Ross Korkmas became the CEO of Palo Pinto General Hospital in August of 2019, and one of his first orders of business was to bring MDsave to his new facility. We spoke with Ross about his MDsave experience at his two previous hospitals, bringing MDsave to Palo Pinto, and his advice to hospitals about staying competitive in the out-of-pocket market.
What first attracted you to MDsave?
“The first experience I had with MDsave was when I was the chief operating officer at a hospital in Arkansas. What first attracted us to it was hearing from community members and physicians about the same challenge that every hospital faces: high charges and patients getting higher and higher deductibles. We were starting to see more out-of-pocket expenses from the patients.
We thought this would be a great opportunity to partner with MDsave and bundle some services together and reduce some of the cost of care to patients that may have high deductible plans, that may be uninsured or may be cash-pay patients.
That was, I think, the first draw that brought MDsave to us: it enabled us to partner with physicians to do that.”
What did you learn from your Arkansas hospital?
“This was brand new, when MDsave first came out. While we thought this was a great opportunity, we wanted to see how it would do with just radiology and lab up [on the MDsave platform] and then we’d venture out to see what else could be done. So all we put up was lab and radiology, and it never really took off.
Then I moved to Oklahoma and I followed a great CEO there, and they took a different approach.”
What made the Oklahoma approach different?
“They put everything on MDsave. Anything and everything that they did, they wanted to put on MDsave; not just lab and radiology, but therapy, surgery, colonoscopies.
There is a stark contrast between a hospital that only puts up lab and radiology versus a hospital that partners with more physicians and offers more on MDsave. I think it’s safe to say that it will not be as successful if all an organization does is lab and radiology. You really need to have more services on there.
The success in Oklahoma was overwhelming because it was one of those a-ha moments: ‘Oh, I get it now. I see what made this successful,’ versus just sitting back with very limited services.”
What else made the Oklahoma hospital so successful?
“I’ll be the first to tell you that I wasn’t the reason that MDsave was so successful in Oklahoma; it was the previous CEO. But we carried that torch on.
I think that the Oklahoma hospital is one of the top performing hospitals for MDsave in its system, and that’s a testament to the former CEO and the registration staff.
That staff knows as much about MDsave as you guys [the MDsave team] probably do. They have it ingrained. They know how to work with patients and determine the best financial option for patients. They had a direct line of communication to our MDsave rep who was always available, and then we could make changes, modify, or add whatever we needed.
We also had some folks up there that were self-insured corporate companies that worked directly with us. If they had an employee that needed a specific surgery that wasn’t on MDsave, they would call our business office or our patient registration director, they would work directly with our MDsave rep and we would have that procedure added that day. They could go on MDsave, pay cash for the procedure, and their employee could come in and have the procedure done.”
How was MDsave received at your new hospital?
“I brought MDsave to a medical staff meeting and there was not a single negative comment in the room. It was, ‘When can we start?’
It’s neat when you have doctors emailing you saying, ‘Hey, when can I go live on MDsave? When can we get this going? I’ve got a patient that needs this care. When can this begin?’
To see that kind of excitement from physicians was nice—when they’re busting down your door because they’ve got patients that need the care.
I think it helps physicians drive some volume through their doors and they get paid quickly. The physicians get paid timely, we get paid timely. The process is seamless on the MDsave side. MDsave handles a lot of the heavy lifting as long as the hospital does its part and works with its physicians and providers.”
What advice would you give other hospital leaders who are considering MDsave?
“Take a look at your market and then speak with some of your providers and go over what MDsave offers and how it can benefit the patient, how it can benefit the physician, and how it can benefit the hospital.
Don’t make my mistake of saying, ‘Well, let’s just see how lab and radiology do. Then we’ll jump in.’ You may not have to jump in with everything right away, but I think you need to be prepared to bring up more services faster and not just sit back and wait to see if it’s successful on one or two service lines. You need to be prepared to add multiple service lines to it.”
Thank you, Ross, for sharing your advice and experience with us! At the time of writing, Ross’ new hospital is implementing MDsave and has more physicians and service lines being added every day.