A2W helps United Concordia Dental improve how it serves its members
United Concordia Dental provides dental benefits to more than 8.9 million people around the world. Its vast provider network is made up of 127,000 dentists at 392,000 locations in the United States. A critical component to its business model and the way it serves its members is an up-to-date directory of all participating dental providers. This includes current addresses, licensing credentials, specialty services, certifications, tax ID numbers, new or retiring practitioners, and other specifics regarding individual dental practices. For United Concordia, maintaining a directory of this magnitude involves information that is ever-changing and highly detailed.
“The accuracy of our directories and our ability to provide reliable data to our members sets us apart from other companies,” says Kristen Smith, United Concordia’s director of Dental Network Operations and the person who leads the team overseeing the directory. “It’s a critical way we can serve our members. When they have good data, they can find what they need right away and get the care they need. The directory’s accuracy also is critical to our relationships with dentists, so it plays an essential role on both sides of the United Concordia ecosystem.”
When the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services passed a stringent policy requiring new standards for accuracy in healthcare provider directories and states began to exact more rigorous accountability for incorrect information, United Concordia knew this – combined with the company’s transition to a new database – meant the data had to be as clean and current as possible for its customers.
The work involved in credentialing, geocoding, and ensuring accurate and current tax identification records presents an ongoing challenge for the United Concordia team. “There is always a great deal of change in the data,” says Smith. “Dentists move, they join another practice, etc. When the CMS law passed, the urgency increased and it is imperative the information is accurate and updated in a timely manner. Not only do we need to know where the dentists are practicing, but we need to ensure their addresses are USPS compliant. We also need to accurately geocode the address so a member can find the dentist using GPS technology.”
Because of the company’s commitment to its members, Smith knew she needed to supplement her team with added subject matter expertise and skill. A friend in the healthcare payor industry mentioned CAI’s Autism2Work (A2W) program as a solution. “At first I wasn’t sure what the program entailed,” says Smith. “But, once I learned about A2W’s unique staffing model and the support they provide their clients, I was convinced it would be a good fit.”
Right away, the A2W team, including a team lead and five team members, took on critical work verifying data for the member directory. Almost immediately, their work decreased the number of overall data change requests and allowed the company’s employees to focus on more complex cases. “The CAI Team Lead is an incredible asset to us,” says Smith. “She knows exactly how to introduce new processes and projects to optimize the team’s productivity and allow the United Concordia team to focus on its day-to-day activities.”
Having A2W associates working as part of the United Concordia team helped Smith prioritize daily tasks and special projects that had previously fallen behind due to inventory associated with the directory. “The A2W team members quickly proved they are particularly good at solving problems and identifying better ways of doing things,” says Smith. “As we completed daily address correction reports, we were surprised when we didn’t see a decline in the number of corrections. The A2W team helped us add functionality to the address validation software to weed out the corrected addresses, so the reports that used to have 20,000 to 30,000 lines of data now have just 3,000 lines.”
In its first year, the A2W team completed four consecutive quarterly address correction reports, something the company had wanted to do but found challenging to address given its inventory of higher priority work. Plus, the team has a 95 percent accuracy rate. “The A2W team members consistently exceed expectations,” says Smith. “The team was able to train very quickly on complex projects and suggest process changes to streamline work and increase efficiency across the board.”
The A2W team quickly acclimated to the workplace, with United Concordia team members reaching out to A2W team members and vice versa. “Working with the A2W team has truly become one of the best parts of my workday,” says Smith. “And my colleagues at United Concordia tell me often how grateful they are to work with the A2W team. Not only because of the diversity and inclusion benefits, but because the A2W associates are conscientious, dedicated, dependable members of our team.”
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