DCM Services names Martha Hanson Chief Compliance Officer

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Minneapolis, MN — November 15, 2018 — DCM Services, LLC (DCMS) the industry leader in estate and specialty account recovery solutions, announced today the promotion of Martha Hanson to Chief Compliance Officer/Senior Counsel.

Hanson, who most recently served as Director of Compliance/Senior Counsel, will continue to ensure the company meets compliance responsibilities and abides by applicable rules and regulations. She also will continue to serve as the lead legal advisor to the company.

Hanson joined the organization in 2006 as an attorney, providing legal guidance related to probate and collection matters. Early in her career she was charged with formalizing and overseeing the company’s complaint management program. She relies on her industry and organizational experience in offering recommendations.

“Martha is an invaluable member of the senior team at DCMS, said Tim Bauer, DCMS Chief Executive Officer. “Her involvement in our ongoing compliance initiatives has been amazing. Her legal and practical counsel in general corporate matters has been helpful to me and the company. She has also been instrumental in our company’s participation in and contributions to the Consumer Relations Consortium (CRC). Over the past year, Martha’s professional growth has been quite evident. That growth lead to this well-deserved promotion.”

Hanson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marquette University and a Juris Doctor degree from Hamline University School of Law.

About DCM Services

Minneapolis-based DCM Services, is the industry leader in estate and specialty account resolution services, maximizing the value of client portfolios across financial services, healthcare, retail, and telecom industries through innovation and performance. Its recovery solutions offer a full range of services from proprietary web-based solutions to full outsourcing, maintaining an unmatched spectrum of innovative solutions that increase recoveries, protect brand value, and enhance survivor relationships – with respect and sensitivity. For more information on all DCM Services’ offerings, visit www.dcmservices.com.

Learn how organizations like yours have implemented our solutions to create new revenue streams that protect brand and community relationships →

Previous article: DCM Services 2018 Insights Client Conference Recap

2018 DCM Services Insights Client Conference Recap

The Backstory

In 2011, DCM Services (DCMS) hosted its first client conference event in Las Vegas which took place in conjunction with the Collections and Recovery Solutions (CRS) conference. Through attendee feedback, we discovered we were providing meaningful value for our clients in a way that none of our competitors were. Due to overwhelming client interest, we have continued to grow and evolve the conference, drawing clients to return year-after-year.

The Low-down

  Photo courtesy of Odyssey

Photo courtesy of Odyssey

This year, DCMS hosted its ninth annual Insights Client Conference on September 20, 2018. This year’s conference was held at W Minneapolis, The Foshay in the historic Foshay Tower. A post-conference event followed at Paisley Park, the former home of local music superstar Prince.

This year’s conference boasted a record-setting 55 registrants, representing 29 organizations within the financial services, healthcare, and telecom industries.

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The Play-by-Play

September 19 - Opening cocktail and networking event – The Living Room, W Minneapolis - The Foshay

  DCM employees pose in the Living Room at the W Minneapolis - Photo by Dee Buford

DCM employees pose in the Living Room at the W Minneapolis - Photo by Dee Buford

This year’s event kicked off in style, starting with a welcome cocktail reception. On a crisp Minnesota evening, guests shuttled to the grand entrance of the Foshay Tower. As each guest arrived, they were assigned an alternate identity which had a corresponding companion to be located. In a lavish, intimate setting surrounded by a host of finger-friendly cuisine and chilled drinks, clients and account managers alike reconnected, creating the unique opportunity to network with industry peers. Mickeys met their Minnies and Superman swooped up Lois Lane as smooth jazz carried the foggy Wednesday night to its close.

September 20 - Keynote Workshop – Silent Impact, hosted by Joe Schmit

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As this year’s client conference keynote workshop, Emmy-nominated local sportscaster and motivational speaker Joe Schmit illustrated the concept of Silent Impact: Influence through Purpose, Persistence and Passion. Through research, Joe has discovered that we make our biggest impressions when we are not trying to be impressive. Through his storytelling and interactive workshop, attendees gained insight on how to become an "impact player" and create greater influence within all aspects of life.

Here are a few things our attendees had to say about the keynote workshop:

| “Joe Schmit was amazing. His passion for what he does is very evident. I couldn’t wait to share what I learned with friends, family and coworkers.”

| “Joe Schmit was incredible! Will be a tall task to find next year's keynote!”

| “He was incredibly engaging and his speech was very thought provoking. I was incredibly impressed with his speech, his demeanor, and his poise.”

| “Joe Schmit’s keynote was extremely interesting and captured the audience from the get-go. Relevant topic that we can use every day within our personal and work life.”

DCMS Updates

Each year, we dedicate a brief portion of the conference to highlighting organizational initiatives and updates.

Following Joe’s powerful keynote, DCMS’ very own Chief Executive Officer Tim Bauer took the stage to underline the importance of the incredible relationships we’ve built with our clients, as 2018 marked our 20 year anniversary.  

VP of IT Dereck Eastman followed with an update on our online portal, DCMS ServiceLink® enhancements to an enthusiastic crowd.

Industry Roundtable Sessions

  Attendees broke out for the industry peer roundtable sessions - Photo by Dee Buford

Attendees broke out for the industry peer roundtable sessions - Photo by Dee Buford

Our attendee roundtable sessions have consistently been rated as one of the most valuable activities during our conferences. The opportunity for our clients to freely discuss current industry trends with their peers can be a rare opportunity in a competitive landscape. Roundtable participants were divided by industry with relevant topical discussions regarding common pain-points, obstacles, and trends within their respective industries.

| “The roundtables are NEEDED every year. I love hearing what others are doing within the industry. It creates a friendly debate.”

Closing Reception

  Punch Bowl Social - Photo courtesy of Wedding Wire

Punch Bowl Social - Photo courtesy of Wedding Wire

The closing event served as both a chance to unwind, as well as a “thank you” to our attendees for joining us. Professionally, the closing affair provided additional networking and relationship building opportunities for both our clients and internal attendees.

This year, to the cue of an evening rain shower, Insights attendees took a bus ride to the former home/recording studio of the late Minnesota music superstar Prince. Following an intimate 70-minute tour of the extraordinary private estate, conference attendees took to a favorite local watering hole, Punch Bowl Social. Bowling, team foosball, and singing off-key karaoke punctuated the finale of a successful two days.

The Reviews

| “Loved the round table sessions and the breaks to get to chat with the people we met during the ice breakers and sessions. Also found [it] very helpful knowing what is coming up technology-wise and the direction that the industry is heading, and the obstacles that everyone is facing.”

| “DCM does a great job keeping everyone engaged and informed.”

| “Great event. Loved your commitment to your customers.”

We look forward to hosting our valued clients again next year! Want to be the first to know what’s on the docket for 2019 as well as other upcoming events and news?

#Insights2019

Previous Article: 2018 DCM Services Insights Client Conference Recap

Patient Bankruptcy – What Revenue Cycle Professionals Need to Know for Their Organization’s Own Fiscal Health

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What do experts mean when they say high health care bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy in the US?

Studies differ on exactly what percentage of personal bankruptcies filed each year are associated with high medical bills.  Some say the number is greater than 40%. Others estimate the number is larger, even more than 60%.  Regardless of where experts may pinpoint the exact percentage, it seems clear most agree that high healthcare bills are the most common reason cited by debtors for filing bankruptcy, more common than things like job loss and divorce…

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When Patients Pass – The Compliance Issue Every Provider Needs to Know

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DCM Services is an organization dedicated to helping providers manage unique and specialty areas of revenue cycle such as probate. Probate is a creature of state law; managed by more than 3450 courts across the United States to promote an efficient system for collecting and liquidating the assets of a decedent and making distribution to creditors and heirs. Nearly a decade ago, DCM Services conducted an informal survey of more than 100 health systems and other providers in an effort to understand current practices in the management of accounts for deceased patients. At that time, almost 85% of survey respondents indicated that they did not search for probated estates or file claims. Survey respondents also acknowledged that they knew there was opportunity to enhance compliance and gain substantial revenue by creating an effective estate strategy, but noted that they lacked the expertise and resources to search and file. Fast forward to today and we almost never hear this reply. Why?

Estates Emerge Among Top Provider Challenges

The answer is simple. The convergence of important socioeconomic and demographic trends means that no successful provider can afford to ignore the opportunity.  The baby boomer generation has aged into retirement, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tells us that this group of people account for more than 75% of persons who pass away each year. By 2050, the number of people on Medicare who are 80 years and older will nearly triple; the number of people in their 90s and 100s will quadruple. We also know that, with regard to healthcare services, this group vastly outspends other generations at three times the percentage of the population they represent. Finally, we know that self-pay percentages are rising for many providers by double digits year over year.   

The end result is that revenue which at one time may have been thought of as a rounding error, or icing on the cake, has now become sizeable enough that it is imperative for providers to capture it as a matter of maintaining fiscal health. However, while many providers have recognized the value of estate revenue, they often miss the crucial compliance risks associated with failing to develop best practices in this area. 

The CMS Requirement Many Providers Miss

Chief among the risks in the unique area of estate revenue cycle is failing to comply with 42 CFR 413.89 (e).  This statute codifies the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) requirements regarding bad debts, charity, and courtesy allowances, and it requires an estate search to be conducted and documented for every decedent whose bill goes on the cost report.  CMS’ Provider Reimbursement Manual Part I §308 states that in order for a bad debt to qualify for the cost report it must meet four basic criteria:

1). The debt must be related to covered services and derived from deductible and coinsurance amounts. 

2). The provider must be able to establish that reasonable collection efforts were made.

3). The debt was actually uncollectible when claimed as worthless. 

4). Sound business judgment established that there was no likelihood of recovery at any time in the future.

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Defining the Risk

§310 further defines the reasonable collection efforts as requiring a “genuine rather than a token collection effort and requiring documentation of those efforts.” 

Auditors and other compliance professionals have interpreted the CMS requirement that reasonable collection efforts were made in the context of a patient who has passed away to mean that:

  • An estate search has to have been conducted with the courts
  • Those search efforts have been documented. It is noted that reliance on a family member’s statement is not sufficient.
  • Examples of sufficient documentation used to determine that a deceased patient has no estate may include a screen print of system used for inquiry or a signed attestation from the Registrar Office of Wills.  CMS has given guidance indicating that providers must retain evidence showing the date on which a search was conducted in a screen print or in the electronic system of record.

Despite the fact that the language of the statute has been essentially the same and in place for decades, it may be that many providers are unaware of the requirement until they are audited to the specific estate-related mandate. If this is the case, and the provider is unprepared, it can stand to lose hundreds of thousands or millions in reimbursement dollars.

Proactive Identification Is Key

In order to be prepared as a provider and not find yourself surprised by an audit, procedures must be put in place to insure that all of the bills for patients who have passed receive estate searches. Since the Provider Reimbursement Manual requires that the provider’s effort to find an estate and file a claim be a bona fide and similar to any effort that would occur for non-eligible debts, the process should be the same for all accounts. This includes patients who pass both inside and outside of a facility. Often, a provider is unaware that a patient has passed if the death occurs outside the facility. There are many cases where it can take an extended period of time to learn of the death when a provider relies on family or other reactive notification of a patient’s passing. The probate code of each state assigns a finite time in which to file claims, and in the majority of jurisdictions the time for providers to present their claims is as little as 60 or 90 days from the opening of the estate and appointment of a Personal Representative. This means that even providers who do search for estates often find them too late and fall out of compliance with the requirement to make genuine efforts to collect. It makes sense that, in order to comply, a provider should put in place one of the available decedent identification tools to proactively identify all patients who pass in a timely fashion.

Comprehensive, Continuous Searches Overcome Compliance Hurdles

Claim filing windows are brief as noted above.  However, while the requirement is clear that an estate search must be conducted and it must be directly with the court or with a search engine which interfaces with the courts.  Estates can take months and even years to open and 15 to 20% of the time, those probated estates are in a court which is somewhere other than the venue which corresponds to the patients last address. If an estate is not located at the last address in provider records, it could be in any of the 3,450+ probate courts in the US.16  Since the effort to collect on a debt by finding an estate must be genuine and not token, it follows that repeated and comprehensive searches are required. A provider could not search, for example, weeks after the patient passes and conclude that there is no likelihood of recovery in the future.  A manual search conducted in a single location is also likely to miss a significant percentage of estates because those estates will open in a location other than the address of record.

Providers must create processes which can meet the requirement through automation and repeated, continuous nationwide searches. This can help overcome the challenges, and insure genuine and effective estate searches in compliance with the rules.

Efforts will be for Naught without Documentation

We have all heard of the philosophical question posed initially by George Berkeley in his work, “A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge,” which can be paraphrased as asking whether a tree that falls in a forest with no one to hear it actually falls. To be certain, it is true that a provider who fulfills its duty by conducting even comprehensive and continuous searches falls short of compliance if those searches are not documented so that an auditor can see evidence of those searches. The CMS Provider Manual further requires documentation of reasonable collection efforts. Whether a provider is using an automated tool or manually conducting estate searches, there must be a process in place to secure real time documentation should an audit occur.  This documentation should include one of the items described above, such as screen prints or reports from a search engine, notes from conversation with probate courts in the providers system of record made concurrent with those conversations, and/or correspondence both to and from the probate courts which corroborates a request and a reply.

The Components of a Successful Strategy

While understanding the requirements of a compliant estate strategy is key, what matters most is what you do with that information.  Turning again to the survey of more than 100 health systems regarding estates, remember that the number one self-described hurdle to putting in place a successful strategy was not financial constraints or even information technology resources. The major hurdle was a lack of expertise or confidence in their own internal knowledge base. In order to surmount this challenge, a provider first needs to conduct proactive searches to timely identify both decedents and estates. 

Secondly, it is important to have a good mechanism to produce documentation which details the evidence of searches and search results.  Providers will also want to have a process in place to produce the required claim packages in the event that an estate is located, and a process to manage those claims to collect on the sums owed. This can be a bit tricky as there are more than 3,450 probate courts in the U.S. and estates can be located in any of them. In 15-20% of cases, probate is opened in a location other than the address of record.23 This phenomenon may be for any number of reasons, but most often occurs when patients are traveling for care or have multiple residences. Each court has unique requirements for its claim packages including forms, affidavit requirements, filing fees, number of copies, and even the color of paper and ink.

The process will also need to manage claim filing deadlines which, as noted previously, can be as short as 60 days from the opening of an estate. Any process for finding estates should be able to search proactively for decedents and estates to insure timely filing. This means that nationwide, proactive searches are a requirement. Once a claim is filed, putting in place a process for claims recovery is also important.  We have learned that while the filing of a timely and valid claim entitles a provider to the assets available for its class of claims and provider claims can take priority, an optimal post-claim collection strategy can produce more revenue and even expedite payment.

Finally, depending on the resources available internally and your overall revenue cycle strategy, you may choose to acquire the tools and the knowledge to build a self-managed process, or you may choose to partner with an expert to build your estate strategy. 

The Rewards of Compliance

In conclusion, while compliance with 42 CFR §413.89 and the rules described in PRM 15-1, sections 308 and 310 will mean real dollars and cents for every organization who can prove it is entitled to reimbursement when they have searched, documented that search and not found an estate, there is a very sizeable opportunity for nearly all providers when they do find an estate. When an estate is timely located, the provider has a chance to present a claim and receive payment to the full extent of its claim and estate assets.  In fact, many state probate codes recognize a health care provider’s services at or near the time of passing take priority and are paid over all other general creditors’ claims.24 As providers continue to strive to meet today’s regulatory and economic challenges, it is worth taking a moment to recognize that every now and then, like with estates and the CMS requirement, the two challenges coalesce and the benefits of best practice are twofold!

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DCM Services Launches New Website

DCM Services (DCMS) is proud to announce the official launch of its new website. The launch is the first phase of an overall digital strategy initiative.

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We invite visitors to explore a site designed to provide the ultimate user experience. The new site offers improved navigation and functionality. Additionally, content-rich materials allow users to access detailed product information, videos, and numerous other resources.

The DCMS mission is to serve our clients, consumers and their families, current and potential employees, and regulatory bodies. That mission is reflected in the information and functionality of our new site.

The new responsive designed site uses the latest technology and is compatible with today’s browsers and mobile devices.

Tim Bauer, DCMS Chief Executive Officer commented, “Our team has been working on the project for a long time. The newly designed site is the positive result of their efforts. The site not only allows users to learn about DCMS, but also promotes immediate interaction with the company.”

Information on the site will be continually updated to reflect industry happenings, trends, organizational updates, and business activities. 

DCMS prides itself on being an extension of its clients. We believe that the way we go to market in the industry provides a unique and valuable partnership. 

DCM Services Announces New CEO

DCM Services (DCMS), the industry leader in estate and specialty account recovery solutions, is pleased to announce the appointment of industry veteran Tim Bauer as chief executive officer, effective October 23, 2017.

 Head shot of Tim Bauer, new CEO of DCM Services.

Bauer joins DCMS from insideARM, where he has been serving as president. He has also been serving as co-executive director of the Consumer Relations Consortium. Bauer’s prior experience includes key executive roles within the ARM industry, including chief executive officer of Integrity Solution Services, Inc. as well as executive leadership positions at Outsourcing Solutions, Inc. (OSI), OSI Portfolio Services, and Risk Management Alternatives, Inc. (RMA). Bauer is a graduate of St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and Loyola University of Chicago, School of Law. Before joining the debt collection agency world in 1995, Bauer spent 15 years as a partner in the Minneapolis law firm of Messerli & Kramer, P.A.


Bauer’s appointment follows the previously announced retirement of Ben Boyum who has served as DCMS’ chief executive officer since 2011. Boyum, who will maintain his role on the DCMS Board, stated, “I am absolutely delighted to add Tim’s insight, expertise, and industry experience to our team. Even more importantly, Tim is a great cultural fit for DCMS and our clients. DCMS will benefit greatly from Tim’s industry connections as we continue to grow and provide new solutions that meet the needs of our clients and the industries that we serve.”   

Bauer commented, “While I loved my role at insideARM, the opportunity to join DCMS was too much to pass up. The company has a culture of compliance and consumers are treated with dignity and respect. The minute I walked into the DCMS offices, I made my decision. I am thrilled to be joining an outstanding DCMS management team previously assembled and led by Ben.”

“I want to thank Ben Boyum for his leadership and dedication to the organization. We are thrilled that Ben will retain his involvement through an active board seat” said Bill Willhite, managing partner of WILsquare Capital and DCMS board member. “We executed an extensive, nationwide search for the next leader of DCMS and could not be more pleased with its outcome. Tim Bauer brings tremendous industry expertise and, most importantly, shares our commitment to regulatory compliance, client engagement and fits well with DCMS’ corporate-wide culture.”

An important note from CEO Ben Boyum

August 2017

Good Afternoon,

As a valued partner, I wanted to inform you that on or around September 30, 2017, I plan to retire from DCM Services (DCMS). This decision comes with mixed emotions, as I have really enjoyed leading our organization and working with our employees and clients for the past 10 years. I am proud of what we have accomplished together and making this decision was certainly a difficult one. Unfortunately, family health issues have caused me to reprioritize, and as a result, I have decided to retire to spend more time with my wife, children, and grandchildren.

I am currently in the process of working with our owners, WILsquare Capital Partners, to hire my successor. Once that individual is named, we will share that information with you.

I am proud of our organization and all of the employees at DCMS. We have achieved so much together over the last 10 years and I look forward to seeing continued success for this organization. I am pleased to inform you that I have agreed, and am honored, to stay on as a member of DCMS’ Board of Directors.

Regards,
Ben Boyum
CEO

2017 DCMS Insights Client Conference

Save the Date!

 2017 DCMS Insights Client Conference Logo

We are excited to announce that our 2017 DCMS Insights Client Conference will be held in beautiful downtown Minneapolis!

While our conference name, Insights, may be new, our strive to offer forward-thinking topics and industry knowledge that provides value and creates conversation, remains consistent.

This year, our conference will be held on Wednesday, September 20, 2017. Thanks to last year’s success, we will again be hosting a welcome evening cocktail event the night before, on September 19, 2017.

The conference will be held at Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown and we are excited to be able to offer a discounted rate of $209 per night for attendees that would like to stay at the hotel.

To view hotel information, this year’s key note speaker and agenda, and registration details, please click here.