How one revenue cycle leader plans for his health system and its RCM partner to work together throughout their partnership.
VHC Health recently announced a 15-year, revenue cycle management partnership that comes at a time when leaders' satisfaction with vendors is largely varied and financially strained systems are hesitant to make the investment.
In a previous HealthLeaders article, John Zabrowski, the system's senior vice president, chief financial officer, and chief strategy officer acknowledges this trend, but suggested that organizations pulling out of vendor agreements may be due to them not aligning with the organizational culture.
For VHC Health, partnering with a vendor they've worked with for multiple years, reflects they fit into the system's culture. Bringing executives from both entities together, alongside the system's revenue cycle team leads, forming a governance council to oversee the partnership allows them to share accountability, laying a solid foundation.
"The way we've carved it out, we've got a strong three-pronged approach that allows for a strong operational alignment, strategic alignment, and organizational alignment to achieve the goals of this partnership," Zabrowski said.
Prior to their current partnership, the VHC had been utilizing their partnership vendor for ancillary services for five years. Now, over a month into the partnership, the system has found over $13 million of incremental value that is "currently in the process of collection and realization."
Initial goals for the partnership include streamlining their patient registration process and integrating AI into the denials process. According to Zabrowski, integrating more robust physician advisory services into the organization is an area of emphasis as well.
To oversee the partnership's progress and performance, the team created a shared governance council of VHC executives, revenue cycle leads, and vendor representatives.
"There's a weekly touch base where we'll be discussing our [key performance indicators], revenue cycle metrics, how are realization rates looking, what's happening with denial trends," Zabrowski explained.
Key performance indicators include accounts receivable per day, insurance aging, number of accounts held up in billing, and coding accuracy rates.
While these metrics are important to the overall management of RCM activities, Zabrowski said, the target goals for the partnership emphasize improving clinical documentation and the system's overall yield.
For the system's yield, efforts are being made to optimize point of service collections, with tech solutions being deployed to help reduce front end denials.
"From a clinical documentation improvement perspective, extended deployment of related practices, education, auditing, and workflow redesign will serve as the foundation upon which our improvements are built upon," Zabrowski explained.
Jasmyne Ray is the revenue cycle editor at HealthLeaders.
A governance council composed of executives from VHC Health and the vendor, and the system's revenue cycle team leads will manage the partnership's performance.
Ensuring that the vendor aligns with the system's culture, operations, and revenue cycle strategy are crucial for successful partnership.