Merging AI and human intelligence for big recovery results

Technology plays a key role in health plans’ transition to more proactive, data-driven payment integrity results. We sat down with Dan Iantorno, Chief Information Officer at Discovery Health Partners, whose team received the FutureEdge 50 award from IDG/CIO magazine for Discovery’s work with machine learning and AI. We discussed how technology is driving a transformation in payment integrity and what Discovery is doing to help clients access new technologies to improve revenue, avoid costs, and enhance their members’ experience. 

Data and analytics are transforming many industries, including healthcare. What are the biggest challenges health plans face when implementing these new technologies?  
We know that health care costs are skyrocketing, driven by administrative complexity, fraud, and abuse. It’s estimated that as much as $935 billion, or nearly 25% of total spending, is wasted in the US healthcare system every year. As a result, providers are under intense pressure to manage costs and ensure payment integrity, while at the same time continuing to provide quality care for their members.

Technologies that leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics can enable plans to implement process efficiencies and dramatically increase recovery rates, while reducing member abrasion. But many health plans lack the internal tools and resources to identify and pursue recovery opportunities for high-cost, complex claims. Discovery is partnering with health payers to support data-driven payment integrity solutions and help them identify and pursue the highest-value cases to drive bottom-line results.

What are some of the ways Discovery is innovating to help clients transform their payment integrity approaches?
Since the company’s inception, Discovery has been at the leading edge of analytics-powered technology solutions to help clients address payment integrity challenges. Today, we are using machine learning and predictive analytics to tap into the potential of more than a decade of case outcome data to improve results, drive efficiency, and guide our customers to more proactive payment integrity strategies. Last year, we unveiled our Case Open Logic solution, an initiative that uses machine learning as part of our claims ranking process in our Subrogation practice. 

Rather than relying on human logic to prioritize the 2% of cases that result in 90% of recoveries, our solution uses machine learning to augment human intelligence by selecting the cases with the highest likelihood of success, doing in seconds what would previously have taken hours of manual work. These enhancements help validate subrogation claims faster and more accurately and identify cases that otherwise might be missed. The process also helps health plans reduce member friction because there’s no need to contact members unnecessarily on claims that are not of substance. This solution has delivered immediate results for our clients, and the technology shows great potential to enhance solutions across business lines. We’re very proud that our Case Open Logic solution was honored with IDG/CIO’s FutureEdge 50 award that recognizes cutting-edge applications of emerging technologies to advance business goals. 

What’s in store for the future of payment integrity and how will Discovery support health plans as they evolve their payment integrity strategies?   
Discovery’s data science team has a history of blazing new trails in the payment integrity industry. In 2020 and beyond, we will continue to innovate with solutions that drive results for our health plan clients and provide best-in-class models for the industry. For example, our investment in machine learning with our Case Open Logic solution has already helped us boost subrogation recoveries for our customers by 20%. Based on that overwhelming success, we intend to roll out similar machine learning capabilities to other lines of business such as Data Mining, Clinical Audits, and Coordination of Benefits (COB). The application of machine learning based on a decade of data enables Discovery to provide services that are immensely valuable to our health plan clients. Combining technology innovation with our team’s decades of experience in the health payer space is how we will continue to deliver game-changing profound client value.

Find out how Discovery Health Partners can help strengthen your payment integrity initiatives in 2020. Contact us today!

Dan IantornoMerging AI and human intelligence for big recovery results
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Webinar: COVID-19 roundtable | Helping you get payment integrity done

COVID-19 roundtable: Helping you get payment integrity done

What you can expect from this webinar

The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly and drastically changed the way we’re living and working these days. This webinar helps health plans solve payment integrity operational challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Learn more about working from home, security infrastructure, and productivity
  • Gain insights from Discovery’s own experience transforming to a remote workforce company over a year ago

Use the quick form on the right to view the webinar on-demand.

Discovery Health PartnersWebinar: COVID-19 roundtable | Helping you get payment integrity done
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Protecting payment integrity through client-centered support

Unexpected events like the COVID-19 pandemic make it increasingly difficult for health plans to manage costs and ensure payment integrity. We recently sat down with Monica Frederick, Vice President, Account Management for Discovery Health Partners, to discuss how Discovery’s people and account management approach contribute to our clients’ success.

You’re a newer member of the Discovery Account Management Team. Can you share your experience prior to Discovery?

Over the past 20 years, I’ve held numerous sales and business development positions to support healthcare organizations in bringing new patient care modalities to the market. My experience on the medical side gives me insight into how managed care organizations can strengthen their payment integrity efforts so they can better manage costs and continue to focus on member care.

What makes Discovery a successful team and what are we doing differently to support our clients’ success?

Discovery has built a solid reputation for providing value to health plans by helping to solve their payment integrity challenges. We owe our success to our exceptional people and culture of accountability. Every employee across the organization understands the importance of their role and how they contribute to our clients’ success. And I see the whole organization working tirelessly to anticipate customers’ needs and earn their trust.

Communication is a big part of our approach to account management at Discovery. We talk to clients frequently in person and virtually, and we also conduct client surveys to hear directly from our clients on how we’re doing and how we can continue to provide profound value to our clients’ organizations.

Through this hands-on approach, we’ve learned that we do many things right. Clients especially appreciate how we advise them to determine the best course of action for their operations and provide timely follow-up to address their concerns. This valuable feedback also helps us identify opportunities where we can improve our processes and solutions to better meet clients’ needs.

In addition, we have a Client Council that brings together individuals across our client base whose voices influence the future of our business. We host in-person and virtual meetings with our Client Council to deepen relationships and understand what clients need to be successful. These meetings not only provide clients with valuable networking opportunities, but also offers clients opportunities to share insights and best practices with other health plan leaders and drive future innovations.

What is Discovery’s approach to account management, and how do we drive value throughout the entire engagement with a client?

Our approach is flexible to meet each client’s unique needs, but it always starts with earning their trust, by getting to know them and understanding their business operations. We listen closely to their concerns and create a plan that addresses their challenges and aligns with their strategy and priorities.

When clients join Discovery, we put together an implementation team with the right skills and specific expertise to ensure a smooth, accurate, and efficient implementation. Our approach is flexible and can wrap around or come behind existing vendors and processes already in place. Discovery’s multi-disciplinary teams work collaboratively and our experts evaluate each client individually. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Once implementation is completed, an internal hand-off to the Account Management team occurs and all unique attributes and needs for each client are discussed in detail. A dedicated account manager takes the lead to provide guidance and manage day-to-day activities and communicate the status of ongoing projects every step of the way. We don’t just hand over reports; we take time to meet regularly with clients to review their information in a way that’s meaningful so we can make recommendations for improvements and achieve their desired results.

What are some of the ways Discovery helps health plans address unexpected payment integrity challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic?

COVID-19 is unlike any event the healthcare industry has seen in modern times, thus health plans are faced with challenges they could not have imagined just a few months ago. Not only do health plans need to ensure their members receive the care they need and support their providers, health plans must also keep up with individual states’ mandates regarding “non-essential” claims processes and review of COVID-19 related claims. At the same time, they are struggling with reallocating resources to support critical COVID-19 initiatives while managing the shift to a remote workforce.

Discovery is proactively reaching out to clients to make recommendations, based on their business, to help protect premium revenue, pick up productivity shortfalls as needed, and help them protect their workforce. We continue to work diligently on behalf of clients as an extension of their teams to ensure they get the right information to support the continuity of their operations.

Discovery went remote with payment integrity operations over a year ago, so we’re in a great position to help support our clients business during the pandemic. Discovery views challenges as an opportunity to learn from individual clients’ needs. As COVID-19 plays out, we will continue to partner with clients to make sure we are supporting them and their challenges are addressed in a timely manner.

 

Find out how Discovery Health Partners can help contribute to your payment integrity success in 2020. Contact us today!

Monica FrederickProtecting payment integrity through client-centered support
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Infographic: Fixing payment integrity at the source

It’s a known fact that improper payments abound in healthcare. Given the effect that eligibility data can have on claims payments, a connected payment integrity approach is essential. Often, challenges arise from multiple sources of data, conflicting or inaccurate data, data integration challenges, manual workflows, multiple reporting systems, and more.

When eligibility errors occur, they affect many payment integrity areas such as coordination of benefits (COB), subrogation, and Medicare secondary payer (MSP) validation. Failing to address these issues leads to incorrectly paid claims, improper reimbursements, or claims that shouldn’t be paid at all—costing your plan millions.

Infographic: Fixing payment integrity at the source

Find out the top three causes of eligibility errors and learn how a connected payment integrity approach can help.

Discovery Health PartnersInfographic: Fixing payment integrity at the source
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Transitioning toward data-driven payment integrity solutions

Evolving payment models and new technologies are supporting health plans’ efforts to implement more proactive, data-driven payment integrity solutions. Discovery Health Partners discusses what’s in store for the future of payment integrity and how the company is helping clients make the transition from retrospective to prospective programs.  

Trends that are re-shaping payment integrity strategies

During the last decade, a number of emerging trends have impacted health plans’ ability to reduce their exposure and increase payment accuracy. Value-based contracting, for example, has left many payers struggling to figure out how to transition to the performance-based payment methodologies that center on cost efficiency, quality, and delivery standards. The changes around CMS’ reimbursement models for home health and skilled nursing can pose some challenges as provider and payers adapt to those changes and create new PI audit opportunities. Payment integrity programs can provide needed support in adapting to claims processing changes like these.

At the same time, providers themselves are evolving and making changes to their billing processes based on these new models. In order to mitigate potential payment errors, health plans are moving from a retrospective process of identification and recovery to a more cost-effective prospective approach. Through clinical audits focused on the provider type, place of service, and their reimbursement models, plans can verify that services billed were performed, ensure proper payments, and avoid the costs of recovery. Payment integrity has a role to play here. Focused payment integrity programs that take a holistic approach to claims auditing enable health plans to shift from cost recovery to prevention and cost avoidance, thereby increasing claim payment accuracy.

Helping transform payment integrity approaches

As industry needs change, Discovery has stepped up our payment integrity capabilities with the addition of new talent, technology platforms, and analytical tools. We continue to expand our core offerings, adding new services and strengthening our cost avoidance competencies to help clients address their payment integrity challenges. Furthermore, Discovery is adding resources through strategic partnerships, and last year we acquired HealthMind, which brought us core payment integrity expertise and an integrated end-to-end-payment integrity application enabled by analytics and workflow that greatly expands our pre-pay solutions portfolio. With this new platform, we are scaling our payment accuracy capabilities and portfolio and building focused solutions around urgent care, home health, skilled nursing facilities, high-cost drugs, and more to help clients shift their focus to cost avoidance while still supporting recovery operations.

Using data to evolve payment integrity approach

The healthcare industry is accelerating its adoption of cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to add efficiency and cut costs across operations, including in the payment integrity space. With the HealthMind acquisition, we’re well-positioned to support data-driven solutions and secondary code edit, provider audit, and data mining capabilities. This expands our ability to leverage analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to audit millions of claims every month and find the “needle in the haystack” claims that yield the highest savings for health plans. We are also using analytics to identify patterns in client data that are specific to that provider. We can use that information to educate clients on how to address specific trends to improve their billing processes. We can also help them identify opportunities to change behaviors, so they are able to pivot to a proactive payment process.

Going into 2020 and beyond, our focus is to build on our technology foundation to provide full end-to-end payment integrity solutions for health plans that don’t have those resources in-house. We will also continue providing support for plans that have an internal payment integrity function.

Health plans are looking for a true partner who can help them support and enhance their payment integrity efforts so they can better control costs associated with incorrect billing and overpaid claims and improve administrative and medical loss ratios. With years of experience supporting both payment integrity and managed care, Discovery’s connected payment integrity approach—combined with our dedication to partnership, responsiveness, and relationships—delivers results that go far beyond financial value.

Find out how Discovery Health Partners can help strengthen your payment integrity initiatives in 2020. Contact us today!

Discovery Health PartnersTransitioning toward data-driven payment integrity solutions
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Jason Brown on the road ahead for payment integrity

As the industry transitions from volume to value-based healthcare, health plans face increasing pressure to better manage costs and ensure payment integrity. We recently sat down with Jason Brown, CEO of Discovery Health Partners, to get his thoughts on recent trends and how they’re shaping the road ahead in 2020.

Healthcare continues to change and evolve. What do you see as some of the trends setting the stage for optimizing payment integrity?

Health plans face a number of challenges when it comes to ensuring the right care is provided to the right member for the right amount. Complex billing processes, changing regulations, outdated and disparate data systems, and overlapping coverage all contribute to improperly paid claims. Today, nearly a third of claims are paid incorrectly, leading to billions in administrative waste.

In 2020 and beyond, we anticipate health plans will continue to struggle with rising healthcare costs, numerous competing priorities, and a lack of resources. Furthermore, changing regulations and mandates will continue to add layers of administrative and clinical complexity to a system already bogged down in paperwork. While there is no clear path to cost containment, there are ways health plans can work toward transforming their payment integrity approaches. An example is leveraging advanced technologies to move from retrospective payment to prospective payment—by detecting improper claims before they are paid, health plans can keep costs in check, increase member satisfaction, and most importantly, cultivate healthy provider partnerships.

What are some of the ways Discovery is helping health plans address their payment integrity challenges?

This past year has been an exciting time of innovation and growth for Discovery. We have an expanded suite of payment integrity solutions—Coordination of Benefits, Subrogation, Data Mining, Clinical Audits (in areas such as diagnosis-related group (DRG) audits and itemized bill review audits) and Premium Restoration. Our integrated solutions are designed to work together. This connected approach helps optimize claims recoveries and avoid future expenses across the entire claim lifecycle while reducing provider and member abrasion.

What makes Discovery unique is that our solutions start with our clients’ own data and processes. We leverage the latest analytical tools and technology like machine learning to identify patterns that present opportunities for cost recovery and cost savings. By blending artificial intelligence with human expertise, we identify hidden errors and root causes that are often overlooked. We also provide the highest levels of support to our clients, acting as an extension of their teams, to free up their internal resources so they can focus on other business priorities.

Since its inception, Discovery has been proud to provide flexible solutions that help health plans solve their payment integrity challenges. Our newly formed Client Council provides a platform for clients to share industry insights and challenges with their peers and help drive product innovations with Discovery. Going forward, custom-tailored solutions like ours will be key to helping plans manage costs while maintaining the high levels of care that their members expect.

What’s on the horizon for Discovery in 2020?

During the past decade, we’ve demonstrated measurable success by helping our clients improve operational efficiencies, increase claims accuracy and payment, and recover dollars back to their health plans.

From 2020 forward, we will continue to evolve existing solutions and create new forward-thinking approaches to help plans prevent and recover inaccurate payments. By expanding our use of data analytics and data integration and accelerating our investments in research and technology like machine learning and predictive analytics, we will help health plans capitalize on information to coordinate claims correctly. Once individual plans reach the point where they are paying the appropriate amount for the healthcare that’s delivered, they can re-invest in clinical care for their members.

At the same time, we will position clients to transition toward a more proactive approach to cost management. Reimagining the payments process and applying insights further upstream will be key to enabling providers to take advantage of opportunities to proactively change wasteful behaviors.

And of course, we’ll continue to keep our finger on the pulse of the industry. By building partnerships with our clients, industry organizations, agencies and others to learn about best practices and stay on top of the latest trends, we can prepare clients for the challenges ahead.

 

Find out how Discovery Health Partners can help strengthen your payment integrity initiatives in 2020. Contact us today!

Jason BrownJason Brown on the road ahead for payment integrity
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A year in review: top blogs from 2019

The new year is upon us and with it comes a new decade. It has been a decade of transformation for healthcare with regulatory changes, health system consolidation, healthcare consumerism, and new technologies that have forever changed the industry. 2019 has been a time of change and growth for Discovery Health Partners as well. Here are highlights from our most popular blogs of 2019 to remind you what we’ve been up to all year.

3 bad habits that are good for subrogation

In February, we talked about the three “bad habits” that can lead to successful subrogation: be unfair, ignore your members, and be pushy. In any other scenario, these tactics can get you into trouble. But for subrogation, being unfair requires that you not treat all cases equally. Ignoring your members is all about avoiding member abrasion. And being pushy involves aggressively identifying and verifying subrogation cases. Altogether, these tactics help improve the opportunity for quick and fair settlement of subrogation cases.

Why Medicare Advantage plans may be losing money on members with ESRD

In March, we featured a post about the challenges Medicare Advantage plans face with members with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Though ESRD afflicts fewer than 100,000 people nationwide, the disease requires lifelong care—and a disproportionate percentage of medical expense. The blog discusses the gap in CMS premiums for ESRD members and what Medicare Advantage plans can do to better identify them.

It’s challenging to identify and restore underpaid ESRD premiums. Here’s how to solve that

Another popular blog continued the ESRD discussion, highlighting a systematic approach Medicare Advantage plans can take to restore ESRD premiums. This includes automating the process of sifting through data to identify potentially underpaid premiums and maximizing the 84 months that CMS allows plans to identify, investigate, and restore premiums. The blog identifies five key components of an effective ESRD program: analytics, investigation, remediation, restoration, and monitoring.

Subrogation: 3 ways SaaS can help

In July, we returned to the topic of subrogation with a discussion of how software-as-a-service applications can help. Plans are finding that combining SaaS applications with in-house expertise creates a more effective, data-driven approach for finding and validating subrogation recovery opportunities. Specifically, you can: 1) make in-house recovery more efficient and insightful; 2) gain accessible, easy-to-use, scalable, and secure solutions; and 3) do more at a lower cost.

Stay tuned to our blog for more insights on these topics and to see what 2020 has in store. You can also get the latest industry and Discovery updates by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter. Are you interested in learning how Discovery Health Partners can support your organization? Contact us today!

Discovery Health PartnersA year in review: top blogs from 2019
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Payment integrity emerging as a top cost reduction opportunity for health plans

As cost reduction continues to take center stage, healthcare payment integrity is in the spotlight. Increasingly, health plan executives are recognizing the power of payment integrity functions to add significant value to a health plan’s bottom line by improving the plan’s ability to recover or avoid improper claims payments and improve accuracy of premium revenue.

But, payment integrity is not always an easy landscape to navigate. Discovery Health Partners has had hundreds of conversations with health plans of every size and membership type across the country and a common theme that emerges is that while improving payment integrity is a priority, it is often one that is difficult to understand, manage, and achieve.

Over the last few months, Discovery has made a dedicated effort to understand what trends are shaping that complex payment integrity landscape. Our team of payment integrity professionals is experienced in not only identifying these trends, but also in understanding how they will impact health plans and shape financial performance and the member experience.

In a series of upcoming blog posts, Discovery will be exploring each of 2017’s payment integrity trends including:

  • Amplified focus on prepayment cost avoidance
  • Continued need for postpayment recovery
  • Heightened visibility around the importance of payment integrity with plan executives
  • Uncertainty about payment integrity performance by internal and vendor teams
  • Increased market consolidation and the impact on vendor selection
  • Growing interest in outsourcing the entire payment integrity function to a single vendor
  • Prioritization of business process outsourcing above software solutions

We also recently partnered with RISE to host a webinar on these trends. RISE, the Resource Initiative and Society for Education, is dedicated to ongoing outreach and education for health plans and providers. RISE offers complimentary webinars, white papers, a newsletter, peer user groups, and ongoing updates for plans and providers seeking the cutting-edge of healthcare information.

The webinar, now available on demand, features Discovery President, Paul Vosters, and VP of Strategic Development, David Grice, discussing each of our trends and answering the following questions:

  • Why should your plan increase the focus on payment integrity results?
  • How can your plan be on the cutting edge of these trends?
  • How can your plan mitigate some of the risks these trends present?
  • How is the latest healthcare payer technology changing the way plans approach data and security?
  • How should your vendors support you as you navigate the payment integrity landscape?

Check back often as we post more information about each of these trends. You can also download our 2017 Payment Integrity Trends white paper to read more.

Paul VostersPayment integrity emerging as a top cost reduction opportunity for health plans
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An enterprise approach to payment integrity technology

For many health plans, payment integrity is able to influence the bottom line in powerful ways. For payment integrity organizations (sometimes called cost containment), the new year is the perfect time to evaluate what has been working well and what can be done better and more efficiently. And often payment integrity technology is one of the areas that could use improvement. Payment integrity is traditionally a lower priority for IT support than core groups like Claims and Finance and as a result technology challenges arise including multiple sources of data, conflicting or inaccurate data, data integration challenges, manual workflows, multiple reporting systems, and on and on.

But creating a technology environment that can support payment integrity functions, whether that is claims recovery, subrogation, coordination of benefits, DRG, or others can bring IT and business managers together in their thinking. I recommend a “Payment Integrity Reference Architecture” that shows how payment integrity systems (such as recovery, case management, and reporting tools) integrate with enterprise IT to provide the backbone of a technology-enabled, data-driven payment integrity organization.

In a later piece I will describe this architecture more in-depth, but as you reconsider your technology environment and consider adopting a new Payment Integrity Reference Architecture, you will see  four specific layers of payment integrity technology emerge: Payment Integrity Services, Data and Analytics Services, Database Management Services, and Infrastructure Services.

The Infrastructure Services layer consists of foundational technology components that support all areas of the business and that are managed by corporate IT (includes networking, security, archiving, storage, and more). It’s important that this layer exists, but it is not directly relevant to the payment integrity discussion.

The next layer of our recommended Payment Integrity Reference Architecture is the Database Management Services layer. This layer contains data from internal groups and external partners – data that payment integrity groups need to use for their business processes. Some of this data will reside in core health plan systems, such as Finance, Claims, Enrollment, Pharmacy, and others. This layer usually consists of a corporate data warehouse that makes this core data available for all areas of the enterprise. From there, the data may flow into functional data marts, which allow for more flexibility to slice and dice data for functional analyses. As payment integrity functions mature within some plans, this layer may also include a Payment Integrity Hub, which establishes a system to coordinate recovery services across internal departments and external vendors in real-time.  The hub also provides visibility into work-in-progress for operations and forecasting.

Data and Analytics Services follows Database Management Services and refers to the technologies that help analyze, share, and report data. Within this layer are the analytics used to identify potential overpayments, duplicate payments, other party liability, other health insurance, etc. – opportunities to avoid or recover costs. In more mature organizations, this will include advanced analytic tools that look across diagnosis codes, dollar amounts, member histories, and many other data points to identify more potential recovery and savings opportunities.  This layer should also have reporting functionality.

The Payment Integrity Services layer includes the technologies that are specific to payment integrity functions.  Ideally, these tools should be relevant and useful across any area of payment integrity, whether coordination of benefits, subrogation, overpayment recovery, or others.  These are the tools that help automate some of the tedious or difficult tasks involved in payment integrity (for example, case identification, work assignments, work prioritization, and letter generation). They bring the automation, consistency, efficiency, and transparency that are cornerstones of a mature payment integrity function.

Throughout the evaluation process, keep in mind that your enterprise payment integrity efforts will benefit from technologies that can be used across payment integrity functions. For example, most payment integrity activities hinge on member eligibility information.  The goal should be to capture this information once and use it across all areas of payment integrity (and even with other areas, such as Claims and Finance). Likewise, a single Case Management tool should be able to service coordination of benefits as well as subrogation and any other area of payment integrity, so there is no sense in building or buying multiple versions of this functionality. For more detailed information, watch for my next published article, “Enterprise Approach to Payment Integrity Technology: Reference Architecture.”  Additionally, if you would like to gauge where your organization falls on the technology and data maturity model, see our blog “Enterprise Approach to Payment Integrity Technology: Using A Payment Integrity Maturity Model.”

John BairAn enterprise approach to payment integrity technology
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