Is that task “important” or just “urgent”? Know the difference—and make sure you set aside time each week to work on the important stuff.



Julie Karassik, Diana Smith, Nishan Karassik and Clara Howell​
Portland, OR​
SCORE Mentors 
Harry Kane and Dan Williamson




The Client:

Founded in 1994 as Medical Specialty Solutions, MedFocus provides works with physicians and hospitals to improve their revenue cycle and increase cash flow.  

The Challenge:

In 1999, Medical Specialty Solutions’ biggest client was dissolving, putting the company’s future in doubt. When management opted to sell the business, then-employees Julie Karassik and Diana Smith decided to buy the medical billing part of the company. They needed help negotiating the purchase and setting up their new company—and also had to juggle purchase preparations with their day jobs as employees. 

The Solution:

SCORE mentors Harry Kane and Dan Williamson met with Smith and Karassik at night and on weekends. “There are so many things to consider,” Karassik recalls, “but Harry and Dan pulled us out of [our focus on] operations to look at the tasks that needed to be done from a purchase and setup point of view.” SCORE helped the partners negotiate a bank loan, set up financial structures and find attorneys and accountants. 

Equally important, Kane and Williamson helped Karassik and Smith view their new business “from the 30,000-foot-level,” Karassik recalls. The partners learned how to set up indicators and early-warning systems to keep things running smoothly. Karassik and Smith sit in adjoining offices so they can keep abreast of short-term issues together. They also make time for long-range planning at weekly lunches and quarterly meetings with each other. 

The Results:

Since Karassik and Smith purchased the business in June 2000, MedFocus has grown from 12 to 48 employees. The company now manages nearly $50 million in physician collections annually, is expanding into Washington State and has added two new partners—Nishan Karassik, Julie’s husband and director of IT, and Clara Howell, director of client services. 

Although Dan and Harry have both passed away, their lessons continue to guide MedFocus in its goal: educating physicians about financial management and lessening their administrative burdens so they can focus on practicing medicine. “We couldn’t have done it without SCORE,” Karassik says. 

Mass Mutual is not associated with, and does not endorse, the business featured.​