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Reflecting on the implementation process, Gillentine is the first to admit she had high expectations for the project. “I’ve worked at numerous hospitals and we’ve never used one tool for insurance verification. …just knowing how manual it was before, I was really excited. I would definitely say that I was more hopeful that everything would work and function as advertised, and it did.”
With about 40 users in the registration department, proper training was a critical component of the implementation process—and SSI didn’t disappoint. As Gillentine describes, SSI’s on-site ‘train the trainer’ session “…was done so well that I could confidently train my staff.”
SSI’s high-touch service didn’t end once implementation was over, however. “You know, the support with SSI was really great—is really great. Whenever we have issues even now, I can send a quick email and get a really fast response,” states Gillentine.
Now that the hospital has been using the system for quite some time, their organization has been transformed, both internally and externally. Wait time for patients is down, as staff is able to verify insurance in advance, rather than at the point of service. The solution’s integration with the hospital’s EHR allows for a seamless, behind-the-scenes verification process. “Our patients don’t have to wait as long and staff don’t have to process as many applications and screens to get that response,” says Gillentine. “Anything to make our patients get through the process faster is always beneficial.” It’s also quicker and easier to identify payer issues.
One item that has proven especially beneficial for the Island Hospital team is the “intelligent guidance” feature within SSI Eligibility. With intelligent guidance, staff are spared from the time-consuming task of searching a response to identify a discrepancy and are instead guided through the appropriate steps to take, with discrepancies pointed out to them. The organization was even able to customize the feature, changing the color of pop-up prompts to red in order to make them stand out more for their team.
Island Hospital’s financial counselors use SSI Estimation tool to determine surgery patients’ out-of-pocket expenses prior to service and develop a plan for payment. While the hospital was using an estimation tool prior to SSI, they have noticed benefits to using estimation and eligibility tools that are all part of the same package. As Gillentine states, “…Our [previous] price estimator didn’t pull any of the data back in—they’d have to verify the benefits, launch into the price estimator, and then input all of those benefit details to get an estimate. It is all integrated now and it pulls that data back, so even the time to run an estimate is much faster and less manual than before.” And time savings wasn’t all that occurred. Gillentine adds, “…I know that our denials have been less, and I can only assume that’s because the errors are less.”
Internal buy-in has made a huge difference for the organization, and could not have been achieved had the software not delivered on its promises. “There’s a comfort level to the system and a trust they have in it that it’s going to give them accurate information. And it’s fast,” states Gillentine. “…we did see some other vendors with products like this and the responses were just as slow as molasses. It took forever. It was almost faster to go out to a different site and get the information. …We get such fast responses when using [SSI] that the staff were really able to buy into the system...”
As Gillentine notes, “At the end of the day, it all boils down to trust in your vendor” and they’re grateful their access team can trust in SSI.
The SSI Group (SSI) is a leader in healthcare financial performance solutions. We partner with health systems and health plans to optimize revenue, reduce costs and increase visibility into enterprise operations. Our comprehensive, people-first and proven revenue cycle, claims management and analytics solutions provide clients with the foundation necessary for financial health while allowing them the flexibility to adapt to industry changes and requirements. We work closely with clients to establish benchmarks and goals based on industry standards, as well as organizational goals, and verify performance through targeted KPIs. For more information, visit www.thessigroup.com.