Richard DeStefano – CEO
Support Claim Services
Richard DeStefano is the CEO at Support Claim Services (SCS), an industry leader in providing efficient medical cost containment services with quality evaluations and professional services. He is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company while leading a team of 85 employees.
He has over 20 years of accomplished sales management experience and a high-level of expertise in the IME and Investigative Services industries. In my in-depth interview with him, Richard offered invaluable industry insight in anticipating trends and cultivating customer relationships.
Getting started with medical reviews industry
The journey to CEO began 20 years ago when DeStefano started consulting to help a friend. The scalability and stability of the industry combined with its tremendous potential were key factors that attracted DeStefano. He realised that through the changing market dynamics and ups and downs of the world, insurance and medicine were the least vulnerable.
Now, as CEO of one of the leading medical insurance companies – Support Claim Services, he is well-known for his expertise in cultivating valuable customer relationships. His ability to understand market dynamics and anticipate trends helped him transform SCS into an industry leader and an insurance giant within 6 years. Under his expertise, SCS has expanded from a regional service to a national service in a very short time.
‘Service’ – the core value in business
‘Servicing your client by providing the best possible product that you can is what this business is all about!’
You can’t look at this business purely from a sales or numbers game, or it won’t survive in the long-run. The most important aspect of the industry according to DeStefano is service. One of his philosophies that has helped him become one of the most prominent leaders of the industry is to treat every customer like they are the only customer. To combine the warmth and personal relationships of a Mom and Pop store while simultaneously developing the technical and personnel resources to support national capabilities.
One of the ways he achieves this is through constant accessibility. While these words may be visible on every website, DeStefano and his team put them in practice. Be it 6 in the morning, 8 at night, or on a weekend, he believes in constant accessibility to best serve the client.
His belief – ‘If they are calling at an odd hour, it is because they really need our help.’
DeStefano also credits technology as a major resource in moving up the industry. With SCS owning its software, the company can offer its clients software solutions that custom fit their needs and do it very easily.
Another critical benefit of technology is being able to host clients virtually at the office for any information or concern instantly. This also helps physicians in a similar way by making any information available to them instantly. Everything from the referral to the medical records, instructions to any legal documents are accessible online 24/7.
Changing dynamics of sales through time
Recalling landing his first account 20 years ago with the New York City Transit Authority Workers Compensation Division, DeStefano found success through cold calling along with face-to-face networking.
These days he believes being present and available at industry networking events is key to expanding one’s networking capabilities. Through the years he still puts maximum value in personal interaction, especially with the increase in competition. Meeting face-to-face allows clients to better gauge sincerity and honesty, a valuable tool in a world filled with numerous choices.
Regarding marketing methods, SCS believes in focus marketing where they take small groups for educational seminars and guide them on the products and their value to a client. Additionally, they also encourage feedback from the client regarding and concerns they are facing so as to better provide solutions that are customised for their needs.
Overcoming the COVID pandemic
The sudden and widespread onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic disrupted several industries and businesses. Grabbing the reigns of the company and dealing with situation head-on has been a challenging feat, but one that DeStefano has taken in his stride.
He believes that ensuring customer confidence is key at this time. Effective communication with all clients assuring them that the exam environment provided is within CDC guidance and safely comfortable for the insured has been a major factor in helping the business succeed even in these trying times.
While SCS had a healthy cash flow, DeStefano didn’t get complacent. Instead, he and his team continued to pursue avenues as aggressively as possible to strengthen the business. Under his leadership, the team continued to stay productive through the lockdown while several companies were facing the brunt of the new work-from-home format.
By staying connected through zoom meetings and keeping a lid on the expenses, DeStefano was able to navigate several challenges and come out on top.
Expansion plans for the future
Currently, SCS has about 85 employees spread out over six states with about 125 active clients on a monthly basis. These clients include a mixture of insurance companies, TPAs, law firms, and self-insured employers.
At present, SCS is spearheading the medical insurance wave in the East Coast, and as far as Western California. The company is now establishing its presence in different key locations; Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, Carolina with hopes to continue expanding West.
Advice for newcomers entering the medical review business
According to DeStefano what truly matters is one’s work ethic. Be it in this industry or another, having a strong work ethic can help you get the most out of the industry or company. He believes in the concept of reaping what you sow – some companies stick to a specific formula of work hours while others may prioritise accessibility with the client regardless of the work schedule. Being visible and accessible are important factors for this industry which he believes are a key determiner of success. Ultimately, what you give is what you get. It is important to keep in mind that nothing is given to you and results are not guaranteed, you have to try to make your own luck.
Two key learning experiences for success
- Honesty is the best policy
When it comes to cultivating long-term and valuable client relationships, DeStefano believes in honesty and transparency in communication. Ups and downs are a part of life but lying about them can shake the client’s trust in you and the company which is never good. Instead, be honest and accept responsibility. If something goes wrong, let them know that you are capable of putting it right and available to alleviate their fears or concerns.
- A strong work ethic
This really is what determines one success in any field. Doing the work dedicatedly and diligently without focussing solely on the clock is a key factor for climbing up the corporate ladder.
Vision for the future of the medical review domain
DeStefano believes that technology will continue to play a massive role in the industry, especially after the COVID pandemic. A key result of this is likely to be consolidation. A lot of the smaller companies may not be able to function due to certain technology requirements, insurance coverage requirements, and just the general cost of working with some of the bigger employers. This could lead to a lot of consolidation within the industry.