Zack Beasley – Change Healthcare
You’re standing at the hospital counter after your cardio echogram procedure. The receptionist swipes your credit card, hands you a receipt and you’re out the door. A day later, you log onto the hospital’s website to access your echo results, including images and the technician or doctor’s report. Now, you can email the data to your primary care physician or share it with your family.
As Zack Beasley explains, Change Healthcare is the company that helps healthcare facilities provide these services. Beasley adds that, from an efficiency perspective, these digital solutions help the facilities as much as their patients.
The application allowing patients to pay by credit card also helps hospitals track payment and whether the patient needs to be sent an invoice. An entirely separate application allows clinicians, X-ray technicians, doctors and nurses to upload their electronic notes and imaging in one place—so patients can access one application for the report and images.
Currently, it’s developing a single platform—parts of which will be created in-house—so that most of these functions can be completed in one place.
“Our motto is ‘accelerating the transformation of the U.S. healthcare system,’ and my job is to remove the legal speedbumps,” says Beasley, chief counsel for litigation and investigations.
Tapping into efficiency
Beasley has also been transforming and strengthening Change Healthcare’s relationships with outside counsel—he uses Ogletree Deakins for employment litigation and Morrison Foerster and Lightfoot, Franklin & White for civil litigation. He uses Nelson Mullins for bankruptcy litigation.
Currently, he’s working on something that helps the company predict costs. This “digital scorecard” will be used to continually assess relationships with outside counsel.
Beasley even modernized—and made uniform—the engagement letter outlining the work an outside legal party does. This eliminated inconsistencies and time-consuming tasks related to billing. The letter now clearly outlines what work outside counsel can count towards billable hours.
“Having uniform rules and guidelines saves both time and money—less time in line-checking invoices—as we continue strengthening our relationships with outside counsel,” Beasley says.
Collaboration for conciliation
Beasley also cuts costs through managing the litigation portfolio, which covers aspects from employment issues to contract disputes and class actions. His goal remains reaching a resolution before either party steps in front of a judge, he says.
This requires conducting in-depth conversations with executives and business leaders to weigh the merits of going to court against the risks of not. He adds that sometimes the best outcome can be achieved through reaching a settlement rather than through litigation. Alternative dispute resolution methods, like mediation, can also lead to favorable outcomes, he says.
“Litigation is inherently uncertain and costly, and settling limits risks,” Beasley says. “With civil litigation, we’re looking at monetary risks and possible media hits to our reputation. We’re also looking at upsetting customer or vendor relationships and, internally, disrupting our daily business.”
He says he considers litigation when “a significant dispute with a counterparty could not otherwise reasonably be resolved,” or when a significant precedent might be set. Also, he considers litigation if a claim could threaten the viability of a specific product, line of business, or the reputation of the company.
Beasley and his team also handle external government and law enforcement investigations, which focus on compliance with healthcare laws and regulations. He and his team also conduct internal investigations, some of which result from internal hotline reports or issues employees raised with the compliance team.
“A successful completion of external and internal investigations is necessary to maintain compliance and answer inquiries from government agencies and also within the company,” Beasley says. “We also apply what we’ve learned from prior litigation and investigations to avoid or mitigate similar issues, so we can avoid future risk.”
A mightier legal pen
Beasley has plenty of experience handling government investigations and enforcement actions. For nearly a decade, he worked at a prominent firm, co-headquartered in Washington, D.C. There, he managed government-related work.
While at that firm, he met clients and made some connections that opened his eyes to the healthcare industry, where he yet hadn’t worked. When he discovered Change Healthcare, he was particularly impressed with how it was on the cutting edge of technological healthcare solutions.
“When I was interviewing with Change Healthcare just a few years ago, it was still a somewhat new company. Then it filed its initial public offering—company shares made public—in June 2019, and it’s just been growing exponentially since then,” Beasley says.
Last December, Beasley was promoted to managing senior counsel and corporate secretary. His wife and his two children—9 and 5—had another reason to be excited about him joining Change Healthcare, for it meant moving to Atlanta, where their extended family lives.
In fact, Beasley’s always been attuned to new possibilities. He may have graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s in history and political science but, that same year, he knew he wanted to go into law.
He earned his juris doctorate from The University of Texas School of Law, then clerked at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for a bird’s eye view of how the judicial system impacts corporate America. He adds that law provides an opportunity to be a leader and advocate—and it lets him apply his love of writing.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put healthcare at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and I feel fortunate to a be part of Change Healthcare’s outstanding legal team as we work to create a better healthcare system,” Beasley says.
View this feature in the Vanguard Spring I 2022 Edition here.
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