STAR Physical Therapy began with one clinic and one mission: “to serve.” Today over 60 STAR clinics care for communities across Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana—but the mission and values that guide STAR remain the same as when it was founded in 1997.
Recently, I sat down with Damon Adelgren, STAR Physical Therapy’s Director of Operations, to talk about the project that STAR initiated six years ago to improve their patient collections process.
Jonathan: What were some of your goals when you started this project?
Damon: We wanted to provide our patients with greater transparency and more flexible payment options. We were also looking for ways to reduce the average AR days across all our clinics—the number was just too high.
And what have you seen in terms of results?
We’ve cut our average AR days by over 70%. Some of that improvement came from revamping our claims management process, but without question some of it is because we completely transformed our approach to patient collections. We modernized the process, for ourselves and for our patients.
Can you share more about how your approach to patient collections changed?
As a first step, we started accepting payments online. ZirMed’s Patient Notebook enabled us to have a single, secure online patient payments portal across all of our clinics.
Not everyone wants to pay online, and we understand that, so we improved our other payment options, too. When we take payment over the phone, we process it using ZirMed’s Patient Payments product, so the transactions are still electronic and secure.
We can now also remind patients about their financial obligations electronically. Sometimes all patients need is a nudge—a simple reminder and a streamlined way to make a payment.
What’s been the response from your staff? From patients?
Our patients appreciate having more convenient ways to make their payments, and they like being able to see their statements online. Our staff says that the workflow is cleaner, and that there’s less paperwork in general.
Processing payments electronically has cut down on trips to the bank to make deposits, and the funds show up in our accounts faster—24 hours instead of four or five days later. That makes everyone’s life easier.
I know that STAR also uses ZirMed’s claims management, remits, and print services solutions—what’s been the overall impact of implementing ZirMed’s solutions?
It’s helped strengthen the financial health of our clinics, and it’s freed up everyone in the organization to focus more on what they’re most passionate about—serving our patients, helping them heal and grow stronger, and serving our communities as well.