It’s a designation that has evolved considerably since HMS was founded in 1974. It’s changed since I was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 2005 and, still more, since I became Chief Executive Officer in 2009. Without question, it has and continues to change drastically since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic — at present, the greatest public health and economic crisis of our generation.
An argument has been made in recent months that every company must now function as a health business in some capacity. If that means every employer must take a more active role in ensuring the health and wellbeing of its employees, its customers, and its broader community of stakeholders, then yes, all companies must shoulder this responsibility.
However, this argument has also compelled me to reflect on what exactly it means to be a healthcare company in 2020, a year that marks the turn of a new decade and a point of convergence for so many issues of global concern: the climate crisis, the social justice movement, and the systemic health disparities thrust into the spotlight by a global pandemic.
Now, more than ever, there is an inherent responsibility that comes with being in the business of healthcare — one that, for HMS, is rooted in our mission to make healthcare better for everyone. Our focus as a population health management and cost containment partner to state and federal agencies, health plans, and providers is on fundamentally making the system work better for all of its stakeholders, including the most vulnerable among them.
Delivering on this mission is a progressive and cumulative endeavor. It’s a commitment that comes from decades of sector experience and a collective passion for effecting positive change and making an impact on people’s lives. While every company may in fact need to become more healthcare conscious in the wake of COVID-19, few naturally embody what it takes to fulfill that responsibility in its totality.
Keeping Connected in Crisis
Since COVID-19 suddenly and progressively upended the economy, we have maintained a solid business continuity plan alongside our partners.
Under the guidance of HMS’ in-house clinicians, public health experts, and technologists, we were swift to mobilize our workforce of more than 3,200 employees across 20-plus states, with no interruption to our ability to serve our customers. Today, we remain highly productive working from home and will continue to do so until it is unequivocally safe to return to the office.
At the onset of the pandemic, our teams were also quick to answer the call for a proactive, multi-channel, and culturally relevant engagement tool connecting consumers with critical health information and resources. Between March and June 2020, our COVID-19 health engagement and communications solution had reached over 7 million individuals, leveraging benchmarking data from billions of healthcare consumer interactions.
Innovating With Purpose
Although we have grown and evolved considerably since our inception, we remain unfaltering in our commitment to healthcare and agile in our ability to innovate for the challenges of our time. As partners to Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicare, and managed care plans, we believe in the people and programs we serve. In fact, this is what drives us to innovate at both a solution and policy level — advocating for policies, programs, and actions that enhance the fiscal integrity of our nation’s healthcare system and the overall health of populations.
Globally Minded. Locally Focused.
Many of today’s most pressing health issues are global in scale; however, healthcare is inherently local. This has become acutely evident in light of COVID-19, a disease that, troublingly, has had a disproportionate impact on certain populations — namely, communities of color and other at-risk groups.
We strive to overcome healthcare barriers for the vulnerable populations our nation’s government health programs serve, with the understanding that these barriers vary widely by person and population. Identifying and addressing the needs of the whole person — physical, behavioral and social determinants of health — is hyperlocal in nature. As a U.S. company, we are proud to be able to support our customers on the ground and to volunteer our time in our communities to support the very causes we champion through our work. In 2020 alone, we have donated more than $65,000 to the hunger relief organization Feeding America, and we are proud to partner with Dallas, Texas-based CitySquare, the city’s largest nonprofit provider of affordable housing.
Here With You
Founded in New York and headquartered in Irving, Texas, with more than 30 offices nationwide, HMS has been exclusively serving the U.S. healthcare community for over 45 years. We are not a global conglomerate with a North American office; nor are we a mammoth consulting firm with a healthcare arm. We are a nimble team of people working for people — exercising our collective passion to make healthcare work better for everyone. It is this ethos that inspired me to join HMS more than 23 years ago, and it’s what inspires me to come to work each and every day.
Although the definition of what constitutes a healthcare company will continue to evolve over time, our mission remains unwavering, and we will continue to evolve with you to move healthcare forward — today, tomorrow, and in the days that follow.