Vice President of Revenue Cycle David Evanswood has worked alongside some of the nation’s most respected leaders in long-term care over the last twenty years.
Evanswood was kind enough to answer some questions from American Healthcare Leader about his work at Diversicare, his management style, and his passion for his team.
What has helped shape your philosophy both in your role and in your life?
As long as we are learning we are growing, and as long as we are growing everything we touch grows with us. This includes not only technical and industry growth, but growth in how we treat all others around us. This is such a large piece of being a leader and you hear it everywhere—the “culture” within the workplace, which of course involves how people are treated; whether they are treated in a warm manner and given opportunities for growth or self-improvement.
As a leader, we are responsible for our teams professionally. Often, little attention is placed into the care of our teams personally, despite having such a direct impact on the personal lives of those we lead. I was given an opportunity once, and I had a leader invest in my personal education goal even though it wasn’t relevant to the long-term care industry.
However, all the knowledge gained during that time I applied it to long-term care. I knew from then on I would take that same act of kindness and investment provided to me and do the same for others.
What I learned, is that this isn’t long-term care, nursing, or just healthcare and numbers and data—it’s people. This is a people business, and if you take care of your people and invest in them professionally and personally, they will take care of your business.
“David’s development and continual growth as a leader has been paramount in Diversicare’s success,” says Ashley Harrison Shudan, partner & client relations director at Stotler Hayes Group, LLC. “The training and support that David provides his staff is invaluable and has resulted in a well-rounded and knowledgeable team that we appreciate collaborating with on a regular basis.”
What are some of the initiatives you’re excited to be leading at Diversicare (e.g., tech implementations, process automation, etc.)?
Some of our more recent initiatives involve technology and automation of ancillary action items that can often be time-consuming in the revenue cycle. These automation items include charge posting, cash posting, refunds, write-offs and claim edits. With the help of our IT department, we’ve been able to build automation tools that take these actions down to minutes versus having several dedicated team members to enter and post, allowing us to use those team members as resources in other needed areas and initiatives, such as our Medicaid Pending evaluation profile tools.
Our profiling hub [helps] us to better evaluate and assist applicants in collecting relevant application data to ensure accuracy and submit to the state departments of Medicaid offices. Medicaid offices are rumored to be notoriously difficult to work with, however, we have had a great response from our state directors and offices, and work to keep that relationship strong. We’ve been able to tailor state-specific needs and collect data, which we then can submit to the state agency in an organized package.
These initiatives come back to taking care of the person. When we have initiatives that ease the burdens of team members and those we serve, we help ourselves by reducing risk exposure, it’s a win-win.
Could you talk about your focus on training-heavy managerial style and other essentials for your own team and leadership approach?
Our teams at Diversicare are heavily trained. This begins once a team member starts their career with us in accounts receivable. They go through onboarding, then shadowing, then we slowly increase the size and scope of their responsibility. We provide additional support guiding them on a regular basis and, of course, on demand as needed.
We also provide a webinar every Friday that not only keeps teams up to date on new industry processes, and policy changes but also reviews back to the basic training material. There are questions, polls, as well as allowing anonymous questions to accommodate those too nervous to speak and ensure active engagement. All training is led by a subject matter expert. In order to effectively lead and educate, that education must come from someone [who] has done it before. It’s not effective to have an inexperienced team member or leader leading a [training] by reading off a manual, leaders should have experience in the fields they are leading or surrounded themselves by the subject matter experts.
You seem to be incredibly team-focused, so I’d love to hear about your people and the value you see in what they’re able to bring to their roles?
I am incredibly team-focused. As I stated earlier, if we take care of our people, they will take care of the business. I believe this whole-heartedly and every time it has proven to be true. I actively invest in my team’s lives.
I know what their spouse’s [and] significant others’ names are, and the names of their children. I celebrate their celebrations and I support them when they are down. I actively invest in them emotionally when things are hard at home, be it a gift card to their favorite restaurant, or a handwritten letter providing them words of affirmation or comfort, or just to be a soundboard for them. Their emotional well-being is just as important to me as their production levels or metrics.
Taking care of your people and actively investing in them professionally and personally is the single most important action any leader can take.