An Eye on Accounting

March 1, 2019

in Organization News

Lifespace Communities’ accounting department is consistently exploring and undertaking steps to enhance its processes. Billing in particular is currently a major focus, with a concerted effort to streamline and restructure invoicing procedures, tracking methods and more. This is all part of a larger organization-wide push to advance operational practices, with the goal of improving the services and amenities provided to residents.

“Unlike many resident-facing functions such as dining or nursing, billing largely goes unseen,” said Lifespace billing director Lori Lebeck, a 22-year veteran of the senior living industry who joined the organization in April 2018. Lebeck has used her vast expertise and experience within the industry to help steer her department’s streamlining efforts. “However, quality financial management plays a major role in ensuring any organization runs smoothly, and we continue to strive for that daily,” she added.

Lebeck explained that Lifespace’s recent adoption of PointClickCare as its electronic medical records provider has been a boon for her team. The system enables Lifespace to file claims with insurance providers and Medicare faster and more securely, sidestepping outdated methods like certified mail. Additionally, Lifespace is able to collect on claims faster, while reducing write-offs and improving cash flow.

Residents have also reaped the benefits of PointClickCare through improved customer service. Billing specialists who manage Lifespace’s centralized billing hotline, an organization-wide number that residents can use to inquire about their finances, have more information available at their fingertips. This allows them to answer questions faster and more accurately. The hotline has proved to be popular with more than 500 calls per month, so ensuring inquiries are responded to in a timely manner is a key focus for Lebeck and her team.

“We try to never exceed 24 hours when responding to questions and returning voicemails,” said Lebeck. “Great customer service goes a long way toward ensuring resident satisfaction.” To meet this goal, Lifespace has steadily been increasing the number of billing specialists assigned to the centralized billing hotline, while tweaking its hours of operation in an effort to pinpoint times that best suit residents.

The accounting department has also set its sights on accounts receivable – overdue funds in particular – as an area that needs some improvement. Many of Lifespace’s Life Care contracts with residents state that bills that aren’t paid within 60 days incur interest, a stipulation the organization hasn’t abided by in the past. However, as of April 2019, Lifespace will begin charging interest on past-due bills as a preventive measure for potential inefficiencies that could arise in the future. Since each resident’s Life Care contract is unique, the interest rates accrued will vary.

“Our fiduciary responsibility is to collect funds on time, so we can continue to provide the best possible community experience to all residents,” noted Lebeck. “A vast majority of our residents pay on time, and therefore charging interest is not a serious issue. Such adjustments are an important ingredient in our success as an organization.”


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