Portrait of a Partnership: How Nobility Supports an FQHC
Kerry Hamilton, CMO, Nobility RCM
A Nebraska-based Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) has been partnering with Nobility’s division in the Cornhusker State since 2007 for its revenue cycle management (RCM) needs. The partnership remains robust and successful, with such outstanding performance that the FQHC consistently scores 94% or better on the OCHIN Revenue Cycle Scorecard. An exceptional outcome like this is a direct result of a partnership where all stakeholders are jointly committed to performance, transparency and communication.
Taking a “deep dive” to assess the success of this partnership reveals a strategic approach that could be replicated by other FQHCs across the nation.
First, in evaluating the structure of the partnership, one foundational element is the involvement and engagement of senior officials from all organizations. The management of the partnership is held at the C-suite level of the FQHC, and those leaders identify key team members to handle day-to-day responsibilities. Commensurately, FQHC leaders have a direct line to the leadership team of the Nebraska RCM division, so decisions can be made both thoughtfully and efficiently without bureaucratic layers.
The FQHC and Nobility’s Nebraska division also value learning from and implementing best practices shared by fellow FQHCs across the nation. In the spirit of collaboration, the FQHC brings its CFO and billing managers together for monthly meetings with like organizations. Regular themes that emerge from those meetings include a high priority on keeping costs low; the importance of having knowledge and understanding of NextGen and Epic, the two most widely utilized practice management softwares among FQHCs; and how UDS reporting must go hand-in-hand with all management activities. The FQHC then shares these findings with Nobility, so the two organizations can identify ways to continuously improve.
Every FQHC handles the patient’s financial obligation for care in different ways. This Nebraska-based FQHC attempts to collect a fee from the patient at time of visit and then follows up with four statements, which is facilitated by Nobility as part of a larger suite of solutions provided to the FQHC. If the amount is still unpaid, it is written off as bad debt. Conversely, other FQHCs will focus heavily on patient self-pay, utilizing more traditional systems to collect from patients. The Nebraska FQHC has found that much can be accomplished through a minor modification in words. Shifting the question from “Can you pay today?” to “How much would you like to pay today?” has resulted in much stronger receivables and less write-offs.
FQHCs can be plagued with claims resubmission issues, which can be mitigated by the right RCM partner. The Nebraska FQHC has discovered the best way to reduce errors and avoid the perils of resubmission is to work in lockstep with Nobility and utilize a reputable and proven clearinghouse, both of which give the FQHC the confidence that claims are being worked at an appropriate pace and with accuracy.
The most successful FQHC will be fully briefed on industry trends and the FQHC’s RCM partner will be an advocate, an educator and a communicator. The FQHC should never wonder what is happening with its RCM, but only a partner who is transparent and abides by specific metrics and KPIs can improve the financial performance of the FQHC. These are the hallmarks of the relationship between Nobility and its FQHC client in Nebraska, as evidenced by these remarks from one of the FQHC’s top officials:
“Why do I believe Nobility is the best RCM solution for our FQHC? It’s all about performance. We consistently score 94% or better on the OCHIN Revenue Cycle Scorecard. Our front desk errors are regularly at zero. With our payer mix, an integrated self-pay solution is critical and Nobility fulfills that need. Our highest priority is managing costs, and the efficiencies we gain with Nobility help us meet that objective.”