Business Basics: In A Wound Facility

Issue Number: 
Volume 2 Issue 3 - Summer 2008
Author(s): 
James Calder, Managing Editor, TWC

Tne highly debated issue among wound care professionals is whether or not a facility operator/director needs prior experience in medicine, let alone wound care.
By taking a closer look at leaders who did not start out with an extensive medical background, others in the industry can gain insight to ideas and tactics they may be missing within their own facilities.
Paula Kreissler is president and owner of Wound Care Clinic–ESU, Inc. a two office wound care facility located in Savannah and Pooler, Georgia. She literally made the transition from packages to wounds.
Kreissler and her employees believe that her managerial experience outside of wound care is her strongest asset.

Introduction to wound care

Having been first introduced to the wound care specialty via attending a wound care seminar in 2002, later that year she spent a week in a wound care clinic.

Kreissler officially came to the specialty of wound care in April of 2005, by successfully opening Wound Care Clinic’s first location in Savannah. Even though she didn’t hold a medical background, she was motivated with a rich business portfolio, with career highlights including being a extensively skilled manger at FedEx.

“Many in wound care believe this is an advantage for running a facility,” Kreissler said. “It is a great advantage coming from a business background. However, the disadvantage is not being familiar with all of the medical terminology.”

The facility most recently opened a second clinic in July 2007, 15 miles Northwest of Savannah in Pooler, Ga.

“FedEx was a great place to develop my leadership skills,” she said. “FedEx invests lots of training time for front-line employees and management. The basic philosophy at FedEx is ‘people-service-profit—which basically means if you put your people first, excellent service will follow and then the profits.”
Kreissler is convinced that basic leadership works across all business spectrums.

Results of Good Leadership
Kreissler has utilized her leadership skills and business knowledge to successfully start and operate a thriving wound care facility.
Wound Care Clinic currently has 18 employees including an MD, Nurse Practitioners, Physical Therapist, LPNs, CNAS, and administrative staff.

“We have two locations each with five treatment rooms,” Kreissler explained.
One of the things that help distinguish Wound Care Clinic is that they have been specializing in Electrical Stimulation and Ultrasound (ESU) since their very first patient.
“We used it in our first patient and continue to use it on all patients,” she said.

Kreissler finds pride in the fact that they are independent from
hospital clinics.
“We are basically independent from the hospitals,” she explained. “The therapies which we use are different than the local hospital-based wound care centers. Our clinics are small and intimate and our patients love that.”
Kreissler claims that the key to her facilities growth and success has been its core values:

We respect everyone every
second of the day.
We always put the patient first.
We profitably heal every patient.
We keep a smile on our face and laughter in our heart.
We add value to our lives and other’s lives by always acting and speaking with kindness.

“I have these available in staff meetings, we have a copy in our marketing packet, I refer to them when I speak on leadership and at business meetings,” she said. “I also present them to potential new hires at the beginning of an interview and request their feedback.”

Greatest Challenges
Kreissler claims that the biggest challenge so far occurred while starting her journey in wound care.
“Writing the business plan, having enough money in the bank to operate, finding the right location, hiring the right staff, and getting the word out that we are open,” she said.

Kreissler says since opening the second clinic it has been a challenge spending equal time in each center. She also claimed that billing and determining the most cost effective marketing is always a challenge, but surprisingly her staff has not been a problem or a challenge.
“I have people waiting for an opportunity to work here,” Kreissler said. “We have a great staff and they all work great together.”

Melanie Finnocchiaro is a board certified family nurse practitioner and the clinical director of the wound care clinic.
“Paula and I started out with two employees—she and I were it for a while,” Finocchiaro said.
She believes that Wound Care Clinic–ESU, Inc. is the best wound care clinic to work for because of
several reasons.

“Our work place has a set of core values that reflect who we are–including respect for everyone, kindness, and compassion, and a focus on healing the patients,” Finnocchiaro said. “We are very innovative and creative–good problem solvers and not afraid to learn something new and better–that may help our patient heal. We take care of our patients physically, emotionally, and spiritually—holistic care.”

Advertising, Marketing, and PR
It seems that some of Kreissler's strongest initiatives are ones that are commonplace in most business operations across fields, such as advertising, marketing and PR.
One key to her business model is utilizing an external PR/Marketing team comprised of several local small business, which she says are experts in the field.
“I have a public relations/marketing team and they have helped tremendously,” Kreissler said.

The facility operates on a physician referral only system, so they only market direct to family practice MDs.
“We do some print ads, TV ads, and the yellow pages have also been very effective for us,” she said. “We also set up a booth at many health fairs and business expos, and I am also a member of several business organizations and attend a majority of their
networking functions.

The facility also has a website at www.woundcareclinic.net, and she says it has also been very effective including the use of streaming video on her site.
“This was suggested by the public relations/marketing team,” she said. “I can’t tell you how many people have told me how they positively enjoyed it. I wouldn’t have known to do it on my own.”

Trends and Advice
Like most successful businesswomen, Kreissler is eager to share tips and tactics to others who will listen. She believes wound care of the future will be accelerated with rapid growth of more independent clinics opening as the need grow.
“Especially when you combine the Baby Boomers with the aging Diabetes DX trends,” Kreissler said.
Her advice for other clinic operators is to sell yourself strongly.

“Actual results speak volumes, not only wound closures results, but
referring physician and patient testimonials,” she said. “You want to be known as the wound care expert in your area.” n

Paula Kreissler is president and CEO of Wound Care Clinic - ESU, Inc. The clinic heals chronic and acute non-healing wounds utilizing Electrical Stimulation and Ultrasound along with other standard therapies for wound healing. She graduated with a BA from Concordia University and has chaired and served
on many non-profit boards. Kreissler can be reached via email at
paula@woundcareclinic.net.