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A preview of HFMA ANI 2017 [PODCAST]

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In this episode, Jonathan Besler, CEO of BESLER, discusses the trends and issues that will dominate the discussion at this year’s HFMA ANI meeting in Orlando.
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Mike Passanante: Hi, this is Mike Passanante. And welcome back to the Hospital Finance Podcast.

Today, I’m joined by Besler’s President and CEO, Jonathan Besler, who is here to talk with us about the upcoming HFMA ANI meeting in Orlando. Jon, welcome to the podcast.

Jonathan Besler: Mike, thank you very much for having me. I appreciate this pre-ANI opportunity to speak to our esteemed colleagues and guests. And this time in between Memorial Day and Fourth of July, most people are thinking about vacations and all the fun they’re going to have over the summer which is great. And fortunately, or unfortunately, at Besler, we’re thinking about work and thinking about continuing to deliver great content to our clients.

So again, thank you very much for having me.

Mike: It’s certainly a big time of year. And it’s a big conference for us we always enjoy going and touching base with our friends and colleagues there at the meeting. And this year is no different.

And of course, this year, there is something that is different. It’s sort of the changing landscape of healthcare again.

Jonathan: As always.

Mike: We’re seeing new legislation coming by. We’re seeing programs getting moved and shifted and delayed. And I think everyone’s trying to figure out which way is up and where to go next. So we’ll talk a little bit about that.

Jonathan: And even the administration I think feels the same way, both from the top-down, as well as all the executives that have to implement whatever these changes are going to be.

Mike: Right, how do you get it done. So, just to kick us off and in that vein, what are some of the topics you think will resonate the most at this year’s conference?

Jonathan: I think providers continue to struggle with just the overall complexity of the system that we have. Whether it’s the new system or the old system, it’s been complex for a really, really long time. All the reimbursement and regulatory issues, they are coming at us non-stop. And so it continues to be a challenge.

And some of those sessions tend to be “dry” when you think about it because they are heavily regulatory-based. But they can also be the most valuable. They can also be the most interesting because you can really glean a lot of very tactical information from it.

So, if you’re not thinking about the beach while you’re sitting there, which is sometimes difficult, you can really get a lot of good information to bring back to your group. They offer a lot of great information on the value-based reimbursement. And that, I think, is one of the hardest things to figure out. We’ve been under this system for so long, and now we’re moving to value. What does that mean for people? And again, I think it’s just an overall challenge to figure out.

So, I think those types of sessions are going to be well-attended.

Again, as a finance professional, I think it’s tremendously difficult to budget for this new landscape, to budget for value because those initiatives take so long. You can’t do something today and hopefully you get paid on it tomorrow. They just take a lot longer to evolve and get used to.

So, essentially, you’re making bets on future outcomes. Selecting the right bet to place is a challenge. And you’ve got to fund those, and you’ve got to capitalize those, and importantly, you’ve got to operationalize those initiatives today.

When we see that the providers that are getting it “right” today from a value perspective, they started making these operational changes and investments years ago.

But again, it’s never too late to start. But to get to that point is also very challenging to pick and choose where are you going to spend your resources, where are you going to spend your energy. But you have to start somewhere.

And so, hopefully, with those sessions, we’ll see a lot of good information.

Mike: I’m sure by now you’ve had a chance to look over the program schedule. And I’m wondering what is the one must-attend session for you that you see on that schedule.

Jonathan: Sure! So, when the schedule comes out, I immediately start planning what my conference is going to look like obviously with the sessions as well as the booth time and everything else, trying to maximize that 3-day range that we all have together. And so I immediately go in, I circle some things.

I think the keynote presentations are always really interesting because, obviously, they’re a little bit more high level than some of the sessions I just talked about. But the range of topics that the keynotes talk about, I find, are interesting. And they also help reframe things from a larger perspective.

Oftentimes, we get so far into the weeds on areas that are important to us. We’re putting out that fire today. But the keynotes give us a chance to sort of step back and say, “Okay, where do I want to be next year or the year after?” and start to really develop that plan.

Specifically, I think Steve Pemberton’s keynote session topic looks really interesting to me. Obviously, the title is sort of ubiquitous, but we’re in healthcare and we’re always dealing with change. And between us, I think change is just a nice way of saying “adversity” which is his topic.

But with those changes, I think, come opportunity. And as healthcare professionals, that’s what makes our roles most interesting. And some of the specific sessions that I’m looking forward to, like I had mentioned, the very tactical ones.

I always try to walk away or write down three things from each session that I either didn’t know before, or maybe I knew and had forgotten to research. So I try to write those down, so I can bring them back to the office, and dive into them a little bit more.

And with all the good information that HFMA puts together—they do an excellent job of selecting the topics and selecting subject matter experts—I think one of the key tricks in going to the ANI is being able to retain and walk away with something, and then operationalize it down the road.

Mike: So, let’s turn to what Besler is going to be doing at the event. And we’re pretty excited this year because we have a new offering that’s coming out around revenue integrity. I was hoping you could tell our audience a little bit about what they can expect there.

Jonathan: Sure! Absolutely. And this is something that, obviously, we’re very, very interested in here at Besler. I’m excited to give it its official launch at ANI.

We’ve seen in working with our clients that most hospitals continue to be under pressure to do more with less—shrinking budgets, declining reimbursement, the increased level of auditing that comes from both the private and governmental payers.

And then, obviously, changes. We have to change personnel from time to time. We might lose a talented individual to retirement or a move or whatever personal decisions that they make. And so we’ve developed a new option to help our hospital clients improve their revenue and cashflow while placing minimal demands on the existing staff.

And our services aren’t designed to replace or displace a current revenue integrity function, but rather enhance it. And so we want to do that through combining our cutting-edge technology (which we’ve developed with the expertise of our seasoned coding team) to uncover any hidden revenue opportunities, and then transform those revenue opportunities into dollars.

And our proprietary technology will utilize all of that logic, flag the claims have been improperly paid, and then allow our coding team to then research those suspected claims, and re-bill the confirmed underpayments, all within the confines of allowing our clients to stay in control of the entire process.

We have on-demand dashboards that will provide any real time information about the recovery efforts. Our clients can either approve or deny any of the suggestions that we make. And if they like to click into either bucket, that’s fine.

And so, again, whether a hospital has an existing revenue integrity team that wants to recover more revenue, or no revenue integrity team and utilize our existing service team, we can help our hospitals capture those additional dollars that continue to go uncollected.

And again, in listening to our clients, we’ve heard that implementation can be a barrier to making a decision. And so this tool is designed to be a web-based product with no implementation.

Mike: That’s excellent! And we’re looking forward to that. I know we’ve been talking about it for a while internally, and certainly hinting at it here on the program. But I think this will be something new for the market because it truly is a turnkey service.

It’s not a piece of software they have to learn. It’s not something that takes a long time to get into your system and then try to implement, something that can be online very quickly and be returning revenue just as fast.

Jonathan:  That’s exactly right, Mike. Again, in listening to our clients, we understand that they’re challenged with their own job, their own function, their own responsibilities. And so what better way to use our existing service team, the technology that we’ve developed, to help enhance what they’re already doing, as opposed to, “Hey, we need to take a week of your time for implementation and quarterly trainings” and so on and so forth.

We understand, hospitals, I’ve mentioned before, are constrained. And I think time is our most precious resource. And certainly, we don’t want to take up a lot of our client’s time in helping them get the money that they truly deserve.

Mike: And we can talk more with anyone who would like to understand more about that offering at our booth. And we’ll give you those details in just a second.

But Jon, what else can people at HFMA ANI either on the exhibit floor if they run into us at the show, what can they expect to hear from us?

Jonathan: Sure! We continue to get great feedback from our clients with our existing service team. So we’re surpassing our clients’ expectations with revenue recovery efforts in the Transfer DRG space as well as the indirect medical education shadow billing space.

And for any providers who are either looking to launch an initiative such as that or considering a second look into any of those, I would encourage them to stop by our booth. We can provide a real-time opportunity. Bring your provider number, your provider name, and we can look it up. And you can walk away with a high level estimate for what we think the revenue recovery opportunity would look like there.

And in addition to that, our reimbursement and cost report teams have been actively working with our clients on some of the changes with DSH and S10 as well as wage index, cost report reviews and transplant concerns, which continue to be—again, some of these issues aren’t necessarily new, but we’re challenged with the continual changes to the regulations to keep them not only top of mind but also running optimally.

And then, lastly, our merging payment model team has been working with some of our clients on areas to improve reporting and operational changes to minimize the financial impact of the new bundled payment calculations, and certainly make the changes needed to improve patient outcomes.

If any of these areas are affecting your hospital, please do stop by. Chat with any one of our team members or just pick up some information. And even if you just want to stop by for a giveaway, just say hi. We’d love to see you.

Mike: Of course, we will be on the exhibit floor. So Jon, can you remind everyone where we’ll be?

Jonathan: Sure thing! We are at booth 1514. And again, if you see any of us in the sessions, stop by, say hello, ask a question. We’re always happy to help.

Mike: Well, we’re looking forward to some sunny days coming up in Orlando in late June. And Jon, I will be there, you will be there, so will several other members of the Besler team. And for those of you in our audience, we hope to see you there.

Jonathan: Thanks a lot, Mike.

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