524: The Transformative Power of Data | Ben Luety, CFO, Seattle Indian Health Board

Listen to the Episode Below (00:54:58)

When Ben Luety first arrived inside the CFO office at the Seattle Indian Health Board, he would frequently rely on his smartphone’s roaming service to search the Web rather than depend on the organization’s Internet connection.

“The Internet for the entire organization had less bandwidth than I did,” explains Luety, who describes the IT infrastructure serving the organization’s 200 staff members as being minted in the pre-Internet days of the early 1990s. 

For Luety, it was apparent that the SIHB was the type of organization that cloud technologies often serve best by allowing them to leapfrog certain technologies and approaches that haven’t passed the test of time. What’s more, Luety was in lockstep with his CEO, Esther Lucero, whose vision for the organization could be realized only through greater transparency and visibility into its numbers.

“We needed a system that would allow us to quickly and easily produce reports, and it all came down to our ability to manage data and produce a workflow that allows everyone to make certain that the data is getting into the right bucket and that we’re reporting out to the organization—so that people across the organization can make data-driven decisions,” he explains. –Jack Sweeney jb

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Guest: Ben Luety

Company: Seattle Indian Health Board

Headquarters: Seattle WA

Connect: www.sihb.org

CFOTL: What are the metrics that you are closely watching these days?

Luety: For me, on the finance side, the big top-of-mind metric as it relates to our clinic is our yield. And when I say “yield,” I mean the amount of dollars that we’re actually getting for each patient visit. The way healthcare works, at least in our industry, is from the standpoint of here’s your full bill charge and then a bunch of adjustments are made. Being able to capture as much of that revenue as we can against what the total bill charge is, that’s what we count as our “yield.” For instance, let’s say that a patient visit is a dollar and we have adjustments of 30 cents. Our yield is 70%. Our ability to drive that yield higher as much as possible is really what I strive for and look at each day.

This tells us our health operationally—how the organization is doing everything from front office to back office to our patient services team when a patient checks in. How all this flows to our back office or patient account services team, where we’re actually submitting the claims. And then we’re getting paid on the grant side, too. Where are we at as an organization on our grant dollars spend in the budget, and how much time by grant do we have left before that grant runs out? We have to be able to ascertain how much additional “revenue” we can count on before the end date of that grant. jb