Thanksgiving Wisdom for the Ages

By Kylee Savage

Thanksgiving is an important holiday for SpendMend – we know we have so much to be thankful for.  We are thankful for our employees; our employees’ families; our partners; our clients; and for the healthcare professionals that work at the hospitals we call clients.

In recognition of this year’s holiday, we put together some special quotes about Thanksgiving and Appreciation for everyone to enjoy. As you, your family, and loved ones settle in for some turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, please use these wise words to kick off some stirring dinner table conversation.

 

  • “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” — Oprah Winfrey
  • “Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare. They are consumed in 12 minutes. Halftimes take 12 minutes. This is not a coincidence.” — Erma Bombeck
  • “When asked if my cup is half-full or half-empty, my only response is that I am thankful I have a cup.” — Sam Lefkowitz
  • “There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.” —Anonymous
  • “If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” — Frank W. Clarke
  • “When you give and carry out acts of kindness, it’s as though something inside your body responds and says, ‘Yes, this is how I ought to feel.’” — Rabbi Harold Kushner
  • “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” — John F. Kennedy
  • “Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.” —Randy Pausch
  • “Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” — Alphonse Karr
  • “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” — Willie Nelson
  • “Appreciation can change a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put into words is all that is necessary.” — Margaret Cousins
  • “Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward
  • “If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.” — W. Clement Stone

 

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Enjoy the time off with family and loved ones!

Unclaimed Property and The 49.5 Billion Reasons Why Dark Data is A Bigger Problem Than You Think

By Teri Harkins

At SpendMend, we focus a lot on dark data in healthcare.  In 2019, Splunk.com published an influential article on the topic which identified dark data as “all of the unused, unknown and untapped data across an organization, generated as a result of users’ daily interactions online with countless devices and systems.” The article went on to further claim that “dark data may be one of an organization’s biggest untapped resources. Data is increasingly a major organizational asset, and competitive organizations will need to tap into its full value.”

One of the biggest lessons that we’ve learned in our pursuit to illuminate dark data for our health system clients is that it is not easy to find and re-instate dark data. Once data goes dark… where are you supposed to look for it? How are you ever going to find it? If this data were easy to find… would it be considered “dark” in the first place?

One of the strategies we’ve developed to identify dark data is to look outside the organization’s “walls” (read: systems and databases.) We have developed several strategies to triangulate with third parties, partners, suppliers, and more in our tireless effort to illuminate data that would otherwise remain unseen.

This tactic – to look beyond the health system – is never more relevant than when performing an Asset Recovery audit. An Asset Recovery audit is an orchestrated effort to help hospitals identify, validate and recover unclaimed property that is owed to the hospital but has been escheated to the government.

To clarify, if a business, government office, or other entity owes a hospital money that the hospital does not collect, it’s considered unclaimed. Unclaimed property can include many things, including cash, checks, money orders, security deposits, the contents of safe deposit boxes, etc. When businesses cannot locate the owner of this property, they are then forced to send money to state-run unclaimed property offices. The federal government doesn’t have a central website for finding unclaimed money and to recover this money, a claimant must mine the data and records of every state and well beyond.

In a 2020 report on unclaimed property, financial advisor, SmartAsset determined that there was a total of $49.5 billion in unclaimed property available to U.S. individuals, businesses, hospitals, etc. For context, the report asserted that the massive cache was “equal to the market value of FedEx, 250 times the net worth of Justin Bieber and enough to buy about 286,000 houses in the U.S. at the average home value.”

Knowing all of this, are you now wondering if any of this money is owed to your hospital? Well, if you’re not, you should be. Remember this is your property. This is data that you should be well aware of but at some point, it went “dark.”  

SpendMend helps hospitals to recapture unclaimed property through our Asset Recovery audit. Our approach is advanced and exhaustive. 

Our team mines and reviews elusive data from over 50 disparate databases. The structures, naming conventions, and communication styles used in these data sets are always varied and nearly impossible to anticipate. 

But, deep within these databases, we are able to unearth large amounts of rich information. The data we find frequently translates into bottom-line monetary value for the hospital while always providing new visibility and insight for the hospital. Our clients consistently leverage this newly illuminated data to make better decisions.

If you are curious about how dark data is impacting your hospital or if you are interested in performing an in-depth Asset Recovery audit, we encourage you to reach out to a SpendMend rep and simply start a conversation

We should know within about 15 minutes if we can help you with your business needs. If we determine there is nothing we can do, then our in-house experts can connect you with the right industry resource to answer your questions.

Is this the tipping point we’ve been hoping we wouldn’t see? Are you about to get audited by the OIG?

By Al Brander CSO, SpendMend

In the most direct terms, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been asked by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to increase their efforts when it comes to recouping Medicare overpayments from U.S. hospitals.

Do you work in healthcare? If so, then you are 100% on their list of targeted hospitals.

This isn’t exactly new news.  We’ve been reading about, and reviewing the results from CMS and OIG audits for the past several years.  The results are many but the story is always the same. Medicare overpays U.S. hospitals. Hospitals don’t always pay it back.

In the mid-teens, CMS and OIG put plans in place to audit U.S. hospitals in an attempt to recoup billions of dollars.  And then COVID-19 got in the way.  When the world returned to “normal” – whatever that is – and audits could resume, we quickly learned that the problem had gotten worse.  The response? CMS and OIG needed to the redouble their efforts and audit more hospitals and more diligently.

On October 27th, a federal watchdog agency found CMS has not been doing enough to claw back the Medicare overpayments. The watchdog reviewed audits for 12 hospitals between 2016 and 2018 that discovered 387 improperly paid Medicare claims totaling $82 million in overpayments. Of which, hospitals appealed 229, or 59% of claims.

OIG has recommended that CMS should enforce repayment of the claims, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. It their report the watchdog admitted they “could not identify the actions CMS had taken to ensure recommendations were implemented,” because CMS had not provided enough information on the status of the appeals, nor did they provide information on the reason for the appeals. The report further stated that if CMS did not follow all recommendations then they would risk, “not capturing all overpayments.”

The report has been submitted, but the matter is not finished, not by a long shot.  To me, the posturing and the messaging of both the watchdog agency and OIG makes it clear that there is a massive amount of overpayments outstanding and due the U.S. government – and the government wants it back.  And why shouldn’t they?  In many cases, a formal audit is all that stands between the vague knowledge of these dollars and the collection of these dollars. So you already know where this is going…

U.S. Hospitals need to be quite thoughtful about their response to the recent report. Considering the scale of this growing issue and the potential impact that these dollars could have on several governmental budgets, it is a very safe bet that The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office (HHS) and OIG are going to strongly recommend more audits and closer attention to recouping Medicare payments.

So if you’ve read this far then you might be wondering what does this mean to you? This is an important question to consider. An CMS/OIG audit of your hospital does not simply mean you may have to pay back some overpayments.  An audit is invasive and will require time from several members of your staff. Time that you don’t have.  The results may bring to light key non-compliance issues that can get your company placed on costly exclusion lists and may spur additional audits.  And if any overpayments are found then you will also face additional costs through fees, penalties and fines.

The best approach is to contact consultants about potential OIG audits and to put a defensive plan in place or to conduct a mock audit and gain a clear understanding of your vulnerabilities.

At this point we should be very clear that SpendMend cannot help with every facet of an OIG audit, but we have built out a number of tools that you can use to safeguard a particularly vulnerable area of your Medicare payment landscape – the warranty credits you receive related to medical device explants. Please reach out to a SpendMend rep for any questions about how we can help you company save time and avoid a costly audit outcome.

A Sincere Thank You to Our Team Members During A Month Dedicated to Appreciation and Recognition

October is quite meaningful for SpendMend and for our clients. Nearly every week of this month is dedicated to celebrating some population of our client base.  This year, October 2-8 was designated National Health Care Supply Chain Week; October 10-14 was assigned as Accounts Payable Recognition Week; and this week, October 17-21 is National Pharmacy Week.

Throughout the month we have dedicated time to celebrate, appreciate and recognize the superb professionals representing every one of these highly specialized groups. We’ve sent gifts, we’ve posted on social media; we even launched a month-long charity drive dedicated to client contacts from every one of these departments.

But there is still one group left to celebrate… and that group is our associates. We see our dedicated staff working right alongside our clients to serve the healthcare supply chain, the accounts payable office and the entire pharmacy landscape.

We are in awe of the work that our teams provide to constantly go above and beyond what is expected.  Our associates take pride in what they do, and they are committed to serving hospitals, health systems, pharmacies, and clinics to do our part to improve patient care.

SpendMend has enjoyed sustained success for the past several years.  We don’t take it for granted and we know that it is all due to the dedication and effort from our wonderful associates.

So… to everyone at SpendMend that serves, in any capacity, to support Health Care Supply Chain, Accounts Payable, Pharmacy or any other function in healthcare we appreciate the work that you do for our clients and for SpendMend.

SpendMend couldn’t do any of this without you!

 

Dan Geelhoed                                                 Rob Heminger                                                 Rob Nahoopii

CEO                                                                   COO, President                                               SVP, Pharmacy

Five Lessons from Last Week’s Company Meeting

Written by: Tom Flynn
 

Last week several hundred SpendMenders descended on our home office in Grand Rapids for our annual all hands meeting. We packed ourselves into a large conference room for a couple hours and we split time reviewing the past year’s accomplishments as well as our ambitious plans for the coming year.

Along the way we discussed our mission, our vision and our values and we took quite a bit of time calling out the great work of co-workers as well as the valuable contributions from key clients.

It’s no secret that I am a proud employee of SpendMend. I’ve worked here for over three years, and I am impressed everyday by my co-workers and the effort they put forward –especially by how much they care about the work that they do and the impact they have on hospitals across the country.

In response to my quick trip to Michigan, I wanted to share “Five Lessons Learned from Last Week’s Company Meeting.”

  • This really is all about “Patient Care” – In every presentation from the CEO to the president, through pharmacy, clinical, marketing, development, operations, sales, and every space in between… every single department head talked about how the work we did is positively impacting “patient care” for our hospital clientele. We are not doctors (although a couple of us have been pharmacists and nurses) and we do not see patients, but the value of our solutions has a meaningful impact on supporting patient care – and we are proud of this fact. And that drives our work.
  • SpendMend is growing with no signs of slowing down – I have to give huge credit to our Senior Leadership Team. About five years ago, SpendMend pivoted, and at that time, we were viewed as the healthcare industry’s leading profit recovery solution. For many firms, that would have been enough, but our leaders had a grander vision. The team  decided that we could have a much larger impact on hospitals, and we began building a suite of solutions to help support the cost-cycle throughout all of healthcare. As a result, we have taken off like a rocket!  At our all hands meeting we reviewed several different charts and graphs marking our progress in revenue, margins, employees, solutions, and by every major marker we have been steadily moving up and to the right.
  • We have an amazing team! – I cannot stress this enough. I love our team. I had a chance to mingle with several co-workers before the company meeting. I presented for a small section, and I was able to look out over the crowd and take in all the attentive faces. I chatted with many new people at the cocktail reception before dinner and I bounced around from table to table as we ate each course. The final conclusion… my co-workers are amazing. They are conscientious, talented, funny, smart, and very committed to serving our clients. I should also add that although most conversations were positive, not every discussion was sunshine and roses. A couple issues bubbled up about how our company could improve. These conversations were my favorite because I was able to see firsthand how much my co-workers cared about the work we do and how we rally together to create solutions.
  • Face to face is more important than ever – We could not have done this meeting in a virtual setting. We could not have stared at a monitor at the digitized image of 300 smiling faces and conducted this meeting on a computer. We really needed to meet face to face, and shake hands, and hug, and smile, and look each other in the eye and clink glasses and laugh out loud. Yes, it was expensive, and yes it was a lot of coordination, (I see you Hannah and LeAnne) and yes there were some opportunity costs, but in the end, we were all together and that was worth it.
  • Downtown Grand Rapids is beautiful – As part of our team-building activities, the entire company took busses into downtown Grand Rapids, to walk the city streets and take in all the mind-blowing art from ArtPrize. For those who may not know, ArtPrize is an art competition and festival in Grand Rapids. Anyone can display their art, and any venue within the three-square-mile ArtPrize district can be a venue. I am a huge fan of art and ArtPrize did not disappoint, but more than the fantastic exhibits that were on display, the most impressive and vibrant attraction was the city itself and all the happy, pleasant people – and the overall vibe. If you haven’t ever been to this quaint little city in Western Michigan, I highly suggest putting it on your bucket list. You will not be disappointed.

So, there it is… five lessons that I learned from the SpendMend company meeting last week. It’s probably truer to say, five facts I had reinforced last week at the company meeting, but you get the point. It’s truly an understatement to say I am proud to work at this company. We have done a lot of great work to date and with that success comes the desire and expectation for more success. At times that can cause some stress, but I have to say there is no better cause then helping our wonderful clients deliver better patient care and there is no other group of individuals I would rather work with to achieve our mission.