Pondera Recruits Veteran Watchdog for New VP Position
Pondera Solutions continues its growth with the hiring of Arizona's former inspector general for health-care programs to the newly created position of vice president for strategic accounts.
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Prager, who has served as inspector general of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System and in the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will focus primarily on fraud and abuse in government health-care systems.
“We’re in an industry where there’s an onslaught of fraud that’s relentless,” Prager told Techwire Thursday in a phone interview from Florida, where he’s currently working and where Pondera has offices. “Companies like Pondera — and anyone in this space — really need to remain vigilant.”
Prager has more than 19 years of progressive investigative experience. While a DoJ inspector, he coordinated and managed investigations with the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as U.S. Attorneys Offices. Prager has been consulted as an expert in both Medicare and Medicaid program integrity issues by a variety of federal agencies. In the past five years, as Northrop Grumman's director of anti-fraud activities, he developed the Northrop Grumman Fraud Fusion Center, which provides cross-domain subject matter expertise, research and investigative assistance by fusing disparate data sets, technologies and multiprogram fraud expertise with the common goal of combating fraud waste and abuse.
Pondera’s president, Greg Loos, said in Thursday’s interview with Techwire that he had been trying to recruit Prager for some time.
“Glenn brings a couple of things that are really valuable to Pondera,” Loos said, citing Prager’s focus on health-care fraud; state and federal government investigations; and his “capacity as Inspector General over Medicaid program integrity.”
Prager said his role with Pondera will have two main focuses: “To help our clients receive the best possible ROI [return on investment]; and to help Pondera create small, strategic opportunities that will be steppingstones toward larger national opportunities.”
Asked how he came to join Pondera, Prager recounted: “Timing is everything, they say. I had been watching Pondera from the sidelines for several years. My first exposure to Pondera was when I served as the IG. I had just procured a vendor to help combat fraud, but my door was always open to see innovation, so in they came. I was floored immediately when I saw the technology they had brought to the table. It was, by far, the most innovative, investigator-friendly tool I had ever seen. Having just procured a vendor, there was not much I could do. But ... I set Pondera up with demonstrations for the Senate Finance Committee (who holds the purse strings for Medicare and Medicaid and is always interested in helping CMS with innovation) as well as set up a demo at CMS. ... Fast-forward a few years and, having kept the finger on the pulse, Pondera absolutely made me an offer to be a part of a team I could not refuse.”
Techwire asked Prager about the rewards of working against abuse and fraud, whether at the federal or state levels — or, now, in the private sector.
“For me, we’re ultimately protecting the entire public,” Prager said. “When we stop fraud, we’re stopping people from stealing from the public. That’s my greatest satisfaction, when I hear that a lead that we worked or generated is successfully prosecuted. ... I feel really good about it.”
Pondera, a GovTech100 company founded by CEO Jon Coss and based in Gold River, has been on a growth path since last year, having:
— Received a reported eight-figure investment from a private equity firm;
— Promoted Loos from chief operations officer to company president, named Mark Norris the new chief operating officer, and recruited Tim McCormick as VP of sales, a newly created position;
— Elected two renowned IT figures, Malcolm Sparrow and Mike Borman, as independent members of the company board of directors;
— Integrated its Fraud Detection-as-a-Service (FDaaS) detection solution with Microsoft Azure, including Azure Machine Learning, Microsoft Power BI, and Azure SQL Database;
— And announced last month that it was recruiting data scientists, fraud-and-abuse investigators and account executives.