EEDC: Tell us about Qlarant. What does it do?
Dr. Ron Forsythe (RF): So, in the nutshell version, we have three pioneer missions: One-We help the good guys. Two-We fight the bad guys. Three-We give away money.
Let me give you a little bit more detail because it is complex, but when we look at all the things we do, it falls into these three categories. Our primary subsidiary, which most people know as the former Delmarva Foundation for Medical Care, which has been in the area since 1973, focuses on improving health services and health service delivery across the country. We have a lot of programs that support those efforts.
The other one of the subsidiaries is the Client Integrity Solutions. We do a lot of program integrity, or another name-we fight fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare/Medicaid systems across the country.
The last part is that even though we’re a nonprofit, we still generate some excess income. We put a lot of that into our Qlarant Foundation, which issues grants to a number of other entities within the Maryland and DC area.
EEDC: We noticed on your website that you list a “Pandemic Solution.” That’s the fighting bad guys portion, right? We were wondering how quickly did that all come together, or was it already in your planning?
RF: Well, it was sort of already in the mix. As you can imagine, with a pandemic, or a natural disaster, or an emergency, you get many people trying to take advantage of the situation. And whenever there are reductions or restrictions, there’s always room for fraudsters to get in there and do bad things. So, we’ve had a number of solutions that we continue to actively monitor across the country to help root out some of those bad actors.
EEDC: Who are your clients?
RF: Our ultimate recipients are those individuals that are Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries receiving support in some way or another. They’re the ones that we are always thinking about in the long-term with our actions. But to get there are the people that pay us, many of whom are the Federal and State governments.
EEDC: How many people does Qlarant employ?
RF: We have about 527 employees right now, spread out across the country. Within Maryland, we’ve got about 184. One hundred thirty-six of those are in the Easton area.
EEDC: What is it about Easton that makes it a good fit for your company?
RF: All the people that are from here, as opposed to those who come here, recognize Easton as having a strong work ethic and a commitment to quality. There’s also a dedication that is a strength of the state of Maryland. But there’s also a lot of entrepreneurial interest and activity in the region. So, the company started on the Eastern Shore and has been providing service for the State of Maryland since. And because of those early entrepreneurs with the organization, we’ve grown into a nationally competitive entity. So, Talbot County is the home base right now.
EEDC: You mentioned you’re nationwide?
RF: At this point, we actually have offices, but like many others going through the same thing right now, we’re downsizing our footprint. We have a lot of work from home people across the country as it is. But then, as our clients realize that they can work from home, they also realize they don’t require us to have offices, which means that we can start scaling some of those back.
So, we’re downsizing some of the offices outside of the Easton area. We are moving into a more efficient space in the Baltimore area. We’re looking at closing the Atlanta office, and we’re reducing the size of one of our Florida offices. Our Texas and California offices will probably stay where they are right now until we get a sense of the future.
But even with all the office closures, I want to stress, that’s not a reduction in personnel or anything else along those lines. We’ve grown over the past 12 months or so and have added over 30 people during that period. At this time, last year we were under 500 employees, we’re over that now.
EEDC: Sometimes, we hear that employers have trouble filling all the positions available in Easton; do you find the same problem?
RF: Our focus is now providing support for all generations. We’re supporting millennials and the next generation, Gen Z, by providing remote and virtual workspaces that they can all participate in as well.
What we’re finding is that folks responded to that. I mean, we’ve got a great corporate culture, and that we communicate quite a bit both in person and through social means. And we’d been doing that even before the pandemic, and we are able to keep our culture strong and moving forward.
EEDC: Tell me about you.
RF: I grew up in Salisbury and went to Delaware and College Park for my undergraduate graduate degrees in Chemical Engineering. I spent a little bit of time at the University of Maryland, where I had many different hats but was engaged in a lot of economic development and university outreach to help people get through the engineering and pharmacy programs.
Over a period of 15 years, my team and I worked \ had an economic development component where we helped spin-off about 6,000 high-tech jobs within the lower four counties of the Eastern shore-Dorchester, Wicomico, Worcester, and Somerset.
At the time, I ended up on the board of Quality Health Strategies, Qlarant’s predecessor, in 2008. I joined the organization as a staff member, and I’ve been working with them ever since.
EEDC: Anything else you’d like to add?
RF: You asked about Easton and Talbot County and why it was a good fit earlier on. I’ve got to give a shout-out to the community and the way that it’s situated. And I think one of the unsung heroes or groups within the region is Easton Utilities. It’s a silent support, not just for the entire community but for our organization as well.
They have provided many infrastructures that make us able to do what we do on the Eastern Shore possible. So, when people are looking at the utilities and having that community-owned infrastructure there and the support that they get from the city and, to some extent, the County, well, that’s a great value add.