A few months after leaving his CEO role at Passport Health Communications, Jim Lackey has begun serving as interim CEO of Franklin revenue cycle management company EnableComp.
The company, founded five years ago by Lackey’s longtime friend and former FOCUS Healthcare Management colleague David Iskowe, helps hospitals collect revenue from workers’ compensation claims.
Lackey, who has served on EnableComp’s board of directors since its inception, said he was asked to step in as CEO three months ago to help prepare the business for growth.
“We’ve got several good customers,” Lackey said, noting local powers Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Saint Thomas Health Services. “But (the business) has never been organized to grow.”
During the past few months, the company has hired health care consultant Jeff Tanner as chief operating officer and Deb Miller, previously owner of Elevate Marketing Group, as vice president of sales and marketing.
Miller said the company recently has been focused on fine-tuning its product lines and talking to hospitals across the country in preparation for a growth push. She said the company expects to triple the size of its 15-person staff within three years.
Lackey expects to remain in the CEO role for six to 12 months, then Iskowe will resume the post. As CEO of Passport from 1998 to April 2009, the company grew from a start-up to employ roughly 300 people and process 130 million transactions last year. He remains chairman of its board.
With EnableComp, hospitals essentially hand over their workers’ comp claims to the company, which uses proprietary software to identify unpaid or underpaid claims, appeal them, and secure payment for the provider. These claims can be particularly difficult to collect, Miller said, because of legal complexities that vary from state to state.
Terry Brannon, collections director for Saint Thomas Health Services, said the challenge lies in determining the payor source for emergency room patients and, for all other services, making sure they get paid according to the Tennessee workers’ comp fee schedule.
Although these claims may account for less than 2 percent of a hospital’s overall business, they still account for millions in revenue — no small matter when hospital margins continue to face a number of pressures. Standard & Poor’s reported in July that the median operating margin for nonprofit hospital systems fell from 2.8 percent in 2007 to 2.4 percent in 2008. Net margins hit 2.5 percent, down from 6.3 percent in ’07.
Brannon said workers’ comp revenue is only about 1 percent of gross revenue for Saint Thomas’ four-hospital systems, but it has accounted for “several million dollars” in recovered revenue.
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