Hackensack Meridian Health and St. Vincent Named Top Performers in Making Care Affordable

Posted on: June 21, 2017

Health Systems Exceed Metrics Based on ClearBalance ROI Value Model

San Diego, June 26, 2017 – Hackensack Meridian Health, an integrated network of healthcare providers serving patients in New Jersey, and St. Vincent, part of Ascension – the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit health system, serving patients in central and southern Indiana, are winners of the 2017 ClearBalance® ROI Value Model™ Performance Award.

The award recognizes health systems with top-performing annual metrics to address patient pay. The award is based on the HFMA Peer Reviewed ClearBalance ROI Value Model, which provides nationally recognized patient loan program performance standards. The ClearBalance consumer-friendly loan program is a zero-interest revolving line of credit patients use to pay their portion of medical costs. They can add balances for future services and consolidate medical bills for their spouse and dependents.

Hackensack Meridian Health began offering the ClearBalance program through eight of its 13 hospitals in 2016. In one year, the organization has reduced bad debt from patient pay by more than $1 million, while achieving return on investment (ROI) of 380 percent. Using the ClearBalance program, Hackensack Meridian Health helped patients cover almost $3.5 million in medical costs last year. “We’ve seen patients’ out-of-pocket expense rise from an average $2,000 to upwards of $6,000 in the past few years,” says Timothy Mattson, Director of Patient Financial Services. “This affected our bad debt and put a strain on our ability to collect. We tried to combat it with our own program but found a better solution with ClearBalance.”

St. Vincent began offering the ClearBalance program in 2004. Now, after more than a decade of steady use, the program still chalks up impactful results. In 2016, St. Vincent reduced bad debt from patient pay more than $7 million, reduced days in AR by 3.08 days and achieved ROI of 435.5 percent. “The ROI Value Model and our results provide credible metrics that serve as best practice for other health systems,” says Dawn Davidson, VP of National Net Revenue Management for Ascension.

Paying for healthcare often is an unexpected expense and many consumers lack the ability to cover out-of-pocket medical costs. According to a Commonwealth Fund study, 40 percent of adults with deductibles equal to 5 percent or more of their income said they would not seek care due to cost.

The ClearBalance program empowers health systems’ financial services teams to have meaningful conversation with consumers, describing options to help patients resolve their cost of care. “Our customer service team members were more comfortable talking about what insurance would cover rather than what the patient owed,” says Marilyn Koczan, Senior Vice President of Revenue Cycle Operations for Hackensack Meridian Health. “Having the ClearBalance program has helped the staff tremendously. We know they’re doing their job as we envisioned. They have a sense of professionalism and comfort level to offer the patient an option for their balance.”

“Demand for extended payment plans continues to rise,” says Bruce Haupt, President and CEO of ClearBalance. “By offering the ClearBalance program, Hackensack Meridian Health and St. Vincent are being proactive in making care affordable for all members of their communities.”

Four other healthcare organizations were recognized for their achievements in 2016. St. Joseph Regional Medical Center and 2016 ROI Value Model Award winner Essentia Health were named runners-up in the “Newcomer” category. The runners-up in the “Veteran” category are PinnacleHealth System and Novant Health.

ClearBalance developed the ROI Value Model based on its 25 years of best practice experience serving large, complex health systems as well as stand-alone community hospitals. Earlier this year, the model achieved HFMA Peer Review status for the third consecutive year.

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About Hackensack Meridian Health
Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 13 hospitals, including two academic medical centers, two children’s hospitals and nine community hospitals, physician practices, more than 120 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care and after-hours centers. Hackensack Meridian Health has 28,000 team members, more than 6,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and wellbeing of the communities it serves. www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org

About St. Vincent
In Indiana, Ascension’s St. Vincent operates 20 hospitals in addition to a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures, medical practices and clinics that cover a 57-county area and employs more than 15,000 associates. Across the state, St. Vincent provided more than $266 million in community benefit and care of persons living in poverty in fiscal year 2016. Serving Indiana for 136 years, Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Ascension is the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, operating 2,500 sites of care – including 141 hospitals and more than 30 senior living facilities – in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Visit www.stvincent.org.

About ClearBalance
ClearBalance partners with health systems to provide consumer-centric affordable care while improving net recovery of patient pay and overall financial performance. We have served more than 4.5 million patient accounts and maintain the industry’s highest patient loan repayment rate. Our program enables patients to easily pay their medical costs and engenders loyalty, positioning the health system as the care location of choice in its community. The ClearBalance ROI Value Model, Peer Reviewed by HFMA, establishes nationally recognized patient loan program performance standards to benefit health systems and their patients. www.ClearBalance.org.