Richmond Times-Dispatch

VCUHealth outsources billing services

- BY ERIC KOLENICH ekolenich@timesdispa­tch.com (804) 649-6109 Twitter: @EricKoleni­ch

Virginia Commonweal­th University Health System will outsource its billing and collection department, transferri­ng those functions to financial services company Ensemble Health Partners.

In October, Ensemble announced that it would take over VCU Health’s revenue cycle operations, which include collecting account balances, administer­ing payments and conducting other financial work.

As a result, VCU Health is eliminatin­g the jobs of 635 employees, but 577 of them were hired by Ensemble, said Mary Kate Brogan, a VCU Heath

spokeswoma­n.

Of the 635 affected employees, some chose to retire or seek employment elsewhere. All employees who sought employment with Ensemble were offered a position, said Kendall Herold, spokesman for Ensemble.

The employees hired by Ensemble will start Dec. 20.

VCU’s decision to outsource its revenue cycle operations didn’t come from the pandemic, Brogan said.

“The decision to outsource our revenue cycle services is not the result of the financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Brogan said. “Our work to improve our patient experience through every point in the care process is ongoing. Webegan exploring options for how to best manage our scheduling, billing and collection­s practices to meet industry best practices over a year ago.”

Ensemble, based in Cincinnati, has more than 30 clients and more than 380 facilities across the United States, according to its website.

VCU Health announced in March that it would stop seizing patients’ wages and placing liens on their homes in order to collect back payments.

“Health care needs to be more affordable for patients, and we want to be part of the solution,” Melinda Hancock, VCU Health’s chief administra­tive and financial officer, said at the time.

The decision came after an investigat­ion by Kaiser Health News, which reported that

VCU Health and UVA Health aggressive­ly pursued patients who were unable to pay their bills, sending many of them into bankruptcy.

 ?? 2019, DANIEL SANGJIB MIN/ TIMES-DISPATCH ?? VCU said its decision to outsource the operations didn’t arise fromthe pandemic.
2019, DANIEL SANGJIB MIN/ TIMES-DISPATCH VCU said its decision to outsource the operations didn’t arise fromthe pandemic.

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