In 2016, I made the difficult decision to sell my employee benefits broker firm, NextLogical Benefit Strategies, so I could focus more time and energy developing my healthcare data activation company, Switchbridge. Our consultant sent our pitch deck to 25 firms nationally and 23 wanted to buy us. That was an amazing response. The reason we attracted such attention was largely due to the expertise of our staff, led by Danielle Herndon, RN, CCM and Lucille Listorti and the strong financial results we had helped our large, self-funded clients achieve.
NextLogical pioneered the combination of advanced benefit consulting with in-house clinical expertise. In essence, we introduced healthcare clinicians into the process of managing our clients’ healthcare plans. Sounds logical, right? But, surprisingly, no one had ever done it before. This added clinical component was essential to our growth, client retention and ability to achieve dramatically lower health plan costs than market trends – in many cases, year-over-year cost reductions – and without benefit plan decrements. We were also successful in forming new, collaborative approaches with the health insurance carriers, TPAs, PBMs, etc. with the shared goal of improving overall member health and reducing healthcare expenditures.
After interviewing many of our potential acquirers, we narrowed the field to just a couple. Knowing that I would be leaving the firm after the buyout caused me to focus intensely on choosing the firm that offered strong leadership and business management; provided additional services that we lacked; ensured that my partners and employees were highly valued and able to grow professionally; would maintain our focus on healthier members; and would do everything within their power to deliver the same level of consultative, clinical, compassionate and professional service to the clients that were so dear to us.
PSA met all of those criteria and much more. From the very beginning, we were able to expand our employee communications, marketing, compliance and member services capabilities dramatically. We also realized and enjoyed the incredible leverage and influence that came with being part of the largest employee benefits firm in the region. We emerged a much stronger and more capable team able to not only survive the ever-increasing pressure to evolve and innovate but to thrive and excel through it. Similarly, PSA embraced our focus on data-driven clinical interventions, health risk management, creative wellness plan designs, and unique brand of client consultation – a few added capabilities that helped PSA attract new clients and better serve existing ones. Together, we created an approach, model and deliverables that, arguably, represent the strongest competitive advantage in the market.
In the final analysis, am I pleased with the decision I made to be acquired by PSA? Are my partners and employees happy? Are our clients satisfied and enjoying greater service than we could offer them before? And is the firm I founded and poured my heart and soul into better positioned for success in the future? The answer to all of those questions is a resounding, “Absolutely!”
Aaron Davis, Former CEO, NextLogical