MAKING CHANGE Consultants Help Health Care Providers to Think Outside of the (Cash) Box

Neptune, NJ (PRWEB) March 11, 2006

A hospital administrator closes the books after a long day to look for ways to cut costs and save the health system from a few dollars. After hours of watching a jumble of numbers, it is yet to come short.

s? time, she decided to bring the experts.

scenario reflects a new attitude toward working with consultants that forms in the health care industry, partly due to the enlargement of the scope of services in the field of health care consulting, particularly in the field of finance.


Called

expenditure management companies, these companies out into the health care facilities to act as, essentially, a new pair of eyes that will look at all the form of a hospital? s daily operations of its financial ledger and billing practices. The ultimate goal is to save health care providers money through a variety of mechanisms, and the practice of using outside firms to improve the facility? Financial situation is becoming a widely used and accepted.

Locally, many health care providers have recognized the potential benefits of such relationships.

? There is definitely less spontaneous use outside companies health care than ever before? said Vince McCorkle, President and CEO of the Sisters of Providence Health System. ? It s? Very accepted and can be very useful. There is a very broad spectrum to work with in terms of what can be improved within a health system? there? s billing, staffing, coding? sometimes we just need validation that we are in fact successful in a particular field.

? hospitals, community hospitals in particular, often need to find better price? she said. ? We? Found that small hospitals are also those who pay more money. In all cases, we try to examine areas that get overlooked.

Lisa Miller-LIFE HEALTH CEO

management fees companies work in different ways and to specialize in different areas, some work in a number of industries, others work only with suppliers of health care. McCorkle said he looks at the business as an additional resource for the health care system that can help navigate the turbulent waters of increasing funding for health care.

? We? have worked extensively with outside companies to assist in various parts of our system? he said. ? And it is not always the same company, different companies have expertise in various fields. Since they are experts in a very specific area, it s? Atypical that they won? T find anything.?

is a boon to health care providers, who often find that the operating systems within their own facilities to be so varied and complex, that external assistance is necessary to better improve practices.

? Some areas are so specialized that just isn t house expertise he? said Dennis Chalke, vice president for operations of health care financing and health at Baystate Medical Center. ? Outside firms know these areas inside and outside, and that s? How they help you.

Some companies, such as group based in Florida, Hunter, works primarily with organizations that need a major turnaround, said Chalke. Others, such as the management of health care to the Council of Needham, Massachusetts, using a detailed process to analyze expenses and reformat an organization? S entire book, and also provide comparisons and networking opportunities with other providers, so different facilities can exchange best practices.

Chalke added that there was no shortage of consulting firms available to providers of health care? He said there is definitely a niche for such companies in the field of health care, and companies are capitalizing on this.

? Some gift? t get paid unless they find ways to save money for customers? Chalke said, and is adding to the visibility of these companies and providers of health care? faith in them.

Twenty-five years, McCorkle said hiring a consultant? evoked drastic cuts in staff and arbitrary subtraction of operating costs. For years, in many organizations, this stereotype has stuck. Now, with the good faith business practices such as collecting payment only after a series of objectives have been agreed with a provider of health care (and subsequently completed) and more creative methods, companies care counseling are seen in a much nicer light.

? We used to think slash and burn stuff,? he said. ? However, these companies seem more concerned about the continuous improvement of quality.

? CEOs do not know what type of floor cleaner costs less than others. The maintenance staff knows. When they get a chance to share this benefits everyone.

Lisa Miller-LIFE HEALTH CEO

such firm, VIE Healthcare based in Neptune City, NJ, works with hospitals, nursing homes, institutions for long-term care, and physician practices to streamline operations and, especially, to create savings for all customers. To do this, LIFE employs a number of methods to analyze the cost of an entire installation? S purchases, whether a set of suture or a security system, to facilitate the work of employees of stores that attract the attention of each staff member.

LIFE was to work with health care providers for seven years, with Lisa Miller of the company? President and founder at the helm. Miller, who has worked in healthcare for over a decade, said his company was born from the increasing opportunities she saw for health care providers to be more profitable.

? hospitals, community hospitals in particular, often need to find better price? she said. ? We? Found that small hospitals are also those who pay more money. In all cases, we try to examine areas that get overlooked.

Miller agreed with McCorkle that the face of the financial consulting business is changing rapidly. She said there was a time when the cost of business management has entered a hospital, opened the books, gave them a hard look, and hospital administrators submitted a binder with some suggestions that may or may not be implemented. She said LIFE tried to get as far away as possible from this model, in part to erase the stigma former consultant, but also because Miller and colleagues found that working more cohesively with an organization produces better results .


Miller said

LIFE implements a number of programs for providers of health care, and works with each client individually. ? Each hospital is different: we can stay for six months or longer. Some of our customers do not want us to leave? We try to provide the proper amount of holding hands.

She added that creative ways are always exhausted before VIE suggests more traditional cuts for a supplier? s finances.

? I? would say that 90% of our methods are creative by nature? said Miller. ? Finally, we have to drill down and reduce the cost of a point, but we do not want to hurt the quality. We focus on improving long-term process.

VIE facilitates, for example? reverse auctions? Online? Miller said the firm invited several vendors to display different items on a secure website, and providers of health care, and then bid on surgical, office and maintenance supplies within three days. The difference between an auction online regularly, however, is that the price n? T up? it goes down. When the auction closes, the lowest bidders on each lot of supplies with them on foot.

? It s? No wonder you? T see more of this? said Miller. ? Reverse auctions really show you how you can save. We hope to be a leader in this field.

LIFE also holds EXCITE (Excellence in creative ideas within a team environment) workshops with staff supplier, to get them to think about what they would do to save a few dollars if they were the CEO .

Miller is especially proud of these workshops. She calls an example of process improvement, and said they usually are the most revealing aspect of the overall cost shaving process.

? We get both innovation and the contribution of these employees? she said, adding that the workshops were part of LIFE? s repertoire for two years and one of these workshops usually generates between 50 and 100 staff new ideas. ? By-products of these workshops are an increased focus on teamwork and morale. They really become part of the process, usually within 30 days we? Re to see savings.

Member? Staff know what works with their particular job,? Miller continued. ? CEOs do not know what type of floor cleaner costs less than others. The maintenance staff knows. When they get a chance to share this benefits everyone.

LIFE also keeps an eye on trends among their clients to discuss common areas of savings as one of the first steps in the consultation process. Miller said she still sees opportunities for savings in telecommunications, adding that Telecom is also one of the most neglected areas in hospitals. Utilities are also an important area for savings is that the navigation, and recommends the standardization of basic elements in medicine? From Band-Aids to bed sheets? to curb unnecessary spending.


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Overall, the process of using consulting firms to streamline costs and operations seems to be transformed into a much more collaborative effort than ever, and the two spend management companies and care providers health sector who work with them benefit from the relationship, especially in a time when many hospitals in Massachusetts are operating in the red.

? We use these firms to help us, and we will continue to use it when necessary? McCorkle said. ? In the past they have helped us to approach different processes in new ways, and gave us tools to make the various aspects of the functioning of the health system better. And we always learn something.

Want to discover how to VIE Healthcare powerful strategies to reduce expenses to work for your organization? A brief conversation is all you need to assess how easy it is LIFE health can improve cost efficiency throughout your organization.

(888) 484-3332

http://www.viehealthcare.com


Email: info@viehealthcare.com

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