No pain, all gain
Pain management, anesthesia, and related specialty practices MSO headquartered in Louisville, KY
12 managed practices and growing
135-plus clinicians in 5 states
Wanted to support small-scale pain management practices and related specialty practices that had:
- Limited access to support staff
- Lagging revenue
- Difficulty keeping up with changing regulatory guidelines
- Limited bandwidth to be proactive with their performance data
- athenahealth Marketplace partners, including: Phreesia, Solutionreach, and more
- Launched MSO within two years of going live with athenaOne®
- Expanded from a single practice to managing 12 practices in 5 states with 135 clinicians in 24 months
- Enhanced revenue and operational efficiency for managed clients
- Optimized user-friendly technology to unite front- and back-office workflows
- Established real-time transparency into performance
- Increased monthly revenue for one practice by 45% in the first 3 months
A handful of years ago, if you had asked ConfirmaMD’s CEO Jeff Ellison and partner executive January Taylor if they were planning to scale up an MSO in record time and achieve significant outcomes for a growing roster of clients, they would have told you they weren’t even thinking about it. But that changed in 2018, when their practice, Commonwealth Pain and Spine, implemented athenahealth’s cloud-based suite of EHR, revenue cycle management, and patient engagement services.
athenaOne catapulted their pain management practice forward when it came to revenue and efficiency. “We invested in learning all we could about the platform,” said Ellison. “We leveraged athenahealth’s technology, and the work they do on our behalf, to create streamlined in-house teams. But we didn’t have to hire and train 50 people. Our entire billing department became a highly productive staff of 15, supporting 14 physicians and 49 mid-level practitioners.”
With such strong performance improvements, Ellison and Taylor realized they could use their experience with athenahealth’s products and services to help other pain management groups thrive. Specifically, they knew they could help independent practices make critical business decisions and automate and optimize their clinical and revenue cycle workflows—allowing them to remain profitable, and independent.
With the stroke of a pen, ConfirmaMD is born
Two years after going live with athenaOne, Ellison and Taylor launched their MSO. Within 24 months, they had signed nine additional practices, representing 35 physicians and about 100 additional clinicians. ConfirmaMD now has a presence in five states with plans to expand nationally. To keep up with growth, they recently hired 80 staff in their Louisville, KY headquarters.
Ellison said that partnering with athenahealth to launch ConfirmaMD was a natural extension of the investment they had already made in optimizing the platform for their own practice. “The capabilities of athenaOne, combined with the knowledge and resources we had, allowed us to launch ConfirmaMD with the stroke of a pen,” he said. “Now, we do for our MSO clients what we are already doing for ourselves.”
ConfirmaMD’s leadership team was “enamored” with the features of athenahealth, said Ellison, citing the system’s intuitiveness, best-in-class technology, and analytics. What’s more, “athenahealth’s model poses an exciting opportunity for independent practices,” he said. “Our MSO isn’t simply asking practices to move to a new EMR. We are inviting them to enhance their billing and collecting processes, to develop a credentialing and contracting team, and so much more, all with easy-to-use tools, proven workflows, and built-in support.”
athenahealth’s platform brings a unique blend of clinical and financial intelligence to ConfirmaMD’s network. “We introduce our practices to athenahealth’s billing and clinical, and help them put those two together,” said Taylor. “When you have experts at your back who understand how it all flows, it’s magical. Practices can’t find that anywhere else.”
Ellison agrees that blending administrative and clinical solutions is one of their MSO’s strongest selling points. “We take the opposite approach from other networks that separate the front and back offices. You can’t maximize financial performance without training and working on clinical workflows as well.”
A physician-owned MSO, ConfirmaMD works peer-to-peer with managed clients on optimizing workflows and efficiency. It helps that ConfirmaMD takes full advantage of athenaOne’s robust, user-friendly reporting features that make it easy to track and improve performance across their customer base. They pass these insights along to their clients—both preand post-sale. “athenahealth’s platform is so intuitive, our clients know exactly what’s going on at any time, and how well we’re performing for them, with just a few clicks,” said Ellison.
athenahealth also provides ConfirmaMD with valuable visibility into performance at the organizational level of each managed client, location, and departmental level, allowing them to quickly identify and act on opportunities to streamline, optimize, and make decisions.
Holding the line for independent practices
ConfirmaMD’s target market includes small practices that have high performance potential but are limited by their minimal resource pools. By partnering with ConfirmaMD, these groups can expand their network of providers and leverage ConfirmaMD’s extensive practice management expertise to improve their financial returns. ConfirmaMD’s key value is providing the operational and people support of a large organization, while empowering small groups to maintain their autonomy.
“Independent practices have a place in our healthcare ecosystem, and it’s my passion to support them,” said Taylor. But with limited access to high quality support staff and constantly changing reimbursement and compliance guidelines, it’s often difficult for these practices to stay afloat. “Physicians go to school to be physicians,” Ellison said. “They aren’t prepared to be small-business owners. And they can’t do it on their own.” ConfirmaMD, powered by athenaOne, supports the productivity of administrative staff by taking on the tasks that burden them the most, such as handling denied claims and flagging revenue or care gaps, which means an organization can maximize its efficiency and performance— maintaining the benefits of independence while doing more with less.
ConfirmaMD helps all its practices transition to athenaOne in what they describe as a straightforward onboarding process. “It’s easy. We simply plug our new clients into a network of folks that are highly trained on the athenaOne platform,” said Ellison. “They benefit right away from best practices that are already in place. It doesn’t matter if they are a $50 million or $500,000 pain practice, they get access to the same upgraded processes, technology, and back-office support.”
One practice saw a 45 percent increase in revenue within 90 days of switching to athenaOne. “Seeing no additional patients, this practice went from collecting $130,000 to about $180,000 per month in the third or fourth month,” said Taylor. She credits new workflows and athenahealth’s billing technology, which improved the speed and accuracy of claim submissions. “For a practice that was barely paying its bills six months ago, it was a phenomenal success,” she said.
A partner to scale with
ConfirmaMD knows that not only do they have the people and processes to maximize efficiencies at the practices they serve, but also a trusted technology solution and business partner in athenahealth to continue to grow their footprint.
“I’m proud of the infrastructure we’ve built with athenahealth,” said Ellison. “It’s scalable and sustainable. We can grow to be as large as we want to be and still provide high-quality service to every practice in our MSO.” He describes the partnership with athenahealth as a “win-win-win:” “I love being able to make significant improvements for our practices. We care about our work, our patients and staff, and the relationships we have with clients. That’s what is most rewarding for us.”
With athenahealth, we can grow to be as large as we want to be and still provide high quality service to every practice in our MSO.
Jeff Ellison, CEO, ConfirmaMD
*Commonwealth Pain and Spine participates in athenahealth’s Client Advocacy Program. To learn more about the program, please visit athenahealth.com/client-advocate-hub. Commonwealth Pain and Spine was not compensated for participating in this content.
These results reflect the experience of one particular organization and are not necessarily what every athenahealth customer should expect.