Community Health Center Absorbs Rapid Growth by Modernizing Finance Function

Case study

Industry: Health Care
Need: Reboot the Finance Function
Service: Finance Department Assessment

Understanding the situation

A $40 million community health center was experiencing rapid growth and expanded operations across multiple East Coast states.

This doubled the work for the billing and accounts payable teams and affected accuracy. Department heads started receiving financial reports that were at odds with other operational metrics. Plus, brain drain loomed with four of the six key finance roles scheduled to turn over due to retirements and relocations.

After engaging CLA, the organization walked away with a roadmap to absorb the growth and better utilize employee talents, while simultaneously automating and integrating processes and reporting systems.

Exploring the challenge

To understand how to operationally absorb the sudden expansion, the leadership engaged CLA to conduct a finance department assessment. CLA took the following steps to uncover the growing pains:

  • Reviewed documents outlining the finance team, roles, systems, and reports
  • Gathered insights from finance staff through surveys and interviews to learn the responsibilities, processes, and systems used to support their current work
  • Explored the various systems used to manage, track, and bill
  • Collected ideas from staff on the changes they felt could add the most value
  • Gained perspectives from clinicians and people in governance and operational roles to understand their goals and how they wanted to interact with the finance team

Achieving results

Before CLA’s consultants offered recommendations, they shared their analysis with the clinic’s leaders to ensure everyone felt comfortable executing the plan based on budget constraints and resource requirements. The plan modernized the finance department by:

  • Identifying and eliminating 200 hours a year being spent on tracking and reporting items that were no longer relevant
  • Outsourcing payroll processing and realigning the support team to reduce duplication and enhance controls
  • Redesigning a leadership role within the revenue cycle team and centers of excellence (by payor), which eliminated duplicative work and improved knowledge-sharing
  • Implementing web-based accounting technology to make invoice coding, approvals, document retention, bill pay, and general ledger posting more efficient, and shift some of the accounts payable staff to focus on other value-add work