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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Fixing payment integrity at the source

“New year, new me.” Seems like we hear this at the beginning of every year and hold on to the promise of moving on from the past and setting new goals for the future. Likewise, healthcare organizations are kicking off 2020 by charting new paths to address old problems and expanding into new initiatives to stay ahead of the competition.

Priorities such as increasing member satisfaction, provider relationships, and regulatory compliance remain top of mind for many health plans, which makes it a good time to take a fresh look at your payment integrity strategies and resources. Now is the time to evaluate how well your plan is maximizing recovery opportunities, improving cost avoidance strategies, and exploring premium restoration possibilities. To do this, you need to start at the source of your payment integrity challenges: eligibility data.

The impact of eligibility errors

It’s a known fact that improper payments abound in healthcare, many of which stem from eligibility errors made as a result of multiple data sources, outdated technology, manual processes, and members with other insurance coverage. 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.

According to Gartner, billions of dollars are spent every year in improper claims payments across commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid lines of business. Gartner research states, “Payer CIOs must get proactive and leapfrog current performance by focusing on prospective payment integrity capabilities.” With this in mind, what can you do to strengthen your payment integrity approach?1

Identify inaccurate eligibility data

When taking a close look at eligibility data, your plan will want to determine which claims may have been paid incorrectly as a result of inaccuracies. We estimate that 20% of a plan’s membership will have other insurance, and of that 20%, the other insurance will be primary 17.5% of the time. For a 200,000-member plan, this represents nearly $5.4 million in incorrectly paid claims. When statistics like this are uncovered, the plan quickly realizes how important it is to keep its eligibility data in check.

Determine a cost-avoidance strategy

Avoiding improper payments is a core tenet of any payment integrity strategy. Accurate and trusted eligibility data plays a key role. We estimate that the same 200,000-member plan could save over $13.4 million by avoiding incorrect payments. With the right cost avoidance strategies founded on accurate eligibility data, the plan stands to see a significant impact to its bottom line.

Look beyond dollars and cents

When evaluating your payment integrity strategy, you will want to think beyond dollars and cents. Quality eligibility data will have a positive effect on administrative efficiency, member satisfaction, and provider relations.

By avoiding improper payments in the first place, you avoid the need to rebill, saving you and your staff valuable time and energy that might be channeled toward other payment integrity initiatives.

Member satisfaction is a key priority for any health plan. In fact, the member experience drives performance on CAHPS (Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems), which is a key driver of Star ratings. Eligibility data drives a diverse number of systems and processes including registration, enrollment, care provision, wellness, and customer care. All of these areas influence your members’ experiences with your plan.

Lastly, providers depend on prompt, accurate payment. When claims are denied as a result of recurrent eligibility issues, payer-provider relationships already burdened by administrative complexity are further strained. Ensuring accurate eligibility data and determinations not only improves efficiencies, it also helps to accelerate reimbursements, greatly improving relationships and alignment.

Consider a connected payment integrity approach

Given the effect that eligibility data can have on payments, you will want to consider a connected payment integrity approach and address any gaps in your technology. Often, challenges arise from multiple sources of data, conflicting or inaccurate data, data integration challenges, manual workflows, multiple reporting systems, and more. By creating a technology environment that can support connected payment integrity functions (e.g., claims recovery, subrogation, and COB), business managers and IT can come together in their thinking and create a single, trusted source of eligibility data.

 

Contact Discovery Health Partners today to find out how we can support your payment integrity initiatives in 2020 and beyond.

1Gartner, “U.S. Healthcare Payer CIOs Must Adopt Prospective Payment Integrity to Thwart Improper Claims Payment and Fraud,” February 13, 2018.
Jeffrey MartinFixing payment integrity at the source
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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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Three ways to tackle the high cost of waste

New research published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) estimates that 25% of U.S. healthcare spending, or $760 billion to $935 billion, is spent annually on waste1. According to the study, the greatest source of waste is administrative complexity, which accounts for $265.6 billion in annual waste.

Part of this administrative burden stems from a complex claims adjudication process impacted by legacy or outdated technology, a lack of clear contract or policy information, and no universal way for sharing information (e.g., member’s name, diagnosis code, etc.). These administrative challenges results in data and eligibility errors that are made throughout the claims continuum, resulting in millions of dollars in improper payments.

Life of a claim: Errors along the way

Payment Integrity continuum DiscoveryDespite the best efforts to address waste, administrative complexity in the healthcare system continues. Recent research from JAMA shows that measures to eliminate waste would result in a 25% improvement, but there’s more work to be done. Finding the root causes of errors is the most effective way to ultimately remove waste—and the high cost of it—from health plans’ payment integrity operations.

Here are three approaches to combatting the high cost of waste in your payment integrity strategy.

1. Reduce manual processes

Manual processes are often at the heart of human error. Manual processes are tedious, error-prone, and inefficient, contributing to the high cost of waste in healthcare. When your entire claims adjudication or payment integrity process contains manual tasks, the likelihood of error is high. Reducing or eliminating manual effort in your payment integrity processes will go a long way toward reducing waste.

2. Use technology to your advantage

Technology plays a key role in taking out waste from the payment integrity process. But outdated or legacy technology can create just as much waste as you might find with manual processes. With the right technology in place, you can modernize your payment integrity processes and reduce the amount of time and effort associated with correcting complex claims.

By the same token, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning solve traditional payment integrity problems in new and innovative ways. These technologies offer analytics and predictive insights that can optimize your claims payment processes and drive data-driven decisions.

3. Look to a partner for advanced capabilities

A partner can supplement your in-house operations and offer the expertise you need to reduce waste. The right partner will bring robust capabilities that round out your core operations—capabilities like data mining techniques that prevent incorrect and unnecessary payments; industry experts who are up on the ever-changing and complex healthcare landscape; and processes that identify opportunities to correct, recover, and prevent improper payments at all points in the claims’ lifecycle.

The high cost of waste can threaten the viability of organizations throughout the healthcare ecosystem. With a holistic, connected payment integrity strategy built around these three tenets, your organization can improve operational efficiencies and achieve financial integrity by preventing improper payments—all while eliminating waste and generating meaningful results.

To learn how Discovery Health Partners can help you advance into the future of payment integrity, contact us today.

1“Waste in the US Health Care System: Estimate Costs and Potential for Savings,” JAMA, October 7, 2019.
Subrahmanyam ManthaThree ways to tackle the high cost of waste
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5 keys to hiring and keeping top-notch subrogation talent

It takes people with a unique mix of skills and experience to successfully handle complex healthcare subrogation matters involving third-party payers. Health plans that don’t have the right professional resources to identify and pursue recovery opportunities run the risk of leaving millions on the table.

Recruiting and retaining top-tier subrogation talent can be challenging but well worth the effort. Here are some insights and advice on finding the right subrogation staff, based on a recent survey of healthcare subrogation experts.

1. Subrogation experience is important but not critical

When it comes to prior work experience, front-line professionals agree that 1-4 years of experience provides a firm foundation.

What you might find surprising is that past subrogation experience is not the most important hiring criteria. Candidates with experience in related fields such as legal, claims, property and casualty, or medical coding typically have what it takes to review and understand complex medical claims.

Subrogation professionals also agree that regardless of industry affiliations, candidates should have top-notch organizational, multi-tasking, customer service, and communication skills. Additionally, the most successful subrogation specialists are good investigators, analysts, and critical thinkers who can navigate the “gray areas” to solve problems creatively. Solid relationship-building skills and a positive attitude are also must-haves to help subrogation professionals successfully negotiate for their share of limited recovery dollars.

2. Cast a wider net

In today’s tight job market, companies may have to look outside their industries and geographic regions to find top talent. Thanks to technology, more healthcare companies can offer remote work opportunities that will attract the best and brightest from across the country.

The medical and legal fields are good sources for high-quality candidates with transferable skills, since they already understand concepts used in subrogation. Often, healthcare companies can find new talent for entry-level positions at college career fairs. Look for students with backgrounds in legal studies, paralegal, and political science.

Law firms are filled with professionals who can easily apply their personal injury, class action, contracts, property and casualty, health, disability, and reinsurance claims experience to a career in healthcare subrogation. Insurance companies are also a good source of employees who already speak legalese and have mastered case management, handling multiple files at once, and reviewing medical claims.

3. Look beyond the resume

Once you find qualified candidates, you can use pre-screening tests and assessments as well as interviews to determine if someone will be a good fit for your organization. A multitude of online test sites offer customizable tools to measure everything from aptitude and attitude to role-specific knowledge and skills.

Assessments are good predictors of performance and offer insights to a candidate’s likelihood of job success as well as cultural indicators, such as honesty, discipline, and reliability. They can also help you make unbiased employment decisions based on quantifiable data.

Behavioral or problem-solving interviews that examine candidates’ past experiences or present real or simulated problems to solve will reveal insights into candidates’ thought processes, problem-solving skills, and ability to think clearly under pressure. Meanwhile, planned or structured interviews that present the same set of questions to everyone help level the playing field and call out the clear winners.

4. Set employees up for success

Congratulations! After a lot of time and effort, you found the right talent. So how can you keep them with you for the long haul?

Training is a good start to set new hires up for success and help more experienced employees advance their careers. Classroom training can cover in-house case management systems, procedures, and other basics. Side-by-side shadowing provides more in-depth exposure to practical applications. And mentoring is a great way for employees to get immediate feedback and learn tips and tricks of the trade.

5. Follow the leaders

Front-line subrogation specialists say that culture is a key to employee satisfaction. Adobe, Google, Southwest Airlines, and other highly sought-after employers have turned their culture into a competitive advantage by offering a combination of work, lifestyle, and monetary rewards. Challenging work assignments; empowering employees to go the extra mile to help customers; and perks like flexible working hours, on-site gyms, and even dog-friendly workplaces are incentives that the companies use to encourage loyalty.

Don’t forget rewards and recognition. Many subrogation associates see themselves as having a long-term career in the industry. Those who have a defined career path and feel valued are more likely to spend their career with you. Money can be a good motivator, but sometimes all it takes is a shout-out on the company website or positive feedback from an executive to encourage and inspire employee loyalty.

Collaborate with the experts

Even health plans with the best subrogation specialists can benefit from Discovery Health Partners’ deep expertise, advanced technologies, and data-driven approach. Find out how we can help health plans improve their recovery efforts on our Subrogation solutions page.

Heather Rodemann5 keys to hiring and keeping top-notch subrogation talent
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How to wake up from subrogation nightmares

"Be afraid...be very afraid." (The Fly)Causes of subrogation terror

Healthcare subrogation can be terrifying! Health plans are “afraid…very afraid” of what high costs and low settlements do to their bottom line. They’re frightened of member backlash about questionnaires and phone calls asking for details about injuries they’ve suffered.

Let’s face it, we’ve all endured subrogation nightmares that keep us awake at night feeling anxious and dreading the dark. From case overload and staffing issues to non-responders and negotiation horrors, it seems that something scary is always lurking, waiting to throw us off track.

In this article (using more than a bit of tongue-in-cheek nods to some famous spooky movies), we’ll explore typical subrogation horrors and how advances in data and technology are helping us overcome the fright and emerge victorious.

"You're gonna need a bigger boat" (Jaws)What happens when case identification goes overboard?

Does your subrogation rely on broad case identification parameters? Do all identified cases flow into the investigation process? Do you find your team being eaten alive by case inventory backlog? If you said yes to these questions, “you’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

It has long been common practice to attempt to maximize subrogation recoveries by casting a “wide net” to identify suspect cases – often based mainly on diagnostic codes. Yet these loose identification standards produce too many false positives (unrecoverable cases), which when they make their way into the investigative stage, can drown recovery teams in excess work. The team either has to grow or it becomes overwhelmed and backlogs start to build up. In either case, it costs plans time and money without producing proportionately greater recoveries.

Meanwhile, the investigation of false positives can lead to unnecessary member outreach in the form of calls and questionnaires, which can confuse and frustrate members needlessly. With fierce competition among payers today, none can afford member abrasion.

Best practice is to avoid over-identifying subrogation cases. It’s a delicate balance between identifying too many cases, resulting in false positives, and identifying too few cases, resulting in missed opportunities.

"We're not in Kansas anymore" (Wizard of Oz)Three trends shaping the future of subrogation

Like the transformation from a drab landscape to a technicolor dreamscape, the last decade has seen dramatic advances in technology that can transform the subrogation operation from a dreary manual process to one driven by advanced technologies and automation.

From cloud-based storage and applications to data proliferation and predictive analytics, we now have faster, cheaper access to technology that can help us:

 

  • Leverage more sources of data from multiple internal and external sources
  • Identify subrogation-worthy cases faster and more accurately
  • Make pre-payment decisions about other party liability
  • Prioritize cases for investigation by scoring them based on multiple factors
  • Match cases to team members according to various factors such as workload and skill
  • Manage communications, including generating outgoing letters and uploading incoming letters
  • Capture information about relevant parties, including insurers, providers, and attorneys
  • Track and report on case progress for your whole inventory

To operate more efficiently, reduce costs, and improve recoveries, health plans should consider three trends that are taking shape in subrogation operations, both within health plans and subrogation vendors.

Trend #1:

“They’re heeere” (Poltergeist)“They’re heeere!” More data sources, that is!

It may sometimes feel like a terrifying spirit lurking within your walls, but don’t fear data! It’s your biggest asset and it’s all around you. With the abundance of internal and external data sources available today, you should be using all possible investigative tools to more accurately identify and investigate subrogation cases that have recovery potential.

First, it’s critical to ensure you’re maximizing all the data currently available to you. Then seek supplemental external data sources that can fill in context without member contact. Finally, use all this data to learn from past experiences and continuously improve your processes.

Traditional data sources contain valuable information

Traditionally, subrogation cases are identified based on diagnostic data from the member’s claim file. While this is an appropriate starting point, it’s important to go beyond diagnosis codes. By analyzing them along with demographic information, procedure codes, revenue codes, and other data elements, you can identify the relationships that lead to recoveries and that allow you to prioritize recovery efforts.

And when you continuously analyze these codes in connection with varying demographics (age, location, presence of other medical conditions) compared against the data on recoveries achieved, you can constantly refine which combinations are more likely than not to result in a recovery.

External data adds context

Meanwhile, external sources of data about motor vehicle accidents, liability, litigation, and workers’ compensation can provide valuable insight about claims, which can speed up case identification and investigation.

In recent years, these types of third-party data have become increasingly affordable and are available fast and electronically, so they can easily be incorporated into your systems. Data such as court documents, police reports, ambulance run reports, and litigation databases is extremely useful in the decision to open a case. It reduces your reliance on Incident Questionnaires and may allow you to sidestep member outreach altogether.

Additionally, some data sources can point to unique subrogation cases, such as malpractice or mass tort, which can be difficult to identify through normal data mining algorithms. In this case, eligibility information can be matched up to court case databases. As an example, a cancer diagnosis code does not necessarily indicate an injury, but it could be the result of negligence on the part of a company that has been named in a mass tort case.

By now, you may be thinking “easier said than done.” Maybe not. Read on to learn how Trend #2 enables plans to access and integrate internal and external data sources to simplify case identification as well as investigation and recovery.

Trend #2:

“It’s alive! It’s alive!” (Frankenstein)“It’s alive! It’s alive!” On-demand applications bring sluggish subrogation operations to life

Software-as-a-service applications are alive! On-demand subrogation software offers web-based access to data integration, case management, forecasting, and reporting. These applications allow you to integrate multiple data sources (without relying on internal IT) and leverage built-in analytics to identify cases more accurately. Case management features guide investigation and recovery processes with powerful tools such as diaries, contact databases, and letter generation engines.

These applications allow you to see the big picture across your subrogation operation. They maintain an ongoing record of all activity and correspondence for each case so that anyone with proper access can see the status of the case and any activity associated with it. If you’re able to use the application internally and extend access to your subrogation vendors, you’ll be able to measure performance across all delivery teams. This can provide valuable insight about worker productivity, process effectiveness, and overall financial performance.

Increasingly, application vendors are incorporating machine learning (a form of artificial intelligence) into their products. What this means is that over time, the system will continuously learn from the data and use what it learns to refine identification algorithms.

Trend #3:

"Whatever you do, don't fall asleep." (Nightmare on Elm Street)“Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep.” Prepayment cost avoidance and other tips to be proactive

Avoid subrogation nightmares with pre-payment solutions

What better way is there to maximize your bottom line than to know in advance of paying a claim that it’s another party’s responsibility?

Traditional subrogation models seek to recover funds after a payment on the claim has already occurred. But pre-payment subrogation decisions are now a real possibility, thanks to the availability of data and the technology that quickly integrates and analyzes it for us.

It makes sense for plans to begin exploring pre-payment capabilities, as it allows them to avoid 100% of the claim cost as well as the cost to recover after payment has been made. By quickly analyzing multiple types and sources of data, it is possible to determine much more quickly whether a) an injury is the result of another party’s fault and b) a claim has been filed by another carrier that would have primary responsibility for payment.

The key is to have the data and technology in place. Whether you are graced with a supportive IT team that develops these capabilities with you, or you acquire the applications externally, it’s critical to have fast access to data from multiple systems.

When implementing a pre-payment subrogation strategy, think strategically, review state requirements and your policy language. There are nuances to pre-payment but by engaging with your IT, legal and contracting teams, it can be successful. Additionally, keep in mind that pre-payment cost avoidance should be coupled with post-payment recovery for a holistic approach that follows the transaction through the whole lifecycle. Despite the efforts to acquire the right types of data, you won’t always get what you need fast enough for a pre-payment decision. Traditional post-payment subrogation augments pre-payment and serves as a safety net to catch any claims that you aren’t able to make a determination on within timely filing limits. Some erroneous payments will continue to be made, requiring post-payment evaluation.

Be alert for opportunities to optimize post-payment processes

The term “time is money” is very relevant to subrogation. The faster a case is handled, the better the plan’s chances are of maximizing the settlement. Therefore, it’s critical to be proactive throughout the post-payment subrogation process. Again, data and technology are key to making more informed decisions and automating complex tasks. Below are some tips:

  • Prioritize cases. Dollar value tends to be the most used metric for prioritization, but it shouldn’t be used alone. As mentioned earlier, multiple pieces of data can be used to determine recoverability, so teams can focus first on those cases that are more likely to settle.
  • Align case complexity with skills. When the most complex cases are assigned to the most skilled resources, they are likely to reach a settlement faster. This requires a definition of the elements of case complexity, as well as a method of evaluating skill levels.
  • Legal oversight. Legal resources should be engaged during the settlement phase of a subrogation case to aggressively pursue optimal recovery for the health plan. Though settlement is typically the shortest phase in a subrogation case, it’s also the most complex. With limited dollars available, legal negotiations must be articulate and based on a strong understanding of the plan’s rights.
  • Track and measure consistently. Measurement of subrogation performance is critical to knowing what works and where to make improvements. Plans should insist upon robust reporting and analytics across their subrogation inventory to quantify recovery efforts, view real-time and historical case data, forecast recoveries, and get regular reimbursement reports.

"This is not a dream! This is really happening!" (Rosemary's Baby)Causes of subrogation elation

Besides our references to horror movies, the common theme here is that data and technology are helping subrogation organizations maximize financial results for their plans more effectively than ever. Now is the time to take a fresh look at the tools and techniques used to identify, investigate, and settle third-party liability cases. Work with your IT organization, talk to your vendors, and evaluate the subrogation software available today. Our white paper on Transforming subrogation operations with data, technology, and analytics explores how newer technologies are making it more possible than ever to narrow the focus on subrogatable cases, minimize member contact, shorten time to settlement, and maximize recoveries.

Heather RodemannHow to wake up from subrogation nightmares
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Discovery: Three Subrogation client success stories

Discovery: Three Subrogation client success stories

This case study shows how Discovery generated millions in subrogation recoveries with Discovery’s analytic-driven, member-sensitive approach.

For more information

Please visit our Subrogation page or open the contact tab on the right to get in touch with a Business Development Associate.

Discovery Health PartnersDiscovery: Three Subrogation client success stories
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Subrogation: 3 ways SaaS can help

For many health plans, the challenges associated with subrogation―the process of recovering healthcare claim payments that are a third-party’s responsibility―are significant. Outdated identification methods, potential member abrasion, slow validation processes, and marginal settlement rates all impact your ability to appropriately contain and recover costs.

How can you overcome these challenges and maximize recoveries in less time and at a lower cost? Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications are a way to enhance your subrogation programs and recoveries. Plans are finding that the combined power of transformative technology and in-house expertise facilitates a more effective, data-driven approach for finding and validating recovery opportunities with minimal member abrasion.

With this in mind, here are three simple but powerful ways SaaS solutions can help you optimize your subrogation operations:

#1: Make in-house recovery management more efficient and insightful

The power of automation allows health plans to do more with less. Built-in algorithms, advanced data-mining techniques, and machine learning work to effortlessly manage cases and shorten the information gathering process. Reporting and analysis give instant and sharable views into recovery efforts. Combine these solutions with user-defined customization options that can be tailored to your needs, and the once burdensome task of subrogation becomes a breeze.

#2: Gain accessible, easy-to-use, highly scalable, and secure solutions

With SaaS, there’s no need for rigorous installs or startups. The system can scale drastically and on-demand, depending on your organization’s needs. Most importantly, the security and fail-safe measures in place not only guarantee continued operations in an emergency, but also consistently ensure that HIPAA and HITRUST CSF® certification requirements are met.

#3: Do more at a lower cost

With the advent of cloud technology, SaaS offers a significant boost to the bottom line for any business. Every application can be accessed from a simple desktop, and processes have been streamlined to make it as painless as possible. Regular, non-disruptive system enhancements work to improve your solutions as well, so your recovery efforts—and your business—continually evolve without interruption.

In a highly competitive marketplace where claims accuracy and cost containment are paramount, SaaS applications can empower your plan with improved efficiencies and productivity―facilitating more accurate payment decisions and generating greater recoveries.

To learn more about the benefits of SaaS applications for subrogation, download our white paper or visit our Subrogation solutions page.

Heather RodemannSubrogation: 3 ways SaaS can help
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