Mission & Vision

The story behind Salud Revenue Partners

“An effective revenue cycle helps hospitals survive, saving jobs and lives, and making communities stronger. Helping that happen is why Salud exists.”Jesse Ford, President & CEO

The vision

by Jesse Ford, President & CEO

My motivation for starting Salud arose from first-hand experience of the profound impact hospitals have on their communities. Working for an urban, integrated delivery system as well as a 90-bed local hospital that was part of a larger health system, I discovered that optimizing revenue cycle isn’t just about business processes and revenue collections; it is also about protecting the safety net, saving jobs and even saving lives. I wanted to create a company that would partner with providers to make a difference for patients, clinicians and communities.
There were three drivers of the decision to form Salud – and they remain the pillars of our mission and vision today.

Revenue cycle services are about helping people as well as organizations.

I was the CFO for a 200-bed hospital in a medium-sized Midwest city when the facility – formerly a clinic – first opened. The revenue cycle services previously managed by the clinic were consolidated into the parent health system’s corporate central business office. Immediately, the office was overwhelmed by patient complaints about billing mistakes and poor customer service. Businesses in the community formed a consortium to discuss healthcare, and specifically complained about the costs and (revenue cycle) services provided by the hospital.

Being part of a smaller community, I found that people I knew well were being adversely affected and were choosing to go to a competitor for care. Further, local businesses were directing their employees to the competition. In investigating the problems, not only did I discover billing problems, but the system’s business office was expecting the patients to solve the problems themselves. Anyone who has tried to figure out their insurance benefits knows that they are difficult to understand, even if the billing is perfect. When bills miss the mark, patients are placed in an impossible position.

Revenue cycle improvements save jobs!

As VP of Finance for Chicago’s Sinai Health System, I ran the budget process. Sinai, a safety-net provider, received most of its revenue from the Illinois Medicaid program. Between low Medicaid reimbursement and a large patient base that lacked funds to pay their bills, revenue per patient was anemic. Sinai survived by continuously renegotiating contracts, improving processes, and reducing staff. I was fortunate to have a wonderful mentor in the health system’s CFO who would remind me that it was easier to find the next dollar through revenue cycle improvement than budget cuts.

I helped improve results by $4 million to $6 million a year by leading revenue cycle improvements in patient access, utilization review and health information management, while partnering with a revenue cycle vendor to manage the central business office. This model was very effective when Sinai was one of the vendor’s top customers. However, when that vendor was acquired, the attention to Sinai diminished. After another acquisition, the vendor allocated key talent to other accounts, and started treating Sinai as a “maintenance” account. I also left for another post about this time. Sinai lost many of the gains it had made, and it was not finding or implementing many new ideas for improvement.

Health systems need a reliable revenue cycle partner that understands and cares about their mission and will work with them to continuously identify and implement new ways to optimize revenue cycle results.

Community hospitals matter!

Sinai’s CEO was a PhD whose dissertation studied the impact of the closing of Cabrini Hospital in Chicago. Cabrini was located close to Chicago’s Medical District, including major public and prestigious academic medical centers. There were at least five hospitals within a 5-mile radius of the hospital. With so many nearby healthcare options, most assumed that closing the small hospital would not matter much. However, the CEO’s research found that the mortality rate of Cabrini’s patients increased when it closed. The patients did not readily seek care with hospitals they did not know as well. The bottom line: when hospitals close, people die.

An effective revenue cycle helps hospitals survive, saving jobs and lives, and making communities stronger. Helping that happen is why Salud exists.

Pillars of the Salud Vision

  • Revenue cycle services are about helping people as well as organizations.

    Don’t forget about the patients.

  • Revenue cycle improvements save jobs!

    Focus on revenue cycle improvement over budget cuts.

  • Community hospitals matter!

    Helping hospitals keep their doors open saves jobs and lives.