One of the biggest achievements since the partnership between Atrium Health in Charlotte, N.C., and Navicent Health System in Macon comes by way of millions in savings.
The integration between the two major health systems has resulted in savings totaling nearly $30 million thus far, according to Chris Wilde, executive vice president and chief financial officer for Navicent Health.
Wilde attended Tuesday morning’s Navicent Health Baldwin hospital board meeting in Milledgeville where he shared the good news.
“The big areas are around the revenue cycle and the supply chain,” Wilde said.
Peter Boylan, who serves as chairman of the Navicent Health Baldwin Inc. Board of Directors, asked if the figures were actual.
“These are real numbers, yes,” Wilde told Boylan. “A lot of that is loaded in the second half of the year. And at this point, it looks like we’re tracking very well to meet that number.”
Wilde explained that a lot of the savings are being realized by joining with Atrium Health’s general purchasing organization and being able to get better pricing supplies and equipment.
“Have we been able to make any assessment about those savings and acquisitions in how it’s going to affect this hospital,” Boylan asked.
Wilde was also asked if it is possible to show the specific breakdown of savings at the local hospital.
Wilde assured the board chairman and other board members that the local figures could be shared with them.
“We had some early contracts that were in the medical center,” Wilde said, noting the nice thing about those savings was that they were significant. “You can say I was getting it for this amount before, but now I’m getting it for this amount.”
Wilde said the $30 million in savings was a combination of several different items.
“The supplies are a big component for around $10 million in total,” Wilde said. “But then also revenue cycle, which is just better collections, better capabilities in the revenue cycle as we look at denials and improvement in processes.”
Wilde told Boylan that the local hospital still receives the benefits when it comes to the revenue cycle and processes.
“We’ve had some people from Atrium that came in and did some analytical review on our revenue cycle and gave us some recommendations on charges, as well as just general coding in our emergency room so we’re looking into that,” said Judy Ware, who oversees the financial aspects at Navicent Health Baldwin hospital.
Ware also said another area being looked at is in the hospital’s pharmacy with drug costs.
She said Paul Barkley was working through different capital purchases.
Barkley serves as operations director of the local hospital.
“He is closely aligned with the Atrium vendors and processes to get us the best prices on everything that we’re purchasing,” Ware said. “All of that plays in, and that’s how this hospital is benefitting from that alignment.”
Lisa Shinholster, one of the local hospital board members, asked how the community was benefitting from the nearly $30 million savings.
“Will some of that money go toward community programs,” Shinholster asked.
Wilde said the savings were enabling the hospital to keep programs open.
“That’s how it benefits, because right now as a system in May, we were just slightly behind budget and as a system before that we were significantly behind budget, so we’re starting to catch up as these items are coming in, as well as better processes and better management,” Wilde said.
He explained that hospital officials have to get the entire system aligned to not just break-even so that proactively they can start building up programs.
“Right now, it’s not that we’re not investing in programs — in fact, I think we’ve invested $6 million or more already this year here, but it’s a matter of replenishing and as a going concern being able to make sure that you’ve got the cash-flow needed,” Wilde said. “So those savings as well as internally, Navicent had identified $49 million of savings.”
Wilde said as a system, officials are tracking where they need to be and understanding where all the savings are coming from, and having the data needed was important.
“I think the folks in the systems that we’re getting in place now have a better handle on it,” Wilde said.