• July 20, 2019

Cerner to manage MCHS revenue cycle operations - Odessa American: Ector County Hospital District

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Cerner to manage MCHS revenue cycle operations

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Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2019 4:32 pm

Ector County Hospital District board members approved a new agreement with Cerner in which the company will take over Medical Center Hospital’s revenue cycle operations.

The agreement is similar to one approved about a year ago in which Cerner ITWorks took over MCHS’s Information Technology department.

“This collaboration will facilitate the optimization of our revenue cycle and billing functions going forward and fits in with the goal of system wide quality improvement,” Robert Abernethy, MCHS President and CEO, said in a prepared statement. “The coordination between MCHS and Cerner RevWorks and ITWorks will assist in reducing billing and collection issues that we have experienced in the past.”

The health system has struggled with billing issues and recovering revenue since implementing Cerner’s new medical record-keeping system, which was a required conversion in order to meet federal regulations with record keeping.

Newly-elected District 6 board member Wallace Dunn said he has experienced issues himself regarding a bill from the hospital, which had taken him several days to clear up. Dunn said this partnership with Cerner “will help a lot.”

“I actually talked to Robert (Abernethy) when I was still campaigning and he said they’d been looking at it for some time now and that they should’ve done it sooner, but they wanted to make sure they did their due diligence.”

Cerner will assume responsibility for Medical Center Health System’s revenue cycle operations on Sept. 8. Key revenue cycle managers within MCHS will have the opportunity to work directly with Cerner, an MCHS press release stated.

This transition will be much smaller compared to the IT department’s, said MCHS Director of Public Relations Trevor Tankersley. There were about 45 employees in the IT department who were offered a job with Cerner ITWorks about a year ago.

“This is only four people,” Tankersley said, adding that it is only four managers that will be “rebadged” and the rest of the business staff will remain MCHS employees and everyone is staying local.

Similar to the IT department transition, the health system is also expecting a cost savings with the revenue cycle operation transition, Tankersley said, adding he was unsure of the exact amount of savings.

“The health care industry and the way entities are paid for providing patient care continues to change at a rapid pace,” the release stated. “These changes are challenging MCHS to think differently and implement new strategies designed to help the health system continue to provide quality care to the community, while also improving the overall financial health of the organization.”

TRAUMA RESOLUTION

The board also approved a trauma resolution of support stating they would support the trauma program at MCH attaining/maintaining Level II Trauma verification and designation. MCHS will be downgraded to a Level III trauma center on Aug. 1 due to a survey by the American College of Surgeons in August 2018, a previous MCHS news release stated.

“They found deficiencies within the trauma department, mainly regarding backup physician specialty call coverage,” the release stated.

The hospital is expecting the Level II designation to be restored about six weeks after their newest survey is conducted Aug. 9, the release detailed.

Dunn said the resolution of support approved during their meeting basically is just stating that the board will support staffing to get the right people in the right places because the change in the designation was all due to staffing issues.

Former MCHS President and CEO Rick Napper had previously discussed trying to get a Level I Trauma Center designation, along with constructing a new trauma center.

Dunn said it seems like the consensus on the board is “that’s what we need to do, that’s what we want to do and I think that’s what the community needs right now,” but they just need to make sure they’re good where they’re at before trying to move forward.

Odessa, TX

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