Michelle Rupp: Hello and welcome into this week’s edition of AFMC TV. We’re glad you’re joining us. I am so excited to welcome our guest for today’s show. Our new CEO Mr. John Selig. John, thank you for coming in. I know a few weeks back. We had you here with Ray Hanley and now, now you’re in the hot seat. So, this is your ship now.
John Selig: Which, I’m excited about.
MR: Well, wonderful. You know, for a lot of AFMC employees because we are remote. This may be the first introduction that they are having with you and a way to kind of get to know you and so I’d love if you would just begin by sharing some of your background.
JS: Sure. Well, I’m an Arkansan through and through. I grew up into Dequeen which probably most people know is a little town north of Texarkana. We used to dress up to go to Texarkana.
MR: So, the big city, right?
JS: Yeah. Moved away for a while, but I’ve been back with my wife, Jeannie since probably 1987 I guess, so 30 years or so. We live in the Benton area, raised three kids there. Now have a 31-year-old who lives in Little Rock. She and her husband. They have two kids. So we’ve got two grandkids who are close and then I’ve got twin 21-year olds. A boy and a girl who are both in college. So still they’re busy, they’re here and they’re gone and so we have a good time. And as far as my background, I actually thought I was going to be an engineer when I went to college and then gradually toward the end of college I thought, I don’t think that’s what I want to do. I got more interested in kind of public policy issues and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do actually went in the Peace Corps for a couple of years. It was as much as an adventure as anything, you know, just here’s the chance to go see the world. And I was in West Africa for a couple of years, but really kind of enjoyed the idea of public service. And so when I came back to Arkansas, I decided to go back to graduate school and study public affairs. And then I’ve been with either the Health Department of Human Services or was with them for I guess about 28 years in different roles. Kind of starting out as you might expect. The first role was kind of whatever they want me to do. But I worked at the Health department for a couple of years in in home services, running their personal care and hospice and home health programs. So I got a feel for those programs and then I went to become the director of the division of behavior health services as part of DHS and did that for about three years and really enjoyed that. We created some anti stigma campaigns and just really tried to raise awareness around mental health issues. Then I was at DHS as a deputy director where I had a number of divisions, I was responsible for including Medicaid for about six years and then I was the director for I guess the last 12 years working under different governors, different administrations. And you know, doing a lot of interesting things working on payment reform and Medicaid, doing Medicaid expansion, which was very exciting. Of course, DHS has child welfare and juvenile justice and early childhood. So, lots of interesting things gives you a really broad view. I left there in 2016 and went to work for a company called Optimum where I did some consulting with states and then the last three or four years I focused on behavior health issues, working with state Medicaid programs, helping design programs and actually putting together bids. Which has been very helpful in coming to AFMC because obviously a lot of our work is contract based. And understanding kind of what the customer wants and how to put together a bid. It was really good training for that. RM: Very fortuitous for what you are doing now. So, a passion of yours. Would it be more in the behavioral mental health arena or something different?
JS: You know, I am passionate about mental health. I would say actually for me it’s like making really good use of public resources, kind of the limited resources, really trying to help whether it’s a health care system or human services kind of run better because I mean, no one wants to throw money at public health systems, right? Or human services. So, the challenge always for me in those programs was to say, what can we do to make better use of our resources that that maybe, you know, getting a better federal match. But it’s also doing things like focusing on prevention, because if you’re always focused on the deep end and just doing treatment, you’re probably going to be spending a lot of money and not having a long term impact. So just really thinking about how to make things work better.
MR: Have you seen that model change over the years?
JS: Yeah, there certainly is more attention to prevention and there’s a lot more attention which really warms my heart to kind of evidence-based practices instead of just kind of doing whatever you’ve done in the past saying does this really work. And if it doesn’t work, let’s try a different program, but different treatment of different prevention approach a different way to outreach to clients or members to get them engaged in their own health. There’s also a lot more focus I think, on people taking responsibility for and kind of having the ability to manage their own care and manage their own health, you know, and that’s things like, you know, reducing the amount of smoking or eating better or, you know, whatever it is that helps people live healthier lives.
MR: And making those resources available to folks.
JS: That’s right.
MR: So okay, well very, very interesting. Let’s talk a little bit about your leadership. You may know a thing or two about leadership with better words. So, what is your style, how are you most comfortable?
JS: I very much like to work from a team standpoint, I love to have, which is great about AFMC. I think there’s such a strong team here, the people that I’ve met, many of whom I knew before. Just a little bit of an aside when I was at DHS, of course we worked very closely with AFMC. So, I’m not coming in cold to this organization. You know, I knew Ray and Marilyn and so many of the other members of the leadership team and have seen how AFMC can support the system. So that’s kind of an aside, but I really do like to work from a team standpoint. I want to understand what’s going on in different areas, but I also really like to delegate responsibility and say that’s your responsibility, you manage it. No surprises, but let’s take some risk. I mean thoughtful risk is not do crazy things, but I just I’m very curious and always wanted to try new things. Very much an open-door policy. I love for people, it’s a new environment now, but people kind of coming in and out of the office and walking in other people’s and just calling people up. I’m not big on kind of chain of command. I just think however we can get it done. That’s what I want to do.
MR: Open computer policy right with so many people still at home. So, what do you see for the future of AFMC? I mean, not, not to really, you know, put a hard, hard question on your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 7th day of work, but what do you how do you like to, when you look long term? You know, ‘man, I’d really like to see AFMC get here and if we got there, that’s just anything past, that’s the cherry on top.
JS: You know, there’s so many opportunities. It’s interesting for AFMC, and I think the employees know this, AFMC was kind of on a steady growth pattern and then with the pandemic because it did such great work with public health and around the pandemic. There was this kind of balloon skyrocket for a couple of years. Now it’s kind of coming back down to where it was. But I think AFMC during that two-year period it did great work. But also, I think the company realized that it had capabilities that it didn’t realize it had, you know, an ability to do more in different things and I really want to take advantage of that. There are so many areas of need in Arkansas and elsewhere where I think we can support physicians, we can support people around population health, their topics like behavioral health and adverse childhood experiences and diversity and equity and inclusion access to care. You know, I think what we need to do is with all those opportunities out there, decide what best fits AFMC, both its mission and our capabilities and then go from there. So, I don’t, there’s not a particular growth level I want to get too. I’m much more about impact than growth. So, if growing helps us have a bigger impact in Arkansas and help improve people’s lives, that’s what I want us to do. And so, it’ll be a matter of us thinking about where we focus our attention, our efforts because you can’t do everything and if you try to do at all, you probably won’t do much of it very well.
MR: Right, correct. I have found it interesting over the last couple of years. Just the impact that now more people know about AFMC maybe didn’t know them at all or weren’t completely familiar and now the name is really out there.
JS: That’s true. In fact, I didn’t mean to cut you off, but I mean I have as part of the job I’ve been in; I go to national conferences and more and more, you say AFMC out there and people know who they are and what they’re doing. The teams out there talking about, you know, we don’t just do Arkansas and we do all kinds of things. It’s not just this particular area of quality improvement that maybe we used to do in the past, but we have so many capabilities. So AFMC is much better known, I think both here in Arkansas because of its prominence, but also nationally on the national scale.
MR: So, my last question. Three words that would describe John Selig.
JS: One would probably be curious. I ask a lot of questions trying to understand why you do what you do or the ways to do it better. You know, I’d sell them like if somebody just says here’s, here’s what we do. Okay, so help me understand why it is, why do we, you know, and that helps me think through further. Probably open is one of them. I mean I’m very open about what I’m thinking. I’m very open to new ideas, you know, probably for better or worse sometimes the conversation goes in different directions, but I just really like to know what’s going on and like to share what I know. I’m not one who keeps the information myself and say that’s the way I can control things. I’m much more about, let’s just figure out how to get something done. I don’t care where the credit goes, as long as we’re successful. And then if you ask my kids, they’d probably say I’m cheap and funny. Like I talked about with public resources. I do, like to kind of stretch the dollar and see how to, you know, make things, do things efficiently as you can, and I love a good joke and humor. So, they’d probably throw those in. That’s four.
MR: No, I like that. And at the end of the day when you leave the office and you go home or you have weekend time, how would we find you relaxing?
JS: You’d find me on my bicycle maybe going for a run. Certainly, find me hanging out with the grandkids or my own kids. I love doing family stuff. Have a dad down in hot springs, we spend a lot of time together. So just kind of knocking around. I probably do more yard work poorly than I should. Not a green thumb, but I like to kind of play in the yard.
MR: Yeah, for sure. Fantastic. Well, is there anything else that you would like to add that? I’ve not asked.
JS: You know, I just say, I, I think it’s such a credit to my predecessor Ray Hanley and the team that he built. I just look at what AFMC has done in particular over the last couple of years. I just think it’s remarkable what an impact this company has had and I’m just really looking forward to helping build on that.
MR: Awesome. Well, we’re excited for the journey with you.
JS: Looking forward to it.
MR: Well, thank you so much for coming in and I hope you’ll come back to the show throughout this first year.
JS: I’ll do it.
MR: Alright, thank you. And thank you so much for joining us. We’ll see you back here next week for more AFMC TV.