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Improving Collections Has No Blueprint

Rene Letourneau, for HealthLeaders Media, May 13, 2013

Starting with a directive to improve collections on unpaid patient invoices, Promise Healthcare used internal and external groups to bring in nearly $14 million.

How can financial executives at hospitals and health systems tackle the pile of unpaid patient invoices sitting in the accounts receivables department? Promise Healthcare, a 13-hospital system based in Boca Raton, FL, used both internal and external resources to improve collections and add $13.9 million to its coffers in less than two years. The biggest key was to simply begin.

Promise set out to improve its accounts receivable processes and increase cash collections in June 2011, says Richard Gold, executive vice president, hospital operations.

"One of our key objectives was to accelerate cash flow, which is obviously something that is pretty important. It was clear we lacked some technologies, policies, and labor," he says.

Without collections expertise in his group, Gold had to look outside the organization for help. Promise has a long-standing relationship with a solutions and consulting firm it uses to assist in supply chain purchasing, and it looked there first.

"As our confidence in that partnership has grown, they were a natural to talk to on the revenue side," Gold says. "It was a bit of a marriage made in heaven. We handed them about $100 million in old receivables and said, 'here, you work on this.'"

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1 comments on "Improving Collections Has No Blueprint"


Ian R. Lazarus (5/13/2013 at 5:19 PM)
Our firm trained an inner city hospital to dramatically improve collections. This hospital operates near the Mexican border, where undocumented immigrants were given driving directions on crossing! The hospital aimed to improve collections in their ED in particular, where patients were leaving before reconciling their financial obligations. Our firm trains in Lean Six Sigma principles, and by applying them in the ED, we more than doubled collections. The hospital gains the knowledge of how to apply Lean Six Sigma in other areas as well. In other words, we did not just fish for them, we taught them how to fish on their own!