Today’s non-clinical spotlight focuses on Will Hall, who leverages his physical therapy operations background in a CEO role at HIPnation!
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What is your full name and title at your current job?
Will Hall, PT, DPT
Where did you go to school, and what year did you graduate?
What did you do when you first finished school?
I initially worked in a hospital system in North Carolina. I worked in acute care for a year. It was a level-1 trauma center, so I got to see all sorts of things that would help me in my outpatient career.
I then was in outpatient for the next couple of years in North Carolina. I moved to Atlanta in 1996 and started working with a large national company.
I treated patients for about 10 years, and then my career transitioned to the business side for the next 10.
When, and why, did you go non-clinical?
For the first couple of years after getting some initial management responsibility, I tried to continue to treat patients full time. It only led to me being burned out. As I got progressive management responsibility, I started limiting my treatment time until I no longer actively treated patients.
What are you doing these days?
I am the CEO of HIPnation. We are an Atlanta-based healthcare services company.
Our goal is to fully transform the broken US healthcare system. We make a very simple tweak in the system by putting insurance in its proper place; this makes healthcare accessible and affordable for everyone.
How does HIPnation put insurance in its proper place?
We consider what we offer to be the same ideas behind concierge medicine—but it’s for everyone. This enables those without means to pay for high-end concierge care. Medicine has way too many specialists, but not enough primary care providers, which is part of why things have become broken.
Our mission at HIPnation is to bring primary care back to the central focus of medicine.
We let primary care MDs practice to the full extent of their licensure, rather than only operating within 30% of their abilities because they’re stuck in a vicious cycle of triaging.
Can you describe a bit more about how your company works?
We see healthcare itself as the ultimate solution—our job is to wrap insurance around it to fit the ultimate solution.
What we do is a blend of telemedicine and concierge care. For example, let’s say you send your doctor a picture of your hand, which has a rash. Your doctor identifies this as poison ivy and immediately sends you a prescription for steroid cream. What makes us different is that you will wind up paying the true-cost rate for this cream. By working with an independent pharmacist, you’re able to sidestep the insane insurance price hikes you’d otherwise pay.
Are you still treating patients, or are you solely non-clinical?
I only treat friends and family! A few years ago, my family bought a treatment table for me for Christmas, which stays up in my basement year round. There probably isn’t a month that goes by that someone isn’t on there.
How long have you been in your current role?
Just over three years.
How did you find your job?
When my prior company was sold, I was “let go” in the reorganization, which was a great blessing for me. A friend heard about that and took me to breakfast. He is a cofounder of HIPnation, and told me they were looking for someone with healthcare operational experience to join them. It was perfect timing for me.
Did you do anything special to your resume and cover letter to land the job?
I actually hired someone to redo my resume, knowing that I would be using it in my job search, but never really used it because my connection panned out.
What was the interview like for the role?
I had dinner with the board of HIPnation. There were lots of questions.
What types of questions?
They mostly asked about my operations experience. They wanted to know about the following things I had done:
- Running clinics
- Setting up clinics
- Running meetings
- Building culture
- Building a team
- Building responsibility over time
- Being a continuous learner
- Managing profits and losses (P&Ls)
- Hiring and firing
Incidentally, the question “Are you a learner?” came up during the interview. They wanted me to tell them about what I was reading, and how I would incorporate the lessons into my role.
Did you get any special certifications or training along the way to help you get into your current role?
I did get my OCS certification when I was treating patients actively.
I chose Boston U for my DPT because I could do a business emphasis. My project was around using emotional intelligence to train PT leaders, and I learned a ton. Its been really helpful in my career.
When did you start your business?
HipNation was founded three years ago.
Where did you get the idea for your business?
We were founded by three treating specialty physicians. It was their idea, along with a healthcare attorney, and I came in to take on the operations tasks.
How did people react to your unconventional career path?
My founders saw it as a plus. As a PT, I am a caregiver, so I understand that part of healthcare. I also understand the business side I was used to speaking in front of people, which I have had to do a ton.
What types of tasks and responsibilities fill your time at HIPnation?
I play many roles in a new company:
- Business development
- Team leader, etc.
What are some of the challenges of your role? What are the rewards?
The challenge is to disrupt such an entrenched system as the current US healthcare system. The rewards are saving families and businesses thousands of dollars and giving them world-class healthcare too.
What type of person do you think would do well in your role?
Detail oriented and persistent. To be an entrepreneur you need a bit of a stubborn streak and the ability to persevere.
Do you work remotely or on-site?
Mostly on-site. I am more disciplined that way.
Does your organization hire PT, OT, or SLP professionals into non-clinical roles?
We don’t at this time. We do partner with therapists to take care of our members.
Did you read any books, take any courses, or do anything special overall to get you where you are today?
Boston U DPT was helpful for me. And I read all the time! Scaling Up by Verne Harnish is a favorite book.
What is next for you? What do you want to do with your career long-term?
I want to transform the US healthcare system! When a healthcare issue is no longer the #1 cause of bankruptcy in the US, I will know we did it.
What would you recommend to someone who is considering going into a role like yours?
I was not one to have a three- or five- year plan. My goal was to always learn and do the best job I could do in whatever role I was given.
What would you like to change most in your profession, and why? How would you propose doing so?
I think everyone should have a PT eval every year. Apart from insurance.
If you could teach anything to today’s graduate students in your profession, what would it be?
Take care of yourself. Too many PTs don’t do that. Also, be an active learner for the profession: how to treat patients, how to lead, how to connect with patients and teammates.
Also be one to add value to your organization. I see too many early PTs being only about what’s in it for them.
Do you have any special advice for others who want to follow in your footsteps?
For me it’s been a part of a faith journey. The Lord gave me the mission, so I had to get going. I think people should certainly give thought to making a difference in the world.
Thanks for your insight, Will!