Doctors running their own practices found an insurmountable challenge in COVID-19. Like everyone else, they’ve taken heavy hits. MD Revenue Partners, launched this year, tries to lift those burdens with direct service for independent doctors.
Doctors: The Little Guys in Need of Revenue
Bill Samagalsky, CEO and founder of MD Revenue Partners, felt he had to help independent medical practices. He learned from his 40 years in healthcare sales that “independent physicians were really underserved as a group.” Unlike large healthcare systems, these doctors don’t receive vendors’ attention. Their smaller staffs make them less attractive clients, Samagalsky explains. “We needed to save [independent doctors] as a group,” he says.
He believes that their losses pose a national problem: “There’s a pending healthcare crisis, because this country is running out of physicians.” Samagalsky formed MD Revenue Partners in late 2019 to meet that dilemma — how can strapped doctors get help?
The startup needed some established partners to back up that mission. Medici has joined as the supplier of telehealth supplies. In that same ballpark, 100 Plus helps out with remote patient monitoring tech. And to top it off, the award-winning outsourcer VeeTechnologies joined as partner in July 2020. “They had everything we were looking for,” Samagalsky says. “We were very fortunate.”
But Samagalsky’s own personal conviction also drives the company mission: “I’ve always liked to fight for the smaller guys.”
How Does MD Revenue Partners Work for Doctors?
Their system has two parts: finding partners to supply the smaller clinics, and making sure the clinics can feasibly use their supplies.
Their team carefully reviews vendors which the independent clinics could use. “Over the past 18 months, I’ve really vetted vendors to work with small independent physicians,” he says. This process requires two things from suppliers — no up-front costs from the physicians themselves, and an ongoing revenue stream. Samagalsky says the vendors’ accreditation and security is a given, since “we’re talking about people’s health information.”
He explains that independent doctors need these vendor requirements more than MD Revenue Partners does. “There has to be zero set-up costs for the physician,” he says. “They’re furloughing people today, they’re not spending money.” And doctors’ revenue has to figure into their service. “There has to be an ongoing revenue model,” Samagalsky also says. “It’s not just a one-off [job], they’ve got to have the ability to save their practices.”
For the independent clinics, MD Revenue Partners assess their practices and introduce what they need most.
Before selling any medical services, the company tries first to understand the clinics themselves. Where are their strengths? What are their needs? “Once we do that,” Samagalsky says, “if they want to look at revenue recovery, we sign a business associate’s agreement with them.” Confidentiality matters as much as sales, he explains. Then comes the assessment, so that MD Revenue Partners can see what the clinic will need. “There’s no cost to the physician,” he reiterates. “If we feel we can recover funds for them, we go to the next step.”
What could that next step of service look like? Often it means telehealth or remote patient monitoring, which plenty of doctors can’t afford those innovations alone. Samagalsky views both processes as a service for the doctors, not another thing they have to do. “It’s pretty easy to set up,” he says. MD Revenue Parters (with permission and care) imports patient lists, contacts the patients directly and ships them whatever technology those specific patients need. And those shipments have patients’ ease in mind — the tech works right out of its boxes. “Most of the big [vendors] make it difficult for patients to use their instrumentation,” Samagalsky says. So his vetted vendor (100 Plus) goes for maximal ease instead.
After about 30 days, the doctors can reconnect with their patients and their new health data. All that new insight motivates new, improved treatments. “We’ll not only support the patients,” Samagalsky says, “but we’ll also support the entire staff and get them up to speed on the products.” He knows that independent physicians never have enough time in the day. “We’ve tried to offer them services without additional manpower required, yet also helping them with increased revenue streams.”
How MD Revenue Partners Came to North Carolina
First, their plan to place sales reps in new cities aimed high. They’d taken a month to canvas countless doctors in Georgia (they’re based in Covington, east of Atlanta). Then they looked north. “Our goal is to start doing a city a week for the next 50 weeks,” Samagalsky says. North Carolina had been on the schedule for Sept. 28, though the first MD Revenue Partners reps reached Charlotte and Raleigh on Sept. 24. “We’re a little ahead of schedule.”
Though, he adds a little sheepishly, the company hasn’t yet signed any NC doctors. “We haven’t really signed them up yet,” Samagalsky says. But he does report interest from North Carolina doctors, namely through LinkedIn. His outreach efforts there are one lesson he has gathered from launching a new business during COVID-19.
What Does Samagalsky Recommend for COVID-19 Survival?
“We were getting ready to launch,” Samagalsky says, “and then the world turned upside down for a few months.” But MD Revenue Partners has found its ways of rolling with the frequent punches. How?
Recognize even the imperfect opportunities.
Watching the setbacks for both doctors’ clinics and elective surgeries, Samagalsky managed to find the net benefits: immediate demand. “Independent physicians really needed help,” he said. “Where they needed it was in telehealth and remote patient monitoring.” The unfortunate context became a fortunate find for the business’s launch.
COVID-19 also freed up an unexpectedly talented labor pool. “A lot of people have been furloughed,” Samagalsky says. “For us that’s been a blessing, since the quality of [sales rep] applicants has been off the charts.” You won’t like seeing job loss nationwide. But if you’re lucky, experienced, long-time employees will suddenly become available for your company’s openings. For MD Revenue Partners, that trend has meant five to ten applicants for every two rep positions.
Learn — and improve — your business model.
While preparing to expand beyond Georgia, Samagalsky wanted to survey the business’s process. “On top of recruiting reps, I started calling on doctors myself.” His view from the ground-up led him to simplify the process — lead with fewer products, so that doctors wouldn’t become confused or overwhelmed. “We really just feed them information as they grow,” he explains.
Learning to improve the sales process is just a step in what Samagalsky expects from a company launch. “Like any startup,” he says, “you set up the infrastructure, find the right people, train them to do the job, and let them do it.” MD Revenue Partners, he adds, is currently in the “let them do it” phase. And he doesn’t worry about the future, now that he has the infrastructure and the people. “The target was 50 cities in 12 months, and I expect we’ll beat that.”
If you want biotech sales work in Charlotte or Raleigh, or if you know someone who might, start by looking up Samagalsky on LinkedIn. He said he’d be happy to talk it over, whether you want work or help for your medical practice. “COVID-19 is working against us,” he says. “We have to be able to reach physicians, to tell their stories.”
Don’t forget to pick up more entrepreneurial insights from our Pivot Series. After all, North Carolina has somehow remained a fertile business ground despite the pandemic.
Editor’s note: the original article mistakenly claimed that MD Revenue Parters worked with V-Technologies, when in fact they’ve partnered with Vee Technologies instead.