Reagan Hospital District Puts More Staff Through Training to Prevent Future Billing Problems

Reagan Hospital District Puts More Staff Through Training to Prevent Future Billing Problems

Anum Valliani

NewsWest 9

BIG LAKE - It wasn't intentional nor a result of any shortage of funds, but the Reagan Hospital District had initially missed paying some vendors in May.

Now the district is bouncing back from criticism for the late payments through some training and reorganization. According to officials, the problems stemmed from an employee leaving who usually handled billing. They said she was the only one who knew how to make payments under a new software program the hospital started using in January.

"Other opportunities arose. She left and we were left to sort of panic and figure out how to do the application," Chief Operating Officer, Kyle Rockwell said.

Meditech is a full featured hospital electronic medical record software, according to Rockwell.  "It covers everything from your clinical, your documentation, to your billing and payroll," he explained.

But other employees didn't know how to operate the new system. As a result, vendors weren't initially paid. NewsWest 9 doesn't know how much money that adds up to, but board members said it doesn't matter because the checks were sent as soon as they were made aware by complainants.

"Anytime there's somebody that leaves, trying you figure out their filing system, their way of doing things, and then going in and making it your own. We just ran into a few speed bumps with that," Rockwell said.

But despite the hiccup, they found a lasting solution, by reaching out to the software vendor to train more workers on how to use the system.

"We now have three people that know how to do every function of the software, just so we don't have another situation like this happen again," Kyle said, adding that, "If anyone was out for whatever reason, somebody can step in and take care of the job."

This isn't the first time missed payments have come up.

"There have been a few instances of situations that had been publicized and with disagreements that have just gone on. It has nothing to do with having the funds or not having the funds," Rockwell said.

Earlier this year, the the county and hospital district were at odds about funding the at the time shared EMS service. According to the county, the hospital had just stopped paying, while district officials claimed the county had decided to end the contract and the lack of payments were a direct result of that. The situation is still a bit tense, with neither side directly communicating. Each has found the means to fund and supply their own outpatient transportation, and the board is set to talk about the issue in their next meeting..

As for this issue, Rockwell's confident skipping the bill pay isn't a problem bound to pop up again.

"Now that we've undergone training its really an intuitive system. It was just getting in and getting our feet wet and saying 'oh this is what you call it.' because every different software is going to call something differently and once we figured out how they did things, piece of cake after that," he said.

They have also started implementing invoices and that the new software can record and track the monthly payments from now on. A new long term care assistant has also been hired to smooth operations.