MD Ranger Spotlight: Penny

Posted on
May 30, 2019

Penny is the Chief Executive Officer and a Co-Founder of MD Ranger.

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To celebrate our 10-year anniversary, MD Ranger is going to spotlight team members who have played an integral role in the growth of our company. In our second installment, we are highlighting our Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Penny Stroud.

Penny is the Chief Executive Officer and a Co-Founder of MD Ranger.  Her areas of expertise include a broad range of strategic business planning and market analysis for health care organizations, including hospitals, medical groups, health systems, other types of providers and organ procurement organizations. She is a trusted advisor to boards, management and physician leaders as they position for the future and identify market opportunities.

Penny began consulting for health care providers in 1978 and has extensive experience in the development of detailed business plans for health services that analyze financial and market performance and define strategies for future performance or size adjustments.  Some of her skills include market research, physician-hospital integration, reimbursement analysis and an understanding of the financial and staffing operations of hospitals, physician practice and health services.

In 2009, Penny co-founded MD Ranger, which provides high quality benchmarks for physician contracts with health care providers.  Some of the benchmarks include medical direction, call coverage, hospital-based services, diagnostic services and medical staff leadership position.  She has led the continuous growth and expansion of MD Ranger with subscribers nationwide. In 2015 she oversaw the launch of our web-based community physician need and demographic tool to help assess community need and to understand payer dynamics.

Why did you found MD Ranger?
I started my career in strategic and business planning for health care facilities and had a successful practice with wonderful clients.  Fifteen years ago I, and my clients, began to be consumed by Stark compliance and FMV requirements.  I got tired of begging clients for data for opinions and decided to exit the business, but thought that there had to be a better way  to document FMV.  Fortunately, many of my clients, including Dignity Health, agreed, so my partners and I joined with Michael Heil, another FMV consultant, to found MD Ranger. Ten years ago we issued our first set of about seventy call and direction benchmarks. We just released our tenth edition with more than 320 benchmarks used by hospitals, health systems, medical groups, LTACs, home care, consultants and associations across the country!  

What makes you most proud when you think of MD Ranger?
My amazing team, co-founders and wonderful clients who are dedicated to exceptional customer service and production of high quality tools and benchmarks to simplify and improve compliance.

How has MD Ranger grown over the past 10 years?
We started with one full-time staff and about fifty hospitals, producing seventy benchmarks for call coverage and medical direction.  Now we have nine staff and 160 facilities and we produce more than 320 benchmarks in call coverage, medical direction, physician leadership, diagnostic and testing, uncompensated care, and even clinical hourly rates. We also offer a comprehensive set of analytic tools that clients can use to summarize and benchmark all of their physician contracts against comparable providers. Finally, we’ve moved from published books to a fully supported online portal that allows easy look-ups and market rate documentation.

What types of hospital/physician agreements have changed the most over the past 10 years?
The number and scope of physician contracts has changed significantly over the last ten years, but I think the scope of hospital-based physician services presents the most striking change. When we started it was mainly large hospitals that engaged general hospitalists and intensivists.  Now half of our clients engage general hospitalists and almost a third engage OB laborists to manage inpatients. The number of orthopedic, neurology, psychiatric, acute care surgery and other hospitalist arrangements is also rising.

When you look at physician contracting over the past decade, what surprises you the most?
I continue to be surprised at how many hospitals continue to struggle with documenting fair market value, and how labor intensive and expensive the compliance process can be. Most of our MD Ranger subscribers have been able to streamline their contract approval and compliance documentation process.  For systems, it has enabled a consistent foundation with standardized policies and procedures across facilities.  For individual facilities, it has provided a simple but broad platform for FMV documentation and an invaluable tool for monitoring and budgeting physician costs.

What do you see as the most challenging aspect of physician contracting for hospitals? For physicians?
For hospitals, the challenge is dealing fairly with physicians across the organization and balancing cost/benefit. For physicians, it’s ensuring they get a fair deal, and deciding on how working for and in a hospital fits into their life and practice.

What do you think will change in hospital/physician agreements over the next 5 years? What won’t change?
The structure and scope of hospital-based physician agreements will continue to evolve as staffing needs and revenues become more predictable.  However, the complexity of these agreements will remain due to the multi-dimensional demands and expectations of the positions.  If we move toward broader coverage by fewer payers, there will have to be major changes in how providers are paid.  Health care is an industry that is ripe for disruption.

Do you volunteer or do any philanthropic work?
I am on the board of two organizations, the regional board for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Myanmar Foundation for Analytic Education.  One of my daughters has CF and the challenge remains to find a cure and improve quality of life for the many people who suffer with CF.  MFAE supports a small private school in Yangon that provides a rigorous pre-collegiate program for young people.  I’ve had a lifelong interest in Burma and this is one small way to help that country transition to an informed, skilled populace.

What do you do in your spare time?
I love to hike, travel, and spend time with my children and grandson.  I’m also an avid gardener – it’s my psychotherapy.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?
That’s a tough one, but my kids might say that the surprise is being the CEO and co-founder of a SAAS company.