husband's company's is called Affinity Neurocare. Well, there's like Affinity Eyecare, Affinity dermatology, like all over the place. And they, they're not related at all. They're all different business owners. So, you know, we didn't think about it then, but now it's just like in hindsight, like, man, we should have thought about all the iterations of the company that you could potentially have in the future. Because when you, when you're a physician, you can have a multi-specialty group, you could have different, you can just serve different areas without you particularly being the one practicing that. So you just gotta think about how do you plan to grow your business, not just for today, but for five years from now, 10 years from now and onward.


Yeah. So real quick, the example you gave, So Affinity, I mean, obviously, again, that gets used all the time, but if I, if I'm interpreting what you're saying correctly, you're talking about instead of I think you'd mentioned Affinity Neuro group, maybe it would've been affinity affinity healthcare services or something more broad to where he could have affinity, neuro affinity eyecare, you know, all these different practices again, that he doesn't necessarily specialize in. Is that what you're trying to say?


Right. Or just trying to create like multiple reiteration of that name so that you can think about, okay, maybe if you have affinity, you know, neurocare, you can, you can already like start thinking about how else you, you plan to expand it. Like, like you said, like maybe Affinity Health or, or something, even though that name is already taken. But right back, back when we started, it wasn't. So you've just gotta think about the future, but that's a small piece of my practice. Most of it is, you know, nuts and bolts is contracts and compliance. I really feel that when you are starting a healthcare business, compliance is the bedrock of the business. You gotta make sure that you're, you are in compliance with federal laws, state licensing laws, and other state regulatory laws. And I think that sometimes people get scared of healthcare because there's a lot <laugh>, there's so many things you've got to think about, but it's, I don't wanna say it's recession proof, but it kind of is.


I mean, we all need healthcare. Like, it, just like you, you don't always have to go to an attorney. Like you're not gonna die if you don't go to an attorney, but you, you literally could die if you don't go see a doctor or a nurse. So, you know, those individuals starting a business, it just makes sense for them to, you know, be as lucrative as they can, but you gotta do it right. And that compliance piece is what I, I just stress so much because I see a lot of people getting in trouble because they just do things like you said, they Google it or they just, I think sometimes the money, the amount of money that touches hands to a business owner can be a lot. And not even the money, but the crazy opportunities that people provide you, like, you hear about it, it can be enticing and it, it, you have to sometimes tell somebody, I know this sounds awesome, but I don't want you to go to jail. Like, I really don't want you to go to jail. <Laugh> and I, I'm frequently on my LinkedIn or my social media pages, I read DOJ indictments, not the people's names, but what they got in trouble for. So you have an understanding like, Hey, I know that sounded like a good idea, but ah, the government says not so fast.


Yeah, and I think I couldn't agree with you more because I, especially in healthcare, reputation is so important. I mean, and I've used this example before as well, you know, if I needed a new if I'd never gone to say a neuro someone, I need a neuro, and I'd never gone to anyone before and, you know, I got a couple recommendations maybe, or maybe my primary care recommended someone, I'm gonna probably Google that person, right? Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, you're gonna do a little bit of research if you find one negative thing, you look at three doctors and two of them have anything, anything negative, and then the one doesn't. Who are you more, most likely to go to?




And so those kind of things, and it could be something that's completely non-medical related to your point, but it's a, it's, it's, you know, it's a stain on your record per se. And people go, Eh, you know, again, I don't wanna deal with that.


I mean, I, I have counseled other healthcare entrepreneurs, like, they'll provide, they'll give me a doctor they wanna work with, and if that doctor's on the Texas Medical Board sanction list, I'm like, You're not gonna work with them. You need to find somebody else. Because to me, it's like, if you work with somebody who's on one of those lists, I feel like the, the, the medical board or the government is already on high alert looking at that individual. And you don't even want to be affiliating your business with anything like that. Like you said, it's a stain so, Huh? All money isn't good money. Like, it just isn't so, and everybody thinks that it's not gonna be them like, Oh, you know, I'm not gonna be the one. And, and then you, you hear these crazy stories and you're like, Yeah, it, it's you because you decided to throw caution out the window. So yeah, it, it keeps lawyers employed, but it, it, to me, it's just so sad because I know that healthcare entrepreneurs, they mean so well, and they have the best of intentions. It's just like, you just have to really think about what you're trying to do. And like you said, reputation matters.


Yeah, for sure. I, I had a client I, I started working with, and they had a wellness, particular part of their business was wellness. And they had, when I first started with them, they had an attorney, I'm sorry, not an attorney, a physician based in the state of New York whose license was suspended. And I said, That person needs to go like yesterday. And they said, Well, let's see what he got his license suspended for. I said, I don't care if it was for jaywalking. Okay, that's a reputational risk for the rest of the company and all these other, you know, this company was a, a large conglomerate. And I said, That is not only bad for the wellness piece, but it's gonna trickle over to the other pieces of reputational wise. Super, super important. You, you just can't, can't risk those things Again. Focus on your strengths, higher your weaknesses. It comes back into play again, again, this week we're talking with Doris. You can find out more under we at her on her website, come back after the break. She's gonna give us some tips on how to grow and scale healthcare business.


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All right, welcome back to the show. And again, we're talking with Doris Dike. You can find out more at her website, Following Instagram healthlaw_trademarklady TikTok Law Group and YouTube. She has a YouTube channel, Law Group as well. So Doris, before you start giving us tips, I was thinking about this during the break. This is a little, this is a little off the beaten path there, but I've always, I can't believe I've never done this. I've always wanted to ask this question to an attorney or a lawyer. Which do you prefer lawyer or attorney? I, so before you answer, I'll tell you, So I, I see in something, the stuff that you guys, your team had submitted to us, you used the term lawyer. I had always thought like attorney sounded like cooler. And so when I talk to a lawyer, I always use the term attorney, but I see a lot of them seem to use the term lawyer. Which do you prefer?


You know what? Honestly, I use them interchangeably. It really doesn't matter to me. I, I


Don't If there was was like a stigma within the, you know,


Oh no, I, I mean I call myself a health lawyer because it just, I mean, because I think of law and, you know, sometimes people don't think of attorney. I mean, it's funny, it's like calling somebody a doctor or physician. It's just really which one do you prefer? Yeah, so I don't, I don't have a preference. Okay. I'm just excited to be able to, to say that. I mean, yeah, they're not that many, There're not that many health attorneys, so it,


It's, yeah, you should be, they should be. I've al always wondered that though. And like I said, I always use attorney and then I hear a lot of them use, you know, a lot of you guys use within the practice the field use lawyer. And I'm like, am I saying should I be saying lawyer more often? And instead of attorney. So, so what about some tips? So you helped your husband start his practice, he's been in practice, you said down for about five years or so. What are some of the things that you learned working with him on the business and in the business? I guess in, in some aspects probably that you would pass along as some tips on how to, to, to build it and start it?


That's a really good question. I think the number one is making sure that you have your business structured appropriately. And it's not just my husband is a physician, there are other people who wanna start healthcare businesses who are not physicians. So making sure that you align yourself with the right attorney to make sure that you structure your business appropriately. Like if you're trying to start a med spa or something like that, it would just be a different structure than a physician just starting their own business. So making sure that you've got the right legal structure and contracts in place. I'm gonna say this is like my number one, number one tip is making sure you have, if you're starting a traditional clinic, making sure you have a good billing team. That is the fastest way to kill a healthcare business is having poor billing.


And when you realize that the billing is not done appropriately, fire and move on. What I see is that people hold on to a billing company, a billing individual for a very long time, and they're losing so much revenue and businesses cannot take that hit. So if you don't, first of all, if you don't know how to do billing, outsource that and audit your billing team all the time. And if they're not doing a good job, you need to find somebody quickly because you know, the government or other payers are not gonna give you a ton of time to fix your billing, you know, issues. Cuz usually it's you billing something wrong, you, you don't have the right documentation or something like that to justify the payment that you receive. But man, I've seen so many companies go under because of poor billing.


And that's one of the biggest disputes between a company and a billing company is the provider. The clinic is always attacking the billing company because of the way they're billing the services. So having good billing is one. I think that people don't realize how important HR is for an organization. Making sure you have good policies in place for your employees, even if you're a small company. Just making sure you have standards of operations for your clinic is super duper important because you're gonna deal with a lot of different personalities and you can't go into a thinking that you're a mom and pop shop, even though you might be, you kind of have to think of it like you're a professional running organization because your employees, they've worked in other places, they understand some of the basics of employment law. So if you just decide to kind of wing it, they understand that you didn't pay them the overtime that you didn't, that you know you should have done this or you didn't give them the appropriate break times and things like that.


So making sure that you familiarize yourself with the right HR rules and regulations or outsource that to somebody else is super important. I think Covid taught me and my husband that it's important to be abreast of the stimulus or government aid that is available. There's so many opportunities for business owners out there, and I think that sometimes we get so bogged down in our work that we don't do the necessary research to look it up. And I think that the companies that thrived and survived during covid were able to be nimble and researched places where they can get their PPP funding or grants or things like that, that are, you know, they're available. Like if you have, for instance, if you're in a rural, you know, area, you might have a particular amount of funding that's available to you there that might not be available to people in other places or if you're serving a particular demographic. So just making sure you're doing that type of research to find that stuff. So I think so structure, hr, billing standard standard operating procedures and making sure you're researching grants and other funding that's available to you.


Well, I gotta tell you, Doris I think somehow some way you were sitting on my shoulder when I had this client that I mentioned earlier, <laugh>


Because they, their, their structure was, was okay, the contracts were shady. So I originally started, I should mention I really originally started as their fractional CFO for the practice. Long story short didn't work out. The only client that I ever terminated after I terminated the client, two of the physicians reached out to me to help negotiate their, their exit from the practice. But the billing, their billing was atrocious and Yep. I'll, I'll just be real honest, and you may have run into this as well with hopefully not, well certainly not with your husband, with maybe other, other groups is this, this practice had been in business for 28 years. They had never had a cfo, so I start turning over rocks like trying to dig through the business, right? The billing was atrocious two months before I started. They wrote off over $300,000 of receivables.


Oh my gosh. Oh yeah. Oh my gosh. And I don't even how the guy who was sort of in charge of that got the other partners to agree with that, but he did. And I started doing an audit on the billing company and I'm like, these guys are not good at their jobs. Exactly. And they're charging you way too much and they're crappy at their jobs. Like, it's a double whammy. You're getting killed on both ends here. So I did research, I found a couple other companies to, to bring them. Well, I found out in pulling, turning over these rocks that one of the partners had a good old boy agreement with the old billing company. There it is. So he we're in a board meeting and he is just blasting me because he doesn't wanna let go of this agreement. Literally found out, and again, I didn't, I'm not naming anyone, so, and this is several years back, but he was, it's kind of a strong word, but he basically was taking a kickback from the building company.


None of the other partners are getting a piece of that. So he was vehemently opposed to changing billing companies, but it was terrible. That's why I was like, I, I'm out. I can't deal with this. This is just too much shady crap going on and like, you, you gotta run this business efficiently anyway. And their HR policies, they had six locations and they didn't apply them evenly across the six locations. And here's, not only is it wrong, but the problem was some of the people that work, they would work at different, different locations. Exactly. They all talked, right? And so they go, Well that's not how we do it here. And that, you know, oh my gosh, it was a nightmare. And literally this one, this is gonna make your skin crawl doors. The one partner, same guy, he said to me when I brought this up to him, he said, That's why we have insurance.




Like, you gotta do right by people. You gotta do business the right way. Oh my gosh. It was so You


Don't care. You, you don't, Yeah. People don't care until you call. Oh,


That's crazy. It's crazy. Well, look, you, you hit all these hot buttons for me. Do, You can tell like it is just like I said, it's like you were on my shoulder five years ago with this client. Again Doris Dike. You can go to Doris, thank you so much for being on the show.


This was great. Thank you so much for having this is amazing.


Yeah, absolutely guys. Thanks for watching. Thanks for listening. Have a great week. And don't forget as always, cash flow as king


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