Stephen Farber has heard it all about billing and collecting from patients.
Farber is chairman and chief executive officer of Connance, a startup company owned in part by Tenet Healthcare Corp. that is developing software tools to help hospital billing offices handle the self-pay portion of patient accounts. The company, based in Waltham, Mass., and originally known as Healthcare Analytics, is releasing its first commercial product June 2, based on discussions with hospitals all across the country. The company has analyzed nearly 100 million separate billing and collection events from hundreds of hospitals, Farber said.
The problem is just swamping business offices around the country, Farber said.
Connance believes that one of the biggest challenges is managing the series of collection agencies that most hospitals use for different parts of their patient-paid portfolio, Farber said. After bills are submitted electronically, much of the work to update accounts is done manually, which costs a lot of staff time and can lead to errors or accounts that arent promptly updated, he said.
More importantly, hospitals have a hard time judging the performance of the collection agencies they hire, Farber said. Hospital business managers hand over a book of accounts to a collection agency and have almost no idea how much money the agency should be able to collect on those accounts, he said.
Connance is introducing its Agency Management to address these issues. The company has an exclusive agreement to license the credit-scoring technology of Fair Isaac Corp., Minneapolis, in healthcare applications with its new product. Working with Fair Isaac analysts, Connance can estimate how much the hospital can expect to collect from a patient and what are the best steps to take to collect those funds, Farber said. These steps are proscribed based on patterns that emerged in the data submitted by willing hospital systems and analyzed by Connance, he said.
The company was founded last year with investment from Dallas-based Tenet, and North Bridge Venture Partners, Waltham (Nov. 19, 2007, p. 7). The name Connance is a combination of words such as connection, control and confidence with finance and performance, said Farber, who was Tenets chief financial officer from late 2002 to March 2005.
To listen to an exclusive interview with Farber on weighing the credit risk of self-pay patients, visit the Executive Interviews podcast section of Modern Healthcare Online at modernhealthcare.com.