When Hartford, Connecticut-based Jefferson Radiology came calling roughly a year-and-a-half ago for Mark S. Grossman, he was happily ensconced in a large radiology practice in Cincinnati, Ohio. But the opportunity to serve Connecticut’s largest private radiology practice, founded in 1963, proved irresistible. All of the ingredients for success were well established in the 40-member group, which owns and operates six outpatient imaging centers throughout Greater Hartford County and maintains professional service agreements at four local hospitals. Grossman’s charge is to fine-tune, team build, and embark on a strategy of controlled growth and diversification.
ImagingBiz.com: We are in a time of extreme tumult in medicine and radiology in specific. Is Jefferson Radiology in a contraction mode, an expansion mode, or preserving the status quo?
GROSSMAN: Jefferson Radiology is the largest private-practice diagnostic and interventional radiology group and the largest provider of hospital radiology services in Connecticut. There is significant opportunity in the marketplace and we are in what I would call a managed growth mode. We are exploring many opportunities for expansion, and we want to be positioned to take on those opportunities while, at the same time, maintaining proper physician staffing. It is critical during this growth that we continue to provide quality service with the subspecialty expertise that Jefferson offers. We are in a recruitment mode right now. We are trying to grow the number of radiologists that we have within Jefferson.
ImagingBiz.com: What are the current challenges for a non-physician CEO in a radiology practice?
GROSSMAN: I am the first non-physician CEO within Jefferson’s history and have a 25-year background in academic, hospital, and private practice environments. Previously, the group had an executive director, but the group decided that it wanted someone who had strong business and leadership skills, with proven experience in managing not only physician groups, but radiology groups. Jefferson was a successful organization before I arrived, so what I am doing is a lot of fine-tuning. Jefferson’s formula for success does not really require rocket science. We want to deliver quality service. To do that, we have to have well-trained, sub-specialized radiologists, state-of-the-art equipment, and a knowledgeable and compassionate staff. We are 300 employees strong at this point.
One of my focuses has been to enhance the alignment of our team and to make sure that every employee in every position within the organization understands the big picture and how they can impact Jefferson’s success.
Another focus is on customer service. While we are the largest group, there is a lot of competition in outpatient radiology in the greater Hartford area. We are committed to doing more than just talking about customer service. We are committed to really delivering a quality product in every aspect of a patient’s experience with us: from first contact, to scheduling, to the treatment they receive from the front desk staff and technologists, down to the proper handling of billing and the timeliness of results to the referring physician. Last year, everyone in our organization, both physicians and employees, went through customer service training. They were taken out of the clinical setting and attended a multi-day program with professional trainers engaged by Jefferson. Our commitment to customer services doesn’t stop there. We benchmark our performance on a quarterly basis using patient satisfaction surveys that are administered by an outside entity, Press Ganey. We use those survey results to continuously enhance our performance. We also will be doing, for the first time ever, a physician satisfaction survey that will be conducted by phone using a third party professional so that we can gauge our referring physicians’ perception of the service we are providing.
My role as the non-physician CEO is to serve as both a leader and a facilitator and, of course, to make sure that the finances, operations, marketing, billing and every other aspect of our organization is achieving and running at the peak of efficiency. We have made significant progress in the last year and a half.
IMAGINGBIZ.COM: How do you take a successful radiology practice and make it more successful?
GROSSMAN: Continuing to diversify our business is critical. We enjoy being a full-service radiology services company with significant