The secrets to Grady Health System's financial turnaround

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Making the most of the tools offered by the EHR—plus hiring a new chief financial officer and senior vice president who had experience with the Epic system—helped Grady Health System increase its net revenue by $106 million in one year.

John Haupert, CEO of Grady Health System in Atlanta, credits the organization’s decision to shore up its revenue cycle, revise its charity care policy, and invest in an electronic health record system as the main reasons for its remarkable financial turnaround.

Making the most of the tools offered by the EHR—plus hiring a new chief financial officer and senior vice president who had experience with the Epic system—helped the hospital increase its net revenue by $106 million in one year, Haupert told Hospitals & Health Networks.

But Pete Correll, the former chairman of Grady’s corporate governing board, told the Albany Herald earlier this year that Haupert’s decision to fix the system’s coding, billing and collections was the “single greatest accomplishment in turning Grady around.’’

It’s an impressive feat considering that five years ago the system had a $27 million loss. By the end of 2016 it boasted a $40 million profit.

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Another big accomplishment: The organization has reduced its uninsured rate by reviewing its charity care policy. Previously, once a patient qualified for charity care, he or she was always eligible for free or minimum cost care. But Haupert told H&HN that patients are now reassessed every time they visit the hospital to see if they are eligible for other types of funding.

For CEOs facing similar financial challenges, Haupert offered the following advice: Don’t assume everything with the organization is wrong. Recognize that the hospital survived because of hard-working people dedicated to providing care to patients. “I had to replace key people without creating an environment in which our 5,600 employees thought they would be laid off,” he told HH&N. “At its heart, the organization has remained true to its mission, and the people providing care to the patients were doing a great job.”

 

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