Available to employers in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, Michael Wilson and his team at Healthcare Highways are dedicated to creating affordable healthcare plans for American businesses based on customized networks. Wilson relied on his many years in the healthcare industry to make sure his company remained agile yet honest during the pandemic. The pandemic will change many aspects of healthcare, which include how insurance companies reimburse physicians and hospitals, and Wilson plans on continuing to create personalized solutions for self-insured employers that meet today’s needs.
How are you coping amid the COVID-19 crisis?
We decided how to best protect every employee and work backward. It was all reaction in the beginning. That quick reaction brought protection, which allowed us to stay focused on our main goals, despite the disruption. React swiftly, but do not panic.
Did your business continuity plan work, or were there surprises?
There have been surprises because of the unknown; however, our executives and their teams pivoted in hours—not days or weeks. One of our company pillars, collaboration, became a critical source of strength, as did another value: candor. Honestly communicated ideas and needs actively shared across the enterprise at all levels, created inexhaustible flexibility.
What are the short-term ramifications for your specific industry?
Front and center: we as a health plan must adapt to clients’ needs to manage costs while maintaining competitive, accessible benefits. We must also ensure primary care physicians are empowered to provide the best care solution for patients. The delivery of health care will be forever changed. The rapid response required to accommodate public health safety measures in the short-term will impact service delivery long-term.
Have you found silver linings in these difficult times?
Corporately, being nimble and built to provide flexible solutions for employers is a great advantage. The need to give more and pay less is greater than ever for our clients. Personally, COVID-19 has slowed down my days from 12-14 hours to eight hours, and I am just as productive. I am grateful to be able to spend more time connecting with family and friends.
How are you maintaining your company culture?
Healthcare Highways has taken the past few weeks to focus on over-communication from leadership to all team members. Company-wide meetings with preview videos shared via YouTube help us stay in sync while providing a bit of fun. Keeping a consistent message of hope, inspiration, and encouragement supports focus and maintains discipline. Again, leaning on our pillar of collaboration, we put an emphasis on maintaining face-to-face contact via video-calls. It helps us fully benefit from the feeling of family we enjoy as a smaller company.
What have you learned that may change your policies or strategies for the future?
Healthcare Highways has built products and services for the past seven years focused on lowering costs, increasing value, and creating improved health outcomes for employees long-term. This aligns with what is rapidly becoming a top priority for employers due to COVID-19: reducing their second-leading expense.
What will things look like for your company and industry in another six months?
My perspective, regarding health plans, is one of transformation. That transformation will come through lowering expenses, improving long term health outcomes, providing primary care physicians a seat at the table, and true innovation over customization in benefit offerings. Health plans that do this will gain market share and help their clients retain top talent.
Do you have advice for other local business leaders?
Start with your purpose. Revisit your mission statement and find new ways to bring it into the day-to-day of every team member. Adapt as needed while maintaining alignment with your company’s true mission. Reference your company values often and allow them to guide your decisions. Remember, every stakeholder group and (over) communication is key.