Ensemble Health Partners: Driving Revenue Cycle Innovation
In this Business Profile, Judson Ivy, founder and CEO of Ensemble Health Partners, discusses the value of revenue cycle outsourcing and the importance of selecting the right partner.
How do you help healthcare organizations?
Ensemble Health Partners provides end-to-end revenue cycle management and outsourcing services to hospitals and health systems, and their affiliated physician practices. We address a wide range of complex revenue cycle issues using a three-pronged model that includes proven operational best practices, meaningful analytics, and leading technology. Our offerings span the entire revenue cycle, including patient access, charging compliance, payer contracting, revenue integrity, health information management, denials management, and more. We work with hospitals and health systems across 28 states, helping our clients efficiently and cost-effectively drive revenue.
What are some of the biggest challenges you see affecting healthcare organizations?
Although there are many, the most pressing ones from a revenue cycle perspective relate to increasing patient responsibility due to high-deductible health plans and evolving payment methodologies, including the shift to value-based care. Both these trends are changing the way organizations approach revenue cycle management. Compounding these stressors is the fact that the talent market for revenue cycle functions is tight right now, and it can be difficult for organizations—especially those located outside of major cities—to access and retain skilled employees. At Ensemble Health Partners, we are able to hire some of the most experienced and talented people in the country, and we bring that national scale to work for our clients. We also provide a global perspective around payer behavior so we can tell the difference between a local issue and a larger one. We apply strategies used in other organizations to address payment slowdowns, denials, and other problems.
How do your service offerings address these needs?
Ensemble Health Partners takes on the “heavy lifting” involved with revenue cycle operations, partnering with organizations to improve performance and the bottom line. Our experienced team can suggest targeted process improvements that tackle the root causes of issues that are slowing optimal revenue flow, revamping processes to improve efficiency and boost performance. We can also deploy experienced revenue cycle staff to support existing departments. Our team seamlessly integrates with our client’s employees so they feel like they’re part of the organization. This engenders a feeling of collaboration and teamwork, as opposed to an “us-and-them” mentality. We also offer off-site support, such as coding and denials management, and we dedicate these personnel to one client—instead of having them service multiple clients at the same time. So, even though a resource is remote, he or she is embedded into the client’s operations and culture.
What are some key considerations for healthcare leaders when choosing this type of service? Are there certain features that people should know about?
One of the top advantages that Ensemble Health Partners brings to the table is that our leaders have deep experience in the hospital revenue cycle. Before joining our company, each of our senior executives was directly involved in hospital revenue cycle operations. Because they have “walked in our clients’ shoes,” they understand firsthand the demands of a hospital and the associated revenue cycle challenges. They also have a better understanding of root causes, best practices, and how to take an organization from underdelivering to excelling in various metrics.
Ensemble Health Partners also works with physician practices that are affiliated with hospitals. Because we are involved in both sides of the house, we can appreciate the synergy between the two groups, linking hospital and physician data and applying solutions that cover both areas.
Another benefit is our culture of teamwork that is based on strong communication, innovative thinking, and a constant need to push past the status quo. Establishing and sustaining our culture has taken a commitment from our organization in the way we hire, train, and assess staff. We have a culture guide—called the Ensemble Difference—that outlines the guiding principles that shape how we treat our customers, communicate with each other, and enable success. The most important principle is that the customer is our No. 1 priority—without exception. We keep this idea at the forefront of everything we do and think of ourselves as a customer service company that happens to be in the revenue cycle management business. Our team-based model harnesses the power of collaboration, with team members who are constantly looking for ways to improve processes, reduce waste, and drive revenue. We encourage and expect our staff to call out inefficiencies and suggest improvements, regularly reaching beyond business as usual to embrace and deploy innovative ideas.
What advice would you offer to healthcare leaders when choosing among vendors?
In addition to experienced leadership and the right culture, you want to find an organization that can reliably execute on a strategy. The best way to determine this is to look at the results the company has achieved over time and talk to current customers. When reviewing references, be sure to reach out to more than just the organizations the vendor recommends. That way, you can get a full picture of how the company operates. We encourage potential partners to talk to any of our clients—not just the ones we think will say good things.
It’s also important to sit with frontline staff. You want to get out of the boardroom and talk with the people who are in the weeds to understand their education, training, and level of expertise. You want to get a sense of how they approach their work and whether they are merely going through the motions or continuously seeking improvement opportunities. Too often, deals are made just between executives, and when you get down to the staff level, there’s a disconnect. We encourage potential clients to come sit with our people, pull the covers back, and really see how things function.
As healthcare organizations implement use of your service into their day-to-day operations, what advice would you offer so they can best set themselves up for success?
Every day we have Daily Information Board Sessions (DIBS), where our staff reviews the day’s efforts, results, and issues—bringing up successes, as well as any problems that need to be addressed. We strongly encourage our clients and their staff to participate in these daily briefings. The more everyone participates, the more we can keep communication flowing. This is especially true at the beginning of the relationship. We would rather our clients speak up early and often than not say anything and wait until a problem escalates.
Are there any educational materials you would like to share to help healthcare providers in these efforts?
For more information about how Ensemble Health Partners collaboratively works with clients to achieve true innovation, go to ensemblehp.com.
Ensemble Health Partners specializes in full revenue cycle outsourcing solutions, accounts receivable acceleration and run down, denials and underpayments, complex claims, and invoice and vendor analytics. Ensemble Health Partners provides revenue cycle solutions, creating real value for our clients by building relationships, reducing revenue cycle spend, and delivering exceptional results. We partner with hospitals across the United States to make real and lasting improvements utilizing our experienced hospital operations expertise.
Content for this Business Profile is supplied by Ensemble Health Partners. This published piece is provided for advertisement purposes. HFMA does not endorse the published material or warrant or guarantee its accuracy. The statements and opinions of those profiled are those of the individual and not those of HFMA. References to commercial manufacturers, vendors, products, or services that appear do not constitute endorsement by HFMA.