Presence CEO says poor collections to blame for $186M operating loss

Chicago-based Presence Health has posted an operating loss of about $186 million in 2015, nearly 15 times the amount reported in the previous year, reports Crain's Chicago Business.

In 2014, Presence reported a $12.7 million operating loss on $2.58 billion in revenue. Overall revenue fell 2 percent in 2015, to $2.52 billion.

In December, Presence disclosed to bondholders that it would write off $53 million of its accounts receivable for patient bills that went uncollected, according to Chicago Tribune.

Presence CEO Michael Englehart, who joined the system last October, has attributed almost half of the system's financial losses to an inadequate collections system, which forced the hospital to write off some bills for being to old to collect on.

To get the health system back on track, Mr. Englehart has enlisted hospital consultants to reform system billing processes, update RCM technology and optimize medical coding and collections.

Mr. Englehart has also brought on former colleagues from Chicago-based Advocate Health Care to fill executive roles with Presence, in a move to shake-up company strategy.

Dana Gilbert, formerly COO at Advocate Physician Partners, is serving as chief strategy and population health officer at Presence. Ann Errichetti, MD, former CEO of Advocate Condell Medical Center is Libertyville, Ill., will join Presence as COO and chief academic officer this May.

"We are fixing, we are rebuilding and we will grow," Mr. Englehart told Crain's. "This is really about execution and becoming a more conservative organization."

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