Case Studies: New Boss | Merger | Reorganization

Case Studies


See How Patti Helped These Organizations

case-studyAn agent is someone who produces an effect; an instrument by which a guiding intelligence achieves a result. The CHANGE AGENT’s extensive research and customization produce results. Patti Hathaway interviews your people to gain insider (intelligence) information which guides her in customizing the program content to meet your specific concerns.

Perspective is the capacity to view things in their true relative importance. When you’re so close to the situation, it is hard to have perspective. The CHANGE AGENT has worked with thousands of people across the United States. This provides us with an outside perspective that is credible and powerful. When we blend our outside perspective with your specific issues, the results speak for themselves.

The following real case demonstrate the results and recommendations of The CHANGE AGENT.


Audio Excerpts:

“Are You Sitting Down?” (2.50 minutes)

“Our Natural Reactions to Change” (13.35 minutes)

“Patti’s Unique Approach to Change” (7.40 minutes)


Situation: In 1991, Dr. William Martin was doing his annual strategic planning session. He interviewed several insurance executives to try and predict what would happen in the marketplace with managed care. He was convinced that insurers would prefer to deal with as few providers as possible. His medical practice would need to become vertically integrated to be successful. After examining several options, he decided to contact the five-office, eight-doctor Kahn & Diehl Centers for Progressive Eye Care to discuss joining forces. Optometrist and co-owner Paul Kahn would consider it only if the transaction were a merger and they could be equal partners.

After consulting with legal consultants, two professional corporations were developed – one medical and one optometric. Once the merger was consummated, more problems started. Internally, it was a challenge to make diverse backgrounds come together. For instance, the medical side of the business made extensive use of computers and used comprehensive financial controls and management information systems. The optometric practice used 3×5 cards and used a hand-written ledger system. Dr. Martin and Mary Martin, the operations director, pushed the optometric business into modernization and received “tremendous opposition”. Some of the employees felt like it was a “hostile takeover” and 30% of the employees left.

There was tremendous financial pressure and the expected surge in capitated med-surgical contracts was slow to come. The practice earned next to nothing the first year of operation. The end result however is producing several key benefits: surgical volume increased and was profitable from the first year of operation. The practice as a whole last year also posted a profit.

Preparedness. When managed care fully arrives in Northwestern Ohio, the practice is well-positioned to bid on contracts. They can offer the whole package or cafeteria style.
Economies of scale. The practice has been able to economize on expensive instruments. They have also been able to hire a full-time advertising executive which would not have been possible with an individual practice.
Patient care. The merger has increased the technical abilities of the entire practice. Dr. Kahn states, “I see patients I wouldn’t have seen before and I’ve learned to use techs, including scribes. I have learned more in the past two years than I did in the previous 23.”

Solution: Merging is never easy, particularly when melding two cultures as diverse as optometry and opthomology. Dealing with the employees was incredibly challenging. Getting them to see how the practice was doing something that was leading edge and to take pride in being a pioneer was not simple. Kahn & Diehl Centers hired Patti Hathaway, The CHANGE AGENT to help them with that process. After extensive research and interviews, Patti developed a 3.5 hour program for all the employees, followed by an additional 3 hour training session for the supervisors.


“She was not a waste of money’ — that’s a high compliment coming from one of our employees following your workshop. The owners second that. Our only regret is that we didn’t have you come in sooner after merging our practices.”

Recommendations for Similar Merger Situations

The CHANGE AGENT’s Recommendations for Management:

  1. Share the fiscal books openly with staff so they can see the logic behind the merger and the need to implement new management systems.
  2. Encourage employee input into changes which directly impact them.
  3. Keep staff up-to-date with managed care happenings so they can see the “bigger picture”.
  4. Teach not only technical skills but explain the “why” and benefits behind the need for modernization.
  5. Address rumors as they occur.
  6. Praise progress in learning and celebrate small successes.
  7. Hire replacement employees as much for their positive attitude and ability to deal with change as for their technical abilities and expertise.

The CHANGE AGENT’s Recommendations for Staff:

  1. Ask questions of the owners and management. Provide on-going input.
  2. Embrace technology and more efficient ways of doing business.
  3. Always remember the importance of customer service no matter what.
  4. Keep in mind the big picture and the vision for where the organization is going. Take pride in being a pioneer in your field.
  5. Look for ways to build a team between offices and locations.
  6. Take an interest in cross-training so you can be of assistance to others in your office.
  7. Keep healthy and raise your resistance to stress.
  8. Minimize other personal changes in your life.



Case Studies: New Boss | Merger | Reorganization

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