SSM Health-Optum revenue-cycle deal includes outsourcing 2,100 employees

Roughly 2,100 SSM Well being workers will transition to working for UnitedHealth Group’s Optum subsidiary as a part of an outsourcing relationship.

St. Louis-based SSM will absolutely outsource its revenue-cycle operations—the method of affected person registration, billing and gathering cash owed—to Optum, primarily based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, below a 10-year deal that takes impact in February 2022. It is a part of a broader settlement between the organizations that features a collaboration on inpatient care administration and an built-in digital platform.

Not-for-profit SSM is hardly the primary well being system to rebadge its income cycle employees. The truth is, the COVID-19 pandemic lit a fire under the trend, which had already been underway previous to 2020.

“I do not really feel that SSM Well being—or any well being system, for that matter—has the experience to do all of it,” mentioned Laura Kaiser, SSM’s CEO. “That is possible true for any group in any business. For me, it is extra about, ‘How will we accomplice with others so we will complement each other and search alignment to finest serve sufferers?'”

A Modern Healthcare investigation discovered that outsourcing income cycle and IT capabilities—whereas price saving—can take a toll on inner tradition.

The affected workers will work related positions for a similar pay, and Optum doesn’t plan to chop any jobs, mentioned Dan Schumacher, Optum’s chief working officer. SSM’s revenue-cycle workers are at present working remotely—some because of the pandemic and a few had been distant pre-pandemic. Schumacher mentioned the identical is true for Optum’s workforce.

Optum already has a number of well being system purchasers in its revenue-cycle enterprise, together with Dignity Well being, John Muir Well being and Bassett Healthcare Community.

Of the two,100 SSM workers who will work for Optum, about 300 work in inpatient care administration, Kaiser mentioned. SSM will even retain its personal care managers, however the cope with Optum offers the well being system entry to Optum’s “world expertise pool, expertise and analytics,” Kaiser mentioned. Collectively, she mentioned the organizations hope to work on care variation and size of keep to higher place sufferers for discharge.

“I consider this complete area of care administration is just like the holy grail of healthcare,” Kaiser mentioned. “If we’re ready to do that effectively collectively, there may very well be such a possibility for improved well being standing for these we serve in a cheap method.”

As a part of the deal, Optum has made a 10-year, multi-million-dollar dedication to funding group well being applications for susceptible populations throughout SSM’s protection space, which incorporates Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois and Oklahoma. Schumacher declined to say how a lot Optum has dedicated.

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