Ochsner Health System Rises to the Challenge of Healthcare Reform

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Healthcare reforms have prompted hospitals across the country to improve cost efficiencies and recoup expenses wherever they can. In response, the accounts payable department of Southern Louisiana’s Ochsner Health System-one of the largest independent academic health systems in the United States and Louisiana’s largest not-for-profit health system-developed a collaboration with American Express that helped improve cash management while reducing costs. In doing so, it actually recast itself as a model for efficiency across the Ochsner organization—a role unheard of in a traditionally back-office department. The relationship included a customized suite of American Express payment solutions that helped automate vendor payment processes and increase financial incentives. One key product was Buyer Initiated Payments (BIP), an easy-to-use, web-based solution that automates payments and streamlines approvals. This payment suite enabled Ochsner to implement electronic payment processing requirements across its vendor base.

Within one year, results had exceeded all expectations. “We’ve already doubled our electronic vendor spend volume, which has not only increased our financial incentives, but also improved our vendor payment processes,” says Stacy Bundrick, Assistant Vice President of Accounting over Accounts Payable. Streamlining Ochsner’s payment systems has contributed to the organization’s bottom line. She continues, “I don’t have to cut a paper check. This alone has cut our cost per invoice from $3 to $1.” Though it began as a tactical project, this relationship soon became something more integral to Ochsner’s business. “We’re now better coordinated with senior management and purchasing to maximize the value of our relationship with American Express,” says Bundrick. “What started out as a departmental project became a true strategic initiative across our entire organization.”

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