October 14, 2013 • SHC – Pasadena

When Cutting Profits Makes Sense – Forbes.com

Witten by Ashoka

Matt Miguelena worked at Healthcare Corporation of America (HCA), one of America’s largest healthcare companies, for nearly two decades before opting out to set up his own venture. Disillusioned with the increasing monetization of healthcare, in 2007 he created Allied Healthcare Professionals, a home health agency in California that focuses on doing healthcare “the old-school way,” he says.  

It’s a for-profit enterprise that’s as concerned about social impact as it is about financial returns—or as the company’s motto reads, “Putting the care back in healthcare.” Allied is a social enterprise, without labeling itself one.  

Ben Thurman recently spoke with Matt about the challenges of delivering quality healthcare.


Matt Miguelena CEO & PT with Allied Healthcare Professionals, Thousand Oaks CA

Matt Miguelena CEO & PT with Allied Healthcare Professionals, Thousand Oaks CA


Matt Miguelena CEO & PT with Allied Healthcare Professionals, Thousand Oaks CA



 Ben Thurman recently spoke with Matt about the challenges of delivering quality healthcare.

 Q: You spent 17 years in the corporate environment.  What was your experience in mainstream healthcare?

 Miguelena: What I saw increasingly over the years was less attention focused on patient care and more attention focused on benchmarks. It was turning more and more into a numbers game where the hospital is touting, “We’re providing the best healthcare for you and your loved ones,” but at the administration level they’re saying, “Yes, but we have to meet these budget criteria.” Obviously for any business you have to do that, but it was getting to the point where the focus was taken off healthcare and placed on numbers.

I called it, “dying a professional death.” You go to school to learn how to take care of human beings. Then you get into a hospital setting and you have the opportunity to do that, but you don’t have the opportunity to do it as well as you could.

 Q: What motivated you to start your own company?

Miguelena: I am astounded at the billions of dollars of profit that corporate healthcare companies make. It’s too much. So, my question came down to this: how much profit is enough? Instead of making $1.3 billion in profit, could you make $500 million and put the rest back into healthcare? That’s when I came back with the concept for Allied: “putting the care back in healthcare.” I put together a company where we don’t focus on the budgets—we don’t have any MBAs or business-type people in our office—we focus on quality healthcare.

 Q: How do you maintain that balance between profit and social impact?  What is success for you?

 Miguelena: As a business owner I’ve had to back off on some of my ideals because I do see the challenges faced when you have to keep your doors open for business. So I can sort of appreciate the model that I saw about sticking to a budget, but I was able to come to some middle ground. I’m not going to be the most profitable guy, but the quality of my care will be outstanding. And to me that’s successful.

Once we accepted that we’re not going to be the richest company in town and put our effort into taking care of the patients, the relationship we have with our patients and the reputation we have in the community has really fueled our referrals.

Q: Why did you choose to focus on home health, specifically?

Miguelena: I worked in home health for a while and kept hearing patients say, “Well, the other therapist that came never did that.” I found that there weren’t a lot of people doing a really good job, especially in rehabbing patients at home. It really comes down to the ethics and morals of the therapist: when you’re in a 90-year-old lady’s home and she’s got dementia, she’s not going to remember what you did, so who knows what went on? That’s a big responsibility for us: to take care of these patients—especially when no one’s looking.

Q: Because “no one’s looking,” is the quality of home health one of the bigger problems in US healthcare?

Miguelena: Yes, there’s a lot of fraud and abuse in home health in America. Our government is doing an excellent job of cracking down on it; they’ve put in some really good measures to catch people who are trying to cheat the system. It makes it harder for those of us who are ethical—there’s a lot more paperwork and rules to follow—but they have to do something to police those areas that are fraudulent.

For the full article http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashoka/2013/09/23/when-cutting-profits-makes-sense/