RCM leaders to know: Ron Wachsman, Chief Revenue Officer at Memorial Hermann Health System
As the healthcare industry is charged with redefining financial responsibility in episodes of care, progressive thought leaders and administrators in the revenue cycle space are increasingly vital in helping hospitals maintain fiscal footing.
Becker's Hospital Review's RCM Leaders to Know series aims to highlight those revenue cycle leaders working to bridge the gaps between volume, value and efficiency in healthcare reimbursement. Ron Wachsman, Chief Revenue Officer with Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, spoke with Becker's Hospital Review about how his role as CRO has uniquely positioned him to take on the patient financial experience.
Mr. Wachsman and Simplee's John Adractas will be presenting and discussing their recent work on transforming the patient financial experience this year at HIMSS in Las Vegas, Feb. 29-March 4.
Question: What has been your prior experience in revenue management leading up to your current role with Memorial Hermann?
Ron Wachsman: I had a 30-year career with ProMedica Health System in Toledo, Ohio. My primary focus centered on all areas related to revenue and that included oversight of the revenue cycle. While at ProMedica, I chaired the Ohio Hospital Association finance committee and was a member of the Healthcare Roundtable group. My background is finance. I have an undergraduate degree in accounting, and an MBA in finance.
My previous experience with a large integrated delivery system positioned me to accept the opportunity at Memorial Hermann, which has a similar structure [to ProMedica] but on a much larger scale, spanning 13 hospitals, 24,000 employees, and 5,500 affiliated physicians and including both an ACO and a health plan.
Q: What are the differences in responsibility between a chief revenue officer and a director of revenue cycle in a hospital system?
RW: As CRO, I have oversight of the revenue cycle as well as all other revenue related processes within the system. Revenue cycle involves those departments and processes related to billing, collections, cash posting, registration, scheduling and charging, among others. In addition to these areas, [as CRO] I also have oversight of all managed care operations, payer relationships, government reimbursement, chargemaster operations, charging practices and regulatory analysis for the hospital as well as the physician side of the system.
I've seen the title of CRO being used more often in large healthcare systems. There's a lot of synergy to incorporating in one division all aspects of revenue cycle as well as other revenue areas. There is a lot of value to connecting those areas within one division, under one leader. For instance, health systems may benefit from housing areas that overlap between revenue cycle and revenue processes, such as managed care contracting, within a singular division.
Q: As CRO, what is one area you plan to focus on and look to changing at Memorial Hermann within the coming year?
RW: We are really working to nail down the patient-centric financial experience for patients who come to Memorial Hermann. In continuing our relationship with Simplee – a strategic partner of Memorial Hermann – we are looking to reduce the level of confusion for the patient throughout the billing process. With an eye toward innovation, we would like to increase the amount of flexibility patients have in the financial experience. For instance, giving them the ability to opt out of paper statements, resolve all of their bills online and accomplish a variety of tasks within a single patient portal.
We also want to resolve one of the most confusing financial areas for patients — which is multiple billing statements. Our goal is to provide patients with a consolidated digital statement that includes both the itemized hospital statement as well as all individual physician statements within one convenient portal.
If you would like to submit a candidate for Becker's "RCM leaders to know" series, please forward revenue cycle nominations to Brooke Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
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