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Health Care Insider Only News Sussex County

Beebe transitions billing to Ensemble Health Partners

Katie Tabeling
Beebe Healthcare Lewes Campus. | PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

Beebe Healthcare has partnered with two companies to manage supply chain, revenue cycle services. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

LEWES — Beebe Healthcare will be transitioning its revenue collection and supply chain operations, affecting more than 260 employees in its network.

Beebe President & CEO David Tam announced that the health care system has signed an agreement with Ensemble Health Partners to manage the revenue cycle department, or the area that handles the financial process and medical billing. Beebe’s 260 employees will work for Ensemble and receive comparable salaries and benefits.

In addition, Beebe has signed a deal with Premier’s Nexera, a supply chain consulting firm, to improve operations and cost savings. Three Beebe employees will transition to join the Premier’s Nexera team.

Beebe Healthcare employees were notified March 6 of the agreement, and a town hall was held with Ensemble to answer staff questions. The transition is targeted for May 19.

Tam told Delaware Business Times that the move was not about cutting costs but to form strategic partnerships to ensure Beebe Healthcare can rise to meet the rapidly changing times in the industry.

“As part of our transformation, we’ve continued to look at where we can improve operations so that we can generate more revenue. This comes at a time when the entire industry is facing significant challenges with insurance companies, rising expenses driven by inflation and labor costs,” Tam told DBT. “By moving our revenue cycle operations as an independent entity, we need to partner with a best-in-class company that does this across the country.”

Founded in 2014, Ensemble Health Partners is a revenue cycle management company that has worked with 250 health care providers across the country. With more than 9,000 operators and artificial intelligence modules on hand, Ensemble works to help hospitals and other providers identify, manage and collect revenue.

Two years ago, Ensemble landed a deal with private equity firms Berkshire Partners and Warburg Pincus that pushed its valuation to $5 billion.

“We’re honored to be selected by Beebe Healthcare to help them ensure that residents and visitors of Sussex County have access to the healthcare services they want, when and where they need them,” Ensemble President and CEO Judson Ivy said in a prepared statement. “We are confident we can quickly deliver value to Beebe and the community by deploying proven best practices, data-rich intelligence, and expert operational management to modernize the patient experience.”  

In recent times, hospitals have faced challenges in filling and retaining revenue cycle management positions, or staff members who translate the medical care into charges for the bills for insurance companies or Medicare and Medicaid. Virtual positions drew from the available candidate pool, pushing many hospitals to move payment and registration services through online portals or onsite kiosks. In addition, some organizations across the country laid off staff when the patient volume dropped for non-essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But in Sussex County, Beebe may be facing an additional set of problems outside of rising costs. The county’s population continues to grow, drawing in older and wealthier residents  — complicating matters for more rural areas like Georgetown, Bridgeville and Seaford that are in need of services.

Last summer, Beebe Healthcare eliminated the chief operating officer and moved some positions as a bid to restructure. In Fiscal Year 2022, the most up-to-date tax filings for Beebe Medical Inc. show that the hospital system brought in a net income of $76 million after expenses.

Tam told DBT while Beebe Healthcare the organization has reduced the number of travel nurses, which have driven up costs, and made other improvements since last year.

“I think there’s a tendency out there for people to think this is just a cost-saving measure. But really, you have to look at the whole system. We were struggling to some extent last year, and we have corrected that,” Tam said. “This is about the next step and building what we want to do for the community as part of our transformation.”

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