For any business to thrive, evolving with time becomes an essential part of its growth strategy. Comprehending the avenues of progress—around the likes of adopting updated technologies, change in customer demands and preferences—plays a catalyst in the process of achieving ascension in revenue and overall growth.
Companies across the spectrum of healthcare services have witnessed firsthand the importance of acknowledging and adopting change during the initial period of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Such companies have thrived in terms of delivering quality services, in catering efficiently to the customers, and in contributing towards the safety of employees and development of the community.
Among such prominent companies, one brand that has carved its stronghold in the revenue cycle management niche is Healthcare Resource Group (HRG), Inc. Headquartered in Spokane, Washington, HRG’s expertly crafted revenue cycle management services provide customized solutions for its associated healthcare clients’ unique needs.
In the following interview, Greg West, the company’s President briefs us about the company’s journey of more than two decades and how it continues to prolong its competency in the revenue cycle management market.
Below are the highlights of interview:
Please brief our audience about HRG, its values, vision, and mission.
Healthcare Resource Group (HRG) was founded in 1994 as a staffing service, aimed at hospital revenue cycle, by Colleen Hayes. From 1994 until 2003, the primary business was placing interim revenue cycle experts onsite at hospitals. The company started in Northern California and moved to the Inland Northwest when Ms. Hayes relocated to Sandpoint, Idaho.
In 2003, HRG decided to open their Outpartnering™ Center and focus on the outsourcing of hospital billing and collections. Since that time HRG has become a premier revenue cycle service company with best in industry processes, state of the art technology, and our people and culture. HRG is an employee-owned company, and all employee-owners share in the ownership and financial success.
The employee-owners and leaders who have made Healthcare Resource Group successful have done so with a spirit of passion for the work they do. We are about working hard and providing unprecedented client delight. This passion is what makes us successful and helps us build our signature HRG culture.
Growth will continue in this same spirit ensuring the work we do remains meaningful and makes a difference for our clients. HRG has been named a top place to work both regionally and nationally.
HRG has several important missions that drive us:
- To bring financial stability to our healthcare clients so they can provide the best possible care to the patients’ communities they serve.
- To assist rural hospitals so the underserved communities can continue to get healthcare close to home.
- To assist our Tribal Heath facilities with their revenue cycle needs so they can grow and continue to serve their tribal members and communities.
HRG provides the following services to achieve these missions:
- Complete Business Office
- Extended Business Office
- Early Out Self-Pay
- Medical Coding and Coding Auditing
- Denial Management
- Management of Revenue cycle
What aspects make your company standout in the healthcare sector? Tell us more about how your services add value to associated companies and the healthcare industry.
Helix AI™ is our technology platform that was developed and built with the vision and leadership of Steve McCoy, HRGCEO. HRG has made a substantial investment in building our own proprietary software, Helix AI™ which uses artificial intelligence and data analytics to streamline workflow and minimize labor.
Healthcare revenue cycle management involves a myriad of steps to submit insurance claims to the government and commercial payers. Obtaining prompt reimbursement from the payers requires checking and rechecking the stages that a claim passes through in order to be paid. Much of that verification process has been automated.
Each evening, Helix AI™ activates a multitude of BOTs that perform tens of thousands of queries that validate insurance eligibility, authorizations, and claim status. Artificial intelligence then evaluates the result of the query and determines if human interaction is necessary given the situation. If human interaction is required, Helix AI™ determines the best person to take action, queues the account in workflow, and recommends the action to be taken.
Our software captures a mountain of information as each claim progresses through the process of being reimbursed. This data is analyzed to determine how workflow can be streamlined and if the timeframe to resolution can be shortened.
In essence, this platform identities root causes of problems and highlighting potential solutions, thereby allowing HRG to do a better job, quicker and less expensive than our competition. Behind our technology is our people, our training, and our TQA model that makes HRG’s performance outstanding. No matter how much technology grows, healthcare will always be a people business and continues to need the type of caring, dedicated employee-owners that HRG is comprised of.
The entire team is engaged and invested in the success of our clients and projects. Winning many awards for best places to work and top performing revenue cycle vendor is a by-product of this engagement and growth. HRG has grown by providing innovative and flexible solutions that are tailored to each client and their individual needs.
Our business development team is not the typical sales team. Instead, they are comprised of seasoned and experienced revenue cycle experts, who help develop the perfect solutions for each client. In summary, HRG is the perfect blend of technology, people, and flexibility so that every client gets maximum value and achieves their goals.
Being a leader in the healthcare sector, share with us your opinion on how the adaptation of modern technology in the healthcare discipline has transformed the industry and what more could be expected in the near future?
Healthcare is finally catching up with other industries in adapting technology that automates the repetitive and low value tasks.
Taking into consideration, the current pandemic, and its impact on global economies, how are you driving HRG to sustain operations and ensuring safety of your employees at the same time?
Prior to the pandemic, we had 90% of our workforce working from our corporate headquarters in Spokane, WA. In March 2020, we moved this entire team to a remote workforce in three days’ time. Our IT and support staff were amazing in this transition and we did it without interrupting our service to our clients and their patients. We now have become very good at working and performing in this environment.
This is allowing us to recruit and hire talent from all over the country which has strengthened our ability to scale and adapt to our clients’ needs faster. We have a small team of employee-owners who still work out of the office and we have assured their safety with a screening and distancing program that keep everyone at a safe distance, wearing masks, and screens out anyone with COVID symptoms or any recent contact.
As we head out of the pandemic we have decided to continue with the remote workforce when it’s a good fit. Security of data and productivity of our staff will be the key factors when deciding if a future employee will work from our office or remotely.
Our sales and marketing team started doing quick ½ hour webinars on revenue cycle topics and we started a podcast, interviewing revenue cycle experts from all over the country. The webinars were so well attended and received by the community. The sales team also made a large effort to provide PPE to hospitals all over the country. These efforts allowed us to keep assisting hospitals even in our downtime when we were not allowed to y and visit clients and prospects.
What advice would you give to those aspiring to venture into the RCM space?
I would give the following advice:
- Focus your service on a very specific solution and client type at first and then grow from that skill set.
- Invest heavily in two areas: Technology and Marketing.
- Always remember this is a patient care industry and don’t let your team ever forget that. Every interaction we do still impacts the patients and their perception of our clients’ services to them. That fact is so important on how we do our business.
How do you plan to scale HRG and/or its operations in 2021?
We are adding to our technical capabilities in all of our services with more AI being built into our Helix AI™ system so that we can help our clients manage their pay or relationships, adapt to the new payment methodologies, and provide their patients the best financial care available.
We have grown our Business Development team into parts of the country where traditionally we have had less of a footprint. That will allow us to reach more potential partners with our solutions and build on the great reputation we have in our more developed territories.
As the Pandemic slows, we plan on attending conferences and visiting clients and prospects at a pace that gets us back to telling our success stories.
About the leader
Greg West, President of HRG, started in healthcare in 1988 in the insurance payer business. His first healthcare job was working for a Blue Cross plan in the Northwest as a Manager of Customer Service for the program that provides benefits to retired military and military family members (CHAMPUS).
“That was a great place to start my career in caring for others in the finance area of healthcare. Assisting military personnel with their healthcare needs was an honor and privilege,” says Greg.
Greg then moved to the provider side of healthcare in 1991 when he became the Business Office Manager for a large multi-specialty physician clinic and rural critical access hospital. This introduction to the provider side and rural healthcare was where his passion for helping rural facilities started. Greg rejoined the payer side as a Director of Provider Contracting and Network Development in 1998 and then spearheaded building a provider network in rural eastern Washington. In 2000, Greg joined HRG first as Revenue Cycle Consultant and then became the Director of Interim Staff, matching clients’ needs with the best people. He worked in that position and in business development until 2005.
“Due to personal reasons, I needed to travel less so I rejoined the provider side of healthcare as a Vice President of Revenue Cycle at a large healthcare system in the Northwest,” Greg added. During that time, he was using HRG as a vendor to support the team and he kept a close relationship with the HRG leadership.
In 2008, HRG asked Greg to return as Vice President of Operations running the Outpartnering™ Center and he agreed. “Since rejoining HRG I have moved from Vice President to Chief Operating Officer, and in 2011 was named President. I am active with several healthcare associations and am privileged to do a lot of public speaking on revenue cycle and leadership topics,” Greg expresses.
“At UCSD Health, some of our ongoing challenges include filling unique positions, identifying and implementing process improvements, and continuous education of our team. HRG has been with us through it all. They have been a partner of ours for over three years, assisting with projects across the revenue cycle. HRG’s flexibility and ability to deal with diverse projects and challenges truly sets them apart from other vendors we have used in the past. With healthcare, you never know what’s around the corner but knowing we have a partner we can count on gives me peace of mind.” – Laura Handy-Dineen, Executive Director of System Revenue Cycle | UCSD Health, San Diego, CA
“The HRG team has exhibited excellent leadership and exceptional organizational skills. They are, without exception, motivated and dedicated to managing our accounts efficiently and effectively. As a result, our patient accounts receivable balance and average time-to-collect has been reduced by 30%. We are very impressed.” – Ed Engesser, CFO | Barlow Respiratory Hospital, Los Angeles, CA
“HRG has exceeded our expectations, and with their expertise, we continue to rank as a top hospital in revenue cycle metrics within Washington State.” – Larry Cohen, CEO | Ocean Beach Hospital, Ilwaco, WA