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News you might hear at RIMS

The annual property and casualty conference/gathering of the tribes known as RIMS is slated for Vancouver BC the first week in May. A great city, terrific restaurants, and lots to do around town.
I’ll miss it this year – too much client work and I’ll be at NCCI’s Annual Meeting later that week. While it’s a (much) smaller affair, it is also highly focused on work comp, content-rich, and well-attended by industry pros. Can’t do both, so NCCI it is.
While I won’t be liveblogging from RIMS, I daresay there will be more than a couple newsworthy items that will generate a lot of buzz. Here’s what I’m hearing, and what may be ‘ready for prime time’ by May 1.
Word is giant work comp insurer Chartis (formerly AIG) is going to dump Coventry’s bill repricing system in favor of Medata. While Medata CEO Cy King won’t comment, I’ve heard this from two separate sources, both very knowledgeable about the process. Reportedly, Medata beat out StrataCare and Mitchell.
This would be a big win for Medata; a very big win.
UPDATE – Got a call from an AIG exec this afternoon who assured me no final decision has been made.
PT firm Align Network is on the block. Multiple potential buyers are looking at the company, and I’d guess (yes, that’s a guess) a deal will be consummated this year. Align has grown rapidly, based in large part on management’s strong industry contacts and relationships. The company has a customer-service-heavy operational model that some adjusters and nurse case managers like a lot; the scalability of that model will have a big impact on the multiple.
There’s a good bit of activity in the work comp PBM world, with several large payers looking to improve their results this year. With WC pharmacy costs spiking up near double digits last year (my estimate), drugs are once again in the spotlight. Expect there to be a lot of activity around PBMs’ booths, and even more in their hospitality suites and more discreet locations.
A couple other deal-related items are brewing; if they get closer to completion before RIMS I expect we’ll hear about it/them.

Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates




A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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