Corporate Business Services' initiatives add up to a better patient experience

About 1,400 employees in Yale New Haven Health System's Corporate Business Services (previously called the System Business Office) serve all five YNHHS hospitals and outpatient locations. A few years ago, CBS began to work toward a more patient-centered approach in its functions, including Patient Access, Health Information Management and Patient Accounts/Billing.

One major shift is a new role for some Patient Finance and Admitting Services staff members. Previously, these employees met with patients at YNHHS facilities to gather their coverage and other information. While some Patient Access employees still conduct these in-person meetings, a number are now patient account representatives who staff CBS' new Pre-Service Center. They work with insurance companies and other payers to get patients pre-authorized, then call patients before certain tests, procedures, outpatient visits and hospitalizations. They discuss with patients their coverage, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs and, if needed, financial assistance.

CBS has also incorporated suggestions from members of the Patient and Family Advisory Committee to make bills from YNHHS delivery networks easier to understand. CBS' next step is to work with insurance companies to simplify their coverage notices.

Other CBS patient experience initiatives under discussion include:

  • Pre-registration and check-in so patients can go directly to their clinicians at the hospitals or outpatient facilities.
  • Central scheduling so patients could call one number to set up multiple tests and procedures, and possibly complete some the same day.
  • Embedding CBS staff members in certain clinical areas to serve as patient-financial advocates.
Natasha Williams, patient account representative in Corporate Business Services' Pre-Service Center, works with patients before their scheduled hospital visits to pre-authorize coverage and help patients understand their expenses.