Alveo HealthCare’s new president brings innovative ideas, common sense and optimism
It’s tempting to call Brett Stover a whiz kid. I realize that may seem a curious choice of words to describe a man of 56. But if you’ve ever met Stover, you know what I mean. There is nothing about him that remotely jibes with his age. Nothing, that is, other than the smarts that he brings to the table.
But in nearly every other way, Stover still feels like that kid who graduated from Miami University with a business degree in 1986; endlessly energetic and possessed of a bewildering mix of innovative ideas, common sense and optimism. Honestly, it’s the optimism that stands out because by the time most of us are in our 40s, it’s a quality that is rarely so dominant as it is in Stover.
Clearly, that bundle of qualities has served him well. He spent 18 years at P&G, where he pioneered the company’s first-ever Global Shopper Marketing Strategy. Later, he spent a decade as worldwide senior vice president for Kantar Retail and later was executive vice president with Saatchi & Saatchi X.
A few years ago, though, he decided he’d had enough.
“I was in semi-retirement,” he said, adding that he was still doing a bit of consulting on the side. He was able to devote more time to his great, non-work love – the arts.
Mind you, Cincinnati arts organizations had never been far away, even as he moved from Geneva to London to Shanghai, Hong Kong and New York. He spent 17 years as a member of the May Festival Chorus, joining the board when he was just 24. Along the way, he’s served on a slew of other boards; Opera America, Chorus America, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Ballet, Vocal Arts Ensemble, School for Creative & Performing Arts, Taft Museum of Art, the Contemporary Arts Center – the list goes on and on.
But in the end, the breadth of the city’s cultural community was one of the central elements that brought him back.
“Cincinnati is an artistic Renaissance city,” said Stover. “Then, with the new sports teams and revitalization of OTR – this is an amazing place to live.”
He’s also earned a reputation as a formidable organizer of fundraising events, the splashier the better.
One of the most notable was Cincinnati Ballet’s Club B event celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary season.
“He doubled the profit and tripled the attendance. It was an absolute ball. Brett was our hero.”Cincinnati Ballet Artistic Director Victoria Morgan
“He doubled the profit and tripled the attendance,” said Ballet Artistic Director Victoria Morgan. “It was an absolute ball. Brett was our hero.”
But for a man who had spent more than three decades living life in the fast lane, volunteering wasn’t enough.
“I was getting bored,” he admits. “So I started looking around for a full-time job.”
He found one next door.
“It’s a great story,” said Stover. “Bob Maly (former Great American Insurance executive) is my next door neighbor. We get together and he plays guitar while I sing. One night, he tells me ‘I have this company and we just aren’t successful enough. I don’t know what to do with it’.”
He asked Stover to do a little consulting to see what he thought the problem was.
The company was Alveo HealthCare. Its main business is as a health care claims clearinghouse, a business that Stover had no previous dealings with. But when he examined the operation more deeply, Stover was intrigued.
“I saw enormous potential in what they were doing,” said Stover. “Their biggest problem was that they didn’t know how to sell. I can fix that. So when Bob asked if I would do some consulting, I said, ‘Why don’t you just hire me?’”
Stover became the company’s president last July.
“I love what we do,” said Stover. “It drops real dollars to the bottom line of the nonprofits we work with. What could possibly be wrong with that?”
The service Alveo provides is enormously complex. But basically, what they do is help nonprofits that do substantial billing to Medicaid and Medicare get a higher percentage of their claims paid. Typically, they may only clear 90 percent of the claims. But if Alveo can help them boost that figure even a few percent, it can make an enormous difference.
“Brett and his whole team have taken a great interest in what we do,” said Shelly Bowlin, senior billing specialist at Lighthouse Youth & Family Services. “We really depend on the revenue they have found for us. They have been able to bridge the gap and allow us to continue to get revenue in the door for our outpatient services.”
It’s the same story at Talbert House and Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services, also Alveo clients.
The big difference has been the extraordinary attention to customer service that Stover has instilled in his colleagues at Alveo.
“When you call, you get a person, not a recording. They are constantly upgrading and expanding the software to keep up with the changes in regulations.”Shelly Bowlin, senior billing specialist at Lighthouse Youth & Family Services
“I’ve worked in health care for a long time,” said Bowlin. “And I’ve worked with many clearing houses. It’s different with Alveo. When you call, you get a person, not a recording. They are constantly upgrading and expanding the software to keep up with the changes in regulations. They have developed reports for us that we actually need instead of the reports they feel like creating. They are a unique company.”
Obviously, it’s the sort of feedback that Stover likes to hear. But it’s also the sort of feedback that he expects Alveo’s services to generate.
“We’re smothering them with attention,” said Stover. “Being attentive is smart business. I often joke that I know nothing about health care. But the health care system is more broken than you can ever imagine. I can’t solve COVID. But I know how to correct errors. And I know how to devise systems to correct errors. That’s what we bring to our clients. And I love doing it. I could do this for another 20 years.”
In the meantime, he has a few other plans on his plate – ultra-ambitious ones, of course.
“On the artistic side, I’ll be working with Chris Milligan (Cincinnati Opera’s new CEO and general director) to redefine the future of opera post-COVID. What will opera look like?”
“And I’m looking at chairing two major Human Rights Campaign events,” said Stover, clearly eager to get started with them. “The first is a virtual event, probably late in the summer. But then, when we can responsibly do it, I want to do the largest HRC gala ever in Cincinnati.”
How large? He’s looking to take over the Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati to accommodate it.