Editor’s Note: In each edition of Cycle Up , we hear from a key leader within Meduit to gain insights from top national revenue cycle thought leaders in the industry. In this edition, we sat down with Eric Coats, National Director of Bad Debt Process for Meduit.
Eric began his career in investment banking and followed up by starting his own business which he sold after several years. He was looking for another challenge when personal tragedy changed his life and led him to revenue cycle management where he has worked since 2011.
Q&A with Eric
Q: How did you begin working in revenue cycle management?
A: My daughter was killed in a car accident, and a few months later I received a call from a debt collector for a dental bill I did not know she had. It was not an enjoyable call, and it struck me as not professional. The call came from URS which had an office in the town where we lived.
The very next day, I went down to URS and applied for a job. I don’t know if my being upset over the tone of the phone call was the best reason to go after a job, but I got it and ended up managing a division. I had an amazing mentor at URS. I worked with analytics and quality assurance, and found a niche creating groups that were very customer-centric while still being efficient.
When I took the job, I didn’t really intend to stay, but I found that I really enjoy the people, the challenges, handling stressful situations the right way, and getting results while positively impacting the culture of how we interacted with people on the other end of the call.
Q: How did you come to work for Meduit?
A: My mentor at URS, Gerald Cap, went to work for RMP, which became part of Meduit in 2017. Gerald called me a year and a half after joining RMP saying that I needed to come work there. I’d just been promoted and gotten a raise so I was hesitant, but he said I needed to come see him because the people, their customer focus, their drive to do the right thing, made RMP the perfect company for me. So, I worked out a resignation plan with my boss and joined RMP.
Q: What is the biggest revenue cycle issue that hospitals and physician practices face?
A: The short answer is resources. We’re seeing tighter budgets and slimmer margins everywhere in healthcare, resulting in physicians being pulled into administrative areas and away from patient care. We also see higher copays that put more financial pressure on patients. We want to handle revenue cycle solutions so doctors can be doctors and focus on patients. That’s what they went to medical school for and what they do best.
Q: What are the benefits to having a robust revenue cycle process in place?
A: You don’t have a cardiologist working on orthopedic patients, and there’s a reason you don’t. As revenue cycle specialists, we supply a revenue cycle expertise that allows doctors to do what they do best. We handle issues and challenges so hospitals can have the revenue to buy the new MRI machine that they need. We do it in a way that is transparent and consistent. We ensure that there are no gaps in revenue.
A strong revenue cycle process allows hospitals and physician groups to provide the very best care without shifting their attention to administrative areas. We do it more efficiently by utilizing technology and a methodology to recover more money faster. Because hospitals and physician groups don’t have the expertise that we bring to the table, it will take them longer to do the same job.
We can get money that was coming ninety days down the road to the hospital or practice on their books in fifteen days. We see ourselves as part of the patient care process, serving a very specific service so doctors can provide patient care. Without us, patient care suffers.
Q: As National Director of Bad Debt Process, what changes have you made at Meduit that drive value to the company and customers?
A: Our entire team is focused on being more efficient as healthcare dollars continue to shrink. In earlier days, we had one tool – the telephone – and we just called the patient more often, but that negatively impacted patient dissatisfaction.
I have a great team that creates dramatic revenue gains by identifying and pushing our processes and efficiencies. We’ve looked at everything we do and every technology that we use to ensure that they are efficient, productive and generate returns to the hospital. For instance, we’ve improved our dialing patterns using technology to make automated calls. We’ve also expanded our services to include embedding one of our people at the hospital front desk taking patient information to make sure that it is accurate, speeding the process for hospitals.
Q: Could you share a client success story?
A: We have a large hospital client that was experiencing 13% denial rates. They called us for help, and by embedding one of our people in the front-facing role, we’ve improved their process by calling the patient before they come in to collect the copay, assisting with registration at the front desk, making sure the patient’s insurance is filed and authorized, and then following up to make sure that insurance gets paid. Our goal is to shorten the revenue cycle. The hospital found that one of our experts was able to complete the tasks that typically took two or three hospital employees to accomplish. We were able to do the job much more efficiently and reduced their denial rate to 3%.
We have another very large hospital that was part of a hospital system that struggled with bad debt collections for years. They approached us because of a conversation they’d had with one of our other hospital clients. In a very short period of time, we almost tripled the hospital’s liquidation rate. We collected more money, faster. Now that single hospital has rolled into a major contract that includes forty to fifty hospitals across their system.
At Meduit, we really work as a partner, much like a mom and pop company even though we have a large footprint and comprehensive services. Being part of a team and a trusted partner rather than a vendor adds tremendous value for our clients.