Revenue Cycle Conference – Reimagining for a More Efficient Tomorrow

Gillette Stadium once again played host for this year’s Revenue Cycle Conference. However, this year the conference was treated to an unobstructed view of the field, which really was a sight to see! Even though the New England Patriots were getting ready for the AFC Championship game, Coach Belichick thought the attendees should get their money’s worth when he brought the whole team out on the field for a brief warmup session. As exciting as Tom Brady leading a huddle at midfield was for the attendees, the conference’s content was far better. This is all thanks to this year’s Co-Chairs Will Coz (Sharecare Health Data Services), Jenny Davies (Baystate Medical Center), and Michael Willette (VNA Care). Accompanied by the conference committee and “fourth chair” Sara Sullivan (Boston Medical Center), this great team organized an information-packed 2-day conference with engaging speakers, ample networking opportunities, and a “full house” of vendors with direct impact on revenue cycle operations.  The 22nd annual RCC achieved its mission: Reimagining for a More Efficient Tomorrow.

The conference kicked off with a “speed dating” exercise. The RCC encouraged each of 60+ vendors to take to the podium to introduce themselves at the start of Day One.  This 30-second introduction was easier for some than others, and allowed participants to quickly get a flavor for who was exhibiting at the conference and plan their visits most efficiently.  There were many vendors offering services to enhance and perfect the hospital revenue cycle.  There has been a significant upsurge in HIM and coding outsourcing vendors as well.

The first day’s opening content was presented in the main meeting hall of the West Putnam Club overlooking the football field. The opening keynote, Jenna Lynch (President and Chief Client Officer, the Extreme Leadership Institute), spoke on the importance of Culture within any organization. Jenna, self-titled as “The Blonde Chick”, had such a remarkable story and shared her expertise in transforming an organization’s culture that resulted in higher employee retention, employee satisfaction, and organizational excellence.

After the Keynote, a panel discussing the patient experience dove into how revenue cycle leaders need to recognize that their interactions span the entirety of the healthcare experience. This was the first panel HFMA has hosted at the Revenue Cycle Conference that directly spoke to the Patient Experience. Specific to Massachusetts, the panel touched on the benefits of the Patient-Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) and how that impacts the patient’s overall experience and satisfaction. To think proactively about Patient Financial Experience seems more appropriate now than ever before.  Having a Chief Experience Officer, a patient, a Patient Access leader and a surgeon speaking to patient experience gave thorough coverage on where we can make meaningful improvements.  It felt like a hopeful innovation of our current industry trajectory. This panel was moderated by Richard Corder (Wellesley Partners) and was comprised of Dr. Elizabeth Brady (Baystate Health), Nancy Michaels, and Kevin Pawl (Boston Children’s Hospital).

Mixed in between every session was a jersey raffle opportunity for some of Boston’s best athletes. There were a few Tom Brady, Jaylen Brown, and J.D Martinez jerseys raffled off. These raffles were a result of the Vendor Booth Poker Game that was going on throughout the conference.

Day one also featured a panel on “What’s the Cost: Can Organizations Support Transparency?” This session brought perspectives from both front-end registration and pharmacy, and how they impact the patient financial experience. This was followed-up with another session focusing on the patient experience, titled: Transforming the Revenue Cycle to Survive and Thrive in a Consumer-Driven Landscape. This session focused on what is necessary to turn patients into loyal consumers and generate “stickiness”.

To close out the educational portion of day one there were two breakout sessions in the smaller wings of the Putnam Club. The sessions were titled, Investing in Social Services as a Core Healthcare Strategy presented by Eveline van Beek (KPMG) and How to Play Ball with Prior Authorizations presented by Peter Angerhofer (Colburn Hill group). Eveline spoke on the impact of Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) as drivers of medical utilization, cost, and health outcomes. She shared some of her research of investing in community-based programs that are directly addressing SDOH. Peter spoke to the challenge of keeping up with the ever-changing prior authorization environment, and how organizations can adapt to keep up with all of these changes.

After an education filled day, it was finally time to swap out the dress shoes for some bowling shoes at the networking event at Splitsville! Billed as a Luxury Bowling Lane, Restaurant, and Bar, Splitsville did not disappoint. There was great music, more raffles, good food, and fun people. What a great way to celebrate the end to day one of the RCC?!

With day one in the rearview, day two kicked off with a keynote panel on Population Health Investment. Moderated by Joe Kimura (Atrius Health), this panel gave an awesome perspective on what investments are being made in New England in the name of Population Health.  With a provider, an ACO, a Rhode Island payer, and Massachusetts payer represented, it provided a broad perspective on how these new approaches are being adopted across the spectrum.

Following the keynote, were the Friday morning breakout sessions. The 3 options were: Using Employee Engagement to Increase Productivity (The CCS Companies), Best Practices to Ensure Financial Assistance Policy Compliance (Withum), and A Touchless Real-Time Authorization Process Is Here (New England Health Exchange Network). Each breakout session was well attended as the topics discussed what is necessary to be successful and compliant in today’s Revenue Cycle.

The afternoon Keynote: A Culture of Engagement – Why/How to Build Passionate, Engaged Teams, was presented by Joshua Evans, a corporate culture consultant. Joshua led us through his journey at a once fun start-up turned mundane work environment and how he came to realize being engaged is the best way to progress at work and in life. Joshua provided a “Treasure Map” of re-engaging employees in their work by rediscovering their enthusiasm. He showed us how to overcome negative situations, build your own confidence, rediscover the meaning in your role, and techniques for inspiring others. The whole room left this entertaining Keynote ready to improve their own life and inspire others around them.

The Friday afternoon breakout sessions continued on with three more intriguing topics. Robert Gilbert (Baker Newman Noyes) spoke about Building a Revenue Integrity Program. Robert spoke on what needs to be done to secure current revenue and explore areas of opportunity to uncover additional revenue, and how a successful revenue integrity program achieves this. Tim Cole (MPX) presented How Consumer Technology is Reshaping Patient Collections. Tim focused on new innovative technologies in consumer friendly digital billing, text alerts, and online payments. Mindy Kilroy-Cauley (Revint Solutions) presented about the Vertical Integration of the Revenue Cycle. The session focused on the importance of syncing the revenue cycle – from, the patient’s first contact through payment.

The conference ended with an entertaining celebrity guest speaker in Boston’s own sports columnist, Dan Shaughnessy. Dan shared some great stories about his career in Boston writing about and working with some of Boston’s biggest sports figures, including Nomar Garciaparra and John Henry. It was such a treat for the audience to see how proud Dan was of his history of work and legacy in Boston. His very candid commentary carried over into the cocktail reception that closed out the RCC.

Special thanks to the whole committee of volunteers who helped pull off an AFC Championship-worthy RCC. Anyone interested in providing feedback from the 2019 meeting, ideas for 2020, or to serve on the organizing committee is welcome to contact: