A highly domestic yet business-centric chore executed in almost every house at the end of the month is to stack the bills and calculate the expenses and savings of the previous month. An individual nose-dipped in the hassles involved in managing budgets, making payments on time, and properly organizing and filing paperwork faces many challenges.
Now imagine the same for an organization with turnover exceeding tens or hundreds of millions! It would be a daunting task, right?
To structure and organize this task for most companies and care organizations, multiple levels of support and expertise are needed to ensure success behind the scenes.
One such company is LTC Ally, which offers revenue cycle management and financial health in the long-term care industry and helps organizations manage their revenue cycles. LTC Ally is driven by innovation, performance, and a people-first approach, which has well positioned them to meet regulatory requirements and manage finances in a way that builds financial strength and resilience by including automation and improving efficiencies around billing.
A transformative leader who is turning challenges into opportunities and enabling LTC Ally to extract and provide the benefits of its efficient management offers is CEO – Michael Bauman. He operates on the belief that the key to success for a business is about delivering value to people, which is also reflected in the way LTC Ally functions.
Let us dive into LTC Ally’s story and learn more!
Into the Inception
LTC Ally was founded in 2006 by Michael Bauman and his partner, Mark Josefovic, who serves as the Chief Operating Officer.
Both Michael and Mark have a background in finance and accounting and have been involved in the financial side of the long-term care industry—primarily around revenue cycle management. Michael shares, “I was serving as an accountant and noticed a lot of opportunities for automation and improvements to efficiencies around billing. It was there that I began working to innovate processes that could streamline these areas of operations.”
Not long after, he met Mark who had a similar background and interests. Together, they began working with a software developer to build software and processes that served as the foundation for LTC Consulting Services, now LTC Ally.
Mark explains, “We have leveraged our experience with that of other partners and experts to expand into all aspects of financial services for long-term facilities and beyond. What we’ve seen and been able to serve is a huge need for improved expertise and technology in the space.”
As outsourcing has become more common, more operators understand the value of utilizing experts solely dedicated to critical areas of business operations. Considering this, the company now offers a full suite of services, including revenue cycle management, financial controllership, case management, authorizations, change of ownership, financial advisory, and payroll. They also offer managed care contracting services for healthcare providers of any type.
This success story of the company has all been possible because of its founder, whose story is an interesting one to know.
Michael was born and raised in Lakewood, NJ, and was drawn to entrepreneurship from an early age. He learned the values of hard work and problem-solving, which continue to serve him well today. Reminiscing about his older days, he shares, “When I entered college, I was looking for areas of study where I felt there were opportunities to grow as well as nurture my entrepreneurial interests. I thought math and financial expertise would be critical regardless, so I started taking some junior accounting classes. That path ultimately led me to pursue a master’s in accounting.”
Initially, he started out as a junior accountant in a manufacturing company and then as a controller for a nursing home. He opines that though the long-term care industry may not seem like the first choice for an ambitious entrepreneur, he found that there were, in fact, abundant opportunities to innovate and develop products and services that were in high demand in an industry typically lagging behind the curve in many areas. To address these gaps, Michael says, “As an opening for these services, LTC Ally was created and continues to provide value to the industry.”
Sharing insights from his professional life so far, he says, “One of the key lessons I’ve learned along the way is that good business is always about people. If you can find a way to provide people with something that helps them succeed while treating those around you well along the way, it’s hard to fail.”
He acknowledges his partner’s efforts in putting the company at the front wheel of business and expresses gratitude as he believes that he couldn’t have come this far without Mark and others who have supported him along the way. Michael continues with his hard work and aspires to do more, so as to try to give back as a way of acknowledging all the help he received, which has led to his and LTC Ally’s success.
Following the Principles
In terms of LTC Ally’s mission and values, Michael mentions that his organization is driven by innovation, performance, and people first.
The team is always working to find new solutions and improve processes for clients. This has come with a dedication to accuracy and performance. Talking about this, he proudly says, “That is what our clients depend on us for—we have to be the experts when it comes to even the smallest of details, accounting not only for every penny but having the answers for how to improve finances in an industry where every dollar counts.”
Michael notes that what he loves most is what he and his partner have created at LTC Ally and that there is real meaning and purpose in serving an industry that cares for a very vulnerable population. Their services allow operators to really focus on care and the experience of their residents. He comments, “That’s a mission that really drives me and the incredible team we have grown at LTC Ally.”
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, he believes that business has to be about treating people the right way. For him, this starts with the way the company treats its employees, which translates into good client experiences. He expresses, “I am very proud that we have been able to grow and scale while holding onto all these core values.”
Storming the Tides
The contemporary financial world is buckling up to respond to the dynamic industrial needs required to ensure a smooth service flow.
Michael explains the foremost challenges: “Because of how healthcare in the US is structured, payers (including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid as well as private insurers) hold a lot of sway over how healthcare is delivered and financed. Healthcare reimbursements are highly dependent on regulations that shift even more quickly than political tides.”
Therefore, he believes that to provide viable solutions, it is imperative that healthcare providers not only understand but are well positioned to meet regulatory requirements and manage finances in a way that builds financial strength and resilience.
For many providers, other operational challenges often keep them so busy that financial management may be an afterthought only related to meeting payroll and keeping the lights on. Staffing has been a particular issue for the industry over the last couple of years. This means that many providers are already feeling overwhelmed without the resources and personnel needed to fully support clinical care and operations.
This is really where LTC Ally shows its clients a better path to success. Michael says, “We step in with our staff to support and leverage our team of financial professionals to not only keep clients abreast of regulatory changes and keep the day-to-day finances running smoothly, but also ensure that a dedicated and qualified team of people is putting the financial health of our operators and providers first. It’s one less burden that our clients have to bear.”
Steering Healthcare with Revenue Cycle Treasure
The prime characteristics that set apart any company in the market are its products and product delivery. Michael shares that when he and his partner first founded LTC, the company was providing its services primarily around revenue cycle management, including collections, billing/AR, etc.
Michael explains, “There was, and continues to be, no shortage of work in that area [RCM]. Collections and billing are a big headache for most long-term care providers, and LTC Ally’s departments have achieved an incredible track record—our clients are seeing an average fifteen percent increase in cash flow within the first six months of working with us, and we have an average collection rate of ninety-nine percent.” He continues, “Profit margins in the long-term care industry are relatively thin, so every dollar we can get back into a facility really makes an impact.”
Once they streamlined their RCM services, it was a natural fit for them to extend their services to cover all back-end office functions, which now include financial controllership, accounts payable, cash management, financial reporting, payroll, as well as case management and authorizations. Together, he says, “These quickly became our core service offering and gave our clients the opportunity to fully outsource their back office operations.”
As a trusted partner in all aspects of financial management, LTC Ally was frequently brought into conversation with clients around the purchase of new facilities. It was, therefore, another natural expansion for them to lend their expertise to what has become a rising growth advisory practice. Michael shares, “We now help providers with the incredibly complex process of change of ownerships, secure managed care contracts for any type of health provider, and provide financial advisory services around acquisitions, underwriting, and asset management.”
In sum, according to Michael, LTC Ally is able to deliver a full suite of back office and financial services that is unparalleled in the long-term care industry.
Revolutionizing the Sector
Every operator, or any business for that matter, has back office functions. They have to pay bills, bill insurers, and manage money if they want to remain profitable. That said, there are a hundred or more ways to do that, and many operators build their back office in a reactionary manner—fixing every problem with a one-off solution. According to Michael, this is very natural, especially when operators are properly focused on delivering quality care.
What’s different about LTC Ally’s approach is that they have taken a hard look at the various ways to do things and built their own proprietary software, which integrates with some of the best solutions on the market, and then streamlined and innovated processes that reduce cost, increase efficiency, and improve outcomes.
Michael remarks, “This level of detail and innovation can only come from a hyper level of focus on a particular subject. We live and breathe finances and revenue cycle management.”
In order to know the best way to handle cash management, maximize reimbursements, or negotiate the best contract rates with payers, they have spent significant resources, invested in technology, and hired the best and brightest people in the industry to solve these problems for operators.
In terms of the scope of its services, one of the things they have really tried to do is listen to clients and thoughtfully develop better solutions for some of their key concerns around financial management and back office operations.
Michael says, “As we have seen challenges arise that we are qualified to address, we move forward with solving them in a methodical way, informed by our expertise and supported by our existing structure and processes. We aren’t just an outsource solution; we are true partners who work alongside our clients to ensure their success.”
This approach, paired with an open mindset, is what has allowed LTC Ally and the team to build such a robust suite of services.
New Tools For Enhancement
A focus on leveraging the use of technology to help workflows become more efficient has been LTC Ally’s mission since the very beginning. In both healthcare and finance, there has been a tremendous amount of innovation throughout the years that the team has adopted to make their processes consistent, reliable, and fast. Elaborating, Michael says, “On top of that, we have in-house IT developers working on an array of new systems for the various departments that give us access to more data, greater insights, and better automation.”
Considering that the long-term care industry is incredibly complex, the custom software that the company has developed has become part of the backbone of the company. He says, “We are addressing very specific pain points and securely automating many of our day-to-day tasks, from tracking patients and claims to paying bills and monitoring cash flow for our clients.”
He shares, “We keep them incredibly informed about their operations and help them make informed business decisions at any time with what we’ve built. Most people who have been around the industry for a while understand that there aren’t systems like this available to them off the shelf, and it’s a significant element of the value we give to our clients.”
Michael focuses on the company’s clients’ particular reporting requirements, and with the software his team has developed, he believes that they can surely create comprehensive reporting services that are of tremendous value to their clients.
Words to Pin
As a leader in the industry, Michael thinks there are still many opportunities in the long-term care industry. With staffing levels low and projected to be in high demand long into the foreseeable future, every area of healthcare will need qualified people and new solutions for evolving challenges.
Sharing highlights from his own experience, he says, “My advice is to build your skills and find a mentor.” He emphasizes the importance of finding others willing to support one’s progress, advocate, and share their experiences and insights.
Filled with emotion, he continues, “One of my early mentors in my career in long-term care is now one of our clients. Nurturing those types of long-lasting relationships throughout your career really pays off.”
Michael’s other important piece of advice is to set goals and make a plan. He believes, “You’re almost guaranteed to achieve what you set out to accomplish but the plan is key. Even small, daily habits yield big results over time and ensure that you are doing something small each day to work toward your goals. With a plan, even failures simply provide an opportunity to learn something new and figure out what doesn’t work.”
Over time he has learned to be very regimented with his schedule and found that, for him, it is the only way to fit in everything needed to thrive—family, exercise, work, and downtime. He states, “Knowing when I’m doing each of those things each day also relieves a lot of stress and makes it easier to enjoy or excel at each of those things in the moment.”
Adding a Comma, Not a Full stop
“We are so proud of how far we have come, but are excited about the growth ahead”, expresses Michael. The company has experienced incredible growth and success, simply by word of mouth.
He says, “What we are working on is continuing to expand our reach across the country. We are making more of an effort to spread the word throughout the industry about how integral our services can be to long-term care operators’ profitability and financial strength.”
With the number of mergers and acquisitions currently going on, they are also confident that their growth services, designed to provide all the financial and advisory services operators need to scale and grow under one roof, will continue to offer significant value.
They have the invaluable resource of experts who understand the payer landscape and not only advise on acquisitions but streamline the change of ownership process. They have also been able to reduce both the cost and time it takes to get new facilities up and running under new ownership. Michael says, “Combined with our back office services, our clients are able to make sound decisions and execute more competitively in the market.”
Another exciting piece of its growth strategy is extending its reach beyond long-term care.
Michael opines that managed care is becoming a significant source of revenue, not only for long-term care operators but for any health provider looking to tap into a broader patient or resident population. Securing these contracts and getting authorized at the state level for Medicaid reimbursement requires a high level of expertise to negotiate the best terms on contracts, and quickly credential facilities to receive reimbursements.
Therefore, for LTC Ally and the team, being able to offer these services across the healthcare provider spectrum is an exciting opportunity.