The Neal Management Group CEO and Founder Dr. Lisa M. Pinkney is a healthcare expert entrepreneur, mentor and educator skilled in negotiating contracts, managing operating budgets, composing statements of work, and pursuing new opportunities. With vast experience in business, laboratory science, quality and program management, regulatory compliance, and auditing. She has succeeded in the public and private sectors since the Neal Management Group’s establishment in 2001. Most recently in 2020 she was appointed as President of Trulieve Georgia where she has since provided strategic direction and leadership. She provides oversight to quality operations throughout the state of Georgia.
She has been published in “Transfusion Journal” and “Healthcare Reform: Innovative and Other Proven Strategies for Successfully Managing and Implementing Organizational Change.” Her accomplishments and professional affiliations include: American Society of Quality Senior Member, Maryland Performance Excellence Awards Judge, Certifications as a Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence and as a Quality Auditor. Additionally Dr. Pinkney served as a Lead Assessor for the American Association of Blood Bank, Southern Management Association’s Journal of Management Reviewer, American Society of Quality’s Quality Progress Journal Reviewer, American College of Healthcare Executives Member, and a Medical Technologist Blood Bank Specialist.
She has earned a Bachelor of Science from the Medical College of Virginia, a certificate from the National Institutes of Health as a Specialist in Blood Bank, a Master of Science from the University of Maryland Global Campus, a graduate certificate from Keller Graduate School of Management and her Doctorate Degree from the University of Maryland Global Campus. Prior to the Neal Management Group, Dr. Pinkney worked for the Department of Health and Human Services/Food and Drug Administration, the American Red Cross, and Apotex Incorporated, an international pharmaceutical company.
Connect with Dr. Lisa on LinkedIn and follow the Neal Management Group on Facebook.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- Expanding the firm in 2023
- Lisa’s experience in regulatory compliance for labs & healthcare
- The Emerald Conference
- Role as a minority, woman business owner
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio. Brought to you by on pay. Atlanta’s New standard in payroll. Now, here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:25] Lee Kantor here another episode of Atlanta Business Radio, and this is going to be a good one. But before we get started, it’s important to recognize our sponsor, Onpay. Without them, we couldn’t be sharing these important stories. Today on Atlanta Business Radio, we have Dr. Lisa M Pinkney with the Neal Management Group. Welcome.
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:00:44] Thank you.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:45] I’m so excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us about the Neal Management Group, how you serving folks.
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:00:50] Yes. So the Neal Management Group is a health care consulting company. We were started back in 2004, and we focus on regulatory compliance, mainly in the laboratory science field. And since 2004, we have grown. I’ve evolved to doing regulatory compliance and helping with auditing in various industries, whether it’s food, blood bank, medical offices, medical physician offices. And currently I am working in the health public health department field, helping them with their inspections and laboratory science.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:38] Now, what’s your backstory? Have you always been involved in this line of work?
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:01:42] I have. I have over 35 years of laboratory science experience, and I have been a regulatory compliance auditor for 25 years. So I bring a wealth of experience to this industry.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:59] So how has the industry changed over the years?
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:02:03] So over the years, I think we have the industry has changed because initially we we weren’t as focused on regulatory compliance in the different fields. And now with, you know, from COVID to other pharmacy vertical companies having challenges in physicians labs being closed, I think the industry has evolved because there has been more regulations. So as a result, my company helps organizations prepare for inspections, help interpret the regulations, and then we help you after inspections are conducted.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:48] So you help them if there’s any issues kind of get compliant or kind of be proactive in that area.
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:02:55] Exactly. Exactly.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:57] Now, is that are you seeing that as a trend going forward that there’s going to be more and more regulations, like I understand in COVID, you know, we were trying to do things in a hurried manner and now there’s less maybe urgency in some areas. So there’s regulations kind of take a bigger role.
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:03:14] Yeah. Yeah. And you’re absolutely right. During COVID, things move very quickly. And now what I’m seeing is that organizations that had these pop up laboratories, now they’re going back and thinking about, okay, did we check all the boxes? Do we have the right quality controls, quality assurance? Are we looking at ourselves? Are we using the correct reagents? So we are very, very busy and we have we are here to help ensure that these pop up labs have been brought into compliance.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:54] Now, can you share a story of maybe working with a company that maybe was struggling in this area and you were able to help them get to a new level? You don’t have to name, obviously, the name of the organization, but maybe share the challenge they had and the result.
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:04:08] So yeah, I have a story I can share. A few years ago, I was brought in to a physician office lab who had it was a pain management laboratory. He was a pain management physician. He had set up a lab in his suite and he had. Apparently had not prepared everything appropriately and was inspected by COLA, an organization, and they had received an inspection report of about 27 items and 27 is a large number. And so as a result, I was brought in, I did an initial assessment I looked at I definitely reviewed the report and looked to see what are some of the key findings. And essentially they did not have the right systems and processes in place. So a lot of things that they were doing, like some of the testing you couldn’t ensure the quality was was adequate. Like either they did not test with the proper controls or the storage of the samples were inadequate or they didn’t have the right standard operating procedures. So I created a plan, a remediation plan. First we responded to the inspectors. You have to respond to that 27 item inspection report. So I helped them create a response within two weeks. And we talked about how we were going to put systems and processes and SOPs, standard operating procedures in place, and we would work towards remediating some of the issues that took, you know, 3 to 6 months to to remediate some of the issues. But we were able to bring the lab back into compliance after several months.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:20] Now, do you have any advice for people running labs right now to low hanging fruit that they can be doing to make sure and ensure that they’re kind of in compliance? Or is this something that you really do need to kind of an expert with fresh eyes like an outsider, to come in to look at things and to make sure everything’s right?
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:06:40] Well, I can give them some basic advice. If you’re thinking about starting up any type of laboratory that is within the United States, I think you need to first look and see what federal regulations are out there. And the most visited place for laboratory regulations is through CMS, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare. And they have the basic rag, which is Clear Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act 88. And that is a good starting point. And those are the basic guidelines for starting any type of laboratory in the US.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:32] And do you have a sweet spot when it comes to clients? Do you work better with super large firms or or smaller ones? Is there kind of a place that you find that these are your favorite clients?
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:07:45] So starting out.
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:07:47] Of course I started with the smaller ones, but what I have found is small to medium type of organizations are the ones that I work best with. The larger ones usually have a whole office or department for quality oversight. So what I find is the smaller small businesses tend to try and do it quick and then they miss a few steps. So I try to help them come up to speed and, you know, in the most cost effective manner possible.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:29] Now, can you talk a little bit about the Emerald Conference?
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:08:33] Yes. So recently I had a poster session at.
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:08:39] The Emerald Conference in San Diego, California, and it was sponsored by MJ Biz and their science department. And that was a very exciting conference. I had a great, great opportunity to showcase a poster or a brief or a paper that myself and a colleague did and it was around how are we ensuring quality testing in our cannabis testing laboratories? And so what we did essentially is use ISO 17,025, which is the international standard, to ensure, you know, essentially laboratory quality and calibrations and processes are put in place. That’s what the standard is about laboratory science, essentially. And we looked at the 39 states that have a medical cannabis license or program laws, and we looked to see what states are following ISO 17,025. And our results were that a large number of the 39 states, the District of Columbia and our three territories, about about 18 to 20 were in compliance with ISO 5 or 6 were partially in compliance. And then there were four, 4 or 5 states that were not following ISO. And, you know, those are the states that concern me because how are you ensuring a quality product or quality testing is being performed? So that was the beginning of our research and we’re going to continue to utilize that as a foundation for showing or showing the need for quality testing to be conducted in the medical cannabis space.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:44] And you see that as something that that’s only going to get larger, right?
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:10:49] Absolutely. Absolutely. There’s such a. Me and we need to have really national standards. But as you know, cannabis medical or recreational is still illegal, um, nationally and federally. So it’s, it’s a challenge. You know, the, the patchwork across our United States, every state has their own law laws. And so there is no standardized approach to medical cannabis testing. So that’s why we picked the ISO standard, which is internationally known.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:26] Now, can we talk a little bit about why it was important for you to become certified as a disadvantaged business enterprise and a minority business enterprise? Was that done strategically and and do you have any recommendations for others who might benefit from those certifications?
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:11:46] Absolutely.
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:11:47] So yes, my company is a DBE, which is disadvantaged business enterprise as well as a minority business enterprise certified, and I think it’s very useful. I obtained those certifications several years ago because I think it’s important that as a small business owner, you have the basic foundation and infrastructure that’s needed to run a small business. I take being a small business owner serious. I have been one for 18 years now and I want to be able to show that I have the right standards, the credentials and the foundation for conducting business in the States as well as at the federal level. So that is, that’s what kind of pushed me there. Um, and I knew I would be a small business owner. I knew my career path was going in that direction. So that’s where I am. I think my, my advice to people who are starting out, it’s worth the investment. I look at it as an investment in my business that, you know, I spend, what, few hundred dollars up front for becoming certified, and it will help in the long run as we move forward with bidding on state or federal contracts.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:19] So and those are almost must haves if you’re going to do that kind of bidding on on those types of projects. Right?
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:13:25] Absolutely. Absolutely.
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:13:27] And I’m in the process of getting my woman’s own small business certification as well through SBA.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:34] And are you familiar with the GW, PBC, Greater Women’s Business Council?
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:13:40] I think so.
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:13:41] I’ve seen that certification.
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:13:42] Yeah, I’ve seen that organization, but I’m not a part of that one right now.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:48] Should definitely check them out. They do great work. They’re part of the Webbank system and they cover Georgia and the Carolinas. Yeah. And so what do you need more of? How can we help you?
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:14:01] Oh.
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:14:02] Um.
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:14:03] You know, right now I’m. I’m working on some educational products that I’m putting out, working with my alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University. So at some point, we I’m very serious about educating future lab science professionals. So I’m working on a project with them right now. I am just positioning myself for what’s coming next after the next 3 to 5 years, maybe bidding on some contracts. But I don’t know. I just right now I’m into laboratory science scientists and making sure that the ones we have out there are well educated, certified. And I take laboratory science very seriously.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:54] Now, if somebody wants to connect with you to learn more about what you got going on or to help them, what’s the website?
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:15:01] Yes, my website is w-w-w.
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:15:04] Dot the.
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:15:07] The neo n e a l group group llc.com. That’s a lot. But it’s the neo group llc.com.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:22] Well thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing such important work and we appreciate you.
Dr Lisa M Pinkney: [00:15:27] Thank you.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:29] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We’ll see you all next time on Atlanta Business Radio.
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