Dr. Heather Signorelli is a pathologist by background, and she’s the Vice President and Chief Lab Officer of a large healthcare organization. But outside of her day job, she and her husband started a medical billing company called National Revenue Consulting, so she’s taken all the stuff she loves about her job, like Excel spreadsheets, and turned them into an amazing business.
Tune in this week for some serious inspiration from a member of the EntreMD Business School. We’re discussing how she harnessed her gift for spreadsheets (which most docs, myself included, despise) and turned it into a company that helps practitioners build profitable businesses.
Hi docs, welcome to The EntreMD Podcast, where it’s all about helping amazing physicians just like you embrace entrepreneurship so you can have the freedom to live life and practice medicine on your terms. I’m your host, Dr. Una.
Dr. Una: All right, well hello, hello. Welcome back to another episode of The EntreMD Podcast. I have been looking forward to this episode because I have the amazing Dr. Heather Signorelli here. We’ve been social media friends and then she came into the EntreMD Business School and I’ve just watched her. Every time I see her she’s up to something. And I’m like, oh my goodness.
And so I was like, why don’t you come on? Let’s talk about your journey, like since before you joined, and now you joined what’s going on and all of that? And I am going to be as amazed as you guys are, because I haven’t heard any of this stuff. So this is going to be a lot of fun.
So Dr. Heather, welcome to the show.
Heather: Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here and share all of the things that have been going on. I will say it’s been a wild ride the last few years, but all amazing things. So it’s been fun.
Dr. Una: Okay, so amazing ride, we’re going to talk about it. We’re going to talk about the ride. So take a moment, introduce yourself to the listeners.
Heather: Yes, so Heather Signorelli, I’m a pathologist by background. And I work for a large healthcare organization, I’m their vice president and chief lab officer. And so in my day job I run hospital laboratories, I love the business side of it. I like contracts, and budgets, and Excels, the whole nine yards.
And then in my personal life, my husband and I started a medical billing company. And so we are building and growing and teaching. And it’s just been something that we’ve been able to do together and kind of mix both of our skill sets. So it’s been amazing.
Dr. Una: Okay, you’re amazing. I hope you know that for most physicians, we do not like budgets and Excel spreadsheets. I’m just pointing that out.
Heather: Yeah, it’s a problem.
Dr. Una: No, it’s a superpower. Like really, it is. So that’s amazing, I love it.
Now, I remember when you joined the EntreMD Business School, and you joined at a time when I was like, you get access to the vault for two months and then that’s when we’ll start. And then I start seeing all these wins you’re posting and everything. I’m like, we haven’t even started, like officially started. What is she doing?
Dr. Una: So I want us to dig into all of that. So first of all, you have had this amazing career, right? You run like what 200 laboratories or so and you love Excel spreadsheets, just to through that in again. So what made you decide, like with all this expertise, all that I know, all that I’ve created, I want to join the EntreMD Business School, I want to start this whole other business? What was the trigger for that?
Heather: I have been listening to your podcasts for well over a year. I mean bingeing on them. You know, all the things you say others want from a podcast, I got in your podcast. I like the topics, I like business, I like, again, Excel spreadsheets, we’re just going to keep throwing that in.
And it was one of those things where I actually thought about applying to your business school six months ago, but I just couldn’t quite pull the trigger. And so when I finally did pull the trigger, I was like, “Okay, I’m beyond ready. I am past ready.”
And so when you sent the links, I was like, okay, let’s binge on these, and so one after another. And I realized, okay, shoot, there are strategies I should be doing now. Forget waiting till June, I’ve got to go. And so we started the podcast, we started the group, we started really recognizing that what our listeners wanted was education.
They wanted a way to feel less stressed when it came to their medical billing and their practice in general. And the number of responses we’ve gotten, the emails, the calls has been just incredible. I mean, I’m getting several a day right now of just people saying thank you so much for teaching and educating through your podcast.
And so your podcast really kind of put us in motion. We were like, let’s go. I mean, I’m a person of massive action. I never worry about the how, I just keep going and going and going and going. And I don’t know, it’s fun.
Dr. Una: Oh my goodness. Okay, so you’re at a point, we’re talking, how long have you had your podcast for at this point?
Heather: Two months.
Dr. Una: Two months.
Heather: Yeah, nine weeks.
Dr. Una: Nine weeks. Okay, so guys, I want you to hear this, nine weeks and you’re already at a point where you’re getting several emails a day saying thank you.
Heather: Yes, and asking for help and then saying, “Hey, can we schedule time with you?” I mean, it’s been one of those things where I think as a physician, right, you go into private practice, you’re doing your thing, you’re seeing your patients. And yeah, sure you get expenses and you get revenue. But diving into the details of saying and holding your billers accountable, folks are just not quite sure where to start.
And so that’s really the basis of the podcast, is where do you start? Let’s not do overwhelm, which I know is your motto, huge fan of that. And so it’s where can we help others feel less stress and no overwhelm when it comes to their billing team?
Dr. Una: So talk to me about you, right? So how did this love for billing start? Because many people think about billing and get a migraine. It’s like, I just wish my biller could read my mind and do what they’re supposed to do and I’d just pretend that part didn’t exist. But really, it’s like the lifeline of your business. It doesn’t matter how many patients you see if the billing is not right, right? It’s not going to translate to revenue, and it’s not going to translate to you being able to keep your clinic open.
So is this something you’ve always loved? You said you love the business side. Or is this something you had a pain around and you figured it out, and now you’re helping other people?
Heather: I think it’s a love, it’s a passion. My mom is a nurse by background, ran hospitals and surgery centers. And I think maybe that started in utero where that came to me. But in my professional career and as a pathologist, I got fast tracked into the administration world probably because of that passion, and running hospitals, and getting into the revenue side, even in our own business in the hospital world.
And so learning revenue, understanding prior authorizations, understanding why we get paid or why we don’t get paid, bundled payments, the whole thing. And so I’ve had experience of that in my day to day world. And then watching friends and colleagues who are physicians who really, truly were like, “Gosh, I’m lost in my practice. I don’t know how to do this, or I don’t know why my revenue is going down.” That was really kind of what started this.
And then with my husband, his experience in software just kind of made that, I guess, so to speak marriage from a career standpoint, work in our personal life. And so it just made sense. It was passion for both of us, as well as something that there was really a need for and so here we are.
Dr. Una: So what you’re saying is so powerful, and for so many it’s going to be very validating, and I’ll tell you why. There are things that are almost second nature to us, we don’t overthink it, we’re just really good at it. And because we’re good at it, we think it’s common sense, not realizing that there are so many people in the world who have a big pain around that.
And we are the people who are supposed to help that pain. That’s why this is such a no-brainer to us. And so for everyone listening, those things that people come to you for, you may already be doing that as a business, but you may be dabbling. Like you’re not coming all out because you’re just like, yeah, everybody knows this.
Everybody does not know this, right? People have pain around that and they’re literally waiting for you to step up and help them get rid of the pain. And this is why you put yourself out there. This is why you start podcasts. This is why you show up on social media. This is why you speak at events, because there are people in pain waiting for you to show up so their pain can go away. So I love what you do.
Heather: Do you remember when, so in your podcast you always talk about if you find something you’re passionate about, you never work a day in your life. And early on when we when I started listening to your podcast, that’s what kept resonating in my head. And this was maybe almost two years ago at this point.
And it was one of those things that just kept coming up. And I thought, what do I love? And I know it’s silly, but it came down to the darn Excel spreadsheets.
Dr. Una: Exactly.
Heather: And so it was like, okay, well, you know, and it just kind of evolved from there. It wasn’t like this super intentional thing. It literally was an evolution of just one foot in front of the other in terms of things that I liked, my husband liked, and what were we good at, and then next thing you know.
And we got to meet some clients in person this past weekend, and just seeing them and having the energy around what we’re helping them recapture, it was just that moment of this is what we’re meant to be doing.
Dr. Una: Yikes, this is what we’re meant to be doing. And now you’re officially not working. You’re just having a blast, right?
Dr. Una: Oh my goodness.
Heather: Which is good because I still have my full time job that I love and I’m great at and I enjoy my team there. And so my husband is kind of running the business full-time. He quit his job to run it full-time and we’ve got people on staff.
And so we’re just really taking one day at a time and, again, not getting overwhelmed but just one foot in front of the other and using the community with the EntreMD Business School to help solve problems that we have and that we’re going to encounter, right? This isn’t going to be easy, it is hard. But it’s okay. Hard is okay, like this is a time in our life where hard works.
Dr. Una: This is a time in our life when hard works because when I’m 90 I don’t want to be doing hard things, thank you very much.
Dr. Una: Now, I remember saying there are a number of doctors, you are one of them, that I saw and I was like, you know what, there are some people between April and June, between when they signed up and when they start, that they would have either recouped their investment from the business school, or they would have come really close to it. Because I was like, the level of activity. I’m like, oh my goodness, these people.
So talk to me, give us a feel for before the business school started. So you signed up, you had access to the vault, which is like the recordings of trainings we had done in the past and all of that stuff. You didn’t have access to the community, you weren’t having live sessions because you had not started.
What are the things that you had accomplished in your business or changes you had made or whatever, between April and June?
Heather: So I will give some numbers, right? So when we started in early, probably right before I started listening to the podcast we had one client. And then I started the podcast then we had another client, and then we had another client. And so we’ve gone from zero to nine doctors that we’re servicing.
But what is really cool is not just the number of clients, because that’s coming and these are long sales cycles. It’s the number of leads. So leads are the number of people who are reaching out that we’re meeting with that we’re either sending a contract out or having conversations with. It has gone from, you know, literally we had three.
We had a really high close rate, but we didn’t have a lot of people. Most of it was word of mouth, they already knew us, whatever. And then now we’re getting probably three to five true leads a week.
Dr. Una: Wow.
Heather: Which is, I mean, almost to the point where we are now being able to be a little selective around, gosh, that’s not the right fit for us, or this is the right fit. And so we’re learning also that there is a right answer to the right fit for a billing team. And so we’re enjoying that process as well.
So it’s the lead magnet. I think you say those words and it’s kind of like you go, “Okay, yeah, whatever.” But it’s true. I mean, it’s to the point where, you know, it’s been a lot. I mean, I think my husband is doing two demos just this morning for software and for new clients. So it’s been busy, but it’s also made us realize how many people out there aren’t getting the service that they need.
Actually, that’s been the most amazing thing, because we do this billing metric course and folks are like, “I’ve never looked at any of these things. Where do I even start?” And so that has been the most satisfying, because we know that at the end of the day, if you’re tracking these, your practice will thrive.
Dr. Una: Okay, so you’re saying that in, so what was that, two months?
Dr. Una: You went from zero clients to nine clients?
Heather: We had our first two clients already kind of in the hopper.
Dr. Una: Okay.
Heather: So we had already started them. So that was four doctors, now we have nine total doctors, three practices. But it’s the amount of the leads that are coming in. That to me, has been more impressive. Because the first two were people that we knew and we had relationships with. It’s the strangers that are now finding us now.
It’s not a referral thing because, I mean, the docs have been great, but we’ve not actually asked for referrals yet. And I know that’s part of the method, but we’re waiting to get them stabilized before we start asking for things. The rest have just come organically from the podcast and from the process.
Dr. Una: I was going to ask, like where did they find you from? So they’re finding you from this nine week old podcast?
Heather: Yes, 100%. And, actually, I mean I got a message this morning just saying, “Oh my gosh, I love your podcast. I don’t even know where to start. Like this is great.” And guys, for anybody listening, I am not a podcaster.
Sure I’m an extrovert, but I am not a podcaster. I’m doing the editing myself, which I know I need to hire somebody for. But I’ve been doing it all myself, I’ve just figured it out just by listening to the podcast and reading and going down rabbit holes.
Dr. Una: Man, okay, I knew I was going to be blown away because I was like, she just said that on Facebook. She said that and like we haven’t even started. Like what is she doing, right?
Heather: And then it was also your messaging around just putting it out there. And so in the time that this all started, then I got nominated for the top 25 emerging leaders, actually I became one of the top 25 emerging leaders by Modern Health Care. I just got an award last week for another Choosing Wisely Champion through the Choosing Wisely Campaign.
I mean, it’s just like all of these things that are somewhat not related, but somehow I feel like every time you put yourself out there, it’s just the energy around cool things happening just comes, I don’t know.
Dr. Una: Every time you put yourself out there the energy for cool things happening just comes. You said that, Dr. Toomer, I think we were on a call, one of our live sessions for the EntreMD Business School, and she says, “When I put myself out there I become an opportunity magnet.” I was like, so true.
And I love that you are a classic example. I mean like your podcast is nine week old. It’s not two years old, it’s nine weeks old.
Heather: No, and Heather, myself is the one who’s editing it. I mean it’s raw, it’s not fancy, you know, it’s not perfect. And that’s okay, I will get improvements with it as time goes on. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
And I think that that’s one of the things that I’ve learned from you, is it’s okay, it doesn’t need to be perfect. Perfection comes with experience with regards to podcasting, right? And so for now I’m okay with it not being perfect, because guess what, it’s still getting a lot of really good feedback.
Dr. Una: Oh man, this is good. Okay, at any point in time did you feel any hesitation around putting yourself out there? Were you afraid, all of that? And are you a perfectionist? Are you like, oh, I’m putting myself out there but it’s not the right way. Did you have any of those and what did you do to overcome them? Because you’ve done a lot.
Heather: All of those things. Oh my gosh, yes. I mean, it’s not like I go out into the world and I’m like, “Oh yeah, I’ve got all this.” I mean, you definitely have moments of hesitation, and moments of overwhelm, and moments of, shoot, why am I doing this? Am I really doing this? I’ve got a great job, I don’t need this.
But then I realized this is actually helping people and it’s okay if it’s not perfect. And so, you know, I kind of have two brains, right? And it’s the brain that’s concerned, and worried, and overwhelmed. And then you kind of have to shut that off and go, “No, we’re just one foot in front of the other. We’re just going to take small little baby actions and they turn into big actions and it turns into big results.”
I mean, it’s one foot in front of the other. I just really, actually I try not to worry about it. I just don’t think about it. Let it come in and let it go out.
Dr. Una: So you shut down, she’s like I shut down that brain, I shut it down. I think it’s so helpful when we can recognize that there are two narratives going on, right? Like sometimes we think, “I can’t do that.” And we’re thinking that and that’s the only thought and so that’s law and all of that.
But when you recognize there’s a part of you that’s like, “I can’t do that,” there’s another part of you that’s like, “Of course we can.” Then you’re like, “Hmm, who am I going to listen to?” Right? Because now I get to choose, right? Who am I going to let drive this bus?
And I talk about it on the podcast, I’m like, I really tried to get rid of fear. I tried to overcome fear so I could start doing things. And I was like, I’m a doctor, I’ve run a really successful practice, I’m helping people build profitable businesses, I’m doing all this and the fear is still there. So I’m like, since you don’t want to go away, here’s your seat, sit over here, but you don’t get to drive anymore. You can stay there and I’m still going to do what I want to do. That is amazing.
Heather: And one of the things, you know, when I was a resident and I had this vision of what I wanted my career, right, my professional career to look like and everybody kept saying that’s not possible, you know, pathologists don’t get to work in administration. You know, a clinical pathologist doesn’t work in community health care systems. I said, “No, I actually do see a need and I do think it’s possible.”
And, I mean, I’m a young person, I’m not even 40 yet. And I am running one of the largest healthcare systems in the world, their laboratory service line. I have an amazing boss who supports me, we have built an amazing team. And so to me this is just another example of that attitude of saying, no, you know what, I do see a need. I do think this is possible. Forget the naysayers, let’s move forward.
Dr. Una: All right people, that a rewindable moment, okay? You click the little arrow that says 30 seconds backwards and you listen to that again. And that is so powerful. And I think you’re such an amazing example of what is possible for physicians because we have heard a lot of noes, but we’re coming to that place where we’re like, we don’t do the noes anymore. We dream it, we get it done, right? And so I love I love all of this.
Now, in your process, building all of this, and I can’t even conceptualize where you’re going to be in a year. I know it’s going to be insane, like it’s going to be insanely good. I’m just like, well, one step in front of the other, we’ll see where we go.
But now you did the private podcast, which has evolved for the two months. And then you came into the business school, what has that experience been like for you?
Heather: The community and the challenges are what I’m there for. And I know that sounds funny, but the challenges that you put forth in the group, and I know we’re only on one of them. But that one challenge so far, right, and the method and the mechanisms by which we can put into place every single day are what are driving even further success.
So the podcast has been great. We’ve got 2200, 2300 downloads. But then now this Metric Mastermind, which is that course we’re doing, which we really started because of the process that you’re putting into place that first month that you’ve given us challenges for. That has then taken it to an entirely different level.
The first one I had, I think I had 25 people sign up. I’ve now doubled that just two weeks later. I’m redoing it this Sunday and now I’ve got almost 50 people. And so I can see that if I apply the method every single month, every single week, and come to the classes and do what you’re asking, one, it’s not things that I would have thought of. And so once I’m going through it, it makes sense. It’s also stuff I would have never done.
I would have never done the stuff that is so far, like literally month one, right? Month one and a half of the business school, there are things that I’m doing, that I just wouldn’t have thought of, and it’s brilliant. The community also is amazing. You know, we already have group Facebook chats with our success group folks, and we’re already exchanging messages and cheering each other on.
And, you know, entrepreneurship is hard. Life is hard at, let’s be honest here. And so to have individuals who you can go, “Gosh, I had a crummy day today and I just feel down and I need to be lifted back up,” you have those people. And then they can say, well, not only like let’s move on, but here’s three things you can do to get out of this rut. So that’s been my favorite.
Dr. Una: I like that you say that because it’s not a kumbaya community. It’s not a rah-rah, like, you know, it’s we’ll love you, we’ll help you, we’ll call you out. It’s like a real family, you know what I mean? Like all the dimensions are there, which is so cool.
Heather: And I would also say there’s a wide variety of folks in there at different levels. And so, for your listeners that are, gosh, on that fence and they’re thinking, well I’m not ready yet, or I don’t have that idea yet. What’s been really cool is that the individuals in the group, they span that continuum.
There’s folks in there who are like, “I have no idea what I want to do, I want to learn and I want to do better and I know I have more to offer.” And then there’s folks who have a solid business plan. And then there’s folks who, you know, have a seven-figure business.
And so to have that continuum also helps you get welcomed into a community because no matter where you are, you’re going to feel comfortable.
Dr. Una: So did you have any thoughts like maybe the school wouldn’t work for me? Or maybe one on one would be better, I’m not sure about group. Did you have any hangups around that?
Heather: Oh my gosh, yes. And I literally have been bingeing on your podcast for some time. I applied for the last cohort, and then I don’t know who it was that was responding to me, but then I like chickened out. I just was like, I don’t want to spend the money. I don’t want to do this. I don’t have the time. You know, all those things come into your head.
And so I backed out. I literally didn’t move forward. And then I regretted it every single day. And literally, I think a month later I even emailed being like, “No, I’m kidding, I want in.” And I never got a response because it was too late. I had missed that opportunity and I regretted it.
And then for the next like six months, until that next time came around, I’d go, “I’m going to do this, and I cannot wait.” And so I just was waiting for those emails to come through. Because I knew it was a mistake for me to pass it up. I knew I missed an opportunity. I could have been doing this six months ago.
And maybe I wasn’t ready yet. But to me, I think that was a mistake. I think I would have been ready. I would have learned what I have and I would have started this journey sooner. But here we are. I will say that not only is the money worth the investment, right? You always get worried that, gosh, is it too much? Am I not worth the investment?
And then I realized, heck yeah, I’m worth the investment. I would pay three, four times as much to get some other fancy degree. What is my hang up? And you know, here we are.
Dr. Una: Here you are. And man, I don’t do regret. So me and you, I think we’re in the same category. I’m kind of like I should have, I didn’t, you know, cool, let’s keep it moving. I will then go on to tell other people don’t do what I did. That’s the way I get over regret.
But I will say though, you’re probably just making up for that time because you are on a roll, a complete roll. I love it.
Heather: Yes. And when I get into something, I don’t look back. And you know, I would say that for anybody who is contemplating this, it doesn’t need to be perfect. I mean, that’s okay. And honestly, it’s been worth every single penny times three, times five. And we will have our investment made before the end of August back. So that, to me, means that’s all we need. And keep on pushing.
And it’s the growth opportunity, right? I don’t think my mindset would have been dreaming this big, and now I’m in a just a different place. And so not only is it my investment, you know, we’re getting that money back, but it’s the larger picture around where am I going?
Dr. Una: Yes.
Heather: And that, there are no limits. There are literally no limits. And that is something that I did not have six months ago or even three months ago.
Dr. Una: That is so beautiful. I’m so glad you said that because that is the biggest reward of entrepreneurship. The people we help is so amazing. The dollars, so amazing. But the people we become in the process, you can’t put a dollar amount on that. It’s like bringing yourself to a point where you’re like, I have no limits. Like bringing yourself to a place where you legitimately think that way is so mind blowing because then you start acting like someone who has no limits, and you are acting that way.
Heather: And it’s both in my entrepreneurial world, in my personal world with my family, and in my professional world at my day job, right? I mean, you know, you’re having us read books that are amazing, like this Positive Intelligence book, and learning strategies that we’re actually applying to my team at work. And so it is infiltrating every area in my life. And that’s what’s been the most fulfilling.
Dr. Una: Oh man, so good. I knew this was going to be good. Not this good, but I knew it was going to be good. And guys, listen, we have not had a conversation about this. I just kept watching her. I’m like, what is she doing? This is fantastic. I was like, can you get her on the podcast? I want us to talk about it in front of the whole wide world.
But this has been so amazing and I’m beyond rooting for you. I cannot wait to see what you create. I think, for me, it’s such a privilege to watch everybody’s journey and see and to tell docs like, look at what is possible. It is possible for you. So thank you for sharing that, for taking us behind the scenes. This is really good.
Now, what you do is really critical, is really important. And guys, I did interview her on the Doctors Changing Medicine Podcast as well, so you want to check that out to get more about the billing side and all of that. But there are people who are like, I don’t even need to check it out. Like where can I find her? Where can they find you?
Heather: So we’re happy to take email or website. So our website is www.nationalrevenueconsulting.com. And email also at email@example.com. And either location is fine. We do have a Facebook group called Rev, R-E-V, MD, which is where you know healthcare professionals and providers, we can talk about issues when it comes to medical billing. And that’s also what our podcast is called, Rev, R-E-V, MD.
Dr. Una: RevMD. All right, go to RevMD, go subscribe, especially if you have a private practice and the times we live in, with a recession, with inflation, and with CMS saying to top that up we’re going to drop how much we pay. How about that? Okay, so we definitely want to have this.
And the truth of the matter is when it comes to billing, when you have a billing service or someone who’s training on billing, who understands the business side, you’re literally getting two for the price of one. Like seven for the price of one because that’s a complete picture. It’s not just billing, it’s like the full revenue cycle, management, and all of that. So that’s fantastic.
All right people, you heard the doc, okay? And so if you’re here and you’re like, “I really want to work on my business and I do want the accountability, and the coaching, the community and all of that,” come check us out. Actually, come join us, okay? Entremd.com/business.
Come check us out, the link will be in the show notes as well as the links for a Dr. Heather’s business as well. Be sure to check that out, be sure to subscribe to the podcast. So thanks again, doc, for coming on the show. This was so good.
Heather: Thank you so much, I appreciate it.
Dr. Una: Absolutely. All right people, I will see you on the next episode of The EntreMD Podcast. Don’t forget to share this episode because it’s going to change a lot of lives for doctors.
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