Consultancy helps health care agencies with info needs

President Barack Obama and Congress have pledged to work for greater government transparency and a universal health care program for all Americans. Experts say implementation of such programs will place new pressure on federal agencies to communicate better and faster with their citizen customers.

Customer Value Partners Inc., a small, private consulting business in Fairfax, Va., was created to improve customer services in the private and public sectors, with a strong emphasis on providing better health care information.

CVP is providing IT and customer experience monitoring assistance to several health care clients. “We have a variety of assignments with healthcare providers including Medicare. One of our assignments is with the Office of Medicare Ombudsman, OMO for short, helping them with beneficiary outreach, education and training,” he said.

CVP integrates its proprietary web-based system called Qmart with its clients’ CRM systems. “We’ll analyze that data, compare it against benchmarks and compare it against a scorecard,” he said. The voice-of-customer analysis information and areas of dissatisfaction are provided to its clients, who use the data to improve customer experience.

The company provides works with private and public organizations by measuring and assessing the quality, accuracy and timeliness of their call-center services.

Since its founding in 2002, CVP has won numerous awards for its rapid growth both in terms of employees and revenue. From its initial two employees, CVP has grown to between 140 and 150 employees. “I expect we’ll get into the 170-to-190 range” this year, said CVP founder and managing principal Anirudh Kulkarni.

“We said very early we were not going to be a one-contract company or a one agency company,” he said. “I’ve told people the reason we want to be fast growth is not for ego reasons. It is because if we want to do the most interesting work and solve the most interesting problems for our clients, our clients expect us to be a certain size.”

Company revenue totaled $14 million in 2007, the last year for which public figures are available. Of that, CVP’s federal government work accounted for about 50 percent, including its contracts with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Kulkarni said. Health care is the company’s fastest growing segment, and includes CMS and some Blue Cross-Blue Shield clients.

A lesson from VA

One of CVP’s first clients was the Veterans Affairs Department, which also provided the young company with a lesson in how to do business with a federal agency. Kulkarni said once he convinced the agency of the need for CVP’s consulting services, VA would only have to pick up the phone and hire the company.

But VA officials quickly explained to Kulkarni that government contracting rules required a lot more than a phone call. They urged him to apply for 8(a) small-business status as an opening into government work.

“Although less than 5 percent of our business is 8(a), we do have that [status] as an option for our clients that wish to exercise that,” he said. But the small-business status is restrictive for the work most CVP’s clients want. “The kinds of things they want to engage us on are fairly broad and far-reaching,” he added, “and get us out of the 8(a) constraints very quickly.”

Also, CVP prefers to win contracts through full-and-open competition even though it is a crowded field. Kulkarni said CVP competes against the large consulting companies such as Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., Accenture Ltd. and IBM Corp. “All of them have specialized practices that focus on [customer relationship management].”

In addition, there are also some midtier and small-business competitors that also do quality monitoring, including Aon, which has a subsidiary that does quality monitoring. “Our success record is very positive,” Kulkani said.

CVP is providing IT and customer experience monitoring assistance to several health care clients. “We have a variety of assignments with healthcare providers including Medicare. One of our assignments is with the Office of Medicare Ombudsman, OMO for short, helping them with beneficiary outreach, education and training,” he said.

CVP integrates its proprietary web-based system called Qmart with its clients’ CRM systems. “We’ll analyze that data, compare it against benchmarks and compare it against a scorecard,” he said. The voice-of-customer analysis information and areas of dissatisfaction are provided to its clients, who use the data to improve customer experience.

“We’ll analyze that data, compare it against benchmarks and compare it against a scorecard,” he said. The voice-of-customer analysis information and areas of dissatisfaction are provided to Medicare and to Vangent Inc., a CMS contractor that manages the agency’s customer relationship management tools.

“We also do a lot of the quality, voice-of-customer experience monitoring,” Kulkarni said, explaining that when callers hear, “This call may be monitored for quality purposes,” a third party is collecting customer-satisfaction data.

CVP analyzes Web chats, e-mails, phone calls, written correspondence and test calls. The company extrapolates the data and presents the client with information on aspects that need improvement.

CMS challenges

The company is also engaged in the Medicare Reform Act of 2004, including Part D, the prescription drug enrollment plan. “We were involved with some technology and integration around that work,” Kulkarni said. CVP partnered with Northrop Grumman Corp. on that work.

Kulkarni said Medicare faces serious challenges as well as some exciting opportunities. It is providing services to an aging workforce that is growing larger and conversant with new technology.

“We’ve got about 43 to 44 million [Medicare] beneficiaries today. That number is projected to go to about 75 million over the next 20 years or so,” he said. “You will have almost twice as many beneficiaries with reduced [federal] budgets to serve them.”

In addition, CMS is increasingly being judged against innovative customer-oriented private companies, he added. “Citizens are going to demand more services more quickly and they will force change on the federal bureaucracy.”

Kulkani said he would like Medicare to “take a few more risks” in its dealings with the public. “I’d like them to recognize the fact that the fastest growing segment on Facebook is not the 18- to 24-year olds,” he said. “It’s the 35- to 55-year-old group, followed closely behind by the 65 plus.”

In addition, as Web 2.0 permeates the public sector, CVP also is helping agencies better understand how to use social-media tools to more effectively and efficiently communicate with citizens. “Could we imagine a situation where Medicare actually has a page on Facebook?” he asked.

“We think there’s a great opportunity in Medicaid at the state level,” he said. “The states are not going to have money so they have to figure out a better way to serve their constituents with the dollars that they have,” Kulkarni said. “Our opportunity is not to be indiscriminate about cutting costs, but rather to maintain or exceed customer satisfaction at the lowest cost possible.”

Emergency management is another important growth area for CVP, including services such as homeowner assistance, public health, and local area reconstruction. The company has committed to build a center of excellence in Jackson, Miss., to assist the state with its post-hurricane federal disaster assistance grants program.

In November 2008, CVP hired John Dankowski, a veteran executive branch official, as the company’s public sector unit principal. He recently served as a vice president at SRA International Inc. and previously held several senior White House positions, including director of White House Operations and senior adviser for White House management and administration.

Dankowski said he hopes to pursue health care business opportunities with first responders, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which often must rapidly expand its services during emergencies. “They have huge health centers in Winchester Va., Hyattsville, Md., [and] down in Texas, so I’m looking for some penetration strategies.”

Dankowski is optimistic about CVP’s business growth during the Obama presidency. “I think you’ll see more emphasis on care for the people, and privacy is going to be a big issue,” he said. “I think that they’re going to be driven to stay in better contact with the people and be less isolated, and that plays well with what we’re trying to do.”

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here
close

Trending

  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Our databases track awards back to 2013. Read More

  • Navigating the trends and issues of 2016 Nick Wakeman

    In our latest WT Insider Report, we pull together our best advice, insights and reporting on the trends and issues that will shape the market in 2016 and beyond. Read More

contracts DB

Washington Technology Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.