Council Connect Article

Is Your Hospital’s Accounts Payable Program Working for You?
For CFOs, CEOs, and business office staff

Hospitals are pouring a wealth of resources and time into transforming how care is delivered, and sometimes the Accounts Payable (AP) department gets left out when it comes to innovation.

A patient might receive a revolutionary new treatment or visit their doctor via telemedicine, while the very vendor who provides those services is still being paid by check. Forward-thinking providers, however, apply the same innovative approach to modernize their supplier payments so that all sides of the care transaction are maximized.  With the COVID-19 pandemic and margins shrinking for many hospitals, the AP process offers opportunities for new and additional revenue areas to target with little or no costs while at the same time supporting crucial social distancing.

You can streamline your payments with a virtual AP Card from Commerce Bank. It works with your existing accounting system, decreases your operating costs by replacing paper checks via electronic payments and provides an opportunity to earn a monthly revenue share.

Some employees may be fearful that electronic vendor payments could lead to layoffs.  Many providers have found that staffers are freed up to take on more meaningful duties such as negotiating with vendors, rather than stuffing envelopes. A hospital administrator shared, “For hospitals to attract young talent to AP departments  of the future — like the Gen Xers and the Gen Yers — you need to keep it relevant, you need to keep it challenging, and you need to take the everyday mundane stuff out of it.”

One health system in Central Texas has been able to automate most of its payment processes and is now generating more than $200,000 per year in additional income by adopting electronic payments, adding nearly $1 million since its adoption of the program.

Other hospitals have seen similar results.

Samaritan Health Services in Corvallis, Ore., found “The revenue share alone pays the salaries of our four-person AP staff, transforming us from a cost center to a profit center,” says Kenyon Butler, accounting manager. “That doesn’t include the up-to-$50,000 a year that Commerce saves us in check processing costs. Customer service from Commerce has been great. They require almost no work from us to set up our AP program.”

“All of that time spent on manual processes is cumbersome, and it costs you money,” said Julie Brock, Commerce Bank VP. “Some may think it’s not a priority because it does not ‘directly’ affect the patient – but everything is connected, and a hospital’s operations have much more of an impact on patient care than you might think.” 

Commerce Bank is an endorsed business partner of the Hospital Council. For more information, contact  Vice President, Regional Sales Manager, Amy Sue Bliss  AAP, CTP at (913) 265-6885.