Mailstream On Demand™ significantly increases client payment rate for Centerstone.
One of the nation’s largest not-for-profit providers of community-based behavioral healthcare
Provided services in 2014 to 84,000 individuals and families in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee
Mission is to prevent and cure mental illness and substance addiction
Reduce in-house staff required to mail monthly statements
Reduce cost of postage
Comply with client confidentiality regulations
Doubled or tripled the amount of payments received from customers
Reduces staff time required to mail out patient statements
Saves hard costs on paper, envelopes, postage and in-house copying machines
As one of the nation’s leading not-for-profit providers of community-based behavioral healthcare, Centerstone provides a full range of mental health services, substance abuse treatment and intellectual and developmental disabilities. The organization expects growth of up to 35 to 40 percent over the next three years and is taking steps to streamline internal processes that are non-essential to patient care, but absolutely essential to the financial viability of Centerstone.
“The problem,” relates Helen Nowak, Contract Coordinator for Centerstone, “was that in an effort to send out our statements, we would have several staff members stuffing envelopes and running them through the postage meter. Plus, we were paying the full cost of postage because we did not meet the USPS criteria for minimum quantity zip code requirements.” The company also looked at local mailing services as an option. “Even though a discounted postage rate was provided,” explained Nowak, “we would still have to print the statements, stuff them into the envelopes, sort and stamp them, plus pay an additional charge for picking up the mail.” Additionally, medical confidentiality was of paramount importance, including – for example – the legally proper way to itemize drugs on each statement.
Using a combined digital and physical strategy, the Mailstream On Demand solution moves transactional communications quickly and securely. After devising a formatting protocol that met its requirements, Centerstone submits its customer data file to Mailstream’s online service, which creates the customer statements and delivers them by mail. The solution includes return envelopes, which Centerstone had been unable to provide previously. In another new option, the statement includes multiple ways for the customer to submit payment, including via phone, email or credit card. The statement can be detached from the general information and returned in the return envelope. “And it’s colorized,” says Geri Miedreich, Revenue Cycle and Patient Accounts Director. “Before it was black and white; there was nothing outstanding about the bill to say ‘hey, take a look at this’.”
All the enhancements provided a totally unexpected and much welcome benefit: more customers are paying their bills, a fact Nowak and Miedreich attribute to having so many more options, including how to contact Centerstone with questions.
“We probably have doubled, or at least increased by a third, the amount of money coming in from the statements through Pitney Bowes than when we did it in-house,” says Miedreich. And cash flow, they agree, is pretty much essential for a not-for-profit. “I was looking into saving money, saving the staff, and it turns out that even the clients are paying better because of the statements they’re receiving,” says Nowak.
The solution also eliminates the need for several staff members to leave their normal jobs, significantly improving productivity. The organization also cites hard-cost-reduction on paper, envelopes, and postage. (And it spared the burnout of Centerstone’s copier.)
“Everybody is very pleased with Pitney Bowes,” says Nowak. “And if I had to do this all over again tomorrow, in a blink of an eye, I wouldn’t have to think about it. I would just say ‘absolutely’.”