LaunchPoint recognized as an American Heart Association Fit-Friendly Worksite

Healthcare analytics provider takes steps to increase employee health and well-being

ITASCA, IL (July 10, 2014) – LaunchPoint, a provider of cloud-based healthcare analytic solutions and services, has been recognized as a Gold-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association for encouraging its employees to eat better and move more.

“As a business focused on serving the healthcare industry, it is important that we ‘walk the walk,’ not just by encouraging our employees to lead healthy lifestyles at home and at work, but by providing them the tools and support they need to facilitate healthy behaviors, including pedometers, fitness challenges, and tracking technology such as that provided by the American Heart Association site,” said Terrence Ryan, LaunchPoint CEO.American Heart Association Fit-Friendly Worksite

LaunchPoint attributes its designation directly to the implementation of its Swellness Program, a wellness program that promotes fun and supports employees in building better health and wellness through activities and offerings such as:

  • Free pedometers and associated training on their use, issued as a standard part of the onboarding process for new employees
  • Complimentary healthy snack and beverage choices
  • “Wednesday Walking Club” where employees are invited to walk one of two mapped courses on the grounds surrounding the LaunchPoint office
  • Individual and team fitness-health challenges tracked on the American Heart Association’s fitness tracking site, including a Monthly Fitness Challenge, which provides gift card rewards for employees who walked the most steps, covered the greatest distances, and pursued the largest range of activities
  • Walking meetings wherein teams are encouraged to hold meetings away from the conference room and on the walking courses
  • “Hey Nineteen,” a fitness challenge that encouraged some friendly competition to see who could walk the 19 flights of stairs to the LaunchPoint office in the shortest amount of time
  • Fitness Fridays, in which the company schedules light fitness activities that take place during the workday that have included everything from yoga to badminton tournaments

In addition to these offerings, several other Swellness programs were considered in the designation process. LaunchPoint is also adding more depth to the Swellness program throughout 2014, including a new “Swellness Studio” dedicated to fitness activity, classes and education sessions in an effort to support the health and fitness of its employees and to encourage increased productivity through well-being.

About LaunchPoint

LaunchPoint provides information-centric enterprise services and solutions for healthcare organizations, specializing in the powerful blend of information management, analytics and cloud computing. Corporate divisions Ajilitee and Discovery Health Partners deliver highly flexible, scalable and cost-efficient solutions that enable customers to innovate with information and advance their competitive position. More information is available at www.launchpointcorporation.com, www.ajilitee.com and www.discoveryhealthpartners.com.

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Rey VillarLaunchPoint recognized as an American Heart Association Fit-Friendly Worksite
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Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP)

Date: June 24-25, 2014

Location: Washington, DC

As a proud member of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP), our team will be attending the ACAP conference in Washington DC. If you’re planning on also attending, please drop by and say hello.

ACAP is a national trade association representing 58 nonprofit safety net health plans in 24 states. ACAP’s mission is to represent and strengthen not-for-profit, safety net health plans as they work with providers and caregivers in their communities to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations in a cost-effective manner. Collectively, ACAP plans serve more than ten million enrollees, representing more than 50 percent of individuals enrolled in Medicaid-focused health plans.

 

 

Rey VillarAssociation for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP)
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Technology’s role in improving claims recovery and optimizing revenue

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Cutting-edge work by Discovery Health Partners, a division of LaunchPoint, on display in Fierce Health Payer interview

 

At a time when health care companies are under more financial scrutiny than ever, health care payers should be looking at all angles to maximize efficiency, reduce costs, and optimize revenue. Cost containment and claims recovery is one area in which payers can make simple, yet highly effective improvements that yield surprising, positive financial impact.

Recently, FierceHealthPayer featured an interview with Karen Eskridge, chief operating officer at Lovelace Health Plan, a client of Discovery Health Partners. Eskridge reported that her organization recovered $16 million in just two years by improving cost containment and recovery operations, using technology as a key enabler.

Improvements that Eskridge points to include data mining, automated case management, and reporting and analytics. These capabilities have been deployed across her organization’s coordination of benefits, subrogation, and Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) programs. But they also can be powerful tools in other payment integrity areas, including claims review; audit; and fraud, waste, and abuse.

Many healthcare payer organizations like Lovelace are starting to realize the value of information-driven, analytic approaches to recovery and pre-payment integrity efforts. They streamline complicated processes, improve efficiency of payment integrity activities, and provide new levels of insight and transparency. The payoff can be huge:

  • Identify more workable cases quickly and accurately. Data mining, sophisticated algorithms, and built-in business rules help identify opportunities to recover or avoid costs quickly and more accurately.
  • Streamline the recovery process. Online case management and workflow automation greatly simplifies recovery efforts. Recovery teams can manage cases with all the required documentation and information at their fingertips in one easily accessible location, drastically reducing the time required to manage each case. Centralized case management increases the productivity of existing staff.
  • Accelerate and increase recoveries. By giving your recovery teams the power to identify cases faster, pursue more workable cases, eliminate false positives, and consolidate and automate workflow/case management, you enable them to speed up the recovery process and collect more money sooner.
  • Achieve visibility and flexible reporting. Interactive analytics can quantify recovery efforts and provide detailed insight across case inventory. The increased insight helps forecast future recoveries, plan more accurately, and manage and improve metrics such as medical loss ratio.
  • Simplify compliance and audits. Information-driven solutions give health care payers ready access to a complete history of information about their payment integrity programs. This allows business stakeholders to gather required data for audits much more quickly and easily than they can collect it today.
  • Enhance provider and member relations. With standardized communications and more information readily available through a web-based platform, your recovery staff will require fewer calls and interruptions to your providers and members.

Additional information can also be found on the Medicare Secondary Payer and Eligibility Management resource pages. To read the full interview with Lovelace chief operating offer, Karen Eskridge, click here. To learn more about technology innovations in cost containment for health care payers, click here.

 

Rey VillarTechnology’s role in improving claims recovery and optimizing revenue
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NOPLG 2014 Conference

Date: April 9-11, 2014

Location: Mansion on Forsyth Park, Savanna, GA

The Discovery Health Partners team is heading to Savannah, GA, next week to attend the 2014 National Other Party Liability Group (NOPLG) annual conference. As part of the festivities, we’ll be hosting a cooking class for conference attendees, featuring “low country cooking.”

We’ve also set up a special page for NOPLG attendees to access informative and relevant content for easy download.

We look forward to re-connecting with our Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association friends and colleagues.

 

Rey VillarNOPLG 2014 Conference
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Best Practices in Financial Management for Medicare Plans Conference

Dates: February 19-20, 2014

Location: The Ritz-Carlton Phoenix Hotel, Phoenix, AZ

The Discovery Health Partners team will be attending the Best Practices in Financial Management for Medicare Plans conference next week, in Phoenix, Arizona. If you’ll be attending the conference or will be in the area, please don’t hesitate to drop by and speak with one of our team members.

The conference is hosted by Healthcare Education Associates and will cover important Medicare-related topics, including the following:

  • Best practices for estimating claim costs and understanding payment patterns
  • Optimizing medical cost drivers
  • Managing medical loss ratios
  • Understanding risk scores and Star ratings and their impact on MA revenue
  • Methods for accurately predicting mid-year and final-year payment adjustments
  • Using predictive modeling and analysis to lower costs
  • Lessons learned for the MA bidding process
  • Understanding RADV audit methodology and mitigating RADV audit risk
  • Understanding CMS payments and fees reflected in your monthly report
  • The financial impacts of accelerated plan growth and attrition
  • Utilizing data and technology to reduce costs, improve quality and optimize the clinical outcomes process

 

 

 

Rey VillarBest Practices in Financial Management for Medicare Plans Conference
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MS Project: Friend or Foe?

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Post by Jim Van de Water

Scaling Project Plans in Ways Beyond MS Project

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with MS Project ever since I generated my first Gantt chart over 15 years ago. “Project” is arguably the ‘killer app’ of project planning – pervasive and powerful, while confounding and complex at the same time – both friend and foe. This dichotomy motivated me to find a way to reduce the length and complexity of big, repetitive Project plans by a factor of 10 or more. The approach may surprise you.

Today’s apps are supposed to be intuitive, simple and user-friendly.  Does MS Project pass these requirements?

  • Intuitive?  Hundreds (sometimes thousands) of line items that lack coherence or continuity. Iterative repeating tasks that resemble an endless staircase. Inability to easily gauge true percentage completion of a specific task or phase at any point in time.
  • Simple? Plans rapidly require a big screen television to view. Update processes that befuddle even project managers. Dependencies that cross the plan in a web-like fashion.
  • User-friendly? Complexity that blocks ability to use the plan to communicate effectively and to manage effort. Plans that can’t be grasped in whole by anyone on the project team.

I’d venture further to say that you probably don’t have to think too hard to write your own list of shortcomings, or to identify a project where Project helped ‘derail the train’.

Ok – so no one ever said that project planning is easy – or execution, for that matter. The plan should enable fluidity and transparency of execution. The execution should validate the (well-conceived) plan. That’s the yin and yang of project planning and execution. Are we feeling cozy with MS Project in that role?

I can feel the love – and the hate.

My approach is to limit the breath of a Project plan to what a single human being can absorb. If the entire Project plan can’t be understood, in its parts and in aggregate, the plan needs to be reconfigured, supplemented or scrapped. The plan – at inception and during execution – needs to remain a living artifact that invites understanding as it drives, tracks and reflects progress. The entire team should find the plan useful and accessible.  If not, the plan can place the entire project at risk.

Anything that repeats in regular cycles through the system development lifecycle (SDLC) is a candidate for an alternate – and arguably better – tracking method. List the units of work that need to be planned, assigned, and tracked.  Now create a spreadsheet with the steps of the development lifecycle across the top, and tasks that need to be tracked down the outside column.  The dates and status of task assignments are captured at the intersection of the SDLC steps and work units.

That’s right – this is sounding like project management using ‘old-school‘ Excel. Before you suggest expunging my PMP certification, consider that the majority of your teammates find Excel more approachable than Project. (You probably do too.)

Excel presents data in easily summed columns and rows, not hierarchical/network fashion like our friend Project. Excel has some incredibly rich functions for calculating working days, accounting for holidays and vacations, tying dependencies and such. The key enabler with Excel is that your entire team will be able to use the intuitive and simple functions like sort, filter, and search to cull out the noise and drill down to exactly what they need. The status of work assignments on the ‘tracker’ at this level of task detail can be as simple as this: 0 (working on it), 1 (completed), and 2 (held due to problems). Using Excel functions, I create another worksheet that generates a date-ordered list of assignments.

This approach enables more distinct steps to be tracked than a plan built only in Project. One of my recent projects had almost 400 individual development items tracked against 12 SDLC steps – a total of nearly 5000 individual steps tracked across time. This fits neatly into an Excel worksheet.  Not surprisingly, this does not fit neatly into MS Project.

Now tie together the granular Excel format with the dependency linking capability of Project.  The Project plan calls waves of repeated work at specific start and end dates -the Excel ‘tracker’ fills in the tasks between the two dates. When the repetitive process concludes, Project gets the completion date.  Gone are the staircases of repeating hierarchies and tasks, as well as the need for a wide-screen television to view. The team is presented with a worksheet that shows each repetitive wave of work and decomposes the waves down to the simplest unit of work – at the task level.

Our brains find hierarchies and networks challenging, but love the numerical and the linear. We can only bend MS Project so far before our brains, our plans, and our projects suffer. MS Project vets the dependencies between inputs and outputs at the high level. Excel captures the repetitive low-level details in an intuitive, simple and user-friendly format. The right combination of Project and Excel provides the team optimal support.

Leverage MS Project for its power to help manage your projects, but don’t be deceived.  Every tool has it limits. Consider complementing your MS Project plans with Excel ‘trackers’ to handle the repetitive work that Project does not handle gracefully. The time spent to build out a second layer of project tracking will pay big dividends.

 

Rey VillarMS Project: Friend or Foe?
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Why should we manage business requirements as part of our data governance process?

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Post by Yvette Desmarais

How many times have you started a new reporting project with no documentation about the data structures involved? How many projects has your organization implemented that are not documented? Have you ever spent hours trying to decipher the logic used to create a report or load a data warehouse table? If you’ve worked at more than one organization or spent more than a couple years in information management, I’m sure you’ve seen this problem head on, maybe pounding your head on the wall.

These problems seem to have an obvious solution: just document the requirements and keep them up to date. But we always find it so difficult to accomplish this task. So often it is difficult to make the time in a project to properly document requirements, or to update them to the final result of the project, or to incorporate change requests made after project completion. But if this work is not done and the results are not stored in a central repository, we soon find out the repercussions of our failure. As soon as a significant project comes along, all the analysis must be completed again. If you’ve ever changed employers and started with an organization with poor data governance practices, you know exactly what this looks like.

With my current client, I’m working with a health plan to update business requirements for a new implementation effort. This client has made an admirable effort over the past decade to document, manage and update business requirements for all their data management projects. They do this using an application, CDMA by Knightsbridge/HP, built to collect and document source to target mappings, metadata, and business requirements. Each time a new project is created within this payer organization, business data analysts utilize the application to add new business requirements for each application, data element and data migration path. These requirements are leveraged by designers and developers to create new information management code to load the operational data store, data warehouse and reporting databases. All of this information is also available to business users via an online metadata repository providing analysts, report writers and other users with the ability to look up each data element, track data within reporting back to source systems and investigate data structures at any point in time.

There are a number of ways to approach containment and recording of business requirements, metadata and master data. My current client purchased an application which provided a great backbone for this effort. Tools like IBM Infosphere MDM or Informatica MDM platforms are options.  You can approach the problem that way, bring in experts to help develop an approach specifically fitted for your organization, or put together an internal group to approach the problem. Check out some of Ajilitee’s past blog postings like DG and MDM: Two Sides of the Same Coin for ideas on how to get started.  But ignoring the issue of managing ongoing change will only exacerbate the problem of lost requirements as time goes on. Ongoing focus on collecting and managing metadata, requirements and mappings can reduce costs for future projects.

 

Rey VillarWhy should we manage business requirements as part of our data governance process?
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Data Governance Marketing, Part 3: What to Communicate

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By Tina McCoppin

In my last two posts, I called out the need for continual marketing and self-promotion of your data governance message in order for your DG program to take root and flourish. I also reviewed the various communication forums at your disposal.

So, what should you be communicating? At a minimum, the DG “message” should consist of the following:

  • What is DG?
  • Why do we need it here?
  • What are the benefits of DG? (Try to tailor this to your audience)

As you develop and grow your DG program, keep the  ideas below in mind. They are examples of the type of data governance material, information and artifacts that should become part of your message to the business and IT community involved in governance.

DG Policies

  • The policies should be formally captured and conveyed to the organization
  • Developed or co-developed by stewards (you want the business or line of business to be the trustee and set direction)
  • Have policies reviewed, voted upon, and approved by the DG Council. Use their names in your communications – especially when trying to gain behavior change in their area

Statistics / metrics / outcomes

  • Word of warning! – do not deluge with statistics in your message to the organization. Select the most impactful measurements and convey them. For Data Quality measurements, set benchmarks and convey improvements (or a worsening)

Value and business case of DG program

  • Utilize “WOW!” moments – Again, the most eye-opening metrics helps cement your DG raison d’etre

Project status

    • Remind your audience where your DG program is in its continuum– just getting started? Midway? Tail end?

General stories –highs and lows

    • Challenges and rough patches and insights from them are of value. This also serves to reinforce that DG is analogous to a marathon, not a dash. DG cultural adoption and maturity is a gradual process.
    • Incremental successes

External articles about data governance from the media

    • A quick Internet search every quarter or so can yield some interesting articles or bits to share to raise awareness about the need and benefits for DG. Let others do some of the work for you.
RELATED DOWNLOAD:  Toolkit:  How to Make Data Governance “Go Viral” at Your Organization

Summary

You should never find yourself at a loss for something to communicate. In fact, take care not to over-saturate your audience. Too much information dilutes the impact. And the other word of warning is to realize: Just because this is “Data Governance” does not mean it is (just) about data.  Boring!  Make the message about the business, about the impact of poor or unmanaged data. That’s what grabs their attention.  Good luck!

Rey VillarData Governance Marketing, Part 3: What to Communicate
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Data Governance Marketing, Part 2: Communications Vehicles

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By Tina McCoppin

In my last blog, I contended that you need to market a data governance program to achieve success with it.  Congratulations: you’re now a marketer in addition to a data governance specialist, which is practically a second job.  So now what?

Let’s assume you have established your data governance “message.”  In other words, you need to be able to concisely answer the following questions:

  1. What is data governance?
  2. Why do we need it?
  3. What are the benefits of data governance?

Tip: write your answers down and say them five times.  If you can’t easily remember these points, you won’t be able to evangelize about data governance, and no one will ever recall what you said about it.

Be sure you have your strategy (roadmap, approach, timeline, calendar) mapped out, as well as the anticipated time commitment of SMEs and data stewards (whew – that’s a lot of planning!).  But you’ll be glad to have it all organized.

Now it comes down to the various communication mechanisms to convey your DG goals and messages.  Here are some channels to consider.

Collateral and Communications

  • PowerPoint Presentations — consider using graphics, animation and sound. Inform and entertain (i.e., “Infotain”) your audience – they are more likely to remember DG
    • Have a “10-Minute Overview” – for when you are guest speaker with limited time
    • And a 50-minute version – when you are keynote
  • E-mails & Internal Communications – have updates re. DG; provide a few data governance and Data Quality metrics that show improvement (or how bad things are. Shock value helps get action)
  • Company-wide Intranet site (if available)
  • Internal Newsletter or Portal Articles
  • Elevator Sheets
  • Cafeteria Tent Cards
  • Company ‘TV’ broadcasts

Team and Enterprise Events

  •  Lunch and Learn sessions
  • Roadshows, Townhalls, Group Meetings
  • Participate in ‘Day One’ Employee Training; ongoing (mandatory?) formal Employee & Consultant Training
  • Monthly Stakeholder Meetings

Organization Constructs – joint participation with the following:

  • Project Management Office and their Gate or Sign-off reviews
  • IT Audits
  • System Development Life Cycle reviews
  • Risk Review meetings and Change Request
  • Other Committee Meetings

Executive Meetings

  • PR, Awards and Social Media — There’s significant interest in shared knowledge and experience in data governance endeavors. Your industry colleagues want to hear your best practices and insights.
  • Industry Conferences and Events
  • Trade publications
  • IT awards

The key take-away is Repetition! Repetition! Repetition!  Your data governance message – what, why, and benefits – needs to be relayed consistently over time, in many ways, to be absorbed and understood. When possible, tailor the benefits to the audience.  Identify the group’s key pain points related to data governance as the form for remediation and use that as an example.  Once you’ve had a kick-off, enterprise-wide communications on a recurring basis (e.g., quarterly) is a good idea.

In our next blog in this series, we’ll explore the types of data governance messages, materials and artifacts to be conveyed using these communication and marketing vehicles.

Rey VillarData Governance Marketing, Part 2: Communications Vehicles
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Data Governance Marketing, Part 1: The Basics

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By Tina McCoppin

You cruise around on the web, conducting searches, going to your favorite sites, checking on your Facebook, Twitter and email acquaintances. And along the way is a continuous stream of attention-grabbers: streaming ads, pop-ups, sounds (if you have the volume on). How oblivious are you to all the advertisements besieging you? How many do you remember?  Well, ascribe your retention to brain chemistry. Studies from the fields of cognitive psychology and neuroscience have identified the reactions in the brain which lead to retention. (See http://www.thinkbox.tv/server/show/nav.1135 for a great overview – as well as all the decision-making involved in choosing your barbecue sauce!).

As the owner of your company’s data governance program, you probably don’t try to obtain the same “customer loyalty” as a barbecue sauce maker.  Nonetheless, you confront many of the same issues when instilling a data governance (DG) program and culture into your organization as does your favorite BBQ maker (btw, Emeril’s Kicked Up BAM! B-Q Barbecue Sauce was tops, according to Good Housekeeping). Your DG message for your audience’s time, attention and adherence is being pitted against job responsibilities, emails & vmails, company notices, legal mandates, team meetings, etc.  So, just like the Super Bowl advertisers, we need to up our game to effectively market our DG program. By blending classic DG education with “infotainment”–and a bit  of self- promotion—you can generate awareness, understanding, and support for your DG program as well as influence behavioral change. Think “get a like” or “go viral” through creative packaging.

Have you been systematic in how you approach establishing the communication mechanisms for the DG program? Our “Marketing 101” basics offer the following steps:

DG Position: Where is your DG program today?

  • Focused on all or just some of the following? Data quality, standardization, common definitions / vocabulary / glossary, changes to process, involvement in the development life cycle, or other?
  • Enterprise-wide or just selected departments?
  • Data stewards throughout?
  • Do you have DG policies and procedures being produced on an ongoing basis?
  • Are you tracking DG maturity? Are DG metrics related to performance goals and salary, promotions, bonuses, et al?

DG Dynamics: What is happening in the organization related to DG?

  • Do you have a DG Sponsor at the C-level? DG Steering Committee? DG Council? Are they proactive and taking ownership?Are recurring DG meetings taking place among the stewards?
  • Are improvements occurring due to issues identified via DG?
  • Do operational systems take precedence over DG for business SMEs and stewards time and attention?

Opportunity Analysis: How and where can you position DG?

  • Is DG sponsored by a C-level business advocate? Are you focusing DG energies in his/her business domain for quick as well as long-term DG wins?
  • Are you as the DG program along with the DG Council and the stewards producing policies and procedures?
  • What policies are “data domain” specific? Which ones are enterprise-wide?
  • Are you aligning DG with the administrative and oversight groups such as Audit? Risk? Legal? Security and Personal Information? Do you develop joint policies and procedures with these groups?
  • Are there major initiatives underway with whom you can align / insert? E.g., Gate reviews for standards (of reference data and values), consistency with data definitions, etc.

Strategy / Plan: What strategies will succeed?

  • How will you communicate DG purpose, policies and procedures?
  • How will you measure degree of acceptance of the policy?
  • How will you enforce DG policies?

Program Execution: How will you execute the DG strategy?

  • Do you have a list of the planned DG communications, measurements, resources, etc.?
  • Do you have a DG calendar? Have you coordinated participation in meetings with the identified business areas? Projects? PMO? Others?
  • Do you have resources assigned? Is funding adequate?

Creating your DG marketing plan is a similar process to building a business case. First, assess where your DG program is, the opportunities, and where you can establish the greatest impact and benefit. Then, flesh out your DG marketing plan and basic tactics.

This is less about data governance itself; more about marketing and sales.  For those of you on the technical side of the DG house: You thought you were in IT.   Wrong!  You are also in sales and marketing.  Any business professional today – yes, IT too – must play these roles.  Think about it – you need to research the facts, develop a plan, present a business case, and secure buy-in.  Then you need work on gaining continual support for your achievements. You need a marketing plan for DG.  If you never thought of yourself as a marketer, don’t worry.  Borrow from our toolkit of ideas and you’ll be set.

In our next blog in this series, we’ll explore the various communication and marketing vehicles.

LaunchPointData Governance Marketing, Part 1: The Basics
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