Empowering Patients and Payers with Price Transparency
Episode 488

Corinne Burns, Vice President Client Services at Accarent Health

Empowering Patients and Payers with Price Transparency

Empowering individuals by providing pricing transparency in medical treatments and surgical procedures

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Empowering Patients and Payers with Price Transparency

Episode 488

Recommended Book:

Can’t Hurt Me

Best Way to Contact Corinne:

corinne.burns@accarent.com

Company Website:

Accarent Health

Empowering Patients and Payers with Price Transparency with Corinne Burns, Vice President Client Services at Accarent Health transcript powered by Sonix—the best automated transcription service in 2020. Easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

Empowering Patients and Payers with Price Transparency with Corinne Burns, Vice President Client Services at Accarent Health was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best way to convert your audio to text. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast, where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today’s most successful and inspiring health care leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez.

Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the podcast. Today, I have the privilege of hosting Corinne Burns. She’s the vice president of client services at Accarent Health. Accarent Health is revolutionizing the health care payments structure and marketplace by offering transparent, bundled pricing for complex medical treatments and surgical procedures directly to employers, patients and plan administrators. We all know that the funding of health care for a long time has been opaque and riddled with question marks and lack of transparency. What they’re doing at Accarent health is fascinating. We’re gonna be diving into the details of that prior to Accarent Health Corinne held leadership positions in product development and project management and marketing and the manufacturing and consumer goods industry at Under Armour. So it’s going to be a great conversation and you’re going to enjoy it. And with that, I want to go ahead and welcome you to the podcast, Corinne. Thanks for joining us.

Corinne Burns:
Thank you for having us. I’m excited.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. So let’s get into what motivates you. I mean, you were Under Armour before this and what inspires you to get into healthcare?

Corinne Burns:
Yeah. For me, when I heard of this concept that I was really attracted by the idea of working for a consumer who is in need, I’m at a company that provides a service that can truly change and save lives. So for me, it was it was a good change in focusing on a consumer product that really made an impact.

Saul Marquez:
Love. You know, it’s interesting. I’ve always enjoyed Under Armour as a company, just seeing them grow. And then span into what I think was a very smart. The the apps and the wellness. So there is a touch of that. There were you. Were you involved with any of that wellness efforts?

Corinne Burns:
Actually, I worked closely with my brand and my fitness team building the footwear, actually, that had that functionality where that track through your workout, because a lot of fun. They were doing some some cool things. They are really allowing that that consumer to hold themselves accountable and also coached them to be a better athlete.

Saul Marquez:
Cool. Very cool. So you were you were there and you said, hey, you know, I want to do something more in the main line of helping patients. And so now you’re at Accarent. So how is it that you guys are adding value to the health care ecosystem there?

Corinne Burns:
Yeah. So our mission at Accarent Health has been to redefine that health care distribution and really the information access by creating this digital network that provides our members with a strike price transparency and cashiers assistance. So we offer access to pre-negotiated bundled prices for over one hundred and twenty complex procedures, anything from executive health, physical to orthopedic procedures to complex cancers or even transplants. And we work with academic medical centers across the US to build out these product offerings for the most part. Now, our goal is really at the end of the day to eliminate the uncertainty and so on spiraling costs that you see in health care today by really providing that consumer with an understandable price and service metric and making it available to them on a web platform.

Saul Marquez:
Fascinating. So you guys have negotiated bundled prices for over one hundred and twenty complex procedures.

Corinne Burns:
Yeah, that’s that’s a number of academic mentals call centers. It’s been a lot of heavy lifting for our team that we’re excited that we’re able to offer it today.

Saul Marquez:
And so with these procedures, how do we find out what they are? Are those procedures listed on on your website?

Corinne Burns:
Absolutely, yes. You can go to our website www.accarenthealth.com and actually look up all the procedures that we offer. As I mentioned, everything from orthopedic surgeries to gender affirmation, bone marrow transplant, complex cancer treatments, and even for expanding heavily in the behavioral health segment. So that today we have bundles for anorexia nervosa, but we’re expanding on that so that you’ll be able to choose a treatment for an ailment. Non-fiscal ailment.

Saul Marquez:
Oh, my gosh. So I’m on your website and it’s supercool, by the way. And folks, www.accarenthealth.com with two c’s – www.accarenthealth.com and right on the website you go, you scroll down. And that says our medical care specialties, they have all these little bubbles, abdominal bariatric, big joint replacement, spine transplant, eating disorder, et cetera. And you click on each of those little bubbles and then the next page just gives you a list of all the procedures and then a little button that allows you to see the providers and you click further to view pricing, just like incredible, right. To see to view the pricing they want you to join, which is an understandable but talk about ultimate transparency.

Corinne Burns:
And joining is simple. It’s simply signing and signing an NDA and you will have access to all of our pricing.

Saul Marquez:
That’s awesome. So this is available to individuals just as it is available to employers?

Corinne Burns:
It is so the same process would apply for an individual eventually self pay, individual or small self and then employer, a large, large firm. It would just be that simple. Signing of an NDA, eventually a B.A. for a change of medical information and you have access to everything that we offer.

Saul Marquez:
That is cool. That is very cool, folks. The time is coming. And businesses like a parent health and the work that charyn and the team over there is up to that transformation is happening. So it’s up to you to to jump on the wagon or get left behind. So you would agree, right?

Corinne Burns:
I would.

Saul Marquez:
So, Corinne, what makes what you guys do different and better than what’s available today? I mean, I know it’s a parent, but I want you dead to go through that for for us so that we can all learn.

Corinne Burns:
Yeah. You hit the nail on the head. Really? There’s not a great deal of transparency in the health care market today, but there are some others advocating for providing transparency, for pricing and procedures, mostly on the outpatient basis that surgery centers for an access fee or PMPN. So how are we different? Accarent is focused on building this network of high quality hospitals and offering access to those centers specialties in complex procedures typically performed in patients? We also take that transparency to the next level. So we provide the patients and payers with clear inclusions and set parameters so that there’s never a surprise there. So what that means is a payer can evaluate their options more clearly on our website. And just as an example, when you look at anything from a knee replacement cardiac procedure or organ transplant, the patient will understand really exactly what’s in that bundle. Through our website and then essentially in the agreements we offer, but they’ll know that within the price we show, the patient will receive our facility services, supply equipment necessary to perform the procedure. Any professional services and any are inpatient pharmaceuticals. So no, the number of inpatient aides that the hospital is covering in that bundle and then also any follow up care within the what we call the bundle is the bundled period, which typically is 30 to 60 days. And that’s just depends on the type of procedure only our transplant. You’ll receive that for 60 days because it’s a longer treatment process where any hip is 30 days because it should be a smaller and shorter recovery process. And these inclusions are really consistent across all hospitals on our website so that there’s no confusion in what you’re looking at and what you’re comparing. We also for those inpatient days were slightly generous so that the original price you see on our website and really in our agreements that we sign is what you’re paying. So if the patient does require just slightly longer than average and patient, say the patient still does not said skyrocket. Now, for any reason that that patient does go beyond the length of stay threshold that we’re showing on the website, we do also show the pretty PTM, which are also a very competitive negotiated rate for any subsequent dates. Lastly, really for our program, there is, as I mentioned before, no access fee or minimum requirement work for all consumers as mentioned from the self-pay individual to the small self and sherbert employer and then often to the larger self-employed companies or even large regional health plans.

Saul Marquez:
So I’m just just trying to wrap my head around this a little bit more and I’m sure the listeners are like, hmmm. Interesting. What market is this resonating with the most?

Corinne Burns:
Yeah, we’ve seen the most adoption and most impact from the small and mid-sized self-insured employer because that’s the CEO who’s more personally felt the impact of broken health care system where we’re. We’ve been able to identify some cases locally or in our region, really, where the employer paid 50 percent more for services at a hospital, more 50 percent more than one of those hospitals within our network. That was only an hour drive for the patient. And when you see that as a small business owner, even mid-sized business owner, you definitely take that to heart and want to get signed up as quickly as possible.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. So these employers that you’re referring to, they’re typically self-insured.

Corinne Burns:
That’s correct.

Saul Marquez:
Okay. Got it. So we’re talking about self-insured employers that are managing their risk or, you know, maybe part of a captive that are basically in charge of their own health care for their employees.

Corinne Burns:
Exactly. Yes.

Saul Marquez:
Very cool. Which, by the way, folks, I mean, whether you know it or not, you probably do makes up a large percentage of employers. And oftentimes as an employee, you may not even realize that that that your company is is actually paying the bill, because the TPA, that third party administrator, is the one that gives you your your insurance card. It looks like Blue Cross or or it looks like United or Aetna, but it’s actually your employer paying this stuff, and so employers out there that are self-insured listening to this. Something take note of. What would you say is what outcome has improved? The best business aspect has improved. The best story would be awesome if you have one here.

Corinne Burns:
Yes. So really the Accarent model is disrupting the status quo or how things really stand in the health care payment system today by allowing that payer in patients to shop for care and which in turn creates competition in the market in the current system the one we live in today, really that ultimate payer is typically disconnected from that decision making process. And then what is this little scrutiny on the process and the costs, as you mentioned. As an employee, you may not even know that your employer’s at risk or your employer is funding your care. And really, those practices of shielding the ultimate payer are practices that would never survive in a true consumer driven market. And that’s very odd to me coming from outside of the health care industry and a very consumer driven operation. And the best comparison that I can make outside of the health care industry is maybe when you’re out for corporate dinner, event employees or attendees tend to be more free spenders than when they’re paying out of pocket. And these vendors can also up charge when they know that there’s a large pocket book supporting the cause and there’s going to be less oversight. Now, what exacerbates that even further in in health care is that there’s typically no way to even know what the cost is upfront for the services being being requested or needed. So there is a creates a great opacity and inability to make informed decisions by those decision makers. And really, the concept of transparency and competition not only puts downward pressure on pricing, but it it demands quality. So we’re also improving quality. Hospitals willing to participate are truly the most innovative, most efficient and most confident in their services that they distribute. And then those that they choose to promote on account website, as they are assuming the risk because any of the readmissions are complications within that bundle period are covered by that original bundle price. So every enforces everything from appropriateness to care to really following up with that patient for the best outcomes.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, that’s definitely interesting. And I think something worth considering as an employer. What are you most proud of in your career, Corinne? You’ve done some pretty cool stuff from consumer products at Under Armour and now this really innovative model for health care payments. What are you most proud of?

Corinne Burns:
Yeah. For me, I think it was the guts to leave really that comfortable career path to join the Accarent team in redefining healthcare distribution and bringing this price transparency to life. Now, there’s a number of people who’ve been here much longer than me and have really felt this from the ground. And it’s been fun working with such a knowledgeable group of people who are entrepreneurial and had the courage to really try to turn this system upside down. It’s a very legacy market, so it’s not always a smoother, easy battle. But, you know, we keep fighting. And I’ve also enjoyed really bringing a consumer minded point of view to this operation. So that really the patient experience and the client interaction feels very customized. And that’s really my call.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Yeah. Kudos to you if you’re doing that. I mean, it’s it’s definitely not easy, but you saw the opportunity and you’ve jumped at it. And so today, what would you say, is the most proud business accomplishment.

Corinne Burns:
Yeah. Now, I’m going to answer this as a as a team player, because, again, there’s a lot of people who’ve felt this from the ground up. And it’s really hard to pinpoint just one thing at this stage of our growth. So I’d say for our team, really, every execution of a contract with a high quality medical center, every development of a new bundle or a product with each center, and really partnering with a lot of like minded clients who are, you know, have the same goals interested in improving outcomes and lowering costs. That’s all been extremely exciting. And, you know, there are a lot of us out there trying to make make a difference in the system. And it’s a great community. And then for our I work closely with our nurse, case manager for them, there’s nothing better than really taking some of that burden off of a patient when they’re a patient, receive a complex diagnosis and trying to navigate their care.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Lots to be proud of there and a lot of burden that you guys are removing. If you were to think about one of the bigger setbacks that you’ve experienced, what is it and what did you learn from it?

Corinne Burns:
Yeah. So we did have one hospital drop out of our network earlier on. We didn’t receive clear feedback on what the concern was, that no transparency and even change in process and operation can be very difficult and even scary for some of these hospitals because they haven’t been subject to the idea of competition before. And we believe that they may have been a little bit concerned about putting their prices up against some of the other hospitals in network. Really, as a key learning takeaway, we look to promote and all hospitals key competencies and especially so that really puts patients, they have all of the information that they need to make an informed decision. We don’t try and fears patient, we just make sure they have all the information that they want because really it’s a it’s a combined consideration of quality, cost and geography. Now where your support system is. So for us, again, it’s not about steering. It’s about making them. Helping them make the best decisions for themselves.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah, there’s a lot of things to consider with this business model. So for the employer wanting to look at this, how do they know that these negotiated rates are good? How do you benchmark that with, again, going back to that opaqueness? How do you know that these are good rate?

Corinne Burns:
Yes. So what will typically do with and when they’re onboarding, a potential client will ask for two to three years of their historical claims and we’ll do an analysis based on the bundles we have in region and show them exactly what they would have saved over the last few years if they had been participating in the network. And that’s been a compelling case in pretty much every business that we’ve analyzed.

Saul Marquez:
Well, you look at the historical create a baseline and then compare it to what those procedures would have been under this model.

Corinne Burns:
Absolutely. And you’ll see a lot of variation, but we’ve seen everything from 50 to 70 percent in some cases where there were readmissions and revisions within that bundle period that we were just comparing apples to apples. Not saying the quality of center would have prevented this readmission. We are just saying if the same procedure and subsequent procedures had happened at one of our network centers, you would say this. So there is some self savings in there, but we only report those hard savings on comparing apples to apples cost.

Saul Marquez:
Fascinating. Thank you for clarifying that. It helps a lot. So today, what would you say is the most exciting thing you’re working on?

Corinne Burns:
So our team, we’ve got a number of exciting bundles in development and actually we’re looking to bring the same model to specialty pharmacy in some key areas. So a lot of new really thought leading ideas coming from our team. And I think over the next year, you just can you see this constant flow of product innovation and what we’re offering and really the number of centers that we’re working with.

Saul Marquez:
That is exciting. Well, Corinne, fascinating work that you guys are up to, providing more transparency for really employers funding the health care bill. There’s nobody else that feels. I mean, I don’t want to say that, but they would be the number one stakeholder that feels it the most because the money comes out of the bottom line. It’s not top line revenue as it would be for a payor and employees, the ones feeling it the most. So it’s great that you guys are tackling this. It’s at the heart of our economy. It’s forcing responsibility. And why not? So, folks, accarenthealth.com, check them out. What closing thought would you have for us, Corinne? And what would be the best place for the listeners to get in touch with you?

Corinne Burns:
Yeah, I guess my closing thought is really in line with what you just said. Really with all this talk of healthcare reform, it can already be found in pockets. And really some of the most innovative centers are driving that change. We enjoy talking to all the like minded, interested individuals. So please reach out to us. Contact us at either contact@accarenthealth.com or call for 4107710692. Feel free to email me directly at corinne.burns@accarent.com. And of course, everybody’s welcome to explore our website at www.accarenthealth.com.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Corinne and hey, I forgot to ask you favorite book if you were to recommend the book to the listeners. What would that book be?

Corinne Burns:
My favorite book is David Goggin’s Can’t hurt me. Oh, wow.

Saul Marquez:
Love that book.

Corinne Burns:
That is a good book. Talk about perseverance and doing the impossible. I recommend it to anybody who wants to be inspired.

Saul Marquez:
Oh, I agree with you so much. In fact, I actually reached out to him to be a guest on the podcast. I’m working out.

Corinne Burns:
Awesome, that would be awesome.

Saul Marquez:
Very inspiring. I agree with you, Corinne. If you guys haven’t read it. Pick it up, whether it be audio or written or Kindle. I mean, it’s just incredible. So I definitely back up your recommendation there, Corinne. And again, just want to thank you for all the things that you guys are up to and for your time to jump on here on the podcast with us.

Corinne Burns:
Thank you. Thank you for the opportunity.

Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.health For the show notes, resources, inspiration and so much more.

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