Progressive Medical: David Bianconi, CEO

by HCE Exchange on August 19, 2010

Providing cost effective services and excellent customer service are a fundamental part of Progressive Medical in 1986 with a vision of not only helping and assisting clients, but of also developing a work atmosphere that is conducive to efficiency and healthy attitudes.

“We have tremendous opportunities for people at all levels to contribute, not be afraid of taking risks, and to really utilize their talents in a way that ultimately helps the customer,” Bianconi said.

Since 1986, Progressive Medical has been servicing the managed care industry from their headquarters in Westerville, Ohio. Progressive Medical employs about 400 people locally, and another 30 representatives across the country.  They offer pharmacy, transportation, translation, medical equipment, and benefit programs to companies.

“Workers’ Comp is a right, health care is a benefit,” Bianconi said. “There are certain attributes that are attached to providing Workers’ Compensation benefits that are not part of health care. And we were able to take some of those attributes and create other additional value added services under the Workers’ Comp side that were not possible on the health care side. This allowed us to thrive in an emerging market.”

Within the context of Workers’ Compensation, Progressive Medical offers a pharmacy benefit program, which provides cost effective pharmaceutical services to injured workers. Progressive Medical offers plans and programs that match the specific needs of an injured worker. This allows the employers the flexibility in what they offer their employees.

“Under a health care program if you have an employer that has a thousand employees, they typically will provide one health care plan to those thousand employees,” Bianconi said. “That same employer, with those same thousand employees, under a Workers’ Comp model, has the potential for a thousand plans.”

Bianconi’s vision for fair and prompt service and an engaging and a communicative work environment permeates to all areas of Progressive Medical’s transactions. For example, when Progressive Medical sends companies a bill, they make sure they describe precisely what the company is paying for. They outline what kind of benefits and treatments the worker received and discuss the price of that treatment.

“There was a lot more information that they were receiving and they liked that very much,” Bianconi said. “With more information you can make better decisions.”

For his employees, Bianconi emphasizes the need to take risks; something he values highly in a work environment. Essentially, he says, people who are the right fit for Progressive Medical are problems solvers.

“We tell everyone there are good mistakes and bad mistakes and we encourage people to make good mistakes,” Bianconi said. “Good mistakes are defined as those mistakes that may not have the desirable outcome, but given the same set of circumstances, anyone with a logical mind would have done the same thing. If you apply those principles, the vast majority of the time, you will not even make a mistake; you will have a good outcome.”

He makes a comparison with a bad mistake, which he says is when “an undesirable outcome is achieved with absolutely no consideration or thought put into that process.”

Progressive Medical has maintained its reputation throughout the years, as Bianconi suggests, through hiring good workers, which he says is a challenge. Other challenges include legislative issues regarding Workers’ Compensation. The laws regarding Workers’ Compensation are different for each state and they often do not benefit everyone. However, Bianconi looks at this significant obstacle as an opportunity for growth.

“Instead of taking the view that legislators make our life difficult by enacting laws that handcuff us,” Bianconi feels that “Whatever they are doing to us they are doing to our competition. If we have the ability to figure out those things, if we are smart enough to do that, then we will be successful and our competition will not.”

In comparison to their competitors, Bianconi says Progressive Medical offers excellent customer service, by delivering on their promises and goals. Before handling customer service calls, an individual employed at Progressive Medical goes through a five week training period. Progressive Medical makes sure that workers are well educated about their position so that they will be able to communicate properly and efficiently.

Placing full trust in his employees is what Bianconi also emphasizes in the Progressive Medical work environment. He understands the need for their freedom.

“Every problem that is brought to me, I look for the answer from the person who brought the problem to me,” Bianconi said. “I don’t look to solve the problem, I look for them to solve the problem, because they are the best ones to do that. So, it is letting go, it’s delegating, it’s not controlling everyone, but giving people the freedom to contribute and to be recognized, to be a part of something that is great.”

Bianconi treats his employees with a great deal of respect. At “Lunch with Dave,” Bianconi will talk to his employees about various topics. It was from these lunches that Bianconi was alerted by non-smoking employees to the amount of smoking breaks other employees take.

In response, Bianconi and the Human Resources department developed a program called Nutrition and Recreational Goals. For an eight dollar payment each pay period, this program allows employees to use the company fitness center and another local fitness center. If employees do this at least twice weekly over a 12 week period, they will receive a 40% reduction in their medical insurance premium.

“Of the 60% that are enrolled, the turnover is 6%. Of the 40% that are not enrolled, the turnover is 30%,” Bianconi said. “There’s a tremendous cost savings in turnover reduction; we are self-insured on our health care program.”

Progressive Medical is focused on being the “one stop shop” for compensation case managers. When asked whether he is just as excited about his company today as was when he started 20 years ago, Bianconi laughs and says “I am blessed and have surrounded myself with just tremendous people.  Just turn them loose and get out of the way.”

-by Crissanka Christadoss

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