Skip to main content

Central Scheduling, CDI Solutions Boost Revenue Cycle

 |  By Rene Letourneau  
   April 06, 2015

Executives attending the HealthLeaders Media Revenue Cycle Exchange shared how they solved two of the function's biggest problems.

At HealthLeaders Media's recent Revenue Cycle Exchange, held in Austin, TX, finance leaders from more than 20 hospitals and health systems came together for two and a half days to share with each other solutions to some of the biggest billing and collections challenges their organizations are facing.


Kathleen Bourgault

Two of the many success stories I heard were presented at the Idea Breakfast on the last morning of the event.

Agreeing on three priorities at a time

When Kathleen Bourgault, vice president of revenue cycle, joined Mary Washington Healthcare in October 2011, she arrived in the middle of what she calls "the perfect storm" for the Fredericksburg, VA-based health system.

"Mary Washington for years had been designated a sole community provider. In 2010, a 100-bed, for-profit hospital was built a few miles from Mary Washington Hospital. The loss of sole community provider status was estimated to be worth over $30 million in Medicare and Tricare reimbursements," Bourgault says.

"In the same period of time Mary Washington Healthcare had already started building a smaller facility to the north, towards the Washington, D.C., area in a growing but underserved market. Almost overnight we had competition, a significant reduction in reimbursement dollars, a major system conversion, and a still sluggish economy."

Bourgault says her first priority was cultural rather technical. She had to inspire the changes that were necessary for the organization to succeed within its new economic reality.

"Mary Washington had not experienced these kinds of financial situations in their recent history. I first needed to create a sense of urgency in the revenue cycle. I convened an executive steering committee, including the vendor of our HIS system because they were key partners," she says.

The next critical steps were to define priorities and get everyone agreed on the actions that needed to be taken.

"We created a meeting structure and prioritized items, because what I found was people weren't tying their efforts together. IT had their own list and revenue cycle had their own list. There were a huge number of consultants in there, and they had their own list," she says.

"Everybody had their own list of priorities, and they were working very hard with their individual lists, but nothing was happening. So the first thing we did was to create one list and identify three priorities per week. No more than that. Everybody was focused on those top three priorities. ... We developed cross-functional teams and then we developed process and action owners to make sure people were being held accountable."

Rene Letourneau is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.

Tagged Under:

Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.