“I periodically tease, and I throw a lot of things out there that I’m brilliant and amazing to get them to have a chuckle, but… well… that actually is true!” the chairman and CEO joked, “I try to mix in serious client material improvements whether they are operations, financial or general recommendations with a bit of humor. It builds rapport and, I think, trust in a long-term relationship.”
Though spoken in jest, it’s hard to argue with “brilliant” and “amazing” as apt descriptors of Ron. What is now the largest oncology & radiology consulting firm of its type in the nation, began with just him and his wife, Catherine, learning how to file for a tax ID, hire personnel, invoice, and deliver high-quality action-oriented information to benefit and protect clients, all from their living room. It’s almost as if the DiGiaimos were living the “work from home” lifestyle 20 years ago before the vast movement towards working from home!
After graduating in 1987 with a degree in radiation therapy, Ron began traveling to cancer centers around the country with his organization to administer radiation therapy to patients around the country. Though he loved treating patients, he left after a few years to pursue a management career with the world’s largest publicly traded oncology firm. As a nationwide executive, he continued to spend a lot of his time traveling, teaching best practices, and learning new information that could benefit other facilities and personnel. It became normal to “consult” from site to site on how to operate smoothly, maintain a high-quality team, and reach financial goals. The public trading aspect helped Ron become accustomed to meeting margins and exceeding financial goals while not sacrificing quality metrics or compliance.
During his time with the nationwide firms, he and his wife Catherine started a family of their own. After adding three daughters to their family in four years, Ron realized (with prompting from his wife) that he needed a job that would allow him to spend more time at home. So, he traded his executive position for a much smaller firm in Oklahoma. He quickly recognized that the new company was not the right fit for him, and decided to try and start something of his own. He and his wife set up shop on the living room floor. His brother – who happens to be a graphic designer – whipped up the company logo in 15 minutes. Ron was able to acquire a list of every radiation oncologist in the country and sent his newly minted business card and a letter to each one offering his services as a consultant. His two oldest daughters—then four and two years old—helped stamp the envelopes. If you received an envelope back in the day with a stamp turned on its side or angled now you know why! As a side note, if you have one of those, Ron says he would be interested in getting it back as a memento of the early days, ha.
Within less than a month, he had his first client. Two months after that, he was overwhelmed with clients. By the end of the year, he had assembled a small team of employees and purchased a billing system for a whopping $130,000. Initially, Ron had only intended to provide consulting services until one of his clients specifically requested billing services and offered to be their first billing client. Today, RC Billing is the largest privately held oncology billing firm of its type in the nation, processing about $2.5 billion in charges each year mainly focused on Radiation Oncology.
Looking forward, Ron still has big goals for the company. The main focus: is to expand RCCS’ breadth of expertise from coding audit and compliance reviews, outsourced coding assistance and consulting, to consulting in IT, Operations, and Financial Analytics.
“We are absolutely there in coding and operational assistance – a premier in the nation,” he is proud to report. “We are on our way in financial analytics, IT, valuations, and operations.” The company addresses all healthcare specialties and focuses on Oncology, Radiology, Cardiology, Emergency Medicine, and Evaluation and Management.
The next step is an entirely new company to serve as a parent to RCCS, Regents, RC Billing, and The Oncology Group. The hope is to one day offer non-clinical services to healthcare organizations outside our corporate structure, like financial analytics and marketing. Ron also envisions a future where companies like RCCS, individual doctors, hospitals, and entire healthcare systems have access to an open system for sharing knowledge. Ron has seen firsthand how the free exchange of knowledge and information can help promote growth for industries, organizations, government entities, insurers, and individuals.
Ron DiGiaimo has always known that the REAL “key” to success is having an extraordinary team and listening to their feedback as everyone works towards the company’s success together . “Every single one of our over 200 employees contributes in some way to our client successes and our internal operational strengths,” Ron noted.
One thing he treasures about his career at RCCS is the opportunities he has had to continuously learn from experts in a wide range of fields, such as marketing, IT, and financial analytics. In areas where he might not be an expert, Ron aims to support those who are experts and create an environment where they can thrive. In leading RCCS, he is able to create the opportunities he wishes he had had in the early days of his career.
“I learned a long time ago that I don’t know the answer to everything. There are folks who know a lot more than me in a lot more areas than me and we are constantly on the lookout to add them to our team,” Ron quipped during his interview.
When asked about his leadership style, Ron talked about the lessons he’s learned from his own leaders. “I had some incredible, fantastic mentors,” he recalls. “But I also had some terrible mentors who mostly taught me how not to treat others.”
In recent years, Ron has expanded his scope beyond just the company and focused more on improving the healthcare industry as a whole. He works alongside lobbyists, national healthcare societies specializing in oncology and radiology, and politicians at both the state and national levels to improve the national healthcare system for all of us.
Ron also serves on the Radiation Oncology Institute Board of Directors for the American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), participates in the Government Relations and Economics Committee for The American College of Radiation Oncology (ACRO), sits on the Board of Directors for the Kukuna O Ka La Radiation Oncology Conference, and serves on the Board of Trustees for Radiating Hope as well a board member for the Association of Free Standing Radiation Oncology Centers (AFROC). In addition, Ron is the chairman of the Board for RCCS’ sister company, The Oncology Group (TOG), and is always looking at the next growth opportunity.
Outside of work, during his rare moments of free time, Ron loves to travel and spend time in nature. This year, he plans to do a little bit of both when he and his daughters climb Mr. Kilimanjaro. Ron is also an animal lover. Since getting married over 30 years ago, he and his wife have always had at least one cocker spaniel in their family. Now that their daughters have all moved out and started their own lives, Buddy, a shepherd mix, and Charlie, a brown and white cocker spaniel, are their full-time children.