More than 4 million COVID-19 vaccinations have been scheduled in Indiana, with the number ticking higher by the hour. The mind-boggling amount of information that must be coordinated to orchestrate an effort unlike any before is in the hands of—perhaps somewhat surprisingly—a medical billing company. The billing backbone of 120 million medical encounters in the U.S. each year, Carmel-based Zotec Partners says “it really wasn’t a stretch for us to be involved” when the state needed to coordinate the messiest logistical medical undertaking in Indiana history.
As the largest privately-held revenue cycle management (RCM) company for healthcare providers and patients in the U.S., Zotec specializes in what is “not necessarily a sexy part of the healthcare process, but very complicated,” says founder and Chief Executive Officer Scott Law.
“We know the data elements, we know what HIPAA is and we know the regulations and requirements. We know how to communicate with different systems, because we have to file claims, deal with medical record systems, as well as registration and appointment-scheduling systems,” says Law. “We have an inherent knowledge in this business and experience; we wanted to bring it to bear, so that the state has one solution, rather than having to deal with every [system]. All the different health systems in Indiana have different medical record systems, and the state would’ve had to build a whole marketplace for all of those systems, and we built it for them.”
Zotec first jumped in to assist the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) early in the pandemic to streamline COVID-19 testing efforts. Law believes Zotec proved its worth coordinating the state’s massive testing effort, so “they trusted us with the vaccine.” The company is now the technological backbone of 1,400 COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites throughout the state.
The company describes itself as a “technology-enabled” RCM; its main product is a proprietary software platform that provides “end-to-end” RCM. The Vaccine Information Management System that Zotec developed for the state is an outgrowth of a similar system the company created for Walmart Care Clinics.
On the clinical side, the centralized online system manages the vaccination billing process for the ISDH, coordinates the number of injections allocated to hundreds of vaccination sites and schedules appointments that synchronize with all of that data. Law says Zotec built “new” the “workflow management” element for the 1,400 testing and vaccination sites, as well as the patient side of the system, so Hoosiers can register for the vaccine and schedule their appointment. At the time of publication, about 4,092,200 people in Indiana have scheduled their vaccine.
“It’s been a labor of passion and love for us to be able to help provide what we call ‘demand signal’ to the state, so they can get the [vaccine] allocations done quickly, know what to reorder, and more importantly, know how many vaccines to thaw. For the Pfizer vaccine especially, the thawing process is complicated, and we have to make sure we don’t have too many vaccines thawed before the people show up,” says Law. “We’re administering the schedule for 1,400 [testing and vaccination] locations; what time of day appointments are available, how many slots are available, how many shots they can do per hour—all of that is figured out with machine learning and our technology platform.”
In addition to being the “behind the scenes” engine for the ISDH, Zotec’s technology platform is also managing the vaccination effort for Walmart pharmacies in Indiana, several universities in the state and, indirectly, CVS and Walgreens, which launch off the state’s system to manage their own systems. Zotec is also serving in a consulting role for other states’ vaccination efforts.
Law says he takes immense pride in his team and how Zotec responded to the crisis by assisting the state.
“It’s great to start seeing people be able to come back to work and play and do all the things we used to. In a time of need, [Zotec] was able to not only fulfill the need, but really help the state move forward and get this process going,” says Law. “When we first started the vaccine process with the state, Dr. [Kristina] Box told us [COVID-19] testing is great and important, but vaccinations are saving lives. To be part of saving lives, for us, is very rewarding.”
Law believes Zotec has helped Indiana be one of the top states for the efficiency of its vaccine rollout.
Law says Zotec suffered a financial hit early in the pandemic when volume dropped 40%, so the company identified a new opportunity to “provide the information and the data [to the state] to make intelligent decisions” about COVID-19 testing.