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Companion Data Services tackles challenge of handling claims, keeping data secure

Technology
Chuck Crumbo
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On the northeast side of Columbia, a BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina subsidiary operates one of the largest health information data centers in the world.

Every day, the company — Companion Data Services — hums through $1 billion worth of medical claims. In a year, Companion Data, an information technology company offering services ranging from hosting to end-to-end claims, processes nearly 900 million claims. 

Jordan

“Ninety-five percent of our work is health-care related,” said Lola Jordan, president of Companion Data Services, which has offices in Dallas and Baltimore. “We really try to focus in health care because that’s what our core experience is in.”

The company offers secure health care development, managed and hosting services within a large data center complex for the federal, state Medicaid and commercial markets. Companion Data Services and its parent company provide services for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Tricare, the federal employee health benefits program, Northrop Grumman, Medicare Advantage health plans, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, as well as other private health plans.

Additionally, through automation, Companion Data Services delivers secure end-to-end cloud integration, development, management and maintenance services.

Companion Data Services takes the capabilities of its parent company external, Jordan said. “So, there are a lot of good things that we do to support our companies and clients internally that we get to sell externally and get to improve externally.

The vast majority of the company’s work is done for Medicare and Medicaid, which recently awarded Companion Data a new 10-year contract.

The goal of the contract is to provide the broadest opportunity to acquire innovative, cost-effective and efficient solutions to meet the mission and procurement objectives of Medicare and Medicaid, which accounts for more than one-third of the dollars spent on health care in the U.S. economy.

Companion Data Services' relationship with Medicare and Medicaid as a prime contractor dates to 2005. As one of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Virtual Data Center IDIQ prime contractors, Companion Data processes more than two-thirds of the national Part A and Part B fee-for-service claims using its enterprise solutions.

In another deal announced this year, Companion Data Services landed a master contract from the state of Maryland for consulting and technical services. Under the contract, Companion will provide:

  • Electronic document management.
  • Systems and facilities management and maintenance.
  • Information systems security.
  • Information technology management consulting.
  • Business process consulting.

Companion Data also reached a milestone in 2016 when it received Ready status from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program.

“Security is one of the top reasons many organizations are reluctant to move critical applications to the cloud,” Jordan said. “As government entities move aggressively into cloud computing models, it’s more important than ever to arm them with security capabilities and validation that their applications and data are safe with CDS. Achieving FedRAMP-Ready status is a key demonstration of our ability to comply with the highest security standards.”

Besides handling insurance claims, Companion Data can provide secure data services for hospitals, physician offices, and clinics — “anything that has a health care slant and requires added security,” said Jordan, who has been in the IT business for more than 20 years.

Securing health care data may be more important than keeping a tight lid on a person’s credit card information.

“For me, the names, ages, Social Security numbers — those are things we can recover from,” Jordan said. 

But if someone acquires another person’s health history — particularly sensitive information like contracting a sexually transmitted disease or terminal illness — that’s a breach of privacy that could impact a person’s reputation.

“Once somebody gets that (information) and releases it, you can’t get it back,” she said. 

Besides the health care industry, the company can apply its technology to other sectors such as defense, state data centers, banking, manufacturing and telecommunication, Jordan said.

“For the most part, health care is so big that it keeps us very busy with our pipeline,” said Jordan, who serves on the board of IT-oLogy and mentors young women exploring careers in the computer business. “There are a lot of opportunities out there just working within the health care arena.”

Reach Chuck Crumbo at 803-726-7542.

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