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Innovation Starts Here: an ACA Leadership Convention Reflection

by Greg Leaf
Assistant Director of Collection Operations

“Experience is a master teacher, even when it’s not our own.” ~Gina Greenlee

The ACA leadership convention is a conference unlike any other. It is attended by a small group of leaders and owners of some of the most forward-thinking, accomplished agencies in our nation with two primary objectives: to share our best ideas and to jointly discuss how to address our most pressing issues. The President-elect gives a state of the union update, and there is a motivational speaker, but aside from that, it is a roundtable discussion.

No PowerPoints. No vendor-sponsored messaging. No sales presentations. Just subject matter experts, often with decades of experience, sharing candidly what moved the needle for them the most in the past year and what challenges they see on the horizon. In an era of bursting inboxes, watered-down webinars, and a disproportionate ratio of data to information, this conference is vital, refreshing, and fruitful. In that spirit, I’ll get to the point of what the 2018 conference meant for us (and you) as we look forward.

  • Disaster response planning, multi-channel communication (especially texting), and new data vendors are an excellent place to start. These were some of the best idea topics we brought back with us, and have already gone to work implementing.
  • 2017 was a challenging year for many of our patients, clients, peers, and extended families with natural disasters. We responded swiftly, trimming affected areas out of our calling campaigns, notifying staff of these areas on instructing them on how to handle any inbound conversations with compassion, and separating inventory to place on temporary hold statuses. There is no magic button for an agency to automatically do this; it is the result of thoughtful preparation, procedure, and thorough execution. If you’re a current or prospective client, rest assured we will handle this responsibility with your patients, customers, and reputation with the care it deserves.
  • Texting is getting a great deal of traction and support with industry leaders and attorneys. As with cell phone consent, the more opt-in and consent verbiage you can build into agreements on the front end, the more it empowers your partners later in the revenue cycle to leverage these technologies. We are at work determining the safest, and most productive path forward, but the technology is a near-term inevitability. We want to remove as many obstacles as possible from consumer communication and payment and to align consumer preference with our strategy closely. We have engaged a vendor that has text-to-pay capabilities, and look forward to honing our multi-channel strategy as the year goes on.

PRC in 2018

All that being said, we’ve got a great deal to be excited about as we continue into 2018. We’ve got a strong, passionate, and empowered team making these ideas (and more) become a reality. What does that mean for you? Most obviously, superior results. We love what we do, and are in love with the process of getting better. Also, peace of mind and confidence that you are working with true professionals and leaders in our field. It starts at the top, with our President Geoff Miller, and it starts with a commitment to learning, leading, and sharing the knowledge of events like this that has permeated throughout our team.

In that spirit, as a final takeaway, our door is open to sharing knowledge and best practices with you. We love to talk shop, about what the current collection environment is, and what we think it could be. If you’re a current or prospective client and would like to talk through what this year looks like for you, we are here to answer the call.