by Tim Rowan, Editor
Last week, Ed Buckley took the road less traveled for the second time in his career. Selling a successful Southern California Home Health agency and creating a service company to provide outsourced Medicare coding to Home Health agencies was a risk that paid off for him in the late 1990's. It also brought him a unique insight into the challenges faced by coding professionals, especially as they had to adapt to successive OASIS versions, ICD-10, PDGM, and aggressive payment denial efforts from CMS contractors.
The increasing importance that PDGM brought to diagnosis codes elevated the need for efficiency and accuracy in the coding function. Suddenly, coders were given new influence over episodic reimbursement; they have the power to support the accuracy of appropriate payment levels, or they could produce a flawed OASIS assessment that asked Medicare for too little money to properly care for a patient.
In search of a way to support efficient, accurate coding by his own professional coders, Buckley decided Select Data would become a software company. Designing and developing just the right software tool to support coding accuracy became a multi-year, at times uphill, project; and then Artificial Intelligence came of age. By layering AI in, Select Data's software developers finished a product that does more than anyone had envisioned.
"This thing learns," Buckley laughed, with a touch of incredulity, telling us, "It has started drawing conclusions that we never taught it."
Today, the finished product, known as SmartCare™, is causing a stir among early adopters and pilot projects. As we reported in August, 2022 (see "New AI Tool Turns Good Coders into Great Coders, Eliminates ADRs"), Home Health coders using SmartCare are seeing reimbursement increases, improvement in co-morbidity identification, and reduction in hospital readmissions. Longtime users speak of heightened employee satisfaction and a decrease in clinician turnover.
Buckley's second diversion to the road less traveled occurred just last week. On January 19, The Corridor Group Holdings, LLC announced that it acquired the outsourced coding services business unit of Select Data, LLC. This leaves Buckley with SmartCare™ as his company's sole source of success going forward. "Yes, it is a gamble," he told us, "but it is not only going to be successful for us. This is going to change the industry."
The full news release from Corridor follows:
With this transaction, Corridor will provide tech-enabled coding and clinical documentation review services to clients of the acquired business unit. Select Data will remain an independent business focusing on its SmartCare™ healthcare AI solution, which transforms post-acute documentation review and coding to achieve quality clinical and financial outcomes.
In connection with the transaction, Corridor will commence extensive use of SmartCare, combining Corridor's existing best in class tech-enabled services with Select Data's unique AI technology.
"Select Data is an innovative service provider with expert staff and an excellent reputation," said Des Varady, Chief Executive Officer of Corridor. "Corridor's unique ability to deliver quality services at scale will bring added value to Select Data's clients."
The dynamic post-acute market in which home health and hospice providers operate has been impacted by reimbursement, compliance and reporting pressures. The joint capabilities of Select Data and Corridor create unique value for post-acute healthcare providers, helping them achieve great quality clinical and financial outcomes in a challenging environment.
"Corridor has an excellent reputation for delivering quality services using innovative technology, and I have no doubt in Corridor's continuing ability to deliver for our company's long-time services clients," said Ed Buckley, CEO of Select Data.
Corridor is a portfolio company of HealthEdge Investment Partners, a Tampa, Florida based private equity firm focused on investing in lower middle market healthcare companies.
Select Data is a healthcare technology company based in Anaheim, California, founded in 1991. Select Data is leading the industry by leveraging the power of artificial intelligence (AI) with its SmartCare™ platform. Purpose-built for the challenges of post-acute care settings, SmartCare™ uses AI components such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Learning, and Deep Learning to serve up fundamental information targeting the full spectrum of clinical teams, from field staff to back-office clinical reviewers. Select Data is committed to quality and innovative data platform solutions that drive successful outcomes. selectdata.com
Founded in 1989, The Corridor Group Holdings, LLC (Corridor) is a leading provider of outsourced coding, revenue cycle and education solutions to the post-acute healthcare industry. Since inception, Corridor has delivered solutions to thousands of clients ranging from large health systems and national chains to smaller, independently operated agencies.
HealthEdge Investment Partners, LLC is an operating-oriented private equity firm founded in 2005 that focuses exclusively on the healthcare industry. HealthEdge seeks to achieve superior returns by investing in businesses that benefit from the knowledge, experience, and network of relationships of its partners. HealthEdge's partners have more than 100 years of combined operating experience in healthcare as operators and investors.
©2023 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Home Care Technology: The Rowan Report. homecaretechreport.com One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only. email@example.com