Project manage everything about your life. I’m a professional project manager. I get stuff done and I help others get stuff done who otherwise wouldn’t without my expectations. And that allows me to have the grit needed to succeed. So keep a project management calendar. Every Sunday I fitness prep, meal prep, and work prep. Every night I prep exactly what I’m going to get done the next day. No ifs, ands, or buts. That’s grit and that’s setting internal expectations to get it done.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Meghan Nechrebecki. Meghan is a healthcare administration expert who has been solving complex systemic healthcare challenges for a decade. Meghan is the founder and CEO of the first-of-its-kind boutique health and healthcare consulting company, Health Care Transformation aimed at improving health and reducing healthcare costs in the U.S. Meghan and her team support employers and healthcare providers to focus first and foremost on total health and well-being for individuals through prevention and education while also using analytics and population health methodologies to implement systems improvements.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what events have drawn you to this specific career path.
Absolutely- thank you so much for having me. Growing up as a little girl in Minnesota I always wanted to be a doctor because I wanted to help people feel better. I went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I was Pre-Med and studied Biochemistry and Spanish. I volunteered at homeless clinics and did cancer research. I then went to Johns Hopkins to earn a Masters of Science in Public Health to boost my CV for applying to medical schools. While I was there the Affordable Care Act was getting passed and I started taking all these health policy and management courses and really learned about the systemic healthcare issues we have in the United States. We are the highest cost country in the world when it comes to health care but we have the poorest health outcomes in comparison to every other developed nation. We are also the only developed nation that that does not have universal healthcare coverage for all our citizens. This really sparked a fire in me that I don’t want to be another cog in the wheel seeing individual patients in a broken system but I want to actually fix the system. I decided to forego medical school and I have never looked back. I have worked in many different areas of the U.S. healthcare system, ranging from government to insurance to provider health systems, all aimed at fixing systemic problems in order to improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.
Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
I would say the hardest part of my journey was really getting started. I graduated at the top of my class at Johns Hopkins right after the recession had hit and I had the typical problem most recent grads share where I was essentially very educated while also very inexperienced. I was extremely lucky and grateful that Dr. Ines Vigil, who was a VP at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield of the MidAtlantic and is absolutely fantastic, took a chance on me given my passion for healthcare improvement, my ability to dive into, understand, and communicate analytics, along with my educational record.
Now my challenge is really around creating change in a health system that is very rooted in many of the wrong things, with perverse financial incentives and many players in the field. And honestly I think I will face this challenge my entire career. Changing an entire industry like this will never come easy and I fully expect to face hard times continuously into the future.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
I truly believe my grit and drive comes through empathy. I was born with a heart that truly feels what others feel. When a millennial turns 26 and has to figure out the difference between a deductible, premium, coinsurance, and copayments and has to deal with the sticker shock of paying for it, I feel their pain. When I hear stories of parents crying because their premiums are $2200 a month but they are too young for Medicare, I want to cry with them. When an individual avoids being seen by a doctor because of their deductible and the unexpected costs, I feel for them. When we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars hospitalizing a patient for what could have been prevented with an outpatient procedure I feel pain not only for that patient and their family, but for all of society because we are paying for those hospital bills. So even though working to change the healthcare system is incredibly difficult work and many of us at times want to throw our hands in the air, I come back to empathy for the people and what they are going through. As a healthcare expert with the ability to create change, it is my duty to work for them and create the type of healthcare system we all want and deserve.
So how did Grit lead to your eventual success? How did Grit turn things around?
Like I mentioned I feel like I am in the thick of using my grit and since there is much improvement needed in healthcare it isn’t going away anytime soon. I expect grit to be needed very far into the future of my career.
So, how are things going today? 🙂
I’m very positive about where my work and Health Care Transformation is headed. Every time I tell someone about the company and what we are doing I ALWAYS get an extremely positive reaction. We’ve been getting a lot of attention from innovators in the space who are also passionate and interested in how we can reduce healthcare spend while improving health outcomes, especially in the employer space. So we are going to keep pushing, working long hours, and getting the word out on this work so we can create a greater impact across the U.S.
Based on your experience, can you share 5 pieces of advice about how one can develop Grit? (Please share a story or example for each)
1. Know your Why
a. I don’t believe that you can have grit if you don’t have a driving force behind you. Know why you are doing what you are doing- that is the driving force. You have to really care about the concept in order to drive you to action.
2. Be confident.
a. Confidence breeds grit. I’m confident in my abilities and what needs to get done so I’m not wasting my time worried about petty things or what others might think. I’m going to do what needs to get done to improve lives.
3. Project manage everything about your life
a. I’m a professional project manager. I get stuff done and I help others get stuff done who otherwise wouldn’t without my expectations. And that allows me to have the grit needed to succeed. So keep a project management calendar. Every Sunday I fitness prep, meal prep, and work prep. Every night I prep exactly what I’m going to get done the next day. No ifs, ands, or buts. That’s grit and that’s setting internal expectations to get it done.
4. Take the highs and lows in stride
a. You are going to have highs and those should be celebrated. You are going to have lows and those should be learned from. Take everything in stride. Reflect on why you are feeling a certain way and determine what you can change now and what actions you can take in future situations.
5. Never, never give up
a. If you truly believe in something, give it your all. Give it a fighting chance. You can do this. Anyone who ever did something great in this world built something where there once was nothing.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?
This is a really great point and I firmly believe in this. I actually believe that achieving success is largely due to the help and support of others. None of us can achieve our dreams alone and I live by the phrase 1 + 1 = 3. I have many people I would thank for my success along the way starting with my parents and how they raised me to my college mentors Dr. Deric Wheeler and Dr. Paul Harari, to my first boss Dr. Ines Vigil to my last boss Dr. Robin Clarke. I couldn’t do any of this without the love and support of all my best friends here in Los Angeles, many of whom are a complete entrepreneurial inspiration to me, as well as those back in Minnesota.
I would say the one person I’m very grateful for who helped me to step forward and create Health Care Transformation is Shola Richards. You have to meet Shola- he brings an energy that is unbelievable. He has a similar outlook on life that we are put on this earth to make the world a better place and he is truly working day in and day out to make that a reality. I could not ask for a better friend and mentor and I truly don’t think I could have quit my job and started a company without his guidance and support.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I hope that the work I do every day is bringing goodness to the world. On the day I take my last breath I want to be able to say that everyone in the U.S. has high quality affordable health care available to them.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Absolutely! Our big projects in the preventive health space are For the Body, For the Mind, and For the Navigation. The first two are focused on educating and empowering individuals to achieve their optimal physical and mental health in the comfort of their own home while the latter is focused on educating and empowering individuals on how to navigate the U.S. healthcare system since it is incredibly complex. I also authored a book- My Health Care Transformation Handbook that is available at www.caretransformation.net or on Amazon- that supports individuals in all three areas so it’s very comprehensive.
In our consulting work with employers and providers there are a lot of interesting projects that are aimed at reducing systemic healthcare costs and improving health outcomes that hopefully I will be able to tell you more about in the future. We are in the early stages and there’s much I can’t share yet!
What advice would you give to other executives or founders to help their employees to thrive?
This is actually one of our consulting focus areas in Health Care Transformation so this is a perfect question! At Health Care Transformation we value the importance of overall employee wellbeing because you want to have happy healthy employees but then you wouldn’t believe the impact your company can have by thinking and acting strategically in this regard. If you have well employees, they stay with you. And this has incredible impact on employee retention numbers. And if your best employees are happy and healthy and stay with you, then your customer success goes through the roof. And then when your business is thriving and growing because of all these happy, healthy employees and happy customers then new employees and customers actually come to you! You become a magnet. We actually work with employers to audit their current practices and assess strengths and weaknesses so feel free to contact us through www.caretransformation.net/contact.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Oh man, well my entire goal is to create a movement but perhaps let me pick the top three that I believe will have the greatest impact on improving the healthcare system.
1. We need universal health insurance coverage. I, like the majority of Americans, am in favor of a Medicare For All program.
2. Change the way we pay health systems and doctors. We can’t continue to pay a doctor for volume and not outcomes. We will never get better healthcare that way.
3. We need to address the obesity epidemic. As of 2017, 71.6% of Americans over the age of 20 were overweight or obese. Therefore we need to be proactively educating and empowering the American people on proper nutrition and exercise.
4. Actually I’m going to squeeze in one more- we have a mental health crisis in the U.S. with lacking access to resources and support. Health Care Transformation is creating the first platform of its kind to address therapy access issues and have a positive impact on Americans.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
I believe we all have gifts to share that will make this world a better place. We find meaning in life when we have a purpose so this quote really gets at the core of what I believe is important. One must take a deep dive internally to then have a positive impact externally.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Search Health Care Transformation or Meghan Nechrebecki on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Subscribe to get a weekly dose of Health Care Transformation to your inbox at www.caretransformation.net/subscribe
@healthcaretransformation on IG
@caretransformation on FB
@megh_nech_hct on Twitter
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.