Benefits of provider, payer partnerships, per Cooper University Health Care's Christopher Ault

Christopher Ault serves as chief revenue officer at Cooper University Health Care. 

Mr. Ault will be on panel "Innovation in the Revenue Cycle: What to Know for the Next 5 Years" at Becker's 7th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle, which will take place in Chicago from Oct. 4-7.

To learn more about the conference and Mr. Ault's session, click here.

Question: What are your top priorities today?

Mr. Ault: Staffing, creating a competitive landscape to recruit and retain talent. In today’s world, that means being able to offer a variety of work environments and streamlined workflows to avoid burnout.

Transparency: how do we compete in patient financial experience? Revenue cycle functions need to be equipped to adequately support other competitive offerings of the health system… access to care, quality, etc.

Q: How are you thinking about growth in the next two years?

CA: How do we scale our training and education function in a way that allows us to support organizational growth in an efficient way throughout revenue cycle areas? In other words, how do we affect historical provider/staff ratios without seeing deterioration in quality results?

Q: Where is the best opportunity to disrupt traditional healthcare today?

CA: Development of a true, financially unaffiliated, provider/payer partnerships that provide accurate forecasts on yield to the provider (no denials) and reliable utilization guardrails to payers and their members. The only spaces we see this in today are in provider-owned plans. It would be great to see an unaffiliated arrangement come together to write the playbook for the future. Maybe this is occurring outside of our region, but I haven’t seen it. 

While it is true that the consumer approach to healthcare is closer to traditional retail than ever, it is still miles away because of the underlying financial uncertainty for the payer and provider. As we continue to develop more mutually agreeable data sets and share that information in real time, those challenges become easier to solve.

Q: What are you most excited about for the future?

CA: I think we are just scratching the surface of how creative and consumer-friendly healthcare can be. Despite unprecedented attention, regulation and investment into price transparency and a consumer-friendly financial model, healthcare is a wildly consumer-unfriendly process for most patients. Regardless of how slick your intake process, there is typically a limit to how far a consumer can get on their own into the financial process. As long as there is still an underlying sea of red-tape, pre-authorization requirements, varying medical necessity guidelines and administrative burden, that will be the case. 

I am excited to watch those barriers slowly disappear over time. As I mentioned above, we are still miles away, but closer than we’ve ever been to a truly consumer-driven model.

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