The foundation of financial expert Paul Chatel’s career lies in demonstrating the impact and action of the financial space, then applying this to broader business operations. “In whatever industry, in whatever organization, that always hits home for me,” Chatel says. “It’s those principles that continue to ground me.”
When Chatel says, “whatever industry,” he’s truly speaking from experience. He amassed significant experience in tier-two automotive suppliers prior to moving into the semiconductor and then medical devices space.
The automotive supply space is where he built a working knowledge of how to tie financials into the everyday actions of engineers and other stakeholders outside the financial team. “It was a great opportunity to help bridge that gap of knowledge within the organization,” Chatel recalls. “I really enjoyed it but wanted to keep expanding my skill set.”
Chatel would next move into the semiconductor industry, where he was able to build out significant international experience, as the company’s primary products were made in Belgium and China. The job involved helping plants improve their operational effectiveness, primarily in waste and labor productivity areas. Once he found his footing in the medical devices space, Chatel claimed his first managerial role with direct reports and the opportunity to build out his leadership skills. He went on to make an immediate impact that would resound across the company.
“I spent a lot of time partnering with the plant manager and the engineering leads, again driving efficiencies and really helping them reshape how they were seen in the company and delivering results,” he explains.
Just one year later, the company won the plant of the year award across the organization, a previously unheard-of turnaround. But more importantly to Chatel, he was able to help a direct report rise in the organization. “This person was seen as someone who may not have developed to the point where they could take on a bigger leadership position,” Chatel remembers. “I got to watch him turn that around, and he eventually replaced me when I left.”
Chatel accrued even more international experience helping a joint-venture partnership in Japan increase its profitability and growth. While he didn’t have to relocate his family this time, he was pulling impressive monthly flights ranging from eleven to fourteen hours, depending on the tailwind.
“This was another opportunity to bridge a gap around mutual goals and find ways to reduce often lengthy Japanese registration times,” explains Chatel, who was able to strengthen the partnership’s conversation around its sales growth trajectory. “I helped transition the new team and leader in Japan and was ready for my next opportunity.”
Today, Chatel is the senior director of revenue cycle management at medical tech firm Becton Dickinson (BD), leading a team of about 130. He says that continuing to build bench strength in the areas BD serves is a daily point of focus. “The medical devices area is a highly regulated industry and it can be challenging to find people with the right skill sets, but I feel like we’re in a good place there and have some really strong managers and leads to support them,” he says.
Chatel has also placed significant focus on operational efficiency. With a team as large as his, the senior director mentions that there is always pressure to take cost out of processes. The balancing act, however, is to ensure that removing those costs doesn’t put the organization in any compliance risk.
The answer has been to investigate areas where automation makes sense. The billed claims process was 100 percent manually managed, until Chatel challenged it and turned it around in just eight months. “We spun up a development program with our internal team and our business leads and, right now, we’re at just under 70 percent of our billing claims process being automated,” he says.
Chatel and his team are also working to reduce the number of unpaid claims, some $10 million at time of speaking. It’s a pressure point for anyone in the industry, but Chatel says he’s confident he and his team will be able to start seeing returns to the P&L on that effort.
Amy Blackburn, senior client success manager at revenue cycle management company Waystar, shares this trust. “The results Paul and his team are seeing are amazing. By incorporating powerful, purpose-built automation into their claim billing processes, they’ve been able to boost productivity, cut operational costs, and realize millions in additional revenue by limiting rejected and denied claims,” Blackburn says.
Outside of his revenue management, Chatel says that he’s excited about BD’s focus on a breakthrough product that he hopes will make life easier for an increasingly large segment of the aging population.
“This year, we’ve spent a lot of time on this fantastic product that addresses the complex needs of aging women that develop severe incontinence,” the senior director says. “We’ve received so many customer stories about how this product has changed people’s lives. Husbands weren’t able to sleep in the same bed with their wives, daughters were having to drive over in the middle of the night to act as caregivers for their mothers. We’re talking about quality and clinical elements that can be life-altering.”
The challenge, however, has been that Medicare doesn’t reimburse for adult disposables or paddings. Chatel and his team are working directly with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) toward recognizing the necessity of covering these types of products.
“This product is something we feel like we’re able to demonstrate the medical necessity for and that it should be reimbursed by CMS and other payers,” Chatel affirms. “The female incontinence market is a $4 billion market and is something the entire company is in tune with, but it’s been a learning experience for me corresponding with medical directors and getting insight into how they think, what motivates them, and how to get us on the same page.”
If it’s not already abundantly clear, Chatel isn’t motivated by a title—he’s motivated by a challenge. “I just want to use my talents and adaptability to be able to correlate business operations with financial results,” the senior director says. “I hope to get more involved in the health and economics area, to continue to help bridge that gap. It’s a complex area, and I enjoy those complexities.”