News From IHA Endorsed Business Partners

IHA’s Endorsed Business Partners do more than offer outstanding products and services at an exceptional value—they also provide education and information to help hospitals improve their operations. Learn about optimizing accounts payable, acquiring new technology, recruiting physicians with higher emotional intelligence, and transitioning retirement plans during mergers from four of IHA’s most trusted Endorsed Business Partners. For more information about the Endorsed Business Partner program, visit or contact Cathy Armold at

Commerce Bank

As technology advances in our lives, organizations can explore how new capabilities can improve their business functions. Accounts payable (AP) is one of the areas that can benefit greatly from technology and focused attention, ultimately transforming what was once viewed as a necessary business function into a revenue-generating strategy.

Many hospitals have some version of automation in their accounts payable, but often the program doesn’t live up to their expectations. It can be challenging to enroll suppliers, it may take too many IT resources, and/or lackluster customer service isn’t enough. When an AP solution stalls, it’s hard to imagine getting another one, but some organizations are finding that’s exactly what they need to do.

Having two AP solutions from different vendors can provide some much-needed relief from the frustrations of an underperforming program. You can ask a vendor to evaluate only the payments that aren’t already automated; giving them a smaller portion of the pie means they will give it more time and attention. When successful, the second program might even outperform the primary program, generating more savings and revenue than you thought possible.

Getting more out of your AP doesn’t necessarily mean switching vendors anymore. It’s easy to get a second opinion on your AP from Commerce Bank. It might be the best way to spend your time this quarter.

Interested in learning more? Check out the infographic at that covers optimizing AP, including secondary programs, in more detail.

Robert Perdue, APSC
Vice President, Regional Manager
317-448-6983 |

First American Healthcare Finance

In the past, technology in health care meant providers owned a handful of computers, some digital monitoring equipment, and a few pieces of imaging equipment. In today’s health care environment, technologies such as hybrid operating rooms, surgical technology lines, and cutting-edge imaging equipment improve care every day. Technology is now aligned directly with providing care for the patient. As more and more physicians prefer to use these devices, it is important for providers to invest in these new technologies. Also, every provider must have some type of EMR system, where patient information is shared on tablets, apps, and cloud computing networks. Providers need to have proper security features in place to prevent data breaches and keep data safe. Since providers often have medical equipment that was purchased before modern security requirements, Randy McCleese, CIO at Methodist Hospital in Henderson, Kentucky, and former member of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) Board of Trustees, recommends providers “pay attention to devices that are connected to the network and how much data they can share into your EMR. Providers have to make sure the devices are secure and the data flowing from them are secure so they don’t have ransomware getting into those devices.”

As health care providers invest in new technology, they should consider the overall impact to the organization, staff, and patients. A standard set of questions should be asked each time new technology is considered. Alternatively, questions should routinely be asked about old technology to make sure equipment does not become obsolete or outdated. Often, deciding on the right technology is a collaborative effort between many departments, with representatives from IT, finance, clinical staff, and external experts. Here are a few factors to consider when acquiring new technology or retiring old technology.

Questions to Ask About New IT:

  • Will additional training for staff be needed?
  • What data will be input into the equipment?
  • Does the equipment sync with current systems?
  • Do patients have access to the data, and if so, full access or partial access?
  • Are current systems robust enough to keep data safe?

Questions to Ask About Current or Old IT:

  • What is the recommended useful life?
  • When was the last time the equipment was replaced or upgraded?
  • Does the old technology sync with new technology?
  • Are there gaps in the old technology that make data unsecure and vulnerable to attacks?
  • Would new technology create efficiencies that old technology cannot match?

Costs Associated with Acquiring Technology:

  • Updating security on all devices
  • Supplying tablets and mobile devices for staff
  • Replacing or upgrading outdated medical equipment

Payment Options and Considerations:

  • Cash: What else could you use your cash for?
  • Line of Credit: Often requires fast repayment
  • Lease/Finance: Ownership consideration and return/exchange options
  • Loan: Long terms

Contact First American Healthcare Finance for additional information on acquiring new technology or upgrading old technology.

Brian Rhodes
Assistant Vice President, Sales
585-643-3448 |

Merritt Hawkins

In 2015, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) expanded to include questions that focus on the psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior. The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) made this addition in hopes of enhancing patient-centered care through improved physician empathy and communication skills.

Since then, health care facilities have implemented new programs to train and develop physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, and other health professionals on emotional intelligence (EQ). These new initiatives have resulted in an improved patient experience for hospital patients and patients of other medical facilities. With higher physician EQ, health care institutions have experienced greater patient satisfaction, better adherence to treatment protocols, and improved clinical outcomes (JAMA Otolaryngology).

Health care leaders have recognized that higher physician EQ is crucial to improving not only the patient experience, but also the physician experience. Higher EQ has prompted a reduction in medical errors, staff turnover, and physician burnout. Increased empathy has resulted in improved teamwork, communication, and physician leadership (World Psychiatry).

As physician practice styles and compensation continue to evolve toward quality and “experiential” models, the EQ of physicians will only become more  important. The quality measures typically seen in these models include metrics such as patient satisfaction and adherence to treatment protocols. Health care facilities with programs designed to develop and foster health care-specific EQ have demonstrated improvement in these measures with their physicians.

In addition, the population health management model relies on primary care physicians who coordinate patient care by managing a multidisciplinary team of clinicians. Population health requires close cooperation and communication between various stakeholders, including hospitals, primary care physicians, medical specialists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, therapists, social workers, labs, and others that historically have operated in silos in the U.S. health care system. Achieving this level of cooperation will be difficult, but with increased EQ training programs, physicians will be better able to lead this diverse team.

Merritt Hawkins has completed a new white paper entitled “Physician Recruiting and Emotional Intelligence: Going Beyond IQ and ‘Type A’ Personalities” that explores issues of physician EQ and what this trend means to physician recruiting and the implementation of new delivery models. IHA members who would like a complete copy of this white paper are welcome to call or email Benjamin Jones, regional vice president of marketing, using the contact information below.

At the end of the day, physicians want to connect with their patients and improve their condition. The old paradigm of recruiting was to find the top “producers” who would generate the most volume. In today’s new paradigm, finding top “nurturers” rather than “producers” may be the new model for success.

Benjamin Jones
Regional Vice President of Marketing
469-524-1652 |

Lincoln Financial Group

A merger or acquisition can present challenges as employees learn a new organizational structure, find their place in it, and meet a new leadership team. Lincoln Financial Group has helped plan sponsors successfully navigate complex merger and acquisition (M&A) transitions for more than 60 years. Lincoln is proud of our proven track record for effectively addressing the challenges inherent in retirement plan transitions that accompany mergers and acquisitions. We provide:

  • A templated, turnkey approach, including sequenced communications designed to help participants along the journey
  • Proven expertise, from investments to compliance, to help you communicate complex mergers, acquisitions, and reorganizations
  • An experienced team of specialists who have worked side by side on dozens of M&A projects, helping plan sponsors manage and communicate changes

Our Turnkey Solution Simplifies the Process

Whatever you’re looking to accomplish during the M&A process—maintaining separate retirement plans, merging one or more plans into another plan, freezing a plan and adding participants to a new plan, or terminating a plan and moving participants to a new or existing plan—our comprehensive change management approach helps ensure a successful transition. At Lincoln, we:

  • Conduct a comprehensive communication audit and develop a plan for explaining the steps of the transition
  • Take note of concerns employees may have about their benefits
  • Outline the true value of the employer-sponsored retirement plan
  • Deliver strategic communications designed to alleviate concerns by increasing awareness of what’s happening, why it matters, and what actions employees need to take

We will work with you to design and execute a tailored education strategy that’s based on your organization’s goals and needs. Then we’ll help facilitate the participant experience. Whether presenting on-site M&A seminars, conducting one-on-one or group meetings, or providing personalized guidance over the phone or online, our experienced professionals can help ensure a smooth transition.

A Dedicated, Experienced Team to Guide You

Your dedicated team works closely with you to guide you through every step of the transition. The team includes the following:

  • Relationship manager: Serving as your single point of contact, your dedicated relationship manager is focused on providing a positive, personal experience, along with proactive solutions and responsive service. Averaging 18 years of industry experience, our relationship managers hold a variety of important retirement plan industry credentials.
  • Account manager: Your dedicated account manager understands your organization’s needs and goals and is equipped to help improve the overall health of your retirement plan.
  • Implementation partner: A seasoned implementation team works with your organization from start to finish—reviewing plan documents, handling payroll setup, managing data conversion, and establishing communication systems.
  • Technical consultant team: Our technical consultant team provides guidance and expertise about plan design, compliance, and regulatory issues.
  • Communication and education team: Our communication and education team is responsible for delivering strategic participant communication and education (C&E) programs.

Jonathan Gomes
National Director of Consultant Relations, Institutional Retirement Services
260-446-7340 |