Chambless Johnston Discusses the Integrated Model of Addiction Treatment and How He Started His Addiction Facility

Dr. Chambless Johnston from Johnson City, Tennessee, is the founder and CEO of East Tennessee Recovery where he treats people with addiction issues using integrative care.  Dr. Johnston was born in Nashville and grew up in Tennessee.  He went to East Tennessee State University (ETSU) for his undergraduate degree with a major in Biology and a minor in History.  He went to the American University at the Caribbean School of Medicine on St. Maarten, a beautiful island in the Caribbean, and graduated in 2002.  He did his internal medicine residency at East Tennessee State University and then began practicing internal medicine in 2006.  In his work as a hospitalist, he encountered many patients that had addiction issues and he really wanted to provide more options for them.

Chambless Johnston created East Tennessee Recovery to get away from the cookie-cutter approach to addiction treatment that often resulted in patient relapse.  The practice provides a more comprehensive, individualized treatment because addiction is a lifelong disease that needs continued treatment.  East Tennessee Recovery’s integrative model is changing the industry.  Patients are treated for their addiction needs, mental health needs, and primary care needs like diabetes, high blood pressure, and COPD.

East Tennessee Recovery uses an individualized plan that treats the whole person.  Patients tend to stay longer, instead of relapsing and going from place to place.  When Dr. Johnston first got started, he was focused on clinical care for patients, but now as East Tennessee Recovery has grown, he is more involved in the planning, direction, and coordination of the day-to-day operations.

 

How did you get started in this business?

I thought my calling was to become a doctor, but now that my work has become helping people with lifestyle changes, I am the happiest that I have ever been.  Doing this kind of work inspires me.  While I was working in the hospital, I really saw the need to help people with addiction issues and I felt like it was not done at the most effective level.  We started out by opening a small clinic.  Because of how hard we have worked and our success with patients, we have grown to four facilities in two states.  I have a goal of adding 11 more in the upcoming year and having 15 clinics for our patients.

At East Tennessee Recovery, we evaluate the whole patient.  We talk with the patient, and it is a give-and-take relationship.  We encourage them to stay clean and become a better person while in our program and in that way, we can change our community.

Most doctors that handle addiction treatment have a psychiatry background, but since we treat the whole patient, not just the addiction issues, we do not limit the doctors we hire to those with psychiatry backgrounds and hire the best doctors that we know.

A lot of these patients cannot afford treatment.  When I was working in the hospital, I saw that most of the addiction treatment was done on a self-pay basis.  They were often treated as if their addiction was a moral failing, rather than a true chronic brain disease like we know it is now.  We have been able to now convince some of the insurance companies in Tennessee and Virginia to understand that if we take care of this now, it will save a lot more money in the long run.  East Tennessee Recovery was the first facility to take insurance as an office based opioid treatment center (OBOT) in Tennessee and Virginia.  We have been leading the way on that.

 

How do you make a profit?

I learned this early on in my medical career.   We want to do everything for free.  We want to see our patients for free, but if you cannot make enough money to pay your bills as a business or a practice, you can’t take care of the patients.  Our success comes through the services we provide our patients.  We have a very effective and efficient system to treat patients with addiction.  We have doctors managing these patients.  We have case management for resources.  We have individual counseling and group therapy for the mental health aspect.  We also provide the primary care which sets us apart from other clinics.  We have contracts with insurance companies to pay for our services.  It is very hard and very difficult, but we continue to grow with the insurance companies, and we want to work effectively with them to provide the best care for these patients.  As we increase our value as a company and increase the value of how we take care of our patients, it increases our reimbursement with the insurance companies.

 

How long did it take for you to become profitable and was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you deal with that? 

It took almost two years to become profitable.  When we first started, we had self-pay, but ultimately, I chose to work with insurance companies.  I definitely believed in what we were doing and the system we had developed.  We started with a good base of patients and learned what we needed to do.  We learned how to become profitable over time.  We continue to refine our system and how we take care of our patients by adding more services to help them.

I do remember one day that I came in and looked at our profit and loss statement and saw how much I needed to pay to our staff and the little amount that we had in the bank, and that was a day I had some doubts.  But I have always been a very positive person and I try not to let doubts creep in.  I walked out to the mailbox and said a prayer asking for help as a I went.  I literally pulled out a check from one of the insurance companies that provided just what I needed to make payroll.

 

How did you obtain your first customer?

My first customer was a patient who had gone to the hospital and had some difficulties with some other issues related to their addiction.  I think one of the nurses that I knew gave the patient our card and said, “You might want to call this guy.”  The patient contemplated going in for treatment and called that Friday at 7:30 at night.  We gave him our time and we talked to him.  I remember the patient saying, “If you didn’t come here tonight, I don’t know if I would have made it.  I might have died.”  That patient is still with us and doing great.

 

Our best marketing is done by our patients.  You can see their recoveries.  I take good care of them, and they refer others to us like crazy.  You have to listen to them and find out their needs.  We are still small and different from others because we take the time to listen.  When you listen to your patients, they tell you what you need to do to help them.  That is what I’ve always done, and I think that is our best marketing strategy.  We do social media, but I think our best marketing is what we do for our patients.

 

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

I had to let a personal friend go from the business.  As much as I hated it, for us as a company, we had to do it to grow.  I always want to give people a chance.  We give our patients chances.  We continue to give new employees a chance.  The hard part is when you know it’s not working out and you can’t let it linger on and you have to let that person know you are sorry it didn’t work out and they just weren’t ready for the position.  You can still be positive about it.  I feel like it is a disservice to them as well our business if we don’t let them know.  Growing for the last few years in our business, I have learned as a business owner the skill of knowing when it is time.  We want to give people a way to improve their life, but if it is just not working out, you just have to let them know.

 

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

It was very satisfying how much we were able to help our first patient and that continues to inspire me to keep building this practice.  It’s also so satisfying to me to see our patients that are thriving now.  I tell many people that our patients are our heroes.  Ultimately the care we give them defines who I am.  It’s very satisfying to see a patient six to eight months later that has completely regained their life back.  I often wish I could take a picture on the first day in treatment and then a picture of their future in six months from then and what they are going to look like.  It is very life changing.  There are many satisfying moments but seeing that patient on the first day and then that smile on their face when they quit using drugs and they have regained their life, gotten their kids back, they have a job, and they have enough money in their pocket to buy gifts for their kids at Christmas- that is really satisfying.

 

What are you most excited about in the future of your business?

I really want to expand.  My goal is to get as many people as possible with addiction issues access to treatment.  That is why I started this.  Working with the insurance companies so they can help these patients get their addiction treatment paid for has been huge.  I want to be in many states.  I want to rapidly expand while still giving this same level of care.  Starting in 2021 we already have two to three other places lined up that we most likely are going to move into.  We are meeting and making connections with a lot of people in other states, and I think we will be able to help show them a way to give more people access to the kind of care that we provide.  Furthermore, I think it is also important to note that we are working with other facilities related to addiction treatment. The goal in doing so is to educate people and communities about addiction treatment and work collaboratively for a continuum of care. That overarching structure of care is a very exciting prospect in the future of my facility.

How Roy Y. Gagaza Helps Retirees Protect Their Assets with WealthWize

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After retiring from the military after 24.5 years, Roy Gagaza knew he wanted to continue serving his community, even if his active military service was completed. With his military career focused on protecting his men as an officer, he knew he wanted to continue that focus in the financial realm. He began creating a series of educational seminars and later added webinars focused on helping other individuals approaching retirement or already in retirement to protect their assets and principal. This became the basis for WealthWize; his education platform focused on helping people help themselves to protect their retirement assets and better understand the financial world.

How Roy Y. Gagaza Helps Retirees Protect Their Assets with WealthWize

After graduating with a business marketing major from San Jose State University, Roy Gagaza knew that after his military career, he would need a plan for his post-service civilian life. With a heart and mind dedicated to service, protection, and community, he provided education seminars and after 22 years as a Financial Professional began developing the foundation for WealthWize, Roy Y Gagaza’s series of educational seminars that he eventually took to YouTube webinars, a smart move given the restrictions that the COVID-19 pandemic put into place. His background in business put him in a key position to enter finance or other business specialties, but at the same time, he knew that his drive to help others meant that he wanted a more personal connection with his clients.

WealthWize was focused on helping individuals plan their finances more carefully around their retirement to allow for regular highs and lows in the economy. “The biggest mistakes occur five years before and after retirement. People get in their “red zone,” believing they’ve made it. And they begin to say: “Let’s go on that cruise. Or let’s go on 12 of them.” But there needs to be a fine balance, and there needs to be a plan in place before doing that,” Roy Gagaza stated in an interview with Think Advisor. “The key is to develop spending plans instead of retirement plans. Most people have too high of a projection when taking out 10 percent of their assets annually. That’s too high.”

Rather than focusing on investment strategies, Roy Y. Gagaza helps clients move from aggressive growth to preservation, all while providing sound advice to help conserve assets and principal while reducing risk. He focuses on protecting his clients from issues that could impact their retirement plans, delivering a clear vision of their future if they’re not careful with their retirement savings and assets. By providing this level of protection and forethought, he’s built a strong client base on trust and referrals, where clients introduce him to families who need help with their finances. “I’d rather build a business of referrals than have a few big clients,” he believes.

The Power of Coaching: How Steve Harris Helps Refine Message, Increase Earnings, and Build Successful Businesses

Envision reaching the pinnacle of success in every aspect of life, personal and professional. While this may seem like an unattainable goal, an experienced life coach and a business strategist can provide the guidance necessary to make it a reality.

 

Steve Harris, known as “Mr. Ruthless Execution.” He is highly regarded for his ability to help clients bridge the gap between their potential and actual performance. With extensive experience in management consulting, Steve has led successful retreats and strategy sessions for Fortune 500 companies across different countries.

 

Steve’s expertise has earned him recognition from respected international organizations such as the International Coach Federation and the International Certified Consultants Association. He has also received accolades from prestigious entities such as the United Nations/YFP, where he was named a Young Ambassador for Peace. In addition, his accomplishments have been featured in various notable news media outlets, including Forbes, The Economist, and Yahoo Finance.

 

Through his coaching programs, including Mastering the Business of Your Talent & The Goliath Program, Steve has helped clients generate millions of dollars in recent months. In addition, he caters to individuals with valuable life experiences or knowledge to share, thought leaders, coaches, entrepreneurs, and business owners seeking marketing and brand strategies.

 

Steve’s coaching programs are designed to assist thought leaders and coaches in expanding their practices and create lucrative memberships. His 6-month accelerator program and special events accomplish this, where he has helped many clients refine their message, increase their prices, and achieve significant earnings.

 

In addition, Steve assists entrepreneurs and business owners who require marketing and branding strategies to differentiate themselves from the competition and become the preferred choice of their customers. He also mentors CEOs and business leaders who strive to accomplish what others consider impossible. His exceptional coaching programs have enabled his clients to generate significant revenue, making him an excellent role model for thought leaders, coaches, entrepreneurs, and business owners seeking to take their businesses to new heights.

A Conversation with Jay Modi About the Finer Points of Financial Technology and Entrepreneurship

Born and raised in London in the United Kingdom, Jay Modi received his early education at the Royal Grammar School of Worcester in Worcestershire. When he was 14 years of age, Jay moved to Canada where he attended Western Canada High School. He then enrolled and began taking classes at the University of Calgary, but mid-way through his freshman year he chose to leave the school in order to work full-time on founding a real estate business. 

Since leaving university, Jay Modi has had a diverse and successful career, having explored a number of professions. After his real estate business, he pursued asset management as a vocation for a period of time. He then spent three years in Los Angeles living out a personal dream of founding a film production company. While in Hollywood, Jay was involved in the production of twelve different movies, even earning an executive producer credit on a celebrated project called The Bronx Bull, which is currently available for viewing on Netflix. He then chose to switch coasts, relocating to the Atlantic Northeast. After spending some time working alongside large hedge funds in New York City’s asset management and investment industry, Jay Modi earned his financial technology—or ‘fintech’—bona fides, and he decided to return to Canada and put his newfound skill set to use. He now boasts more than two decades of experience in a variety of sectors of the business world. 

Currently, Jay is the owner and operator of a company called Approval Nation, which is a business that provides financing to people who wish to buy vehicles. Based mostly in the digital sphere, Approval Nation is highly acclaimed for its innovative, 21st century approach to lending.

Why did you decide to go into financial technology?

I saw that the world was changing and, even though the internet has been around since the early 1990s, there was still a lot more growth to come. The internet seemed like the ideal platform to connect the world and help people gain access to information, both pertaining to business and in their own personal lives, and I felt that it should be adopted by the financial industry. I figured financial technology would help people better understand their financial lives, as well as provide them with access to financial products online. As everyone knows, finance isn’t something that’s usually taught in schools. But in this day and age, when everyone’s on the internet, ordinary people without formal training can access the tools that they need to be successful in a financial capacity.

What trends in your industry excite you?

I think that artificial intelligence is here to stay. Online banking and access to apps is exciting, too—especially online lending, because it allows a person to apply for loans online. It’s much more time-efficient than the traditional way of applying for a loan because you don’t have to make an appointment with anyone or even leave the house. So, the trends I’m excited about in financial technology all have to do with providing greater access to financial products.

What would you tell others looking to get into your industry?

First, determine what part of the industry you want to get into and what role you want to play within that space. Then talk to people who are already established in that space and try to really understand how to make yourself fit into it.

What is one thing you would change in your industry today if you could? 

I would bring in regulations in some areas and relax regulations in others. Right now, though, things are on a good path in that respect. The growth rate is good, the products that are coming out are good, and fintech is doing pretty well overall.

How has financial technology changed over the last decade?

Companies have been adapting to produce more online services. I think a lot of people were afraid of the concept of conducting their financial affairs online a decade ago, but now trust has been established. You can input your data online and there are a lot more security policies in place than there once were. Companies are adhering to data breach policies and making sure they have the proper protections, and as a result, the average consumer feels much more comfortable banking and investing digitally.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

My father, Rasik Modi, has been a great role model to me. He has a very family-oriented attitude, and I’ve learned a lot from him—everything from the way he manages finances and to his overarching approach to life. He’s an entrepreneur, as well, so he’s taught me a lot about business. 

How do you maintain a work life balance?

As an entrepreneur, sometimes your business will take up most of your attention. It’s important to know when to take a break if you feel yourself burning out or if you’re overworking yourself, even if it’s just getting up from the computer and going for a quick walk. I go to the gym and spend time with friends and family, but one of the most important aspects of maintaining a good work life balance is managing time and mental fatigue. Delegating tasks to other people helps with this issue. It also pays to take a look at your life structure and implement policies and routines that give you a little bit of a break on a daily basis.

What is one piece of advice you would like to leave our readers with?

Never give up. Make sure that the reason for what you’re doing to be successful is the right reason. Don’t do it because you’re trying to get revenge or make someone jealous because that won’t motivate you for long. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, no matter how crazy your dreams are, anything is possible.