Top Five Considerations for Your DSRIP Workforce Consultant

Samir D’Sa, Principal, NY DSRIP Services, xG Health Solutions, June 9, 2015

June 1 marks the next stage of the NY DSRIP journey. Although the implementation phase kicked off on April 1, all PPS’s have only now received their first payments, and the implementation plans are finally submitted to the Independent Assessor. Most PPS’s are switching gears to the execution work needed to accomplish Domain 1 milestones—and arguably, Workforce Strategy is the most difficult!

The reasons are clear—Workforce Strategy demands quantitative analysis of healthcare resources in the PPS target state and mandates finalized, annual budget for training, redeployment, and new hires. Complexity is compounded because this exercise must be conducted for dozens or hundreds of providers in the PPS region, with assumptions made on future inpatient utilization cuts and resulting bed reductions. Several other variables further complicate the equation, such as—cultural competency and health literacy, future M&A activity, reimbursement changes, and regulations for integrating behavioral and medical care.

PPS’s are exploring the use of workforce consultants to navigate this complexity and live up to application commitments. As a PPS leader, here are five considerations to influence your choice of workforce vendor:

  1. Immersed in DSRIP: Pick a vendor who has been in the trenches of the application, speed and scale, and implementation plan submissions. Changing DOH requirements, deadlines, and guidelines require your workforce vendor to a) understand the DSRIP journey over the past year and b) understand the unique challenges and constraints from a PPS viewpoint.
  2. End to End: Select a vendor who has “skin in the game” with implementation so you aren’t stuck with a Workforce Strategy that is impractical to execute. Vendors who have a delivery capability (that is, care management training) are more likely to deliver pragmatic, flexible, and implementable recommendations.
  3. Teach You to Fish: Work with vendors who collaboratively design the workforce answers for your PPS with your team. Given the uncertainty over the next five years, it will be critical that your PPS team be independently able to manage and explain variances from the workforce statistics submitted in December 2015, once the vendor is gone.
  4. Care Management Focus: Ultimately, care management lies at the heart of DSRIP success (and future payments). Workforce vendors with capabilities to hire, train, and empower nurses, social workers, care associates, and so on—and to make them function as a true care team with the providers in your PPS—will tip the balance on favorable clinical outcomes.
  5. Proven Clinical Outcomes: “Population Health” jargon is easy to come by, and differentiation gets blurry in a noisy vendor space. The signal in this noise is proven clinical outcomes. Bottom Line—Is your workforce vendor merely delivering an elegant PowerPoint or does your workforce vendor have a track record of double-digit percent reductions in inpatient utilization?


BDO and xG Health (a Geisinger company) are engaged with multiple PPS’s across New York State, and we welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your workforce needs.

Rocky Edmondson RN, BSN, MBA, CCRN
Senior Director, Bundled Payments, Care Redesign and Management Advisors, xG Health Solutions

Rocky Edmondson is the Senior Director of Bundled Payments for Care Redesign and Management Advisors at xG Health Solutions. Rocky has been involved in workflow redesign, program implementation, and analytic evaluation of Bundled Payment Programs across the country, and he coaches Hospitals, Health Systems, Post-Acute Providers, and Physician Groups on how to successfully implement care redesign in the Bundled Payment for Care Improvement (BPCI) and CJR Programs.

Rocky’s passion is helping people to understand the intricacies of Bundled Payment Programs. He has a talent for teaching people how to cut through all the noise and just do the things that matter to be successful in these programs.

Rocky holds an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from the University of Hawaii Maui, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Boise State University.

Prior to joining xG Health Solutions, Rocky was the Southeast Region Director of Clinical Operations for Remedy Partners, overseeing program design, implementation and analytic evaluations for Bundled Payment Programs. Prior to embarking on a career in Bundled Payments, Rocky was a Registered Nurse for 18 years, working in a number of positions within Critical Care. Before becoming a Nurse, Rocky was an Institutional Broker at Merrill Lynch and advised a number of healthcare systems and large corporations on cash management strategies. In addition, Rocky has started several businesses and provided consulting for small business startups. Rocky served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Recon Marine.

Janet Comrey RN, BSN, MHSA
Director, Population Health Solutions, Geisinger Health System

Janet Comrey, RN, BSN, MHSA has over 30 years of diversified nursing and leadership experience at Geisinger Health system and currently serves as Director of a small department embedded within Population Health. One of her key roles is managing the Bundle Payment for Care Improvement (BPCI) program since January 2014 earning an overall positive net payment reconciliation to date. Janet also serves as the coordinator for Project Achieve at Geisinger which is a national PCORI funded study related to patient’s perceptions of transitions of care.

Janet received her nursing education through Geisinger’s diploma program, her BSN through Bloomsburg University, and later earned her graduate degree from Marywood University. During her tenure at Geisinger she taught quality improvement methodology and facilitated improvement teams the Geisinger Quality Institute. She is currently enrolled in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Advisory program.

Professional memberships include Sigma Theta Tau, Phi Kappa Phi, American Society for Quality.

Andrew Blackmon, MBA, MHS
Chief Sales and Business Development Officer

Chief Sales and Business Development Officer Andrew Blackmon, MBA, MHS, has more than 18 years of experience in healthcare product sales, marketing, and strategy.

Before joining xG Health, Andrew was vice president of sales for population health and risk management solutions at McKesson. He came to McKesson through acquisition of MedVentive, an early population health vendor. Before MedVentive, he served as vice president of enterprise solutions development at MedAssets. He is a past president of the Georgia chapter of HIMSS, and he has held strategy and planning positions at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Orlando Health.

Andrew has an MBA and a Master’s of Health Science from the University of Florida Warrington, College of Business, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Rollins College.

Holly Barbella, RN, MBA

Risk Coordinator, Geisinger Health System

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Earl P. Steinberg, MD, MPP
Chief Executive Officer

Earl P. Steinberg, MD, MPP, is a nationally recognized expert in healthcare quality improvement and serves as xG Health’s chief executive officer. Earl also is an adjunct professor of Medicine and of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins University and a member of Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association’s National Medical Advisory Panel.

Before joining xG Health, Earl was executive vice president of Innovation & Dissemination, and chief, Healthcare Solutions Enterprise at Geisinger Health System.

Before joining Geisinger, he was senior vice president for Clinical Strategy, Quality & Outcomes at WellPoint, Inc., the largest commercial health insurer by membership in the US, and president and CEO of Resolution Health Inc. (RHI), a leading healthcare data analysis company that provides innovative quality improvement and cost reduction services to health plans, employers, pharmacy benefit managers, and disease management companies.

Before joining RHI, Earl spent six years as vice president of Covance Health Economics and Outcomes Services Inc., director of its Quality Assessment and Improvement Systems Division, and co-director of its Outcomes Studies Group. He also spent 12 years on the full-time faculty at Johns Hopkins University, where he was professor of Medicine and of Health Policy and Management and director of the Johns Hopkins Program for Medical Technology and Practice Assessment, and four years on the Federal Physician Payment Review Commission. He co-chaired the Institute of Medicine’s panel on Standards for Development of Trustworthy Practice Guidelines.

Earl has received many awards, including the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Faculty Scholar Award in General Internal Medicine (1984), the “Outstanding Young Investigator” Award from the Association for Health Services Research (1988), and a Special Presidential Visionary Award from the National Kidney Foundation (NFK) (2004) for his work as the scientific director of the NKF’s landmark Kidney Disease Outcomes and Quality Initiative, which produced more than 250 clinical practice guidelines for management of patients with end-stage renal disease. He also is a fellow of both the American College of Physicians and AcademyHealth, and he has published more than 125 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Earl received his AB from Harvard College (summa cum laude), his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and a Master of Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government. He performed his residency training in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.