‘A system to sustain us’

Faith Community Hospital |  Jacksboro, TX

  • Hospital bed and IV drip

    17 Beds

  • shaking hands

    8 Physicians

  • Female nurse red hair

    85 Staff members

  • teal laptop with purple medical cross

    ~400 Admissions per year

Issues

  • Incomplete claims filed
  • Fragmented billing process
  • Time consuming software updates
  • Overwhelmed billing staff

Solutions

Results

  • Total cash flow at 118.5% of baseline after Q1 2016
  • Improved workflow
  • Faster payments
  • Cleaner claims
  • More efficient use of staff time

Community Hospital Streamlines Claims, Boosts Payments With Cloud Based Billing Solution

Faith Community Hospital in Jacksboro, Texas is a 41-bed Level IV Trauma Center that includes a rural health clinic. Before implementing athenaCollector for Hospitals & Health Systems, their billing was fragmented and inefficient. With athenahealth’s cloud-based revenue cycle management solution, they enjoy cleaner claims, faster payments and much more efficient use of staff time.

Fixing the Front End

Before working with athenahealth, the hospital did not collect enough information from patients at registration. “We did not have any front-end registration requirements,” said Business Office Manager Dawn Jones. “As a result, claims were incomplete. We spent a lot of time trying to track down information that should have been collected at registration.”

In the weeks after going live with athenaCollector for Hospitals & Health Systems, the hospital noticed significant improvements in the revenue cycle. “We now have eligibility checking. My registration staff has registration requirements. As a result, payment flow is a lot faster,” said Jones. “In fact, we’ve had claims turn around as quickly as four days after the claim was billed to the payer. Before athenahealth, I didn’t expect to see payment in less than 30 days. athenaCollector has made a huge difference.”

Faster payments are due to athenahealth’s intelligent rules engine, an evolving database that saves billing staff time by automatically flagging any claim issues. “Before athenahealth, in order to get the claim out the door, we had to touch it four times—even if it was a clean claim,” said Jones. “Now we have a robust claim system that goes through so many automatic edits that our claims go out the door cleaner. We don’t have anywhere near the number of rejections we’ve had in the past, so our accounts are being paid in a more timely manner.”

Reducing the Administrative Load

athenahealth’s back office experts take on administrative work on behalf of the hospital, such as researching and implementing payer changes, tracking claims, and managing any denials. “Once the coder has completed the claim and it has dropped, we don’t have to touch it at all,” said Jones. “We are much more efficient on the business side. That’s something we have not had since I’ve been here—a system that works as it should. There are so many processes that we don’t have to do manually anymore. Now staff can spend time on other tasks—like getting caught up on old accounts— we never had time for before.”

Initially, Jones had reservations about moving away from billing software she had used for more than 20 years. However, she is more satisfied with athenaCollector than she was with her old program— and so are her colleagues in the billing department. “One of the reasons I’m so happy is because athenaCollector is not as intensive on our end,” said Jones. “When you’re working in a smaller facility, you don’t always have the resources to make sure your updates are done and claims are clean. Now that’s all done by athenahealth.”

Seamless Implementation

“Implementation of athenaCollector was seamless,” said Jones. “We didn’t have any lapse in patient care. We had excellent implementation support. When we called the support number, we got answers right away.”

She especially appreciated how user-friendly the system was to learn and navigate. The hospital’s billing staff got trained in days. “It’s very easy to use,” said Jones. “The workflow is so smooth on the front end. You go from one task to the next. I love the dashboard where you can see everything. It’s really easy to work in.”

An Integrated Approach

Jones especially appreciates having a single, integrated approach to revenue cycle management. “athenaCollector is everything you need in a financial package in order to manage each claim from the beginning to the end,” said Jones. “You don’t have to hire outside vendors to take care of other processes like eligibility checking and sending patient statements. athenahealth takes care of all of it. It’s not piecemealed together.”

With one integrated system, Jones said, “We are streamlined. We are seeing payments posted quicker. Our revenue cycle is all one process now, instead of separate components that take time to manage and work on.”

A Stable Environment

Finally, said Jones, the hospital has a stable revenue cycle solution that can weather the ups and downs of staffing. “Recently, a key biller on my staff had to take medical leave. When you have a billing system where you are responsible for building all the internal tables, the system is only as stable as the person who is building them. If you lose that point person, than you have huge problem.”

With athenahealth, Jones said, “We never have to rely on a single person who knows how everything is linked together. athenahealth takes care of those tasks, so we don’t have that responsibility. We are in a much more stable environment because of that.”

New employees to the billing department do not have to be coding experts. “If you’re working as a biller, you need to know what’s wrong with a claim and what to do next. But athenahealth does a lot of that for you. You’re following their script and using their expertise, so individual employees don’t have to know all the claim rules. That’s very helpful.”

Jones indicated that patients and staff alike are happy with athenaCollector. “Patient bills are cleaner, and patients are getting their bills more promptly,” Jones said. “We are much more efficient. The billing staff all think that athenaCollector accounts are so much easier to work.”

A System to Sustain Us

“The ongoing improvements with athenahealth have been excellent,” said Jones. athenahealth continually updates their network, ensuring that all payer and industry changes are automatically part of the revenue workflow for hospital staff. “athenahealth is making daily improvements. We see those implemented pretty quickly.”

Jones pointed out that the service and support that’s part of athenaCollector has far surpassed other systems. “With our previous system, we had accounts that would just disappear. We had no clue from day to day how stable the system was. In the system previous to that, we had pages of logged problems, and the vendor would not fix them. With athenahealth,” she continued, “the customer service has been spot on. We are 100% satisfied with this system and would recommend it to anybody.”

Jones concluded that athenaCollector for Hospitals & Health Systems will be their hospital’s solution for the long term. “For the first time since I’ve been at this facility,” she said, “we have a system that can sustain us for years down the road.”

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