CCMC cuts ribbon on billing office

PARKERSBURG – With a ribbon-cutting Friday at the new billing center for the Camden Clark Physicians Corp., Camden Clark Medical Center and the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley celebrated a dozen jobs that had previously been done outside the area.

Before St. Joseph’s Hospital was acquired by Camden Clark in 2011, its billing operations were handled by a company in Richmond, Va. Inpatient billing for what is now the St. Joseph’s Campus of Camden Clark Medical Center moved in-house, and it was joined in January by billing services for the physicians corporation, which includes 16 offices and more than 60 health care providers in a variety of specialties.

The corporation’s billing center is on the third floor of the St. Joseph’s Campus.

“The old days of just being able to farm it out to some … entity is just not as feasible these days,” said Rick Hamilton, executive director of the corporation, which is wholly owned by Camden Clark.

That’s because both government and private insurance programs have moved to a fee based more on quality than volume. A provider must document how it stacks up in terms of certain quality measures, such as tobacco cessation counseling for patients, in order to receive the highest reimbursements it can, Hamilton said.

That makes billing more complicated. Having billing and collection services in-house will create “more efficient, better billing,” Hamilton said.

It also creates jobs in the area, with 12 people in the new office. Combined with the inpatient billing services, more than 20 jobs have been added in the transition to in-house billing, Camden Clark CEO Mike King said.

Jill Parsons, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley, said the change is a positive one.

“It’s nice to see a local company having confidence to bring jobs back to this area and knowing … the importance for the business community and our economy,” she said.

In January alone, the office billed 10,000 clients, said Bobbie Reed, revenue cycle manager.

King said it made sense to locate the billing center on the St. Joseph’s Campus because space was available. The West Virginia Health Care Authority recently issued a certificate of need allowing operations to be consolidated at the Memorial Campus, but King said that’s never meant the St. Joseph’s Campus would close overnight and sit empty.

“We’re trying to use space we have,” he said. “We still don’t have a long-term plan for this campus.”

King said he’d like to see some alternative uses for the site, possibly stemming from the oil and natural gas activity in the region.