Episode 44 Interview With Whitney Johnson Author and Social Media Disruptor

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Author and Social Media Disruptor Whitney Johnson, @JohnsonWhitney with more than 1.5 million LinkedIn Followers has twice been named a Top Influencer by LinkedIn and joins the Health-Wealth Podcast to share her heartfelt story of being faced with no health insurance, as well as how she became a leading social media influencer.

Author of the books, Disrupt Yourself, Build an A-Team and Dare, Dream, Do, Whitney also hosts the Disrupt Yourself Podcast and shares her 7 Point framework for Personal Disruption.

Health Care Affordability Begins With You (And Ends With Apple, Microsoft, Google And Amazon), by Dr. Josh Luke

I just finished penning this article for Forbes, and there it was, a headline on LinkedIn confirming my exact point: “Apple Moving Deeper Into Healthcare.” And, just a few days later, Amazon announced a health care collaborationwith JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway.

“Bingo!” I thought: same topic, new headline. So here is the edited version.

You see, Big EMR controls health care as we know it today. Who is Big EMR? It’s a minute number of dynamic medical record companies that control more than 50% of all hospitals patient electronic medical records.

Hold on — did I just say that hospitals control patients’ records, meaning your personal records and your employees’ personal records? Yes. Absolutely, they do. Herein lies problem number one.

Hospitals control your employees’ personal medical records. Big EMR controls the hospitals. So, when your employees want their health records, how do they get access?

They have to ask permission. Herein lies problem number two.

Why doesn’t the patient own his or her own personal medical record? The answer is this: The hospital has always been the center of the health care universe — the power player. Hospitals have not ever been held accountable, as they have one of the largest lobbying organizations in the country. Hospitals have been so egregious in not being transparent, they often won’t even share prices with you in advance of your procedures or surgery. It’s reverse capitalism, and they have gotten away with it.

They actually charge a fee and make the patient wait several days, as they have to “make copies.”

So, how do we transform into a place where patients actually own their own personal medical records? I am so glad you asked.

The individual must take control of the process. But how? The hospitals have no incentive to speed up this process. In fact, the hospital business model as a whole is under pressure and at risk as a result of reimbursement changes that came along with Obamacare — and, now, Obamacare scalebacks.

But, hospital leadership behaviors have not changed — and will not. Big EMR will continue to wag the dog (the dog being the hospital, in this case). Thus, as a result, there are two things that need to happen to reverse this trend.

One, become an EHC. Yes, you — become an Engaged Healthcare Consumer, and your employees will follow. And, make sure you create a healthy culture so your employees who decide to be EHCs are surrounded with the resources and knowledge to make healthy lifestyle decisions.

You shop for houses. You shop for cars. Why don’t you shop for health care? Engage in the process, choose providers who are high quality and offer transparent pricing, and your company costs will come down — as will the costs for your employees who choose wisely and engage.

So, where do Apple, Microsoft, Google (that is, Alphabet) and Amazon come in?

There are only a few companies globally that are powerful enough to dethrone the influence Big EMR has over hospitals. And, they are all listed in the sentence above. Well, you might add Facebook as well, but my money would be on Apple, Microsoft or Amazon, as they each have a track record of putting valuable technology in the hand of the consumer. And, yes, we are consumers of health care.

Why is this? Because they are more influential than Big EMR. They put technology in your hands. They have the capability to give you ownership. They have the ability to make a power play on Big EMR by just doing what they do: delivering information

As complicated as it may seem, there is a simple formula. You become an EHC. Then, Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and/or Amazon gives you access to your personal medical record — and Big EMR loses its power and influence over hospitals.

It’s a simple equation: You engage; Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon provide you access. We all win. And winning means owning our own personal medical records, which is how it should have been from the start. It’s about time.

Why I Became a Healthcare Futurist & How it Can Benefit You & Your Team, by Dr. Josh Luke

So, you want to be a healthcare futurist? For starters, what does that even mean? Here is my take on what it means and how it can benefit you. Heck, this short read may even save you a few bucks on your health care.

In 2013, I left my job as Vice President of a health system to try my hand at professional public speaking, writing and teaching at the University of Southern California. After almost ten years as a hospital CEO, I was getting consistent requests to speak at conferences. And on top of that, the event hosts were reporting that I was one of the highest rated speakers at each event. All right!

Ten years as a hospital CEO isn’t even the strongest asset I have in being an advocate for you. I am shaped more by the experiences of my mother’s disease process.

It wasn’t much later that I heard it for the first time. I was being introduced to the audience in Chicago and, as event hosts often do, they summarized my bio in their own words and for the first time I heard someone label me “a healthcare futurist.”

I’m guessing it was dopamine or some other addictive chemical my body produces that suddenly overcame me when I first heard the term, as I was admittedly flattered! Dopamine, I’m told, is the same chemical compound that leads to addiction with nicotine or alcohol, or in the case of millennials, their cell phones and social media!

But hey, forget about nicotine and social media. I was getting paid to speak and I enjoyed it.

Over the next few months of 2014, my presentation grew increasingly specific as to how I anticipated drastic changes in the healthcare delivery system. My executive experience combined with my commitment to teaching and studying healthcare policy led me to consistently communicate and collaborate with some of the top leaders nationally. I was rubbing elbows with health system executives, scholars, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, and even the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services themselves (as well as their Innovation Center).

I was approached by a hospital CEO after a presentation in New York and he asked, “so what does it mean to be a healthcare futurist and how do I become one?”

Then, my first book (Readmission Prevention: Solutions Across the Provider Continuum) was released and became the best-selling book from the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) in 2015. ACHE even designated Readmission Prevention as one of its monthly featured CEO Circle books. What an honor!

Thus, throughout 2015 I was regularly being referred to and introduced as a “leading healthcare futurist.” Then came the big question. I was approached by a hospital CEO after a presentation in New York and he asked, “so what does it mean to be a healthcare futurist and how do I become one?”

I could not help but chuckle, and responded by saying “it’s a name others gave me, but I don’t take it lightly and candidly, the more I hear it, the more responsibility I feel to stay current on policy changes and discuss with other respected leaders their anticipated impact.” He seemed content with that answer and we engaged in a lengthy conversation specific to a topic I covered in my presentation that he was previously unfamiliar with.

Immediately following that conversation I went online and researched “healthcare futurists” and found a few names like Ian Morrison and Dr. Atul Gawande were commonly referred to as healthcare futurists. As I dug deeper I found a few others who appeared to be aging speakers who had been branding themselves in this manner for years. Gawande, currently in the trenches of the hospitals daily rigour, is someone I have great respect for and value his positions!

Outside of Mr. Morrison and Dr. Gawande, many of these individuals, however, did not have an executive healthcare background at all. Thus, it seems to me that they were more entrenched in selling technology or innovative services, than in studying how changes in healthcare may impact you.

Those who have seen me speak or read my articles know I routinely emphasize how millennial culture is impacting healthcare delivery. One of my common themes is to pay attention to millennial culture as it’s proving to have a drastic impact on care delivery.

Nursing home owners think of every possible name they can to avoid using the term ‘convalescent home’.

As a proud Gen-Xer who was fortunate enough to become a hospital CEO at age 32, I am now creeping into my mid-40’s. So when I see an aging healthcare futurist, it’s natural for me to question their credibility and knowledge of the impact of millennials on delivery. Would you agree?

I can back that up by sharing that very few of the aging executives who mentored me as a young hospital CEO have demonstrated any interest in learning new trends and transforming. Their eyes are on the retirement prize.

“Dr. Luke is a champion for avoiding the institutionalization of seniors when they can be cared for at home.”

So, I decided in late 2015 to officially label myself a healthcare futurist on LinkedIn and Twitter. But before doing so, I identified what the title healthcare futurist means to me.

1.      I must understand and stay current on healthcare policy updates

2.      I must reflect on my executive experience to predict how those changes will impact providers, consumers and businesses providing healthcare to employees

3.      I must prioritize consumer (patient, caregiver and family) interests in order to stay relevant, specifically affordability & access to care

4.      Perhaps most importantly, I must rely on my instincts as a personal caretaker to ensure my positions reflect not just the provider perspective (doctors and hospitals), but also the patient’s perspective.

Would you agree? How would you define it?

Tragically, my own mother’s Alzheimer’s disease has progressed to stage seven. My wife and I serve as part of her care-taking team and we treasure every moment we get with my mom. In 2015 we founded a not-for-profit and donate proceeds each year to benefit Alzheimer’s programs.

It is my role as a son and caretaker that gives me the confidence to know that my direct and pointed positions on the need for dramatic change in healthcare delivery are not driven solely by my experience as a hospital CEO. In fact, those who hear me speak will often say “Dr. Luke is a champion for avoiding the institutionalization of seniors when they can be cared for at home.” After all, when was the last time you heard an individual say “I can’t wait for the day my doctor tells me I have to be admitted to a convalescent home?”


So why am I so provocative and poignant when I speak to business leaders? It’s personal, that’s why. And I have a message to share that can benefit you all, so I take pride in sharing for your benefit.

In fact, the quote above about not wanting to go to a nursing home provides a good example of the information I share when I speak at conferences for car dealers, architects, nurses, churches, healthcare leaders, sales teams or other executives.

Nursing home owners think of every possible name they can to avoid using the term ‘convalescent home’. In fact, they try to avoid saying ‘nursing home’ as well, instead opting for non-traditional and often misleading terms such as ‘rehab facility’ or ‘skilled rehab’ simply because they know that no one wants to ever go to a ‘nursing home’.

Do ya think? Of course they don’t. But nursing home preceptors actually teach young trainees these terms — its a calculated approach. How do I know? Well years ago I was one of these young trainees.

And what about the old semantical trick doctors use when you are in the acute hospital and can’t wait to get home? Trick? Well, it’s a manipulative play on words at a minimum when a doctor advises a patient after three days in the hospital that they are being ‘transferred’ to a skilled rehab facility as opposed to being ‘discharged’ to another facility, which is the more appropriate and accurate term.

“it’s a manipulative play on words when a doctor advises a patient that they are being ‘transferred’ to a skilled rehab facility as opposed to being ‘discharged’…”

As a patient, would you agree that the word ‘discharge’ suggests finality and closure, whereas ‘transfer’ suggests just the opposite: you’re not quite ready yet?

Imagine how you would feel if you walked into one of these convalescent homes for a tour and were greeted with a special aroma – the smell of urine from residents who are incontinent. Guess what? Incontinent and unsightly residents are often moved to the back of a nursing home or placed in a distant wing in the facility so those touring do not have to see, or smell them. These are very common tactics.

After all, if you are touring for your own parent or grandmother, no one perceives their own parent to be as sick as the elderly individuals they witness when they tour. We all have an image of our parents as younger and heathier when this natural progression begins.

So we just took a tangent mid-way through this story to illustrate a few of these well-kept secrets that may benefit you as you help your parents navigate through their golden years. The nursing home and physician anecdotes were included to provide examples of wisdom from the industry that can help you as a consumer or business owner in the future.

So you see, a healthcare futurist. Now you know what that means as well, and there is much more where that came from.

The story ends like this: there are plenty of ways for individuals to become more astute in regard to accessing healthcare, but I take it on as my role to provide you with many of these hidden gems. In 2016 I started to see several other friends and followers on LinkedIn all of a sudden have “Healthcare Futurist” next to their title, and decided once again to set myself apart and formalize a more progressive title for myself as one of the first executives who was willing to call out my peers.

So, as we enter 2017, you’re now interacting with the new me, “The Voice of American Healthcare.”

With one best-selling book and a second book written specifically to benefit the consumer (Ex-Acute: A former hospital CEO tells all on what’s wrong with American healthcare), I am willing to take on this title with the same level of self-responsibility I assumed when others started routinely referring to me as a leading national healthcare futurist. My only goal is to help you – with complete transparency and with no product or service to sell.

Straight talk. The elephant in the room. A boots-on-the-ground, real-world approach. I call it how I see it. These are all terms others have used in recent years to describe my approach to helping consumers understand and access healthcare services.

In recent years I have shared my message on 4 continents; it has reached China, Panama, Mexico and Eastern Europe as well as all over the United States. The people I meet and the countries I visit with different delivery models all enhance my perspectives.

I don’t claim to have all the answers about how healthcare will change, but I take great pride in helping you understand the likely changes that will impact you. If my stories and experiences can be shared to help entertain you and better explain these concepts, well, I will take that on. And on top of that, I enjoy it!

Ten years as a hospital CEO isn’t even the strongest asset I have in being an advocate for you. The truth is I am shaped more by my mother’s disease process. While my passion resonates in caring for and loving on my mother through her final years of life, my goal is to honor her by educating others about what I have learned by caring for her.

Let there be no doubt, though, that strongest asset is the network of professionals I interact with regularly on LinkedIn that are candid and willing to both disagree and offer competing innovative approaches on the future of healthcare. I plan to embrace this healthcare futurist thing, and now even more so as “The Voice of American Healthcare,” always focused on advocating for you.

Please “share” this story with your LinkedIn network with the message, “I define a healthcare futurist as….”

I am hopeful that you will all join me and come along for the ride. I reached out to a few of my connections for input on this story and am thankful to each who submitted input – all of the input was right on! I received so much feedback, rather than include all the input in my story, I prefer to allow each follower to “’share” their thoughts on their own! So here we go, please “share” this story with your LinkedIn network with the message, “I define a healthcare futurist as….”

Can’t wait to see your definitions!

Click here to nominate Josh Luke or another writer as one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices. Josh is the author of the book Ex-Acute: A former hospital CEO tells all on what’s wrong with American healthcare, What every American needs to know. He teaches in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California and serves as CSO/Sr. Health Policy Strategist for Nelson Hardiman Law.

He is an advocate for Alzheimer’s care and founded the National Readmission Prevention Collaborative in 2013. Luke is also a professional speaker sharing with all businesses how changes in healthcare will impact them and their employees. Please follow Josh on LinkedIn if these topics are of interest to you and check www.JoshLuke.org for speaking appearances.

If you ain’t first, you’re last: Will Ferrell’s USC Grad Speech, by Dr. Josh Luke

Business and Life Lessons from Ricky Bobby Himself

By Josh Luke, USC Adjunct Faculty

Wait a minute. Will Ferrell went to college?

Oh that’s right. He led the naked quad run in the hit comedic film “Old School.”

But wait, there is more. He went to the University of Southern California?

Yes. He graduated with a degree in sports management. Years later he returned to deliver the May 2017 commencement speech. And now he is an honorary doctor as well?

Do you think that had a few of my fellow faculty members on pins and needles?

Life Lesson One: Shake and Bake!

It’s fair to say that no one knew what to expect. As a faculty member at USC, although I was unable to attend the ceremony, my family and I watched it on our big screen (thanks to YouTube and Apple TV) later that evening.

Not only is Ferrell a household favorite (seeing that I have three teens), but I am an Orange County (California) native and wanted to support my OC brother, the newly crowned, Dr. Ferrell!

Although I had a tough time convincing my teenage kids to watch a graduation speech, I am pleased that they were all willing as there were some great life lessons mixed in with the humor and stories. Oh, and his closing act, a solo of Whitney Houston’s hit song, “I Will Always Love You.”

As a professional public speaker who travels the globe teaching Fortune 500 businesses how to save 20% or more annually on healthcare costs, I am always seeking out opportunities to watch other public speakers to enhance my delivery. While I am eager to put myself up against any other corporate presenter as I am confident in my ability to entertain, educate and deliver meaningful, usable content to audiences, in this case, Ferrell proved to be a tough act to follow!

Here are a few of the life lessons woven into the comedy (and singing!)!

Lesson One: Shake and Bake! This lesson is for the millennials and others just joining the work force. It’s normal to be unsure of what career you want to pursue when you are in college, and sometimes even after you graduate. In fact, this is true for the remainder of your career as well. Just have a plan at all times.

As life changes, interests and people change as well. One key skill to succeed in corporate America or as an entrepreneur, is an individual’s ability to adapt to culture, generational traits and new trends.

Fight on Trojan Graduates!

Ferrell tells the story of realizing his goal of working in sports management succumbed to his passion for comedy. In perhaps his most memorable story of the speech, he speaks of crashing his buddy’s classroom at USC in the middle of a lecture, pretending to be a janitor called to clean up vomit. It’s a classic story invoking images reminiscent of many of his hit movies.

In fact, Ferrell speaks of walking across campus a few weeks later only to be approached by the professor whose class he crashed. As Ferrell was preparing to take a licking from the professor and face appropriate discipline, he was shocked and surprised to learn that the professor was amused and thought it was brilliant. He actually invited him back to do similar impromptu visits in following semesters. Ferrell’s love for comedy emerged while studying sports marketing at USC, so he changed his plan.

Lesson Two: You have a dart in your neck. One of the most memorable lessons Ferrell learned in college came from a professor who he never had a class with. Reflect back to the story above about a professor who was not assigned to a class with Ferrell, proactively seeking him out to embrace his passions and gifts. This gesture had a significant impact on Ferrell.

Why is this important? For two reasons. As a professor at USC myself, it is a great reminder to me that I am a role model who makes an impression on all students on campus, not just those in our classroom.

As a boss, leader or influencer, we should all keep this in mind in all that we do. We are always being watched and whether you like it or not, being put on a pedestal by those who aspire to reach the same level of perceived success that we have achieved. While he did not have a dart in his neck in class that day, he dressed as a janitor and this movie line was just to good not to include!

Lesson Three: Strategery. Have a plan! Ferrell’s famous George W. Bush character on Saturday Night Live used this term regularly.

While still in college, Ferrell chose to finish his commitment to completing an education, but re-set his goals to become a comedic actor. He joined acting troops and invited his fraternity brothers and friends to his “open mic’ night performances.” After completing his degree he temporarily moved home to Orange County, just 40 miles to the south of downtown Los Angeles, and tapped into lounge’s and comedy clubs in Orange County while still having a daily presence in the entertainment capital of the world, Hollywood.

Admittedly working through nerves and confidence issues, Ferrell ultimately caught the eye of famed Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels and got his big break.

Lesson Four: Smiling’s my favorite. Ferrell gave several examples of fan letters that were critical of him when he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live. His response? He would take them as constructive criticism but answer with respectful humor. In turn those critics became fans. What a great approach!  

Lesson Five: Dear Baby Jesus. Ferrell was willing to have faith in himself and take chances, even after making it big.

After an epic run on Saturday Night Live, Ferrell left to chase his big screen dreams and acknowledged it was a struggle to get his first few scripts accepted. Within a few years however, he was a multi-millionaire but acknowledged it took almost two years to land the first film. And when he did, he gambled on two movies in which he dressed as an oversized holiday elf in Elf, and a 1970’s on-air television personality in Anchorman. Bingo.

And let us not forget, in this day of questionable media credibility and reporting…if Ron Burgundy says it, it’s the truth! Stay Classy San Diego!

Click here to nominate Josh Luke or another writer as one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices.

Dr. Josh Luke is an award winning healthcare futurist, a Forbes Book Author, a #1 Best Seller and the author of the book Ex-Acute: A former hospital CEO tells all on what’s wrong with American healthcare, What every American needs to know. He teaches in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California and serves as CSO/Sr. Health Policy Strategist for Nelson Hardiman Law.

He served as a hospital CEO for ten years and is an advocate for Alzheimer’s care. Luke is also a professional speaker sharing with executives how changes in healthcare will impact them and their employees. Please follow Josh on LinkedIn if these topics are of interest to you and check www.JoshLuke.org for speaking appearances. 

Millennials & Healthcare: One Critical Resume Mistake to Avoid, by Dr. Josh Luke

It is the time of the year that new grads start ramping up the job search and dressing to the 9’s for more interviews. As a healthcare policy faculty member at the University of Southern California, I discuss this with my students each semester and several have shared that this was one of their favorite discussions of the semester because it’s a position they had not heard prior.

And you know I love to write about Millennials and the importance of understanding millennial values! Well, here is some advice for millennial graduates!

There is one critical resume mistake that healthcare candidates make routinely.

I just can’t let this summer interview season pass without getting something off my chest. There is one critical resume mistake that healthcare candidates make routinely.

And it’s not just healthcare. New grads are very proud and want to share what they have recently accomplished. Whether undergrad or graduate students, it’s quite an accomplishment to add to your resume that you just completed a degree.

But before I share this one critical mistake, I have a question I would like each of you to ponder: Is your graduation year being listed on your resume hurting you or helping you? Only you know the answer to that, and it can work either way. So here is my first suggestion. Leave your graduation year off of your resume altogether. If nothing else, what a great talking point for your initial interview. That is, if you have a well-thought out talking point to spin the graduation year in your favor.

Since I am known for long-winded stories and my goal for this article is to stay short, I will get to the point now. As a ten year hospital CEO and now public speaker educating Fortune 500 companies and mid to small sized businesses on how to reduce healthcare spending by 30% a year, I have a major pet peeve when it comes to resumes.

It’s really simple. If the first section under your name is titled “Education”, then what you are telling me is that your education is the best qualification you have to offer me. Don’t get me wrong, I teach at the University of Southern California. If you are not getting a 3.8 in high school it’s likely you need not apply to USC. So when I see a resume with “USC Graduate” listed, no doubt I am impressed.

“…this tells me that the work experience you have is not relevant. It is as simple as that.”

However, regardless of your institution, when education is the top item listed on a resume it tells me that the work experience you have is not relevant. It is as simple as that.

I’ll pause for impact here.

You would be amazed at how interesting and important candidates can make an internship, apprenticeship or part-time job sound. Remember, it’s the organization that the candidate worked for that is most impressive in most cases, not the title of their position.

Interestingly, I have learned that universities throughout the country have resume workshops for graduation candidates and that these students are almost always told to list their education first. Regardless of how reputable the institution is, by listing your education first, even if it is a graduate level degree, you are diminishing any value your prior work experience has.

Please don’t argue with me on this, I am the guy on the other side of the desk. Almost ten years as a CEO. We saw this routinely. Those resumes with education first went into the circular file.

Imagine a candidate who is a new grad with a master’s degree in healthcare administration. The top section on their resume is “Education.” Beneath the education section you see listed, “Intern, Hospital X,” and then “Administrative Resident, Health System Y.”

Now imagine the same candidate whose resume leads with the following: “Relevant Work Experience, Quality Improvement Team, Hospital X (Top 3% National Quality Ranking), and then “Lean Six Sigma Workgroup, Health System Y ($30,000 in Monthly Savings on Initial Emergency Department exercise).” Underneath that section, the second section is titled “Education” and list a Masters Degree in Healthcare Administration.

Dab! You are hired!

If you listed your education first, I assume that you personally do not believe that your internships and work experience are relevant to the work that you would do if hired. Is that the message you want to send? Absolutely not!

So, the basic rules for your resume as a healthcare candidate, and likely in other fields as well are:

1.      Do not list your education first on your resume, even as an entry level candidate. If you do, you missed an opportunity to make any work experience, no matter how different it might seem, relevant!

*No matter how proud you are of your degree and the great institution you attended, imagine how much more powerful that looks when you delegate it to the second section of your resume. You are essentially saying, “Of course I am proud to be a graduate of an elite institution, but this work experience was awesome as well!”

Do not list your education first on your resume, even as an entry level candidate.

2.      Bonus: Empower yourself to leave your graduation year off your resume, whether graduate degree, undergrad or even high school. Strategize how to make your age or experience work to your advantage and use it as a talking point.

Leave your graduation year off your resume & strategize how to make your age work to your advantage .

Remember, if your college career center or workshop tells you otherwise, remind yourself who signs their paycheck and then ask what their motivation might be for suggesting “our institution is so great it should be listed first on your resume.” That’s their job to promote the university – not yours. Your job is to get hired! And not to promote on their behalf. So strategize to get hired.

Anxious to hear your comments on this!

Click here to nominate Josh Luke or another writer as one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices. To book Dr. Luke as a speaker for your business, university or healthcare event, email Arlene@NationalReadmissionPrevention.com.

Bio Brief: Dr. Josh Luke is an award winning healthcare futurist, a Forbes Book Author, a #1 Best Seller and the author of the book Ex-Acute: A former hospital CEO tells all on what’s wrong with American healthcare, What every American needs to know. He teaches in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California and serves as CSO/Sr. Health Policy Strategist for Nelson Hardiman Law.

He served as a hospital CEO for ten years and is an advocate for Alzheimer’s care. Luke is also a professional speaker sharing with executives how changes in healthcare will impact them and their employees. Please follow Josh on LinkedIn if these topics are of interest to you and check www.JoshLuke.org for speaking appearances. 

Healthcare, Sales, Hiring – 4 Sales mistakes to avoid, by Dr. Josh Luke

After serving as a hospital CEO for almost ten years, I was able to hear a lot of sales pitches on how my hospital could improve. “Our product will save you $X thousand a year!” or, “sign with us and you will generate $XX million of new revenue monthly!”

Hospitals were swimming in cash flow for years, so it was a lucrative market for sales teams. It did not really hit me until after I retired from hospital administration how many sales team members were forgetting a few of the most basic rules in life – not just in sales. And for you Human Resources Directors, keep these in mind when interviewing for sales candidates!

I believe most leaders are successful because they always take the time to assess their audience before addressing them.

I am now a keynote speaker presenting at trade events, leadership and sales meetings for all industries, teaching companies and individuals how to save money on healthcare. But shortly after retiring from the hospital C-Suite I served as a healthcare strategist for a few years. In that role I was asked by several companies to introduce them to hospital executives and sit in on the initial meeting.

While a few of the sales teams had mastered the art of identifying a need or gap, and then communicating how their product or service could solve that problem and bring added value to the organization, the majority of the individuals failed to listen. Or missed a key cue.

Let me explain. I have never had any formal sales training. But I have had a lot of leadership training, which I know is very similar. I believe most leaders are successful because they always take the time to assess their audience before addressing them. Further, if the opportunity presents itself to ask the audience questions in advance of speaking, instead of just observing visual cues, I always take advantage of that opportunity.

After all, if you do not understand the audience and how your communication is likely going to be interpreted, you are ignoring a key component of the sales process. The power of listening! I am amazed at how many sales team start to tell a company how they can solve their problem, when they have not even taken time to ask what the problem is. And I see it happen all the time.

So here are a few basic sales rules. Please, for all our sakes (especially yours) avoid these selling mistakes.

1.      Don’t forget to start by asking about the problem or the gap that needs to be filled. Don’t tell someone how you can solve their problem when you have not even stopped to ask what their problem is. Its not only ignorant, its borderline disrespectful…and embarrassing.

Every single hospital is different. I always use the example of this national hospital company with hundreds of hospitals all over the country. But in Southern California they previously owned 3 hospitals within 15 minutes of each other. Guess what? If you asked each of those three hospital executives what their top three problems were, they would all have a different answer. And more importantly, the manner in which they wanted to solve the problem would differ from the other as well. So when you enter a room and start telling them how you are going to solve their problem without even asking, the meeting is essentially over before it starts. There’s the door!

2.      Constant product development. Stop developing a product that no one has asked forIf you have no clients, you are not solving anyone’s problem. You’re developing an imaginary solution that no one has asked for. And for that matter, no one likely ever will. Stop developing a hypothetical solution and go find a client who gives a damn. Develop the product specific to them.

Once again, everyone’s problem is different than the other, and more so how the leadership intends to address the problem is always a different tactic as well. Don’t assume you know. Trust me, you don’t.

3.      Don’t say no. When a client requests a change or accommodation, say yes. When your client, or a potential client requests a slight deviation from your existing offering, be prepared to immediately respond with an affirmative answer of “I will have our engineers begin that process immediately and keep you posted.” I can’t tell you how many times I have seen sales teams trip on that opportunity and say, ‘I don’t know,’ or “we will have to see” only to lose the opportunity altogether.

Even worse, don’t fall victim to telling the client “no, we can’t do that or won’t do that because….” See the three dots at the end of that sentence? That’s arrogance and ignorance. My apologies for being so blunt but forgive me, I thought the goal was to make a sale and to solve the client’s problem, not tell them how great the hypothetical solution is. If only the client’s problem could be converted into one that your solution solved! Imagine that (it’s not to hard to imagine as that’s what the client just asked and was abruptly told “no!”

Sales is about solving client’s problems, not trying to fit the client’s problem into a box you have created.

 In sales, trust is built on being an active listener, and then using critical thinking to offer solutions on how to help that person accomplish their goals.

4.      Don’t ignore the client’s need if you can’t solve it. Help the client with their problem, even if its outside your scope. Relationships drive a capitalistic society. If the prospect is not ready to retain your services initially, see if there is a referral you can make to help them solve their most significant challenges at present. Then when the time comes you will be the vendor of choice. Don’t miss that cue. If you do, you’re being short-sighted.

My advice for sales? It’s not all that different than leadership. Relationships drive everything, and relationships are built on trust. In sales, trust is built on being an active listener, and then using critical thinking to offer solutions on how to help that person accomplish their goals. If your product or service can play a role in that process, well, you just might make a sale after all. Good luck!

Click here to nominate Josh Luke or another writer as one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices. To book Dr. Luke as a speaker for your business, university or healthcare event, email Arlene@NationalReadmissionPrevention.com.

Bio Brief: Dr. Josh Luke is an award winning healthcare futurist, a Forbes Book Author, a #1 Best Seller and the author of the book Ex-Acute: A former hospital CEO tells all on what’s wrong with American healthcare, What every American needs to know. He teaches in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California and serves as CSO/Sr. Health Policy Strategist for Nelson Hardiman Law.

He served as a hospital CEO for ten years and is an advocate for Alzheimer’s care. Luke is also a professional speaker sharing with executives how changes in healthcare will impact them and their employees. Please follow Josh on LinkedIn if these topics are of interest to you and check www.JoshLuke.org for speaking appearances. 

ForbesBooks Press Release:Health-Wealth by Dr. Josh Luke, Becomes Amazon #1 Best seller on Launch Day

NEW YORK (January 25, 2018) – Dr. Josh Luke, healthcare futurist, veteran hospital CEO, and award-winning speaker, announces the publication of Health-Wealth: Is Healthcare Bankrupting Your Business? 9 Steps to Financial Recovery (available now). The book is published with ForbesBooks, the exclusive business book publishing imprint of Forbes Media.

In the midst of heated healthcare debate, inflated costs, and skyrocketing annual premium increases, bestselling author, Dr. Josh Luke, breaks down America’s complex and controversial healthcare delivery system in his latest book, Health-Wealth. Luke, an outspoken industry insider, calls on his years of knowledge and experience to help business leaders regain control of their company’s excessive, sometimes irresponsible spending on healthcare. He teaches readers how businesses can realistically provide enhanced, personalized, and specialized healthcare options for their employees, while simultaneously reducing overall spending on healthcare. Luke introduces nine simple, turnkey tactics that can transform a business through millions of dollars in savings from unnecessary over-spending. This book is a business’s roadmap to reducing spending and enhancing care for its employees.

“Healthcare is the only uncontrollable cost on your balance sheet,” said Dr. Luke (#HealthWealth). “Year over year, hyperinflation in healthcare spirals out of control with no end in sight. In many ways, American businesses have been forced to choose between employees’ health and organizations’ wealth. Until now. It is my mission to make healthcare affordable again.”

Significant savings for the employer, reduced out-of-pocket costs for employees, and a healthier workforce. This three-pronged approach results in a happier all-around work environment, and may in fact save many businesses from failure. In Health-Wealth, Dr. Luke aims to revive businesses across the country by guiding business owners and leadership teams through the nine simple steps to maximize healthcare services at a significantly reduced cost.

Health-Wealth: Is Healthcare Bankrupting Your Business? 9 Steps to Financial Recovery officially launched today, January 25th. The celebration included a publication announcement in Times Square, and culminated with a panel discussion on healthcare affordability and a reception at Forbes’s private event space, Forbes on Fifth.

About Dr. Josh Luke

Dr. Josh Luke, a faculty member at the University of Southern California, is America’s healthcare affordability authority. He began his career as a successful sports marketer, but frustration over the lack of communication between his aging grandmother’s caregivers led him to make a dramatic change to his career path at age 27. By age 32, he had become a hospital CEO, and after ten years in that role, became an award-winning healthcare strategist, social media influencer and in-demand international public speaker and author. His most recent book Ex-Acute: A Former Hospital CEO Tells All on What’s Wrong with American Healthcare is an Amazon bestseller, and Dr. Luke now hosts the Health-Wealth Podcast and Radio Show, as well as The Health-Wealth Daily Minute on LinkedIn. For more information, visit Health-Wealth.com.

Featured Health-Wealth Article: Dr. Luke’s favorite local medical tourism article: Why one California county went surgery shopping

Chad Terhune, Kaiser Health News

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Retiree Leslie Robinson-Stone and her husband enjoyed a weeklong, all-expenses-paid trip to a luxury resort — all thanks to the county she worked for.

The couple also received more than a thousand dollars in spending money and a personal concierge, who attended to their every need. For Santa Barbara County, it was money well spent: Sending Robinson-Stone 250 miles away for knee replacement surgery near San Diego saved the government $30,000.

“The only difference between our two hospitals is one is expensive and the other is exorbitant,” said Andreas Pyper, assistant director of human resources for Santa Barbara County, referring to the local options.

Frustration with sky-high hospital bills and a lack of local competition is common to many employers and consumers across the country after years of industry consolidation. Fed up with wildly different price tags for routine operations, some private employers are steering patients they insure to top-performing providers who offer bargain prices. Santa Barbara County, with about 4,000 employees, is among a handful of public entities to join them.

The county has saved nearly 50 percent on four surgery cases since starting its out-of-town program last year, officials said. The program is voluntary for covered employees.

At a Scripps Health hospital in the San Diego area, the county paid $61,600 for a spinal fusion surgery that would have cost more than twice as much locally. It avoided two other operations altogether after patients went outside the area for second opinions.

Typically, employers are seeking deals through “bundled payments” — in which one fixed price covers tests, physician fees and hospital charges. And if complications arise, providers are on the hook financially. Medicare began experimenting with this method during the Obama administration.

Santa Barbara County is among about 400 employers on the West Coast working with Carrum Health, a South San Francisco start-up that negotiates bundled prices and chooses surgeons based on data on complications and readmissions.

“Not all surgeons are equal. We don’t want to give Scripps a blank check. That defeats the whole purpose,” said Sachin Jain, Carrum’s chief executive.

Santa Barbara officials try to persuade workers and their family members to participate in its program by waiving copays and deductibles. The county pays about $2,700 in travel costs and still comes out way ahead.

“If that doesn’t speak to the inefficiencies in our health care system, I don’t know what does,” Pyper said. “It’s almost like buying a Toyota Corolla for $50,000 and then going to San Diego to buy the same Corolla for $16,000. How long would the more expensive Toyota dealership last?”

Even as more employers and insurers embrace bundled payments, the Trump administration is applying the brakes. In August, Medicare officials proposed canceling mandatory bundled payments for certain surgeries and scaling back the program for knee and hip replacements. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, when he was still a member of Congress, accused Medicare of overstepping federal authority and interfering in the doctor-patient relationship. Hospital trade groups have voiced similar objections.

That leaves some health-policy experts dismayed.

“These bundled payments put pressure on medical providers … and the savings are astonishing,” said Bob Kocher, a former health official in the Obama administration and now a partner in the venture capital firm Venrock.

Santa Barbara County officials said they had no choice after seeing their medical costs soar by 15 percent in each of the past two years. Like many local governments, it has an older workforce prone to chronic illness, blocked arteries and bum knees.

But health costs run higher than the state average in this scenic coastal county of about 450,000 people, according to data from Oakland-based Integrated Healthcare Association. By one measure, the average health insurance premium in the individual market runs $660 a month in Santa Barbara, 27 percent higher than in Los Angeles.

Still, Maya Barraza, the county’s manager for employee benefits and rewards, knew the program would be a hard sell to workers. “You don’t want to be away from your family and what’s familiar,” she said.

Cottage Health, the county’s largest health system, says it wants to keep patients in town for treatment and follow-up care.

Established in 1891, it’s grown from a single hospital to more than 500 beds across three hospitals, and annual revenue hit $746 million last year.

Maya Barraza, Santa Barbara’s manager for employee benefits and rewards, said she knew it would be a hard sell persuading workers to head elsewhere for surgeries. “You don’t want to be away from your family and what’s familiar,” she said. (Heidi de Marco/KHN)

Valet attendants greet visitors at two entrances outside the group’s white, Spanish-style hospital in the city of Santa Barbara. In the main lobby, the names of wealthy donors are splashed across one wall, including billionaire investor and Donald Trump confidant Thomas Barrack.

“We are continually looking at reducing costs and improving quality,” said Cottage Health spokeswoman Maria Zate. “Cottage Health has some of the top surgeons in California.”

Sixty miles north in Santa Maria, the state’s largest hospital chain, Dignity Health, offers another option: Marian Regional Medical Center.

Both Cottage and Dignity hospitals in Santa Barbara County have quality scores of fair to excellent for joint replacements, spinal procedures and coronary bypass surgeries, according to three years of Medicare data analyzed by research firm Mpirica Health.

Dignity Health didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Carrum tries to help employers like Santa Barbara County find more affordable options. It has struck bundled price deals for various procedures with Scripps hospitals in the San Diego area, Stanford Health Care in the Bay Area and Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, part of the Providence Health chain.

Several other companies, such as Health Design Plus, are also assisting employers, insurers and patients with the logistics of surgery shopping. Boeing and other large employers are the most aggressive at pursuing bundled pricing and sending workers across the country for care.

Since 2014, more than 2,000 joint replacement and spinal surgeries have been performed for fixed prices through the Pacific Business Group on Health’s “centers of excellence” program, which includes employers such as JetBlue and Lowe’s. It added gastric bypass and other bariatric surgeries last year, and the employer group is working on bundled prices for cancer treatment.

Some companies have gone so far as to send patients overseas for cheaper care, but most employers favor a more regional approach, experts say. Workers still rely on local physicians for follow-up care.

Municipalities, school districts and other public employers have been slower to adopt some of these strategies, perhaps to avoid the political risk of antagonizing local providers, some researchers suggest.

For some hospitals, there are advantages in offering deep discounts: They get patients they otherwise would never see and are paid in full right after the patient is discharged, avoiding the onerous billing and collections process.

They also have the financial capacity to offer such sharply reduced prices.

Michael Bark, assistant vice president of payer relations at Scripps Health, said most hospitals significantly mark up their commercial rates for orthopedic procedures and cardiac surgeries to compensate for lower government reimbursements.

Leslie Robinson, a Santa Barbara County retiree, sits on her front step at her home in Lompoc, Calif., on Friday, August 18, 2017. Hidi de Marco/KHN)

“There are immense profit margins built into those cases,” Bark said.

Robinson-Stone, a former county sheriff’s deputy and a computer support specialist, was initially wary of traveling for her surgery. But the 62-year-old Lompoc resident had ongoing pain that kept her from biking, walking her dogs and tending to her fruit trees. Medication and cortisone shots didn’t work, and she had no ties to local surgeons. So she signed up online and was given a choice of six orthopedic surgeons at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla.

In June 2016, she and her husband, Frank Stone, checked in at the Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa.

Robinson-Stone met the surgeon on a Wednesday, had the operation the next day and returned to her hotel room by Saturday. She continued physical therapy at the hotel and returned to the hospital a few days later to have the staples removed.

She was back on her bike within two months and eventually lost about 20 pounds.

“I just celebrated one year from surgery,” she said, “and I’m a happy camper.”

Heidi DeMarco contributed to this story.

This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

A Feature on Dr. Josh Luke on Linkedin #UNCONVENTIONAL: Dr. Josh Luke

By Manu Goswami

There is so much to say about Dr. Josh Luke. Best known these days for his ability to captivate audiences with his humour and entertaining personal stories, his healthcare genius, and his success as an author, I first wanted to share a few details about his much-anticipated book coming out titled “Health-Wealth: 9 Steps to Financial Recovery”. He is offering a special promotion for readers of this story – any readers who purchase this book between noon and 2 pm EST on Thursday January 18, 2018 will receive a free personalized copy of his prior book “Ex-Acute” mailed to them! Just forward the email receipt to Info@Health-Wealth.com.

Spending much of his time busy with speaking engagements, Dr. Luke has not always been a part of the keynote speaking world. There is much more to him than meets the eye, and his progression and story serve as an inspiration to those who know him. It is unconventional.

Having had the opportunity to speak at conferences, invitationals, and as a featured speaker in the Masters of LinkedIn Summit coming in May, Dr. Luke enjoys sharing his message to help people live their lives and be as informed as possible when making decisions that affect their healthcare. He has become the leading mind for the future of healthcare, and is motivated on a daily basis to improve the healthcare climate on a daily basis. He has earned the title as a “Healthcare Futurist” as his work has been truly influential.

Dr. Luke started his career as a jet-setting sports marketer working with some of the most famous athletes in the world. He enjoyed the lifestyle, and business was good. His brother Matt even played in the major leagues in the 1990s! He was intrigued by the glamor and the fame, until reality set in – his grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Realizing he was in no position to help, right then and there he decided to change careers and become involved in the healthcare industry. Through is inherent grit and motivation, Dr. Luke ascended to become a hospital CEO at the young age of 32.

In his years as a hospital CEO, Dr. Luke successfully addressed the challenges and disconnects existing between different levels of care. He implemented revolutionary solutions that improved the post-discharge and readmission processes in his facility, and emphasized the importance of home and hospice care. Unfortunately, hospital ownership changed, and he was pushed out of his job after delivering results for 10 years. He lost his benefits, had no health insurance for himself or his family, and was dealt another blow – his mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

As is his resilient nature, Dr. Luke penned his first book, “Readmission Prevention: Solutions Across the Provider Continuum”, where his ideas influenced components of ObamaCare. Becoming a best-selling author, Dr. Luke donated $25,000 to contribute to the fight against the disease that has stricken his family. His involvement in different Alzheimer’s related organizations has brought us closer than ever to finding a cure.

In his subsequent books, Dr. Luke made waves within healthcare, sharing ideas that were often seen as “brutally transparent, but credible”. By exposing the long-kept secrets of the healthcare trade, and helping businesses and families keep healthcare from bankrupting them, he approaches these sensitive topics enthusiastically to inform his audiences. Now an educator at the Price School of Public Policy at USC, Dr. Luke is arming the next generation of policy makers with his transparent views about the future of healthcare.

Dr. Luke told me, “Did you know that almost 50% of a millennials lifetime earnings will go to healthcare in America? This is tragic. I am a huge proponent of older generations accepting and growing comfortable with millennial culture as there is so much to learn. I have two slides specific to this in my presentation deck!” He went on to explain “my kids are Gen Z and I am beginning to research common tendencies of Gen Z young adults – the first batch graduates high school this year.” I think I speak for many when I say I can’t wait to see what he comes up with!

Dr. Josh Luke can best be found on LinkedIn or at DrJoshLuke.com. He is currently conducting a huge media and speaking tour to promote his next book “Health-Wealth: 9 Steps to Financial Recovery”, and enjoys being involved in mentorships. Dr. Luke’s ascension in healthcare is truly #unconventional, but it has been the perfect application for his brilliance.

Co-written by Brian Ford – https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-ford-711744b7/

Connect with Dr. Luke if his thoughts resonated with you, share them on Twitter and LinkedIn using the #UNCONVENTIONAL and follow along with the series! 

Healthcare Bankrupting Your Company? Here’s What You Can Do About It

Let’s start with few questions that could make or break your company in 2018.

1. What was your company’s health insurance premium increase for 2017? 10 to 15%? That’s about the norm. Year after year.

2. How much of that increase was passed on to employees? 8 to 10%? Usually done through creative measures, of course.

3. Is healthcare your second largest company expense or third? Other than salaries and occasionally real estate, it’s always in the top three expenses.

When will your company reach its tipping point on healthcare spending and say enough is enough? And who will be the brave, yet common-sensical executive to stand up and declare the tipping point has been breached? Is it you? If not, who?

Why is it, then, with healthcare, we often shrug our shoulders and sigh, “another year, another 15% increase,” (with reduced services each year, might I add)? Every company has executives in place to manage top expenses to ensure business success. Why not make 2018 the year that you no longer shrug your shoulders at the annual increase and do something about it?

Make 2018 the year your company makes reducing wasteful healthcare spending its top priority.

Companies that prioritize reducing healthcare spending are focusing on what’s known as consumer-driven healthcare — sometimes just called consumerism. Consumer-driven healthcare forces the employee to engage in making healthcare decisions and, as a result, saves significant money. Companies that prioritize consumer-driven healthcare are also creating a healthy corporate culture, one that encourages engaged healthcare consumers and healthy lifestyles; everything in these workplaces is designed to support these initiatives.

Many Americans are familiar with high-deductible insurance plans. While on the surface, these new plans appear as if companies are simply shifting costs to employees, the truth is that there is a significant opportunity for the employee and employer to save thousands annually over prior years if the employee actually engages in the process as they would buying a car or house. If the employee does not engage in the process, healthcare costs will continue to skyrocket for the employee and employer.

Consumer-driven healthcare requires companies to support employees in identifying centers of excellence — either doctors or hospitals. These centers not only provide great quality care but are contracted to provide services at much lower rates. Organizations provide a list of these centers to employees, and savings would benefit both the employee and the employer.

Another example is medical tourism. No, not flying to Costa Rica for a procedure, but driving an extra hour or two to save anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000 on a simple procedure. Santa Barbara County in California, for example, is contracted to provide all of its knee and hip surgeries at hospitals three hours south in San Diego, or employees can take a plane trip north to Seattle. When employees choose this option, they get a five-day, expenses-paid trip at a nice resort to recover as well. This example alone illustrates the disparity in costs between providers.

Other employers and communities are implementing DNA testing programs as well as new offerings that encourage telehealth and remote monitoring. There are steep discounts for employees who choose those offerings. Geisinger in Pennsylvania and the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada were both overwhelmed with consumer interest when they launched their programs.

In addition to these examples, a number of specialized programs have emerged nationwide that are being offered to companies to reduce spending on their heaviest users. The list of medical service providers who come in and partner with a company as an additional layer is growing by the month, saving corporations thousands by simply enhancing the services available to their chronically ill patients and those with diabetes and other expensive diseases.

These specialized programs have put an end to a number of companies’ annual increase in healthcare spending. While many of the programs are still a well-kept secret, there are enough of them with proven track records that almost every company can identify one or two that will be an appropriate fit for savings, and the services are all provided.

Some of the most well-known companies helping corporations bend the hyperinflating healthcare cost curve include Canary Health, HealthEquity, Hixme, Quantum Health, Livongo, Omada Health, PeerWell, Transcend and many more. Before running out to research them each directly, conduct an assessment to best determine which will best fit your company’s needs, culture and community.

With this in mind, I’ll ask another question. Is healthcare bankrupting your business? If not now, when? And if not you, then who will be the leader who steps up to declare the tipping point and begins the journey for your company? The time is now, and the resources are here.

So as you carry out your New Year’s resolutions, will you be the leader who makes healthcare spending your company’s top priority in 2018? Your people depend on it.