Lisa Firestone, president and CEO of Managed Care Advisors, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz for her latest Executive Spotlight interview with the publication. She’d previously participated in an Executive Spotlight feature in Oct. 2020 to discuss the company’s new acquisitions, hires, and technologies that have expanded MCA’s presence in the federal sector.
In her latest Executive Spotlight with ExecutiveBiz, Firestone discussed the company’s future after being acquired by Sedgwick, partnering with the company to become a wholly-owned subsidiary, the continued influence that emerging technology has had on MCA’s workforce and driving the company’s growth in 2022.
“We’re focused on significant growth over a three to five-year period. Presently, we’re evaluating the challenges that continue to confound the government and are working to discover what the new and expanded solutions we can bring to bear based on our government experience and Sedgwick’s private sector experience and expertise.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight with Lisa Firestone below:
ExecutiveBiz: Congrats on the deal with Sedgwick. What can you tell us about the expanded capabilities that merging with Sedgwick will provide and how the acquisition will benefit your clients to enhance their best practices in the public sector?
“Thank you for asking. This acquisition will promote access to resources to support scale. It will also add to our diversity of solutions for the federal government. There are some things that we’re going to put in place quickly that will benefit our current customers and future customers, such as a full suite of COVID-19 management products and services including a technology solution, integrated risk management and safety products and services as well as supporting reasonable accommodation.
These are things that really fit into our sweet spot in the federal space. In addition, here are three examples of additional products and services that I’m super excited about introducing to the federal market.
The first is integrated absence management or workforce absence. Integrated absence management takes a holistic approach to the management of all unanticipated employee absences, whether it’s from a work-related injury or illness, non-work-related injury or illness, short-term disability, long-term disability, and/or FMLA, managing and evaluating all components in a comprehensive fashion with comprehensive systems. These types of programs have proven extremely effective in understanding and addressing staffing, especially in times like now with shortages in the labor market and an aging federal workforce.
For example, if you’re a federal agency or the entire federal government this type of program allows you to have the information and the capabilities to maximize the health and productivity of your entire workforce. In a nutshell, you basically have the ability to look at all absenteeism in a single data reporting platform, which improves productivity. We’re super excited about this.
Next, we’re going to bring property loss adjustment. That is another sweet spot for Sedgwick, where they can bring commercial best practices to the federal market. Third will be bringing enhanced claims handling technology in the federal space as well as enhanced medical provider networks, which is desperately needed.
Whether supporting individuals who have sustained injuries, illnesses or loss of property, there is a common thread that we address, that is supporting individuals and organizations to recover and restore their lives and livelihoods on what could be the worst day of their life.
Immediately, we are going to have access to advanced technologies and resources. We’ll be able to expedite the trajectory that we’re on now and respond very quickly to other customer needs that would fall within a healthy workforce and generate improved productivity. That’s day one for us.
The interesting fact is that I’ve known Sedgwick for a long time. We’ve worked together, so we understand each other’s capabilities. We will be able to bring some scale immediately without changing our mission and vision while also improving health and productivity in the federal space.”
ExecutiveBiz: With MCA acting as a wholly-owned subsidiary, how will partnering with such a larger company impact your mission and focus on federal workers’ compensation in the health IT modernization efforts for federal agencies moving forward?
“It’s going to support our mission because as I said, one of the reasons Sedgwick was so interested in acquiring us was our federal background for our past performance and understanding. So, we’ll just continue to enhance our commitment and focus on the federal market. First and foremost, we’ll keep doing what we do, which is continuing to support tens of thousands of federal employees every year in their recovery and return to work using industry best practices and cutting-edge technology. That’s not going to change.
We’re going to really continue to focus on workers’ comp, case management, claims management, and our fully functioning, federal platform live Web OPUS that we’ve talked about previously. In addition, it’s increasingly difficult for any employer, let alone the government, to ensure that they have the best talent, or they are fully maximizing their talent’s abilities.
Our own ability to optimize the workforce is going to be critical. I think Sedgwick brings us that experience and that expertise. The company will give us access to well-designed and tested tools and technologies. It’s modernization, but it’s also bringing industry best practices to the federal sector.
We’re going to remain actively engaged in public policy as well. We have been focused on the federal sector and everything we do is going to be measured on this compass to make sure it supports our combined mission of maximizing health as well as productivity for individuals and organizations. Sedgwick is not asking us to really change. They’re just asking us to continue to grow and stick with our mission and vision.”
ExecutiveBiz: During our first Spotlight interview, we touched on AI or cloud and other emerging tech that drive innovation as well as recent acquisitions of Web OPUS, MCMC and contract awards. How has the development of emerging technologies to help your workforce and the implementation of those acquisitions been progressing since we last spoke in October?
“First, I am immensely grateful for the progress and advancements we have made over the past couple of years despite a global pandemic. We were able to very quickly pivot to a fully remote team and continue to advance the technology we acquired, WebOPUS Federal, which is currently being marketed as a software as a service (SaaS) product, in addition to being part of our full-service case and claims management offering which was one of my goals.
As alluded to above, when the pandemic struck, it took us less than 48 hours to transition to a fully remote team, and a couple of weeks to build and deploy a COVID-19 system module so we could track, trace, and support our employer customers and individuals. That’s what you can do when you own the software. The initial interest in a SaaS offering has been incredible. We’re working on a number of opportunities right now that weren’t even in our vision the last time we spoke.
With all of that said, we are very focused on staying on the cutting edge of technology and maintaining the ability to pivot and move fast when a need or opportunity arises. In support of this, we are currently in the process of obtaining full FedRAMP certification for our case/claims management software and obtaining SOC II accreditation in addition to our successful ISO 9001 certification and recertification, which is super important to us as we become a fully tech-enabled company.
Since we last spoke, we acquired a call center allowing us to own and control the majority of our supply chain. We’ve added both commercial and federal clients since the acquisition.
In addition to traditional claims and injury reporting, our hotline has become a central communication portal for reporting and tracking all things COVID-19. Along with Sedgwick, we have enhanced our COVID-19 offerings with new technology and services that address all aspects of tracking, tracing, testing, vaccination, and compliance understanding that federal contractors, commercial companies and the government needed a comprehensive solution.
Managed Care Advisors has been very successful, and it’s been a good year. I think there will be more acquisitions in our future and much more investment in AI technology, advanced analytics, machine learning and cloud computing.
Sedgwick is incredibly invested in technology, so our success as a tech-enabled company will continue without a hitch, and you’ll most likely see some additional acquisitions, this time next year.”
ExecutiveBiz: What are your expectations for the rest of 2021 and 2022 as MCA grows with Sedgwick and continues to operate as a women-owned business in the federal space? How will you address the challenges of keeping the company’s momentum of growth going strong?
“With the acquisition, we remain a woman-led business. It’s no longer a woman that directly owns us, but we have the same leadership team so that philosophy will continue. You’re right, there’s a lot that we can do but we’re going to have access to resources and talent that will allow us to scale faster.
We have identified certain services because we have worked together before, and we believe there are opportunities in the government that we’re planning to look at and assess. That’s where Managed Care Advisors’ experience in the federal sector will come into play to identify what the biggest needs are that we can address for all people in the federal government.
That’s something we’re working on right now. We’re focused on significant growth over a three to five-year period. Presently, we’re evaluating the challenges that continue to confound the government and are working to discover what new and expanded solutions we can bring to bear based on our government experience and Sedgwick’s private sector experience and expertise.
As we do that, we also have access to world-class marketing communications and business process support that will enable us to focus on building momentum and maintaining momentum while we’re also trying to identify the best market opportunities for Sedgwick. We are going to innovate because that’s what it is all about.
I’m drawn to Sedgwick’s desire to innovate. There’s no amount of scale or resource that can match that of the federal government, right? But we understand and they’ve lived the life that in order to innovate and take these large-scale opportunities, you have to improve processes and use the technology at your disposal.
What’s fascinating is Sedgwick started the same way as Managed Care Advisors. They started as a very small boutique company and have grown into this very large, very successful and very well-respected organization. They say they did it through innovation. They intend to use that experience and investment to innovate our services and innovate their opportunities within the federal government. It’s super exciting. My crystal ball tells me we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.”