Rush University Forges a Path with CCi

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In any business or industry, there are leaders and there are followers. Some prefer playing it safe, letting those less risk-averse to blaze a trail, fail, and then blaze another, until there is a clear path left for others to follow.

In my experience, Rush Health has always been one of the leaders. Of the hundreds of hospitals and healthcare organizations we’ve served, they were the first to convert to Epic. We at CCi developed our Epic integration and honed our expertise in the service of Rush Health and a few other early adopters.

So as the trend grew for hospitals to outsource their self-pay revenue cycle, it wasn’t surprising that Rush Health chose to once again forge a new trail. I think what I’m about to say will likewise be unsurprising - even with a vendor of self-pay revenue cycle services saying it: rev cycle outsourcing is a very red ocean. There are so many companies providing self-pay services, and most are very good at what they do. Some have competitive advantages over others, but we all provide the same essential services.

My contact at Rush is Jay Tennant, the Director of Enterprise Services. We served Rush back in the day of Chuck Behl, the legendary CFO at Rush. I never met Chuck, but I’m told he helped shape a lot of the people there and had a lasting effect on the revenue cycle approach.

So as I’m swimming through the red ocean, a couple years ago I meet with Jay to propose changes to the services we were engaged in. Like all good partners, I was exploring ways to get more accounts, get them earlier, and add more value to our service. But Jay already had something else in mind.

As most healthcare organizations were seeking to outsource self-pay, Jay and Rush Health were investing in their internal staff to do it better themselves. They’d laid out a plan that included a dialer and a scoring & segmentation partner. I was honored to have been asked by Jay to advise on how their collection campaign strategies would work, what segments would be called and when.

From our conversations, Jay realized that the increased outreach his team would be taking on would require more staff, and would keep that staff very busy. It was then that we started talking earnestly about CCi’s extended business office service. Rush was already sending CCi accounts around day 75 for our traditional agency letter service. Now, to help support Rush Health’s trend-bucking efforts to bring self-pay in house, and do it better than the red ocean vendors, we proposed moving the CCi engagement to day 120, and implementing CCi as an extension of the Rush internal team, taking patient calls generated by our agency letters, acting as representatives of Rush Health.

At half the cost of Rush’s bad debt agencies, the proposed CCi service would

  • Reduce costs of accounts collected in bad debt
  • Enhance patient satisfaction by allowing patients to settle their account with Rush, rather than an agency
  • Support Rush’s efforts towards self-sufficiency, further improving the patient experience, and supporting a positive financial return.

Because Rush trusted CCi as a longtime partner, the contract negotiations were not negotiations so much as collaborative problem solving. Flexible pricing, no contractual commitments, and an entrepreneurial design allowed the service to evolve, pivot, improve, or even be abandoned, depending on the results and analysis.

While Rush struggled to implement some of the other pieces of their newly-forged process, the CCi portion was implemented easily and right on schedule, mainly due to CCi having already established integration with Epic, and having over 45 years of experience in self-pay.

“I am extremely pleased with the implementation of CCi’s extended business office service at Rush University Medical Center,” said Jay. “Their methodology and project management have made it far better than other supplements to our revenue cycle processes. Deana and James have been great resources. Their consistent attention to detail and their accessibility have helped us get up and running on time. We’re really looking forward to the positive gains in collection revenue and operational efficiency through the expanded partnership with CCi.”

We’ll report in again after some months to share results and the lessons learned.

Thanks for reading!

 

-John

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