By Daniel Casciato
With PNC’s acquisition of National City, healthcare providers will benefit from a more robust and stable financial partner for their healthcare banking needs.
“We’re very excited about our combination with National City and expanding in the marketplace,” says Jean Hippert, Regional Director of PNC Healthcare. “We think it will benefit our existing clients and allow us to support even more providers and payers with our leading-edge solution.
One advantage to working with National City and PNC’s healthcare banking divisions is that both organizations focus full-time on healthcare organizations and professionals. The two organizations complement each other; while both address the financial needs across the full spectrum of healthcare providers and payers, National City specializes in medical practices and PNC Healthcare’s sweet spot is hospitals, health systems, non-acute payers and providers.
“Our goal is to be the financial institution of choice for healthcare practices, the owners of those businesses, as well as the staff members who are employed by them,” says Nick Spanakis, Group Practice Manager of Healthcare Business Banking for National City, now a part of PNC. “We take a holistic approach to a healthcare provider. Our focus is helping a practice improve its cash flow and profitability. That’s what most providers are challenged with in today’s environment. If we can improve the efficiency and the effectiveness of the revenue cycle, the practice itself can become more sustainable. This typically results in improved outcomes for both the patients and the professionals working within the practice.”
Hippert says that PNC Healthcare takes a unique approach to helping providers minimize the administrative cost of healthcare and maximize their cash flow in an appropriate way. “We do that by establishing relationships and working effectively with providers and payers. By interposing ourselves in these relationships, we know we can reduce the cost of administration and improve quality.”
She adds that in helping its clients to improve their businesses, PNC has combined leading clearinghouse capabilities with premier treasury management services and advanced analytics.
“We have about 20 years of experience of working with both payers and providers and have molded that into an enterprise view revenue cycle improvement,” says Hippert. “Our solutions in healthcare are really designed to minimize the administrative cost of healthcare so the provider can focus on the real mission: delivering an excellent patient experience.”
PNC and National City each have full-time dedicated groups of healthcare business banking officers.
“That allows us a lot of experience and leadership in this space,” says Spanakis. “We’re very capable of demonstrating our knowledge of the healthcare segment. Our clients see that because we speak their language and understand their challenges. We’re also experienced enough to spend less time trying to figure things out and a lot more time executing tailored solutions for them—things that are unique to their particular business and help them get to their desired result in a faster, more efficient, and effective manner.”
PNC spokesperson, Edward Kozmor adds, “What Nick and his team do so well and what will mesh well with us is that the holistic approach takes into account that these physicians are physicians. They don’t run it as a business per se. They are focused on meeting the needs of their customers, their patients, and helping them develop solutions and products run more efficiently and effectively.”
National City’s cash management solutions can enhance a healthcare provider’s operating account. These solutions include:
- Remote Deposit
- Payroll Manager
- Vendor Payments
- Sweep Option
- Web ACH (Automatic Clearing House)
- Web Wire
- Merchant Services Card Processing
- Visa® Business Credit Cards
- Business Credit and Term Loans
National City products and services that can help a provider finance growth and acquisitions include healthcare business leasing, equipment and term loans, commercial real estate loans, lines and letters of credit, and Visa Business Credit Cards.
National City also offers a suite of workplace banking products for employees, including:
- Affordable group health insurance and other employee benefits
- Retirement plan options
- “Work Perks” Program, offering provider staff a package of discounted banking solutions, including educational seminars.
- Supplemental executive insurance benefits (life, long-term care and disability insurance)
- Education Savings Plans
- “MyCommunityMortgage” product suite offering low or no down payment conventional loan options
- The National City Visa Gift Card to reward and thank employees
- Direct deposit of employee payroll for ease and convenience
“We offer a broad spectrum of products and services for healthcare providers from comprehensive revenue cycle management solutions which include ACH (automated clearinghouse network), lockbox, and remote deposit for the practice,” says Spanakis. “We’re also extremely capable of taking care of a practice from start-up and partner buy-ins to major expansions and buy-outs of retiring physicians. If you look across our industries, very few of our competitors play in that space with any level of competence.”
Even though the integration of National City and PNC won’t be complete until 2010, the organizations are collaborating today to serve healthcare organizations during this critical and challenging economic environment. Like other businesses, healthcare providers are not immune to the effects of an ailing economy. Spanakis and Hippert recommend that healthcare providers, small and large, get a financial wellness checkup.
“Let us come in and do a complete financial analysis of the practice,” Spanakis says. “Now more than ever, it’s important to have a clear understanding to see if you’re doing all you can to collect your money, do the most with the collected money, hold on to it before you pay your bills, and maximize your return. We’ll do a thorough analysis of your revenue cash cycle.”
Kozmor comments that when the conversion of National City into PNC occurs, it will be a seamless experience for clients. “If anything the products will be as robust or slightly expanded,” he says. “The relationships with the current physicians will still be there.”
There is one silver lining in today’s economic situation for healthcare providers. $147.7 billion of the $787 billion fiscal stimulus package includes help for the healthcare sector. The breakdown includes:
- $86.6 billion for Medicaid
- $24.7 billion to provide a 65 percent subsidy of healthcare insurance premiums for the unemployed under the COBRA program
- $19 billion for health information technology
- $10 billion for health research and construction of National Institutes of Health facilities
- $1.3 billion for medical care for service members and their families (military)
- $1 billion for prevention and wellness
- $1 billion for the Veterans Health Administration
- $2 billion for Community Health Centers
- $1.1 billion to research the effectiveness of certain healthcare treatments
- $500 million to train healthcare personnel
- $500 million for healthcare services on Indian reservations
“One of the things I find compelling is the $19 billion is available for healthcare IT spending,” says Hippert. “It is amazing what a crowded space healthcare IT has become. One of the implications is that there is money available for hospitals to spend on IT solutions.”
Spanakis agrees. “It has a very positive impact on the providers in that it gives them incentive to invest in healthcare technology. We’ll see more technology brought to bear. It should improve a business flow and customer satisfaction.”