Four Solutions to Support Employees’ Mental Health During COVID-19

This article is third in our series examining how the self-insured industry can respond to the long-term effects of COVID-19 on member health.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost every part of our daily lives, including physical, financial and emotional health. As the pandemic continues to worsen, we are gaining greater visibility into emerging mental health issues among the U.S. population. Consider these recent statistics:

  • According to a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) health tracking poll in July, 53 percent of U.S. adults say COVID-related stress has negatively affected their mental health – up from 39 percent in May.
  • Census Bureau surveys have found up to 40 percent of U.S. adults struggling with anxiety, depressive disorder or substance abuse since the pandemic hit.
  • More than half of behavioral health organizations are seeing higher demand for services, according to the National Council for Behavioral Health – but capacity is diminishing.
  • In addition, KFF found most U.S. adults think the worst of the pandemic is yet to come.

Mental health claims within our ecosystem are significantly on the rise, and clients are reporting increased concern about pandemic-related effects on their employees – adding new life to discussion about modifying care delivery models. The healthcare industry is acknowledging the significant correlations between physical and mental health, traditionally cared for as separate conditions. Integrated care solutions that treat the whole person could deliver improved outcomes with less expense.

To that end, in the face of continuing upheaval and stress from COVID-19, what resources can self-insured employers offer to support their employees? Here are four solutions to consider:

1: Use data to identify members at risk.

Employers are increasingly turning to data to identify employees at risk and proactively offering them the resources they need. Today’s technologies are providing new insights by leveraging real world data (RWD), which refers to health-related information collected and reported by diverse sources on patient health status, population trends and the routine delivery of care.

Within an ecosystem like ours, RWD come from multiple sources including electronic medical and health records, claims and case management databases – even from employees themselves. We anticipate self-assessments, social media and health-related wearables as emerging data sources that will soon be added into the mix to more precisely predict those in need of behavioral health services.

2: Offer a care management program with personalized support and navigation.

Poor mental health and behavioral choices make physical health and chronic care conditions more challenging and expensive to manage. To meet the patient’s physical and mental health needs, comprehensive care management involves the active monitoring of behavioral health to help prevent serious health events and navigate care across multiple providers and settings.

A full-service care management program with a nurse navigator as a central point of contact can personalize its services for employees who may benefit from more comprehensive attention. As they coordinate care and guide patients to an individualized treatment plan for better behavioral health, nurse case managers can help relieve anxiety and make at-risk patients feel more in control and proactively managing their health.

3: Ensure networks provide access to mental health services with telehealth options.

Demand for behavioral health services is expected to stay high for the foreseeable future. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), however, many people do not have the same access to mental health specialists as they do for other medical providers – nor do they have as many available options. When they can find a mental health professional, they may be forced to go out of network to receive treatment.

This leads to higher out-of-pocket costs for mental health care compared with other types of primary or specialty care. When people face increased expenses, it may lead to seeking less care — or going without any care at all. Access to mental health services, clearly communicated to employees, is key to seeking and receiving treatment, which in turn improves productivity and retention.

A coordinated care team is better able to meet both the mental and physical health needs of the patient with improved outcomes.  Along those lines, the American Medical Association has established the Behavioral Health Integration (BHI) Collaborative with seven other physician associations to promote the integration of behavioral and mental health care into primary care practices. Such steps are critical for greater access and a robust telemedicine plan that addresses the issue of fewer available mental health providers by incorporating primary care into the solution.

4: Include an Employee Assistance Program in your benefits package.

People are struggling more than ever in the wake of COVID-19. An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides confidential support for numerous concerns, including mental health issues and personal, family or work problems. Counselors and other specialists can assist with stress, depression, substance abuse or financial issues. Identify an EAP that responds quickly when employees reach out.

The benefits of an EAP make such a program a worthy investment. NAMI estimates that untreated mental illness costs the United States up to $193 billion annually in lost productivity.

When employees are able to successfully manage their health, employers can expect to see improved job performance, productivity, engagement and retention; while minimizing the impact to their bottom line due to turnover, absenteeism, increased mental health services and higher insurance costs.

Data-driven solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to find new solutions for improved health and access to the right care delivery. Through the mental, physical and financial implications of this global health crisis, Valenz remains committed to delivering on our core promise of smarter, better, faster healthcare – so our clients and their employees are strong, vigorous and healthy.

 

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Amy Gasbarro is Chief Operating Officer of Vālenz™, one of the nation’s leading data-driven, medical cost containment and care management organizations offering an ecosystem of expanded data and service solutions to support the self-insured industry.

Portrait of Randy Dorshorst, Vice President, Ecosystem Success at Vālenz Portrait of Patty Onion, Vice President, Claims Operations at Vālenz

Vālenz Appoints Dorshorst, Onion to Leadership Team

New Vice Presidents Poised to Enhance Data-Driven Solutions, Cost Savings and Operational Excellence

PHOENIX, Ariz. (December 4, 2020) — Vālenz™ is pleased to announce the appointments of Randy Dorshorst and Patty Onion to the leadership team.

Dorshorst has joined Valenz as Vice President, Ecosystem Success, to advance the innovation behind the company’s health administrative ecosystem, combining data analytics with care service delivery to minimize claims costs for the self-insured industry and promote quality care.

“We are thrilled to welcome Randy to our senior team to oversee the continuing success of our product, data and client program solutions,” said Rob Gelb, Chief Executive Officer. “Randy offers 30 years of expertise in driving growth, technology and value through custom solutions, which makes him an outstanding fit to lead Valenz in the purposeful expansion of our ecosystem.”

Most recently, Dorshorst served as Vice President for AViDEL Medical Management in Irving, Texas. With his comprehensive leadership and management skills, he directed the successful launch of AViDEL as a sister company to Service Lloyds Insurance Company, where he was Vice President for Medical Management Service. Dorshorst also has held executive positions at HealthSmart Casualty Claims Solutions, Web TPA and CorVel Corporation.

Onion, who has more than 30 years’ experience in workers’ compensation, medical cost containment and managed care, joins Valenz as Vice President, Claim Operations.

“Patty’s proven success in setting strategic direction and implementing managed-care platforms and services makes her uniquely well-positioned for this role,” said Amy Gasbarro, Chief Operating Officer of Valenz. “She brings tremendous expertise in claim operations and process improvements that will help us go even farther to drive results for our clients and offer the highest possible level of service.”

Onion most recently served as principal for Milana Health Systems in Kansas City, Mo., specializing in workers’ compensation managed-care consulting. She was CEO of Berkley Medical Management Solutions and has held executive roles with numerous health-related companies including Coventry Health Care, Premera Blue Cross and Mercy Health Plan.

“I have been fortunate to know Patty and Randy for years, and most recently we have benefited from their guidance and counsel as consultants to Valenz,” Gelb said. “Today, I couldn’t be happier to have them on board full time, as they both bring outstanding leadership and deep expertise that will empower us to further deliver on our promise of smarter, better, faster healthcare.”

 

About Valenz

Through a complete health administrative ecosystem, Valenz connects cost and quality data on a single-source, end-to-end analytics platform for smarter, better, faster healthcare. Valenz solutions integrate data from comprehensive care management services (Valenz Care), high-value provider networks (Valenz Access), claim flow management (Valenz Claim), and solutions for payment integrity, revenue cycle management and eligibility compliance (Valenz Assurance) into the ecosystem. More information is available at valenzhealth.com. Valenz is backed by Great Point Partners.

 

About Great Point Partners

Great Point Partners (“GPP”), founded in 2003 and based in Greenwich, CT, is a leading healthcare investment firm, currently with approximately $1.8 billion of equity capital under management and 28 professionals, investing in the United States, Canada and Western Europe. Learn more at www.gppfunds.com.

Searching State Exclusion Lists: Why It Matters for Assured Compliance

If your profession involves compliance management, you know the Office of Inspector General’s List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (OIG LEIE) is the federal database for all Medicaid sanctions – and no doubt your team checks it regularly for sanctioned providers. However, many investigations are conducted by state Medicaid offices and do not always include federal participation. Is your compliance team checking for sanctions and exclusions at the state level as well? If not, they should be.

In fact, OIG Best Practices state that you should also search every state sanction and exclusion list that corresponds with your business or service delivery location(s) – meaning, all states where you operate or have a physical business presence. Some organizations are required to check all 41 state Medicaid sanction lists, but if yours is not one of them, our compliance experts recommend at least checking border states and any other state where the providers in your network or health system have practiced in the past.

Why? Because state actions may appear before federal listings, and in some cases, the states and federal databases do not fully synchronize their entries. But, to be clear, if a person or organization you do business with is excluded by your state, you will face the full threat of repercussions, for hiring and reimbursing them, even if they do not appear on the federal exclusion list.

What do those repercussions look like? In addition to the loss of your reimbursement funds plus interest, civil monetary penalties may apply – not to mention reputational damage and potential legal liability. When it comes to non-compliance, the risks and penalties can be great, so the time and costs associated with checking every applicable sanctions and exclusion list, including state lists, is well worth it.

Also worth noting: To screen thoroughly, you must search lists from state licensing and medical boards, as well as state and county disciplinary action lists and abuse registries (including state/local consumer affairs, addiction recovery lists and more). Checking all lists, not just the major ones, helps ensure compliance by alerting you to providers who may have had fines imposed or faced certain allegations but have not formally been sanctioned.

If you don’t have the internal manpower to ensure no stone is left unturned, good news: Affordable outsourcing options are available. At Vālenz Assurance, we offer a range of compliance software and support solutions to meet your needs and budget. To learn more about how we take the complexity out of compliance, call 888-395-9029.

Building an Effective Compliance Management Program: What You Need to Know

To help prevent fraud and abuse – and all the punitive setbacks that come with broken health care laws and unmet regulations – having a robust compliance program is key. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to compliance management, however, and it is most effective to tailor your program to your organization’s structure and type. The following FAQs are designed to help you understand the basics and formulate next steps for your compliance program.

What is a compliance program, and why do I need one?

A compliance program is a set of internal policies and procedures that helps your organization comply with the law in its daily operations. A proactive plan helps you maintain compliance with today’s regulations, as well as providing a framework for implementing future requirements.

What are the basic components every compliance program should include?

Effective compliance programs include these essential components:

  • Written policies and procedures
  • Effective training and communication
  • Internal monitoring and auditing
  • Enforcement and discipline
  • Prompt action/response times for issues detected

Why should I customize my organization’s compliance program?

Every organization is structured differently, has unique staffing and contracting programs, provides a different mix of services, and has a specific profile of patient demographics and payer mix. While the basic essentials apply to any compliance program, the specifics will vary based on your organization’s unique operations, structure, and areas of risk.

What resources are available to help me customize my compliance program?

To help you develop a compliance program that is most impactful for your organization, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) has developed a set of principles, called Compliance Program Guidance (CPG). These guidance documents are geared toward different segments of the healthcare industry, including:

  • Hospitals, Nursing Facilities, Physician Practices, Home Health Agencies, Hospices
  • Medicare+Choice Organizations
  • Third-Party Medical Billing Companies
  • Public Health Services (grants)
  • Pharmaceutical Manufacturers
  • Clinical Laboratories
  • Ambulance Suppliers
  • Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supply Industry

Use the CPGs as a starting point, and then tailor them for your organization. The OIG provides many additional compliance resources to encourage effective internal controls to monitor and manage adherence to applicable statutes, regulations, and program requirements.

Also, remember that a compliance program is never done – it evolves with your business and with changing regulations. It is forward-looking, and focused not only on risk containment, but also on best care and management practices.

This sounds like more than my small team can manage. Can I outsource my compliance program instead?

Yes! At Vālenz™, we offer a range of compliance software and support solutions to help assure you are not the “last to know” about a sanctioned provider or other compliance issue. With three tiers of service to accommodate any need and every budget, we take the complexity out of compliance and deliver peace of mind. To learn how we help you protect your organization from the risks of non-compliance, call 888-395-9029.

The Effects of COVID-19 on Chronic Disease Management – and Five Solutions Insurers Should Embrace

This article is second in our series examining the long-term impact of COVID-19 on health and healthcare issues for the self-insured industry.

Chronic conditions are the leading cause of death in the United States, as well as the primary driver of our $3.5 trillion annual healthcare costs. Long before COVID-19 hit, providers, payers and self-insured employers grappled with the challenge of ensuring that patients with chronic illnesses receive effective care.

Recent surveys indicate many patients have put their chronic care needs on hold during the pandemic, potentially leading to more expensive scenarios in the future. Consider these findings from a recent survey:

  • Seven in 10 patients reported a negative impact on their ability to manage their high-risk conditions due to COVID-19, with one in four expressing a high impact.
  • One in three patients reported a reluctance to leave their homes for treatments, with 70 percent sharing they were more worried than usual about their health at this time.
  • Less than 40 percent of respondents felt prepared to manage their health during COVID-19, with more than half expressing concern they would lose access to essential care.
  • More than one in 10 patients reported they were unable to receive their medication.

Even with heightened safety precautions that have made office visits and routine care widely available again, many patients have been slow to return – especially for people with long-term conditions like asthma, heart disease and diabetes, who are at significantly higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

As the health industry adapts to consumerism by adapting care deliver to meet the evolving needs of consumers, so too must payers and self-insured employers. Here are five solutions that take significant steps towards improving service and care for chronic disease patients during the pandemic and potentially beyond:

1: Telehealth and virtual care

Expanded telehealth access has been the key component of the rise of virtual care utilization, allowing care continuity while all parties maintain physical distancing. Combined efforts by the federal government, individual states, private insurance companies and self-funded groups have facilitated telehealth as a viable care option during the pandemic, lowering regulatory barriers that had limited its use and the reimbursement of services. According to the American Medical Association, physician telehealth adoption is now estimated at 60-90 percent.

In addition, a survey by Accenture in July 2020 reported that providers were largely able to maintain or even improve on the patient experience with virtual care technology, which also includes live video, audio and instant messaging. With 41 percent of respondents taking advantage of virtual tools – the majority of them for the first time ever – patients reported more personal interactions, faster response times, and the convenience of managing care from home. Virtual care and telehealth are proving especially useful for chronic disease patients in rural and remote areas.

2: Patient-centric care navigation

For self-insured employers, brokers and third-party administrators, care-coordination solutions like NaVcare help members navigate their health journey more effectively, delivering personalized service and guidance for high-quality care and improved outcomes. Real-time data-driven insights, combined with in-depth health plan knowledge, are critical for identifying patients with complex, chronic conditions. Providing those patients with comprehensive care management helps avoid more serious and costly health events.

Informed by data – including claim, pharmaceutical and demographic data –NaVcare tailors services to each employer and illuminates individual care needs for members. Care navigators facilitate virtual care when available for enhanced patient convenience and engagement as well.

3: Behavioral health integration

People with chronic diseases are more likely to experience depression or behavioral issues as they often face impaired mobility and loss of independence. According to the Center for Medicare Advocacy, 43.8 million U.S. adults struggle with mental illness each year, and 26 percent of those are Medicare beneficiaries – a population that is highly vulnerable to the effects of isolation, increased stress and more limited access to regular care, even before the pandemic.

Traditionally, the care delivery models to address physical and behavioral health have been independent  of each other. More and more, providers and health organizations are acknowledging the significant correlations between physical and mental health, turning to integrated care solutions that treat the whole person and deliver improved outcomes with lower costs  – up to 10 percent savings in the nation’s overall healthcare expenses, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

4: Prescription cost management

Following a national trend that has continued for the past decade, costs have risen for chronic disease medications and depression/anxiety drugs during the pandemic, with total prescription spend predicted to reach $610 billion in 2021. Before COVID-19, one in three Americans did not take their medications as prescribed because of high costs, but during a global pandemic, forgoing medications involves even more risks for chronic care patients and incurs even higher costs in the long run.

Cost-containment solutions for self-insured employers, brokers and third-party administrators include a range of PBM solutions and specialty medication case management services. Such solutions create long-term reductions in medication spend while passing on lower costs to members and delivering highly personalized case management services and advocacy.

5: Remote patient monitoring

Recent studies connecting COVID-19 to long-term heart and lung damage, among other serious conditions, accentuate the benefits of remote monitoring technologies for high-risk patients. As it tracks and transmits vital signs in real time, remote patient monitoring allows providers to regularly check pulmonary function, blood pressure, body temperature and other physiology for proactive management of changes in disease progression.

A joint report from AHIP, the national association of America’s Health Insurance Plans, and C-TAC, the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care, concludes that remote patient monitoring is among the most efficient and effective tools available to manage chronic disease — particularly in older patients with diabetes, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Solutions for today and tomorrow

Patients with chronic illnesses are more vulnerable to some of COVID-19’s most significant threats. As the global health crisis continues to present new challenges in treating patients with long-term conditions, it also has opened up new opportunities. It is exciting to be part of the evolution of solutions that will serve patients well beyond the pandemic – showing us all the next level of smarter, better, faster healthcare.

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Rob Gelb is Chief Executive Officer of Vālenz™, one of the nation’s leading data-driven, medical cost containment and care management organizations offering expanded solutions to support the self-insured industry.

About Valenz

Through a complete health administrative ecosystem, Valenz connects cost and quality data on a single-source, end-to-end analytics platform for smarter, better, faster healthcare. Valenz solutions integrate data from comprehensive care management services (Valenz Care), high-value provider networks (Valenz Access), claim flow management (Valenz Claim) and solutions for payment integrity, revenue cycle management and eligibility compliance (Valenz Assurance) into the ecosystem. More information is available at valenzhealth.com. Valenz is backed by Great Point Partners.

About Great Point Partners

Great Point Partners (“GPP”), founded in 2003 and based in Greenwich, CT, is a leading healthcare investment firm, currently with approximately $1.8 billion of equity capital under management and 28 professionals, investing in the United States, Canada and Western Europe. Learn more at www.gppfunds.com.

Vālenz™ Access Assured: An Integrated, Dynamic Approach to Reference Based Pricing

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Oct. 15, 2020) – Employers and private health plans pay hospitals nearly 2.5 times more than Medicare, according to a recent study by the RAND Corporation. And while employers and their members pay more each year, researchers found no strong link between hospital pricing and healthcare quality or safety ratings. To manage rising medical costs while improving health outcomes, self-insured employers need solutions which definitively balance the cost-quality equation.

To answer that growing need, Valenz Assured Access provides an integrated, dynamic approach to reference based pricing. As the innovators behind a comprehensive ecosystem designed to effectively bend the Claim Cost Arc℠ for payers and improve patient experiences for members, Vālenz™ has established a next generation RBP model that integrates deep analytical insights with member-centric services while collaborating with providers and payers to ensure transparency.

Using the proprietary VMS℠ Repricing Methodology, Valenz Access Assured blends payment, cost and charge data sets to produce reimbursement recommendations that are fair, defensible, transparent and consistent for everyone.

“VMS recognizes that not all Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes or services delivered in healthcare have a Medicare rate, so we incorporate two additional data sources – paid claim data and Usual, Customary, Reasonable (UCR) data – to provide a more structured and defensible reimbursement recommendation,” said Rob Gelb, Chief Executive Officer. “When leveraging these sources of data, we offer our customers a more robust and well-rounded view of reasonable reimbursement levels.” Supporting a consistent and substantiated reimbursement model not only reduces costs, Gelb explained, it reduces friction among the payer, provider and patient.”

With Valenz Access Assured, member-centric coordination begins at the outset of care, where dedicated care navigators serve as the central point of contact for all stakeholders. Through NaVcare, members receive concierge-level guidance as well as the URAC-accredited care management services of Valenz Care. As a result, members are guided toward high-quality care and empowered to make better health decisions that control costs, improve health outcomes and elevate the member experience.

Provider collaboration also starts before care delivery. The Valenz Assured Access team engages providers and facilities in pre-service negotiation to procure contractual agreements before services are rendered, creating transparency of cost and eliminating the risk of balance billing. From there, a Valenz contracting expert works to secure a long-term agreement, continually supporting the plan and members through high-value network development and expansion, direction of care and high-quality provider utilization.

When contracting is not an option and a provider appeals reimbursement levels, Valenz Assured Access protects the member and the plan with comprehensive support, including negotiations with the provider and legal advocacy.

“We designed all program components with the member in mind, following our guiding philosophy that everyone who engages with the Valenz ecosystem should be strong, vigorous and healthy,” said Amy Gasbarro, Chief Operating Officer. “Ease of access to high-quality providers, appeal support, development of new provider agreements and next-generation pricing models – these approaches integrate seamlessly to deliver on our core promise: engaging early and often for smarter, better, faster healthcare.”

About Valenz

Through a complete health administrative ecosystem, Valenz connects cost and quality data on a single-source, end-to-end analytics platform for smarter, better, faster healthcare. Valenz solutions integrate data from comprehensive care management services (Valenz Care), high-value provider networks (Valenz Access), claim flow management (Valenz Claim) and solutions for payment integrity, revenue cycle management and eligibility compliance (Valenz Assurance) into the ecosystem. More information is available at valenzhealth.com. Valenz is backed by Great Point Partners.

About Great Point Partners

Great Point Partners (“GPP”), founded in 2003 and based in Greenwich, CT, is a leading healthcare investment firm, currently with approximately $1.8 billion of equity capital under management and 28 professionals, investing in the United States, Canada and Western Europe. Learn more at www.gppfunds.com.

Vālenz™ NaVcare Delivers Data-Driven Care Navigation, Improves Network Utilization, Member Satisfaction and Health Outcomes

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Sept. 25, 2020) – As part of its triple-URAC-accredited Vālenz Care suite, Valenz has announced the launch of NaVcare, a concierge-level care navigation program that combines data with service delivery to improve utilization, member satisfaction and health outcomes. Based on intelligence from multiple sources within the Valenz ecosystem – including claim, pharmaceutical and demographic data – NaVcare is tailored to each employer with personalized services for each health plan member.

“We place the patient at the center of care, starting with high-touch member onboarding to empower individuals in making better healthcare decisions, improving outcomes and enhancing their experience,” said Amy Gasbarro, Chief Operating Officer. “Working one-on-one with plan members, our care navigators provide expert knowledge of the health plan, care plan and provider network to guide members toward high-quality, low-cost care and medication.”

NaVcare brings member-centric services and data-driven insights into the patient journey, connecting the dots for smarter, better, faster healthcare. NaVcare navigators serve as a central hub for care coordination, providing personalized education, collaboration and communication.

“When integrated with the full Valenz ecosystem, real-time intelligence allows us to target the 5-15 percent of claims that drive 70 percent of an employer’s health spend,” explained Rob Gelb, Chief Executive Officer. “By integrating the high value network design of Vālenz Access with care navigation, Valenz is helping our clients achieve up to 85 percent in-network participation within 12 months, resulting in significant plan and member savings.”

For more information, call (602) 792-5371.

About Valenz

Through a complete health administrative ecosystem, Valenz connects cost and quality data on a single-source, end-to-end analytics platform for smarter, better, faster healthcare. Valenz solutions integrate data from comprehensive care management services (Valenz Care), high-value provider networks (Valenz Access), claim flow management (Valenz Claim) and solutions for payment integrity, revenue cycle management and eligibility compliance (Valenz Assurance) into the ecosystem. More information is available at valenzhealth.com. Valenz is backed by Great Point Partners.

About Great Point Partners

Great Point Partners (“GPP”), founded in 2003 and based in Greenwich, CT, is a leading healthcare investment firm, currently with approximately $1.8 billion of equity capital under management and 28 professionals, investing in the United States, Canada and Western Europe. Learn more at www.gppfunds.com.

V3 Repricing Engine: Fueled by Big Data to Ensure Fair, Market-Supported Reimbursements

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Sept. 14, 2020) – To accelerate fair and accurate claim repricing and ensure market-supported reimbursements, Vālenz™ has introduced the V3 Repricing Engine. Fueled by the volume, variety and velocity of data within the Valenz ecosystem, V3 supports strategic decision-making and creates value for the payer, the provider and the patient.

The V3 Repricing Engine can identify patterns and pinpoint high-performing providers with optimal cost structures, along with delivering greater efficiency and reduced turnaround times for processing and payments. Ultimately, it ensures savings on professional claims, which account for up to 85% of claim volume for self-funded insurers.

Aggregating years of robust claims data with industry-leading sources, the V3 Repricing Engine uses the proprietary, data-rich VMSSM Repricing Methodology to determine fair, defensible claim reimbursements. Its detailed analysis goes further to identify potential program pain points and opportunities for additional savings. For integrity and timeliness, VMSSM continuously scrubs and adjusts the data as needed to ensure a fair market price for all services rendered, while identifying potential fraud, waste and abuse.

“As we continue to identify solutions that control costs while serving the member and helping the employer, the V3 Repricing Engine is one more way we fulfill our promise of better, smarter, faster healthcare,” said Rob Gelb, Chief Executive Officer of Valenz. “The proprietary algorithms of our VMSSM Repricing Methodology provide actionable insights to support a consistent and substantiated reimbursement model, reducing friction among the payer, provider and patient.”

Curating from multiple data sets to offer up-to-date, regionally specific reimbursement recommendations, the V3 Repricing Engine is fueled by the three Vs of big data:

  • Volume: Years of historical paid claims data
  • Variety: Numerous geographical, medical and claim data elements
  • Velocity: Up-to-date information using real-time insight

“While the V3 Repricing Engine applies to all medical claims, it maximizes discounts for high-volume, low-dollar claims – an overlooked segment in the market to increase value for self-funded plans,” said Amy Gasbarro, Chief Operating Officer of Valenz. “This approach to repricing reduces the cost of healthcare for all parties involved.”

About Valenz

Through a complete health administrative ecosystem, Valenz connects cost and quality data on a single-source, end-to-end analytics platform for smarter, better, faster healthcare. Valenz solutions integrate data from comprehensive care management services (Valenz Care), high-value provider networks (Valenz Access), claim flow management (Valenz Claim) and solutions for payment integrity, revenue cycle management and eligibility compliance (Valenz Assurance) into the ecosystem. More information is available at valenzhealth.com. Valenz is backed by Great Point Partners.

About Great Point Partners

Great Point Partners (“GPP”), founded in 2003 and based in Greenwich, CT, is a leading healthcare investment firm, currently with approximately $1.8 billion of equity capital under management and 28 professionals, investing in the United States, Canada and Western Europe. Learn more at www.gppfunds.com.

New Front Door to Care: Telehealth is Here to Stay

This article is first in a series examining the long-term impact of COVID-19 on health and healthcare issues for the self-insured industry.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted patients’ access to their physicians, the use of telehealth has grown exponentially in 2020 – and we may be only scratching the surface of its role in the future.

So far this year, virtual care visits have reached more than 1 billion, with 500,000 for COVID-19 – an increase of 64.3 percent, according to a recent analysis by Frost & Sullivan. Telehealth’s $3 billion revenue market has the potential to grow to $250 billion, according to McKinsey & Company. Consumers have been 1.6 times more likely to use telehealth after their first experience, so an increasing number of providers are offering it – 53 percent more than before the pandemic began.

Telehealth’s unprecedented rise has captured the attention of public policymakers as well. On August 3, President Trump signed the Executive Order on Improving Rural and Telehealth Access, which extends the availability of virtual care benefits for Medicare beneficiaries during the pandemic. The order, which calls for permanent expansion, accentuates that telehealth may become a lifeline in rural areas with more limited access to in-person care. With multiple telemedicine bills brought to the House and Senate this year, there is broad bipartisan support for Congress to pass legislation that would keep coverage in place.

For self-insured employers, brokers and third-party administrators, the growing emphasis on telehealth facilitates early engagement with members in diagnosing and treating conditions, as well as disease management for chronic care patients. The convenience of telehealth allows members to take charge of their health and promotes care continuity for long-term wellness. Additionally, the surge in telehealth adoption will open up opportunities to better serve members with other virtual care models, such as remote patient monitoring, texting, digital symptom checkers, and online health coaches.

Member demand for virtual care is undeniable. Frost & Sullivan estimates that the U.S. telehealth market will display staggering seven-fold growth by 2025. Surveys this year by McKinsey & Company indicated that providers are seeing 50 to 175 times the number of patients via telehealth than before COVID-19. Of the survey respondents, 76 percent were highly or moderately likely to use telehealth going forward, and 74 percent of telehealth users reported high satisfaction.

Although in-person doctor visits are unlikely to become a thing of the past, telehealth is here to stay. Signs point to its continued growth as a key healthcare delivery tool for the next 12-18 months – until a vaccine becomes widely available – and beyond. For members, telehealth services can offer the benefits of more accessible care, minimized exposure and health risks, ease of use, and improved patient outcomes – the fruits of our labor to reimagine care.

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Rob Gelb is Chief Executive Officer of Vālenz™, one of the nation’s leading medical cost reduction and claims flow management organizations offering expanded solutions to support the self-insured industry.

Vālenz Ranks No. 2065 on Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-Growing Private Companies

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Inc. magazine today announced that Vālenz™ ranks No. 2065 on the annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of America’s fastest-growing private companies. The Inc. 5000 list represents a unique look at America’s most successful independent small businesses. Over the years it has included such leading-edge organizations as Microsoft, Vizio, Intuit, Oracle, Zappos.com and many others.

“We are honored to be recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in America, and it reinforces what our clients already know – that controlling health plan costs, serving the plan member and helping the employer group are all connected,” said Rob Gelb, Chief Executive Officer at Valenz. “Our rapid growth is a function of everything we do to control costs, deliver quality, and create new paths of opportunity for employers, TPAs, and brokers to improve plan design, reduce plan spend, and enhance member lives.”

Moving forward, the company is poised for future growth. As the innovators behind an ecosystem that combines health data analytics with healthcare service delivery across the entire lifecycle of every claim, Valenz is laser-focused on changing the trajectory of healthcare costs – which they call lowering the Claim Cost Arc℠ – for the self-insured industry. Data and information flow through the Valenz ecosystem from the company’s core products, clients, platform partners and industry sources, and in doing so, it fuels ever-expanding analytic and predictive capabilities. That data-driven decision enablement, coupled with member- and client-centric service delivery, creates continuous value for every individual and organization within the ecosystem.

“If you are excited about what Valenz has accomplished for your business in the three years since we first envisioned our ecosystem, you will be very pleased with what the future holds,” said Gelb. “By engaging early and often for smarter, better, faster healthcare, we are continuously creating new opportunities for self-insurers to target the small percentage of claims that drive their majority of health plan costs.”

“From health and software to media and hospitality, the 2020 list proves that no matter the sector, incredible growth is based on the foundations of tenacity and opportunism,” said Inc. editor-in-chief Scott Omelianuk. Together, the companies in the 2020 Inc. 5000 achieved three-year average growth of more than 500 percent and a median rate of 165 percent, with aggregate revenue accounting for more than 1 million jobs in the same time frame. Complete results of the Inc. 5000 can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

About Valenz

Through a complete health administrative ecosystem, Valenz connects cost and quality data on a single-source, end-to-end analytics platform for smarter, better, faster healthcare. Valenz solutions integrate data from comprehensive care management services (Valenz Care), high-value provider networks (Valenz Access), claim flow management (Valenz Claim) and solutions for payment integrity, revenue cycle management and eligibility compliance (Valenz Assurance) into the ecosystem. More information is available at valenzhealth.com. Valenz is backed by Great Point Partners.

About Great Point Partners

Great Point Partners (“GPP”), founded in 2003 and based in Greenwich, CT, is a leading healthcare investment firm, currently with approximately $1.8 billion of equity capital under management and 28 professionals, investing in the United States, Canada and Western Europe. Learn more at www.gppfunds.com.

About Inc. Media
The world’s most trusted business-media brand, Inc. offers entrepreneurs the knowledge, tools, connections, and community to build great companies. Its award-winning multiplatform content reaches more than 50 million people each month across a variety of channels including websites, newsletters, social media, podcasts, and print. Its prestigious Inc. 5000 list, produced every year since 1982, analyzes company data to recognize the fastest-growing privately held businesses in the United States. For more information, visit www.inc.com.