Jeff Hignite, a senior manager at ECG, was recently named one of Becker’s Hospital Review’s Rising Stars. We sat down with him to get his perspective on the future of healthcare and his work in the industry so far.
Q: As one of Becker’s Hospital Review’s rising stars, what impact do you hope your work will have on the healthcare industry moving forward?
A: The biggest driver of my work is to create sustainability in the overall healthcare system. We have reached a point where the increases in demand and the cost of healthcare are unsustainable over the long term. It is incredibly rewarding to collaborate with clients across the country to develop strategies that address their challenges. My work at ECG is centered around generating efficiencies, driving care toward lower cost ambulatory settings, embracing consumerism and technology, and developing higher-quality, lower-cost operations.
Q: How did you get into healthcare management consulting?
A: I spent the early part of my career working for two national health insurance companies in their provider network departments. I worked subsequently for Surgical Care Affiliates, a large ambulatory surgery center management company, and directed the managed care and reimbursement strategy of its Southeastern operations. I transitioned to management consulting—and specifically to ECG—for the opportunity to provide assistance to many different types of clients nationwide, address larger challenges in new markets, and learn the core issues that are at top of mind for healthcare leaders and so I could partner with them to develop innovative solutions.
Jeff’s manager, I. Naya Kehayes had to say of working with Jeff, “In less than three years of tenure at ECG, Jeff Hignite has received two promotions and advanced from Senior Consultant to Senior Manager in the ASC practice. The momentum he has realized in his career path at ECG, is a direct result of his commitment and tenacity in achieving the best possible outcomes for clients, while exemplifying leadership within the practice and across the firm. Jeff is highly motivated, and is recognized by clients as a trusted advisor and an expert in ASC payer contract negotiations, business operations and strategy. Jeff is constantly striving for improvement and excellence. He thrives on building knowledge and is always willing to lead initiatives and to support clients and colleagues which translates into success. I am excited about Jeff’s future and am confident Jeff will continue to advance at an accelerated pace with unlimited potential in his career.”
Q: What is the most interesting challenge you’ve faced as a consultant?
A: A large portion of my project work centers around outpatient surgery and alignment of physician, facility, patient, payer, and often health system incentives to provide surgical procedures in the most suitable setting for an appropriate price. It is always challenging to get each party to understand the goals and perspectives of the others. My role is often to facilitate discussion and find common ground on providing the best care for patients and creating financially sustainable healthcare organizations. Although it can be difficult for stakeholders who come into the room with disparate goals to work together, it’s gratifying to collaboratively develop arrangements where all parties can be proud of the outcomes.
Q: What is a particularly rewarding project you’ve worked on?
A; One particularly rewarding project at ECG involved an important community healthcare facility that was at risk of closing due to revenue and rate pressures. Through the course of our partnership, we were able to provide process improvement initiatives and new payer relationships that led to sustainable, ongoing operations. The opportunity to have a lasting impact on the healthcare choices available in this community was rewarding.
Q: Who are some of the leaders in healthcare that inspire you?
A: Entrepreneurs are very inspiring to me; two of my current colleagues, Naya Kehayes and Matt Kilton, are healthcare leaders who built a company by bringing their deep knowledge of complicated ASC payment systems, methodologies, and contractual dynamics to clients that needed help in this space. There was and continues to be a vast need for this expertise, so they provide an invaluable service. I worked with Naya and Matt prior to joining ECG, and they were instrumental in launching my consulting career and allowing me to see the kind of impact I could make by serving our clients.
Also, I had the pleasure of working with Kelli Collins at Surgical Care Affiliates for several years. She has the heart of a teacher and sincerely cares about the growth of others. She taught, firmly led, and grew her teams, all with kindness and care. I am fortunate to have worked with her and strive to emulate her approach in my roles on project teams at ECG.
Q: What do you do outside of the office?
A: In my time outside the office, you can find me hiking, snowboarding, traveling abroad, following Kentucky basketball, and spending time with my wife, family, and friends.