4 questions with Stanford Health Care's revenue cycle leader

Jill Buathier serves as vice president and health system chief revenue cycle officer at Palo Alto, Calif.-based Stanford Health Care.

Prior to joining Stanford Health Care, she was associate vice president of revenue cycle at University of Toledo (Ohio) Medical Center.

Given her experience, she is familiar with the revenue cycle challenges health systems face today.

Ms. Buathier recently answered questions from Becker's Hospital Review about these challenges and one of her goals for next year.

Note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity. 

Question: What's your favorite part about being a revenue cycle leader of a healthcare system?

Jill Buathier: It's a very rewarding role as a health system chief revenue cycle officer being that one has to respond quickly to changes in the market whether that means reimbursement changing, new leadership coming in or new technology. I work with an amazing team, world renown faculty and have a strong partnership with my clinical colleagues. But I think what it also boils down to is having the ability to support the patient care mission, participate in perfecting the patient financial experience and greatly contributing to the financial health of the institution.

Also, in this role there is the ability to elevate the importance of the revenue cycle throughout the health system.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you're facing as revenue cycle leader?

JB: I would say right now reducing the revenue cycle cost structure is definitely a challenge. To achieve this, we are looking at varied opportunities. For example, how we may enhance technology, optimize performance, accelerate improvements, because at the end of the day with reducing or improving our cost structures we really want to deliver the most value to the organization, our patients and the community.

Q: What is one of your goals for 2018?

JB:
A revenue cycle consolidation among three entities — Pleasanton, Calif.-based Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare, Stanford Health Care and University HealthCare Alliance, the medical foundation of Stanford Health Care and Stanford Medicine. We definitely want to achieve that single voice for the revenue cycle organization, standardizing processes and systems, and transform revenue cycle from an operational process into a strategic asset that improves the patient financial experience and mitigates reimbursement risk. So where we're at right now is we have one separate revenue cycle organization for each entity. Each is operating independently with its own management team and infrastructure. This resulted in variation, duplication and redundancies leading to inconsistent patient financial experience, various onboarding and training plans, repetitive and/or inefficient processes, different IT solutions and third-party vendors and various rates negotiated for third-party vendors and outsourcing. The goal is to complete the consolidation by Jan. 8, 2018.

Q: Stanford Health Care has a MyHealth app. How has this app evolved? How has it impacted the revenue cycle?

JB: With that technology on the MyHealth app our patients are able to have online scheduling, pay their copays and update insurance information. Also, what is very innovative in terms of the patient financial experience through the MyHealth app is an e-arrival pilot in the Neuroscience Health Center, which is an ambulatory care setting. Based upon key parameters, instead of going to check in at the front desk, MyHealth account holders can walk into a building and get checked in through e-arrival. They can go directly to their clinic location without having to stop at the front check-in desk. From a patient satisfier perspective, I think it's terrific.

 

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