Scott Law started Zotec Solutions in 1998 after losing his job at Anthem Inc.’s medical billing subsidiary, Allmed Financial. Anthem pulled the plug on that division, leaving many employees like Law out of work. But this was only a temporary setback. He recognized an unlikely opportunity and decided to take this chance to start his own company.
Ten years later, Law has navigated Zotec from a small one-person shop to the largest privately held medical billing company in the country. In 2007 alone, Zotec added nearly 500 employees and had a revenue growth rate of more than 221%.
Scott, welcome to Entrepreneurship-interviews.com! For starters, tell us a few words about yourself and Zotec Partners, the largest privately held medical billing company in the U.S.
Scott: Thanks for the exciting opportunity to share my story with your readers! I formed Zotec Solutions back in May of 1998, so the company just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Before being Zotec, we were a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anthem, named Allmed Financial, Inc. Allmed grew by acquisitions to be the third-largest medical billing company in the nation. I was the CFO/CIO responsible for migrating all seventeen acquired practice management systems into one internally developed practice management solution. I spent three years working with Andersen Consulting to develop the Electronic Billing Center (“EBC”) software.
When Anthem wanted out of the billing business in 1998, I was able to divest Anthem of Allmed, and in return, purchase the EBC software. Thus, Zotec Solutions was formed in 1998.
We’ve had immense growth over the past couple of years. In 2007, we merged with Healthcare Management Partners (HMP) to create Zotec Partners. That same year, we also merged with Susan J. Taylor, Inc. and EmPhysis Medical Management.
So you’d been laid-off from Anthem Inc.’s medical billing subsidiary, Allmed Financial, back in 1998. You would be amazed to hear how many entrepreneurs say that being laid off or even not hired was beneficial for starting their own business. So, was that good or bad in your case?
Scott: I definitely believe it was a good thing. It’s like that saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.” I was able to take a lot from what I learned while working with Allmed Financial, Inc. and use it to start and grow Zotec successfully. I had worked so hard and for so many years developing the EBC software, so purchasing it to start my own company was a huge deal to me. Looking back, if I hadn’t lost my job with Allmed Financial, I would probably never be where I am today, especially in terms of my success.
How important was the family support?
Scott: Truthfully, Zotec wouldn’t be the company it is today without the support of my family. The name Zotec is actually an acronym for my children- Zoe is the Z and the O, Thomas is the T, Emma is the E, and Cory and Caleigh are the C. Also, many of the executives with Zotec are family members, including my brother, David Law, who is a partner of sales and marketing. It is nice to have the support and trust that family brings.
What is Zotec Partners actually doing?
Scott: Essentially, Zotec Partners helps physicians receive payment for their work. Zotec Partners is a solutions-based firm serving the hospital-based specialty market. Our company offers a comprehensive suite of medical billing and practice management tools designed to make operations more efficient and productive in medical offices. Zotec’s accounts receivable management services and software offerings are particularly tailored to groups practicing anesthesiology, pathology, and radiology.
We provide solutions to more than 5,500 physicians in 45 states. Whether physicians are looking to outsource the management of their accounts receivable or license our state-of-the-art Electronic Billing Center suite of applications, we have a solution to fit their needs.
In 2007 alone, Zotec added nearly 500 employees and had a revenue growth rate of more than 221%. That’s quite a growth! So what’s special about Zotec’s products and services?
Scott: Physicians need more cost-effective medical billing solutions. Licensing Zotec’s medical billing software and services help physicians reduce their overhead while decreasing the claim payment turnaround time. Accounts receivable management companies can’t afford to solve problems with labor. They must adopt technology to be competitive in this market. Our software and services enable costs to be reduced by 30-45 percent. By licensing Zotec’s software, medical practices can reduce their costs of providing services.
In 2007, you had many mergers: Healthcare Management Partners (HMP), Susan J. Taylor, Inc., and EmPhysis Medical Management. How does merging with another company affect business processes? How do you make 2 (or more) different entities work like one?
Scott: The technology is what brings the companies together, but the reality is that the process’s assimilation is the biggest challenge. HMP and EmPhysis had historical reliance on the older technology, which created labor-intensive processes. Getting our new partners to trust the technology and modify the billing process around the new technology continues to be the biggest challenge.
From what I understood, Zotec Solutions was formed in 1998 after buying the EBC software from your former employer, Anthem. Can you tell us a few words about the investments? How did you actually get started?
Scott: I utilized a combination of bank debt, personal investment, and one angel investor. Growing a company to this size without a large VC investor is not common these days, but I am grateful it worked out. We have been able to make decisions based on what is right for the business.
Most accomplished entrepreneurs I know say they never dreamed of being so successful. What were your thoughts when starting Zotec 10 years ago?
Scott: I would say I always dreamed of being successful. I knew Zotec had many potentials, but I am humbled by where we are today and excited about where we will be in the next five years. Starting Zotec meant taking a huge chance, and it’s obviously been a chance worth taking after seeing how far we’ve come in just 10 short years.
Scott, you’ve been a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2007 Award in the Lake Michigan Area program. Being an entrepreneur and getting a prize for that is the ultimate accomplishment! Tell us why you were nominated and … how does it feel?
Scott: It was a huge honor to be named among this elite group of entrepreneurs. The award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who are building and leading dynamic and growing businesses, and to be named a finalist out of 86 nominations really meant a lot. Since founding Zotec in 1998, our team has done an exceptional job at revolutionizing the medical billing community. Being named a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year award was a testament to the hard work of Zotec’s employees at every level.
And you just did it again, Zotec being a finalist in TechPoint Mira Awards, Indiana’s largest technology awards program.
Scott: Yes, that’s another honor we’re really proud of. The TechPoint Mira Awards highlight the accomplishments of Indiana’s most innovative and successful technology-driven organizations, so it was a huge pat on the back to be acknowledged as a technology leader in Indiana. 2007 was a big year for us, and to be recognized for our hard work and contribution to technology in Indiana meant a lot to the entire company.
What was the Eureka! moment for Zotec?
Scott: There have been several, but I think it was when we first brought the Electronic Billing Center up in production. I knew we had the “better mousetrap.” It was and continues to be the competitive advantage that allows us to provide premium service at a lower competitive cost.
Zotec Partners will service over 5,500 physicians across more than 42 states. What are the most important points when dealing with customers?
Scott: Customer satisfaction and service are paramount to the success and growth of Zotec Partners and any business, for that matter. We truly pride ourselves in making every single customer know their business is incredibly important to us, and we really try to go above and beyond to make sure our customers are happy. We control their financial livelihood, and that is something that I take very seriously.
We regularly have calls and meetings with clients to ensure they are properly utilizing the technology and maximizing the process. Additionally, we have a full client support services team, which utilizes a robust ticketing system and mobile technology to provide immediate and continuous support. Zotec also holds an Annual Client Conference, where all clients get together for two days to discuss best practices. Last year it was held in Marco Island, Florida, and we had 90 percent customer participation, which I think is huge!
What is the strength of the Zotec team?
Scott: I am continually amazed at the Zotec Partners team. We have really come together this past year and are all focused on running this company. I have always said that this business is about: people, processes, and technology. The people we have running this company are some of the very best and brightest not only in this industry but any industry.