Moving billing operations at St. Joseph Hospital sparks uncertaintyBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
December 08. 2017 12:48AM
NASHUA — It is still too early to determine how many jobs at St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua will be impacted when its parent company moves billing operations next year.
This week, St. Joseph Healthcare in Bangor, Maine, said it will eliminate about 24 jobs in Bangor when Covenant Health relocates its billing operations.
Covenant Health also owns St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua, which is also in the early planning phase of implementing the new CareLink electronic medical record and management system.
The system, according to a statement regarding the billing transition at St. Joe’s in Bangor, will allow the hospitals to consolidate a patient’s complete medical record such as medication orders, test results and medical history into one chart that can be accessed by all providers in the Convenant system.
“Due in part to the CareLink project, as well as our goals of achieving greater efficiency, we have centralized numerous administrative and support services at various locations throughout our system,” the statement said.
Covenant Health, St. Joseph Healthcare’s Massachusetts-based parent company, is moving its billing operations to Lewiston, Maine.
“How that exactly plays out for Nashua, it is a little early to tell,” Karen Sullivan, system director of corporate communications for Covenant Health, said this week. “The absolute wish is that we retain the employees in the system if we can.”
Bangor is going live with the new system in January, according to Sullivan, who said Nashua is implementing the new system in April.
“I don’t really have a whole lot of specifics at the moment, but I will,” Sullivan said of how the change will impact the work force at St. Joseph’s in Nashua.
Sullivan stressed that the changes are still several months out, and she will have a better grasp on the exact number of Nashua employees — if any — who may be impacted by the end of January.
The workers in Bangor that were impacted by the billing transition were provided with the opportunity to apply for open positions in Lewiston, as well as other positions throughout the system.
“Additionally, all members of this team were paid retention bonuses through June 2018 to assist with the transition and are offered on-site career counseling,” the statement said.
According to the release, rather than having each hospital perform their own billing operations, the company is now merging six billing systems from three hospitals and three providers into one, which simplifies the process while reducing errors, expediting the billing function and eliminating unnecessary expense.