SSM Well being-Optum revenue-cycle deal consists of outsourcing 2,100 staff

Roughly 2,100 SSM Well being staff will transition to working for UnitedHealth Group’s Optum subsidiary as a part of an outsourcing relationship.

St. Louis-based SSM will totally outsource its revenue-cycle operations—the method of affected person registration, billing and amassing cash owed—to Optum, primarily based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, underneath a 10-year deal that takes impact in February 2022. It is a part of a broader settlement between the organizations that features a collaboration on inpatient care administration and an built-in digital platform.

Not-for-profit SSM is hardly the primary well being system to rebadge its income cycle employees. Actually, the COVID-19 pandemic lit a hearth underneath the development, which had already been underway previous to 2020.

“I do not really feel that SSM Well being—or any well being system, for that matter—has the experience to do all of it,” mentioned Laura Kaiser, SSM’s CEO. “That is possible true for any group in any business. For me, it is extra about, ‘How will we associate with others so we are able to complement each other and search alignment to finest serve sufferers?'”

A Trendy Healthcare investigation discovered that outsourcing income cycle and IT capabilities—whereas price saving—can take a toll on inside tradition.

The affected staff will work related positions for a similar pay, and Optum doesn’t plan to chop any jobs, mentioned Dan Schumacher, Optum’s chief working officer. SSM’s revenue-cycle staff are at present working remotely—some as a result of pandemic and a few have been distant pre-pandemic. Schumacher mentioned the identical is true for Optum’s group.

Optum already has a number of well being system purchasers in its revenue-cycle enterprise, together with Dignity Well being, John Muir Well being and Bassett Healthcare Community.

Of the two,100 SSM staff who will work for Optum, about 300 work in inpatient care administration, Kaiser mentioned. SSM can even retain its personal care managers, however the take care of Optum provides the well being system entry to Optum’s “world expertise pool, expertise and analytics,” Kaiser mentioned. Collectively, she mentioned the organizations hope to work on care variation and size of keep to raised place sufferers for discharge.

“I consider this complete area of care administration is just like the holy grail of healthcare,” Kaiser mentioned. “If we’re ready to do that properly collectively, there may very well be such a chance for improved well being standing for these we serve in a cheap method.”

As a part of the deal, Optum has made a 10-year, multi-million-dollar dedication to funding neighborhood well being applications for susceptible populations throughout SSM’s protection space, which incorporates Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois and Oklahoma. Schumacher declined to say how a lot Optum has dedicated.

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