Corey Perman – R1 RCM
Rules aren’t always to be railed against. Adhering to them can give a company a competitive edge, especially when it stays ahead of the curve.
Which is no small feat for a company that manages revenue cycles and provides physician advisory services for some of the nation’s most prominent health care companies. From patient admissions to billing, and myriad services provided in between, compliance plays a daily role in ensuring that the delivery of health care is conducted with utmost attention to laws, regulations, policies and ethical guidelines.
All this, and more, necessitates the vigilance of Corey Perman, who for the past five years has overseen compliance and risk management as an executive vice president at R1 RCM. It’s a responsibility that’s only increasing for him and his team of subject matter experts and specialists in health care regulatory, privacy, audit, program management and enterprise risk management.
For, as the congenial Perman told Vanguard last December, the rules and regulations are changing fast for American health care. And if the new year—an election year at that—is any indication, the future will only bring forth more variables. At the state and federal levels to boot.
For instance, late last year the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS] finalized a price transparency rule for its prospective outpatient payment system that, come 2021, requires all hospitals to post standard charge information online for at least 300 services.
“Shoppable services,” the CMS terms them, 70 of which it chose, with the remainder selected by the hospitals.
And while Perman shares R1’s goal of providing patients with easy-to-use tools by which to compare payer-specific negotiated charges, the new rule and corresponding coordination with the firm’s customer partners will present another in a long line of high-stakes, and likely evolving, regulations. But he and his team will monitor, opine on and provide leadership in moving R1 forward with a commitment to thoughtful guidance and planning.
Rules and more rules
“It’s both a challenge and an opportunity to keep building out our compliance and ethics program,” Perman said from R1’s headquarters in Chicago. “The scope of our program was fairly small when I joined, but the company has grown.”
That might seem an understatement, as the company had just over 3,000 employees when Perman came aboard in January 2015, but now boasts around 20,000—12,000 in the United States and nearly 8,000 in India.
So where does the compliance effort begin?
Perman and his team have centered their efforts around four key principles: integrity, accountability, collaboration and vigilance. And those principles are global, as reflected in the company’s Code of Integrity and Pledge of Integrity, the latter encompassing seven “I will” statements that all employees receive as part of their onboarding at R1. And Perman says these guiding principles and materials are part of a continuous effort to ingrain compliance, ethics and integrity into the company’s culture and everyday operations. With a firm commitment and tone from the top, led by President and CEO Joseph Flanagan, the push for compliance is woven into the fabric of employee teamwork and operational optimization.
And these global principles and programmatic commitments are ever-present in India as well, where Perman, with the company’s national leader for compliance and legal services, is at the forefront of actively expanding program efforts with dedicated compliance, audit and risk management resources and subject matter experts.
Perman, on his three previous visits to India, has been impressed with the workforce dedication to operational excellence through compliant processes. If employees have questions or want to raise a potential concern, Perman notes how the company has a variety of outlets for R1’s global workforce to step forward in addressing those questions or concerns proactively.
He will make his fourth trip this spring, and he greatly enjoys the time there in person to meet with colleagues, tackle global issues and opportunities for improvement, and experience the culture.
Closer to home, the health care wheel’s in obvious spin and Perman says that means tracking numerous scenarios and corresponding business implications.
The status of the Affordable Care Act? Medicare for all? Single-payer health care? Some kind of hybrid health care proposal?
And that’s just on the federal level.
“We’ve got the developments of 50 states to track,” Perman reminded. “With new laws and regulations at a statewide level, and customers across the country, what changes are taking place and how does it impact our delivery of services? It’s part of my team’s job to inform and advise the operational teams on what’s changing and why it matters. Looking around the corner and keeping an eye to important changes is part and parcel of the compliance effort.”
Then there’s his emphasis on efficiency. A 1998 Washington University-St. Louis School of Law graduate, Perman has been in-house for nearly a decade, the first five years in a compliance role with Advocate Health Care.
Well-versed in the complexities of health care law, Perman having litigated it for nearly eight years with Epstein Becker & Green early in his career, he strives for efficiency. One of his team’s key performance metrics is resolving and closing cases within 30 days, and he’s proud of the team’s collective efforts to meet and exceed the established target rate of 85 percent throughout 2019.
It’s not just about good lawyering, said Perman, who relishes his role as a peer to the business side. It’s the role he envisioned while cutting his teeth in private practice and during his three years following law school as a trial lawyer with the U.S. Department of Labor
“I love being in-house and I’m coming up on 10 years,” said the 46-year-old married father of a 10- and 8-year-old. “I love the ability to be in the crux of the details and solving issues for the company as part of the company leadership. I had a great experience with the firm, but you often jump in and out of business issues and cases as opposed to being part and parcel of the daily experience and strategic decisions.”
That daily experience includes partnering closely with his company’s health care clients on regulatory and operational issues, working with their chief compliance officers. In that partnership, Perman believes in cultivating strong communications and teamwork so that together he and his client counterpart address and resolve potential risks proactively.
“Make compliance visible on your website, as we do,” he said. “Pitch it as a business practice. We routinely talk compliance at meetings and town halls. We held our inaugural Compliance & Risk Summit last fall, with more than 150 company leaders in Chicago. It’s how we operate, and how we have to operate as a technology-enabled services company for health care providers that is awash in rules and regulations. We firmly believe that our commitment to compliance and ethics is a competitive advantage.”
And something to be gained as Perman and the company forge ahead in a highly regulated and complex environment.
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