Grand River Hospital District improves billing process at Clagett |

Grand River Hospital District improves billing process at Clagett

Carrie Click

Grand River Hospital District has decided to outsource its billing operations at Clagett Memorial Hospital to Medical Billing Services, a Denver-based company.

As a result, all but one of the five Rifle-based employees in the hospital’s business office were let go earlier this month.

“Billing has been our No. 1 source of complaints,” said Kris Swanson, director of public relations for Grand River Hospital District. “There’s a lot of frustration about health care billing and health insurance in general.”

Swanson said the hospital decided to hire Medical Billing Services because of the numerous health insurance companies, and the level of knowledge that’s now required to deal with an industry that’s based on ever-changing criteria.

“There’s no way we could expect someone with basic skills working in a small hospital to comprehend the complexities of today’s health insurance,” Swanson said. “By outsourcing a group of experts in the field, we can be cost effective and increase our customer service.”

Swanson said that because of ever-changing health insurance rules and regulations, medical billing services that operate separately from hospitals are a growing trend.

“Aspen Valley Hospital has been using a medical billing service based in Rifle for years,” she said.

Swanson said letting Clagett’s business office staff go was difficult, but all of the employees were given opportunities to apply for other jobs within the district.

“As things grow and change, there are growing pains,” she said, “and we need to do a little switching around of employees. Already, one of our business office employees has taken a job with admissions, and one is working temporarily for Medical Billing Systems.”

Although MBS’ main facility is located in Denver, there will be one full-time staff person on hand at Clagett during business hours to address customers’ billing questions.

“We’re excited with the new arrangement,” Swanson said. “It’s all electronic. It’s all seamless. We’re going to be quicker, better and more accurate with our billing, which means we’ll be able to collect on a more timely basis.”

Swanson said Grand River has also used a Denver-based health care management company, Rocky Mountain Care Concepts, to hire its new administrator for the E. Dene Moore Memorial Home, the district’s Rifle-based nursing home, which provides long-term care for up to 57 senior residents. Jodi Robinson, a nurse originally from Rifle, will begin work Nov. 1.

As Swanson explained, Grand River will continue to own and operate the nursing home, and Rocky Mountain Care Concepts will employ Robinson to manage the facility. Patrick Howery, Clagett’s hospital manager, has been acting as the nursing home’s administrator since he holds the state-issued health-facility license, but Swanson said the district saw the need for an on-site administrator.

Coincidentally, Swanson said, Chuck Ewald, the director of nursing at E. Dene Moore, resigned his post on Tuesday. Swanson said Ewald’s resignation had nothing to do with Robinson’s hiring. Currently, there are no plans to hire a replacement for Ewald.

“I’m personally looking forward to the expertise the new staff person has in giving better quality care,” Ewald said on Tuesday morning.

Besides Clagett Memorial Hospital and E. Dene Moore Memorial Home, Grand River Hospital District encompasses the Grand River Medical Center, Grand River Rehabilitation Center and Battlement Mesa Medical Center.

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