A Maine hospital's accounts receivables (AR) benefit from interim staffer

The Challenge

When hospitals and health care facilities are faced with staffing changes in patient accounting, they need to find effective management solutions to prevent any disruption to their billing systems. For Mike Hachey, CFO of Mercy Health System, using an interim manager from the Nielsen Healthcare Group (NHG) provided that solution as well as helped his bottom line.

The Situation

Mercy Health System of Maine, a 230 bed hospital located in the greater Portland area, recently completed an overhaul of its Medicare procedures to comply with new state regulations. At the same time, turnover and promotion from within created an opening for the key position of Manager of Patient Accounts. "We were looking for a candidate that not only had solid experience in Patient Accounts but also had a strong IT background," said Mike. "We needed someone that could not only keep everything running smoothly in the interim but could also help develop long term strategies."

The Solution

Mike contacted NHG for an interim staffing solution to his problem. He had used NHG in the past with previous success. A pioneer in the field, NHG is the leading provider of interim health care managers and executives. NHG has a network of over 10,000 veteran health care professionals, helping members fill temporary vacancies, reduce costs, increase effectiveness, and enhance quality control.

NHG can normally present candidates to a hospital within days of the request. "Nielsen was very responsive and was quick to provide several strong candidates," said Mike. Mike quickly selected Kathy K. from the several candidates NHG provided. "Kathy had the IT experience and also knew what a smooth running AR department was supposed to look like. And she had past work experience in Maine, which was another plus. She was a good fit."

Due in no small part to the recent changes in Medicare, the patient accounts department needed streamlining. "There was a lot of re-work going on in the department," Mike explained. "Kathy assessed needs and identified gaps in both policies and procedures. She then implemented action plans and IT tools which allowed claims to be processed more quickly."

Kathy's procedures improved claims processing and increased MHS's gross daily revenues.

The Outcome

Kathy remains in her interim position at MHS. Mike has extended her contract and discussed a possible full time opportunity. "The candidates NHG has provided us are always very strong and consistent," Mike says. "With Kathy, she knew what needed to be done and worked well with a good team already in place to develop both short term and long term solutions; making the department more efficient."

NHG specializes in providing solutions for individuals, like Mike Hachey, to help them fulfill their interim staffing needs. The agency's fee is a small percentage of the interim's compensation. In some cases, interim placements can even become full time employees. An interim solution allows both parties to try out a situation and explore a regular/full time possibility.

Interim managers from NHG can:

  • help bring a new service/project online
  • mentor in-house candidate for promotion
  • provide consulting expertise in a hands on manager
  • head the restructuring or merger of departments, divisions or facilities;
  • provide support for a short-term need such as preparation for JCAHO.
Thanks to a contractual agreement between Maine Hospital Association's shared service affiliate Associated Health Resources and NHG, members are eligible for a 8 percent discount on this service. For additional information, contact Bruce Nielsen, President or Susan Silver, Executive Vice President at the Nielsen Healthcare Group; email: nhcg@primary.net or call toll free: 800.581.8901. When calling, please reference you are a MHA member.