“I definitely see my line of credit as a line to hiring and paying my staff, which is what I need.”
Real American Express® Business Line of Credit customer who was aware that his testimonial may be featured by American Express.
The business of caring: A pediatrician’s journey to financial stability with American Express
Dr. James Wiley is an experienced pediatrician who has been providing high-quality care to his patients in Alabama for more than three decades. He has a special interest in helping children cope with learning and attention issues. For many years, he served as President of the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Today, he is the District X Vice Chairperson for the AAP.
Dr. Wiley’s success, however, is due not only to his medical expertise but also to his entrepreneurial spirit. After reporting to, then running, the pediatric clinic in Dothan, Alabama, for almost 20 years, he moved across the state to Mobile in 2008 where he opened a clinic for kids with complex diagnoses like ADHD, Autism, and OCD.
While he admits he first envisioned his practice as a kind of “semi-retirement strategy,” Dr. Wiley says his business venture ultimately “blew up,” attracting dozens of patients. In addition to Mobile, he now operates licensed locations in Daphne, Hoover, and Huntsville. In 2012, he took his business to the next level, founding Focus-MD, a revenue cycle management company with the target audience of other primary care physicians who want to adopt his model of evidence-based care.
“Because of my work in Mobile and with the American Academy of Pediatrics, I was also aware that the need was nationwide and there just weren’t enough developmental pediatricians or child and adolescent psychiatrists to handle the numbers,” he says of his meteoric growth. “Also, I guess once people realized how passionate I was about treating ADHD, they were drawn to my model of care.”
As Dr. Wiley’s practice and business continued to flourish, he realized the importance of having a financial safety net in place. His success over the years has come with its share of financial setbacks such as costly complications like Covid-19 that left him short-staffed. Dr. Wiley recalls a major obstacle when one of his largest payers had issues with their claims processing, causing cash flow problems for his business.
Flexible access to funds
A solution came in December 2022, in the form of an email from American Express, which informed him of a versatile funding option that could help him cover his short-term cash flow gaps. The American Express® Business Line of Credit provides access to a line of credit that allows approved businesses to use what they need, when they need it. Small businesses pay fees only on the amount they use and are able to take a draw at any time. With this flexibility, business owners can focus on growing their business instead of worrying about financial constraints.
Dr. Wiley, an American Express® Gold Card Member since 2014, was intrigued. “I get marketing emails from other companies about business lines of credit all the time, and I just delete them,” he says. “But because it was American Express, I opened [the email].”
He says he was immediately struck by the product’s ease and user-friendliness. “I’ve always been so impressed with the customer service, and this was no different. Three days after I applied, I got an email saying I was approved. And then I got a follow-up phone call from a sales representative saying, ‘I’m your person.’ Everyone loves to hear they’ve got a person.”
In time, his line of credit has given Dr. Wiley funds for day-to-day needs. But more importantly, he says, it’s given him peace of mind. “I haven’t needed to draw as much as I thought I would so far,” he admits. “But it’s so comforting to know that I’m not going to have to talk to one of my physicians about missing payroll, or to worry about paying the bills.”
Capital to fund talent
Dr. Wiley adds that he sees his business line of credit as a way to furnish his team with fresh talent. “I see it as a line to hiring and paying staff, which is what I need,” he says. “For me it’s working capital to attract providers without worrying about how I’m going to get them paid for three months.”
Dr. Wiley’s goal is to continue expanding his practice to better serve his growing number of patients, which includes adding new physicians to his 25-person staff. He recognizes the importance of having a strong financial foundation to bring on new hires, especially during the months when employee training may affect revenue. “You need cash flow to bring on new people,” he says. “I can definitely see going back to this line for help adding another provider.”
With determination, nimble thinking, and an American Express® Business Line of Credit, Dr. Wiley is growing a thriving business and slowly transforming the industry. His experience offers a valuable reminder to any business owner to embrace new tools and opportunities as they come.
“Everything is synergistic, you see,” he reflects. “The offer to apply for a line of credit came along at the the time that I was thinking ‘Ok, I’ve got to find a solution.’”
Year Established: 2008
Industry Type: Medicine
Number of Employees: 25
Annual Revenue: $1.2 Million
American Express® Business Line of Credit Customer Since: 2022
American Express® Member Since: 2014