Med Advantage is celebrating our 25th anniversary by reflecting on our services to providers and healthcare organizations around the country. Without our client’s trust, dedication, and loyalty, Med Advantage would not be the country’s number one medical credentialing company. John Barrett, founder of Med Advantage, and the whole team want to share our story of innovation and evolution with you.
The origin of Med Advantage
In the early 90’s before Med Advantage was founded, the National Committee of Quality Assurance (NCQA) issued new standards for credentialing and network operations. Acceptance by the NCQA was a big deal, and many competing credentialing companies were not able to meet these standards. It was imperative that doctors, hospitals, and healthcare providers were getting the correct credentials from these organizations to ensure patient safety and avoid liabilities.
John Barrett and retired co-founder John Witty, understood these new standards and sprang into action with a startup company which preceded Med Advantage. In the first year of business, Barrett and Witty focused on consulting, networking, and coaching health organizations with their credentialing process. However, the one issue that customers kept encountering was how to credential in the first place.
Before the NCQA made changes, the credentialing process went a little something like this:
- Get a copy of the doctor’s license
- If possible, get a copy of the physician’s insurance certificate along with any other available documents
- Shove them into a folder.
Not exactly the most safe and organized method!
As Barrett and Witty’s business grew, they realized that their strengths were in credentialing instead of networking. As a result, this ambitious duo sold their original start-up in May of 1993 and started Med Advantage to focus strictly on credentialing. Over the following twenty-five years, Med Advantage blossomed into one of the most successful medical credentialing agencies.
Med Advantage goes national
In 1996, Med Advantage went nationwide with our services—a huge step after only three years. Although our work was of a higher quality than most because of our accuracy and methodology in gathering data, we needed to further set ourselves apart from our competitors. We knew that if health organizations were going to consider hiring us we needed to have:
- A consistent, quality software product that looks the same every time.
- A more efficient way of credentialing.
- A process that costs less to implement for our clients.
Creating a service that incorporated these 3 necessities was a challenge that Barrett and Witty had to overcome if they were going to serve their clients to the fullest. As a solution, Med Advantage created a unique database that met all our clients’ needs and stored a large volume of data. No longer would multi-paged applications have to be filled out dozens of times. Instead, we receive the provider’s application and enter it into our credentialing system. Appropriate letters and database inquiries then verify the provider’s credentials which are updated regularly by our system. Finally, the original documents are sent to the client.
Barrett says that this software has been so successful that “it became the largest public, digital database in the country—and still is today.”
Conserving time by not going out and looking for data was important, so we contracted with and obtained physician’s data from multiple health care associations: Medical America Association, American Osteopathic, and American Board of Medical Specialties to name a few. These organizations gave us their information and we housed it all in Med Advantage’s database. Med Advantage became the “main hub” for all provider credentials, proudly housing 97% of all practicing physician’s information in the United States. Unlike other companies, Med Advantage processes every record electronically and internally, making each step of credentialing quicker and more convenient for our clients. This reduces our turnaround time, is more affordable, and does not sacrifice quality. All these factors made us shine with credibility, attracting more and more providers to trust our services.
As Med Advantage grew, we made our name as a great credentialing service, but we wanted to expand our talents a little further. After sending providers’ applications, the providers were running into the issue of not knowing how to fill them out. This meant more paperwork, more hassle, and wasted time. Med Advantage swooped into action by providing enrollment services and helping providers in their weaker areas. We took the lead and designed a service that was specifically crafted for provider groups. Provider Enrollment Services (PES) has helped physicians enroll in Medicare, Medicaid, hospital privileging, etc.
As we celebrate 25 years, we are humbled by our success. But we can honestly say that we are the oldest company certified by NCQA and accredited by the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC). Additionally, we were URAC’s beta test site for credentials verification operations. Noteworthy accomplishments for our first 25 years.
“In twenty plus years, we have 1.9 million practitioners in our system,” says Barrett. “But we’ve credentialed nearly 2.4 million times.”
Med Advantage teams up with Advantum Health
In March 2018, Med Advantage and Advantum Health combined their specialties to form a comprehensive revenue cycle solution and credentialing service. Advantum now utilizes our technology to automate the credentialing and enrollment process, and Med Advantage has gained additional resources thanks to Advantum’s expertise in revenue cycle . We trust in Advantum’s skill in reducing financial and administrative burdens for medical practices, hospital, and health systems all over the country. With Advantum Health’s ability to maximize revenue for hospitals and physician practices with leading technology and consultative services, Med Advantage has a powerful partner in the healthcare world.
John Barrett said, “My team and I could not be happier to join such a forward-thinking and experienced revenue cycle company. With Advantum Health’s first-hand knowledge of billing, coding, technology and healthcare consulting, I truly believe that the Med Advantage team and Advantum Health team will be the premier partner to help physicians, hospitals, and healthcare organizations thrive. We are thrilled to be part of Advantum Health and look forward to what the future holds.”
What’s in store for the next 25?
Our strong team of 65 employees plan to improve our provider enrollment services and help physician groups with their internal credentialing. Likewise, we want to reach out to more hospitals and aid them with their enrollment and teach them how to manage the process internally. We plan to help organize, centralize, and streamline the entire administration process; we want to help YOU make a risk-free decision on who to hire. Overall, we aim to continue being a dependable, innovative service to providers.
“We have survived,” Barrett says. “Our company has had a ton of expansion and compression. A lot of CVOs are being purchased, but we are one of the few independent companies left.”
Our team at Med Advantage thanks you for being by our side in the last 25 years. We look forward to serving, aiding, and growing with you in the future.