John is an executive recruiter & speaker sharing his thoughts on healthcare, recruiting, digital technology, career management & leadership. 

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7 November, 2011 Posted by John G. Self
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7 October, 2015 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Healthcare, Stories
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The Medical Industrialized Complex and My Pill Spill

Posted October 7th, 2015 | Author: John G. Self

Tonight was my pill night – exciting times for Dallas on a weekday night – and like many of you I am the victim of the medical industrialized complex, aka, an integrated health system.  Two things happened today – one bad and another very irritating.

pill spillI was experiencing a few side effects from the Lipitor I am taking so my able and accommodating physician prescribed Crestor, the one you see in TV ads where people are dancing in the streets because “they got down with Crestor…”  When I picked up my prescription I was shocked to learn that the only thing getting down on this day in Dallas was my bank account.

My portion of the prescription was $385.43 for a 90-day supply.  This, AFTER Medicare (thank you Millennials for continuing to support this upside down entitlement) paid $466.56.  For those of you who are into the metrics, that is $9.46 a pill!

Now, before I go further, I want to explain that for a 65-year-old guy who travels a lot, who is 20 pounds overweight and who developed high blood pressure, I am otherwise a reasonably healthy guy, so other than the Lipitor soon to be Crestor, I take a pill that effectively lowers my blood pressure, a Tylenol for lower back pain caused by hauling about 90 pounds worth of suitcase and briefcase through airports near and far, an iron pill to offset Single Malt Scotch, and a baby aspirin, just in case. I also take a pill to minimize the ill effects of the Lipitor soon to be Crestor, plus a few routine vitamins and Prevagen to enhance brain function, which some would argue I should have been taking years ago… Anyway, I seem to be taking a lot of pills lately.

So, tonight is pill night, the night I load my 7-day pill container that reminds me to take my pills every morning. Ok, maybe I need to take the extra strength version of that brain boost vitamin.

As I was finishing the loading process, and trust me, it is a loading process, I inadvertently hit the container and 7 days worth of pills went seven ways from Sunday.  Twenty minutes later, with the aid of a flashlight, on my hands and knees, I was trying to corral the pills, some tiny, some round, some clear (drug makers, we need to talk) and all capable of traveling an amazing distance from the scene of the accident.  To be honest, there are still two missing baby aspirins and a couple of Zyrtec allergy pills.

Luckily I recovered all the really expensive pills but others await the vacuum cleaner.

I am thankful the grandkids were not nearby or they would have heard several new combinations of what we can only describe as “Popi’s Words.”

© 2015 John Gregory Self

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5 October, 2015 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Healthcare
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Whacky ICD-10 Codes

Posted October 5th, 2015 | Author: John G. Self

On Thursday, most of the healthcare provider nation was closely monitoring the first day of the new ICD 10 codes hoping against hope that there was no catastrophe.  With a total of 68,000 codes, versus the 13,000 under the OCD 9 scheme, there is a real opportunity for astute providers to maximize their reimbursement.

icd-10But there are also some ludicrous if not whacky diagnoses about which many are unaware.

Here are my top 10 favorites:

  1. Sucked Into a Jet Engine, Subsequent Encounter.  If you have ever seen video of anyone sucked into a jet engine, you know that there is little chance for a subsequent encounter with a physician, nor a first.
  2. Bitten By a Pig, Initial Encounter — Now I can see that as a possibility…  But, if that happened, would you freely admit that to your physician?
  3. Struck By A Duck, Subsequent Encounter — I know that ducks are mean spirited animals but a subsequent encounter?
  4. Burn Due to Water Skis On Fire, Subsequent Encounter — I hardly know what to say…
  5. Other Contact With A Cow, Subsequent Encounter.  OK, to provide some perspective here, there is a code for bitten by a cow and another for kicked by a cow.  I am just not sure what else the cow can do….
  6. Walked Into a Lamppost, Subsequent Encounter – If this happens to a patient more than once, refer them immediately to an ophthalmologist or a psychiatrist.
  7. Struck by a Macaw, Initial Encounter — The Macaw is an endangered bird so someone should be investigating why the patient got so close.
  8. Bizarre Personal Appearance — All I want to know is who gets to decide?
  9. Swimming Pool of a Prison as the Place of Occurrence of the External Cause — So, if you think that is a little weird, there is another code for Day Spa of Prison as Place of Occurrence.
  10. Spacecraft Collision Injuring Occupant — That there is even a code for this should make some of our brave Astronauts more than a little squeamish.

© 2015 John Gregory Self

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2 October, 2015 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Career Management, Recruiting
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Surviving an In-Depth Interview

Posted October 2nd, 2015 | Author: John G. Self

TYLER, Texas — The competition for best executive leadership positions is intensifying.

With market consolidation and an increasing number of layoffs due to health systems and hospitals trimming operating expenses, there are way more candidates than there are jobs.  This puts more pressure on the candidates to hit the ball out of the park during the in-depth interview with the search consultant or employer.

in-depth interviewThe really good search firms are forsaking Skype and other forms of videoconferencing interviews in favor of meeting candidates in person for a more in-depth interviews.  Skype may be less expensive and is a nice tool for initial screening interviews, but it is not as effective in developing the critical multi-dimensional profile of a candidate.  So, candidates should expect longer, more focused interviews in the selection process, some lasting as much as three hours.

With a properly constructed questionnaire, the recruiter or employer can divine a great deal in a comprehensive interview versus an hour-long chit chat over lunch or dinner as is the case in some searches.

So how does one prepare for such an in-depth interview?  Here are 10 suggestions to help prepare:

  1. Re-read and know, inside and out, what the Position Prospectus says.  It is bad form to ask questions that are already covered in that document.  The more information the search firm gives you, the less excuse you have for not being prepared with your own set of questions regarding key decision-point issues.
  2. Research the recruiter conducting the interview.  For most recruiters, there is ample information on the web — their web site, LinkedIn, etc, know their background.  Check with your network of contacts to see if they have interviewed with him or her, or knows someone who has.
  3. Research the potential employer. From their website to Google news searches and a review of their 990 filings, there is generally ample information available.
  4. Match the needs of the prospective employer — their job posting or using information from the search firm — with your experience.  Be prepared to provide relevant examples of your experience in dealing with their needs  along with quantifiable evidence of your success.
  5. Be prepared for the core questions that are asked in virtually all interviews.  If you cannot nail these questions, you probably will not make the cut.  Hint, so many candidates wing it on these questions.  If you want to distinguish yourself from the competitors, practice some answers in advance.
  6. Know your numbers.  When a candidate is asked about net revenue, average daily census, length of stay, etc. and they cannot provide specific responses, that is enough to raise a yellow, if not a red flag.  Clients want top candidates who know their numbers.
  7. Your competencies are important.  More and more, candidates are being asked about their competencies.  Be prepared with what I call values-based answers — responses that reaffirm your potential value to the client.
  8. Make it personal.  Have some short and on-point stories that illustrate your style of leadership, how you overcame a challenge, etc.  There are no perfect candidates, only those who do a better job communicating their value.
  9. Know what your references will say about your weaknesses.  Use that information to provide a truthful response that accentuates some positive elements about how you lead.  Everyone has weaknesses.  Do not run from them.  Make them a positive.
  10. Many candidates have experienced career hiccups.  Have a true, well rehearsed, believable response to these situations — whether it is bad press, a personal setback like alcoholism or a serious illness, a mistake that led to termination, etc.  A lot of people have been fired or dealt with a personal crisis and some went on to have successful careers.

The successful candidates are not always the best qualified.  The candidate who gets the job is typically the qualified person who came in well prepared and did a better job telling their story, warts and all.

© 2015 John Gregory Self

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