When she was eleven, Melanie Winskie Crowe watched her mom lose in a divorce settlement. She understood that her mother, a teacher, had a lower salary than her father and, thus, could not afford the same caliber of legal counsel. From the experience, Crowe learned that “people who don’t have the money to buy resources lose out,” a pattern she has been looking to rectify ever since.
Throughout college, Crowe continued to see this relationship between wealth and legal advocacy play out as she worked in domestic violence intervention and tutored underserved kids. Law school was a natural fit for Crowe but when she graduated, she had debt that pushed her into a stint at a law firm where she did as much pro bono work as they would allow her to do. Keeping her desire to do public interest work in front of her, Crowe came to LogistiCare in 2007 and, since then, has helped the company provide transit to patients on Medicaid and Medicare.
Along with litigation and claims, Crowe handles the legal aspects of HR and assists with government relations. That large job includes serving the company’s four thousand employees and also working with lobbyists to make the legal case for transportation benefits. Right now, LogistiCare supports the “Protecting Patients Transportation to Care Act,” a proposed bill to solidify transit benefits for Medicaid patients into law from the easy-to-roll-back regulatory status it currently occupies.
While the company has contract and SEC specialists, Crowe says that, outside of those realms, people come to her with “anything legal that needs doing”—from HIPAA to insurance issues to regulatory questions to whatever else. This is a position she enjoys, both for the impressive autonomy LogistiCare affords her and the fact that the large scope keeps her “always on her toes.”
Founded as a company designing a more generalized transit software, several years ago LogistiCare focused on being the premier transportation benefits manager for Medicaid and Medicare’s transit benefits. Crowe sees her role as supporting preventative care, especially mentioning how LogistiCare services help dialysis patients get to the services they need to avoid more expensive hospital stays and help disabled individuals stay living in their homes and communities instead of institutions. “We enable vulnerable populations to access efficient, cost-effective healthcare,” Crowe says.
LogistiCare orchestrates rides with approved nonemergency transit companies. They also work to manage costs through evaluating fraud and partnering with private managed care insurance providers that have taken over Medicare/Medicaid contracts. This means LogistiCare facilitates sixty-three million rides per year across forty-eight states.
Crowe says that such high volume means litigation. Since joining the company, she has witnessed dramatic growth as LogistiCare became publicly traded and seen revenue and employee numbers grow three or four times their original roster. Throughout this expansion, Crowe has worked on establishing best practices to improve the company’s activities and response.
She has put a system in place to track complaints and concerns. When she joined the company, lawsuits often came as a surprise. “There was no control,” she says. The legal team spent lots of time trying to catch up once a suit was filed. Now, she says, things are much more efficient and, due to her litigation and claims system, she is aware of issues early and can prepare for what is coming.
In 2019, Crowe moved from assistant to deputy general counsel. While her duties have expanded, she still works with a lean team of five attorneys, three paralegals, and three compliance legal staff. This structure keeps Crowe immersed in all the work of the team. In such an environment, she says “you learn a lot about the company and different areas of the law, but we have a great team. We help each other when things get busy.”
“We want to do what’s best for patients and for the Medicaid program as a whole. That’s my mission.”
This immersion shows in how Crowe can speak to a variety of future plans at LogistiCare. The company, she says, is looking to create systems that allow patients to reserve and track rides on smart phones. However, Crowe says, it is a much more complex cyber-environment than a standard Lyft ride. Patients, drivers, providers, managed care systems, and Medicaid/Medicare all need to be connected, and HIPAA and other compliance concerns taken into account.
The company recently acquired Circulation, a software company, and will absorb and upgrade its tech. Many users seek such a shift in technology, and Crowe says that transitioning from a call center model will be a major cost saver.
Drawn originally to how the company used government money efficiently and helped get people to appointments, Crowe continues to support efficiencies. She now looks ahead toward program improvement that touches on legal patterns.
LogistiCare has given her the go-ahead to study patient safety. Crowe said that even though she is not a risk manager, “after twelve years of litigation and claims, you start to see that there are things that should not have happened in certain cases.”
She intends to take advantage of machine learning to analyze, understand, and affect trends. “We want to do what’s best for patients and for the Medicaid program as a whole,” she affirms. “That’s my mission.”
Cozen O’Connor: “Melanie is a dynamic professional with ironclad integrity. She has excellent judgment and strives to gets things done the right way.” –David A. Shimkin, Member