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Cathy Homeyer is a Montgomery-based consultant to medical and dental practices that need help with the business side of their operations. Physicians, dentists, eye doctors, and chiropractors can sometimes discover themselves in the costly predicament of being so engrossed in resolving patients’ health problems that they have neglected customer service, team building, production, and debt collection—all fundamentals necessary for business success.
Homeyer worked several years as an office manager and insurance manager for different dentists before joining a young dentist in The Woodlands in 2004 who was just starting a pediatric dentistry practice. “I was fortunate enough to be hired. In the beginning, it was the doctor, myself, and one chairside assistant. We grew the practice to three doctors, two locations, several full-time chairside assistants, dental hygienists, and several front-office personnel. Also, we never fell behind 98 percent production to collection ratio,” she says, “and two years later, they’ve never fallen behind. From my training, I know how to get that done.”
She remained with the dentist for 10 years, and then, with her husband’s encouragement, formed her company, Administrative Management Solutions, and hung out her shingle as a practice productivity specialist. One of the reasons doctors and other medical practitioners turn to consultants, Homeyer says, is because of their lack of exposure to business courses during their education. “They’re very smart, very educated. But they get about an hour of instruction on how to run a business. Their focus is the patient. But, what they fail to do is to stay on top of the business.” Instead, she says, they assume that the office personnel they have hired know what they are doing and are doing a good job. “They assume that the new hire knows what is needed and wanted without properly training them. The new employee does not feel valued, so he or she just puts in the hours and collects a paycheck. They’re not presenting themselves properly to the patient. They don’t acknowledge the patient; they just push a piece of paper across the desk and say, “We’ll be with you in a couple of minutes.’”
Business owners, Homeyer says, should want to see proof of how well the business is doing, should want to see the numbers and not just rely on others to tell them how well they are doing. For instance, if a doctor saw a patient six months ago, he or she should raise questions about why that patient has not returned, and whether new patients are coming in.
A business needs to have a team that feels it is vested in the business, Homeyer says. “You want people who feel that if they don’t collect properly, don’t present themselves properly to patients, it’s taking money out of team members’ pockets as well as the business.”
Homeyer says her role is to provide solutions to those and related problems. She does not charge a fee for the initial consultation to discuss the problem or for the visit to the medical practice to observe operations. She also offers a “Secret Shopper” phase. “As far as the ‘team’ knows, I present to be a patient/client and walk through the process as if I were an actual patient. The only one who knows I’m not is the doctor/owner. After my visit, I present my evaluation to the doctor/owner. At that point, I’m prepared to discuss with the doctor/owner what changes (if any) I suggest need to be implemented in order to grow their practice/business to its full potential.” Once a plan is formulated to provide solutions, she will provide hands-on training. “It could take place in several visits, or it could occur over several months. It just depends on how huge the organization is and how deep the problem is,” Homeyer says.
If needed, Homeyer says, “We will train the client’s team in filing, collecting, and managing insurance claims in a timely fashion.” If a medical practice’s production to collection ratio is lagging, Homeyer says, “We will train its team to meet or exceed 98 percent, and also maintain a 98 percent ratio.”
Many consultant firms do not provide hands-on training, according to Homeyer. “Other consultant firms meet with the doctor and the doctor’s spouse, take them out to dinner and wine them and dine them, then next day come to meet the team, present them with a cookie cutter plan, hand them a hefty bill, and leave. The ‘plan’ is just a book of great ideas, not a plan.”
Homeyer says that if she is hired and the client follows the guidelines and implementations, they won’t have to hire another consultant. “My basis for success in doing small business is the selling of customer service, doing something that wows your client, something that sets you apart from anyone else. You can’t help but succeed if you do that,” she says. Thus far, she has restricted her clientele to medical and dental practices, but may begin soon broadening her client base to include small non-medical businesses.
A native of Connecticut, Homeyer began her career as a secretary for petroleum giant Conoco after graduating from Briarwood College in Southington. She climbed through the ranks to executive secretary/administrative assistant to the executive vice president for worldwide production. In 1978, the company offered her a promotion and a transfer to Houston. “I had traveled down here quite a lot, so I knew what I was getting into, so to speak. I loved it.”
During a business trip to the company’s office in Corpus Christi, she met her future husband Greg. “I worked in the executive office, and he was in the field,” she recalls. Marriage followed, and the Homeyers are approaching their 34th anniversary. Greg has been an oilfield consultant for several years. They are the parents of two sons: Justin, 31, of Spring, an information technology project manager; and Cameron, 30, an Oklahoma University professor in Norman. They also have six grandchildren, “with one more on the way,” Homeyer adds.
She goes back to Connecticut occasionally to visit family and friends, but does not miss it. “Texas is my home. My husband likes to say that I’ve been a Texan longer than I was a Yankee.” In addition to spending their spare time with their family, she and her husband enjoy joining friends and taking recreational vehicle trips to the Texas hill country and other locations where they can dance to the music of some of their favorite county-western artists. Homeyer is also president of the Greater Conroe Chapter of Business Networking International.
Additional information about Administrative Management Solutions may be found at www.adminmgtsolutions.com.
Contact Information: (936) 689-7111