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AP Automation makes a big difference at HealthSource Saginaw.

HealthSource Saginaw is not like most hospitals. Since opening in 1930 to serve tuberculosis patients, the specialty hospital’s mission has changed more than once to meet the current health needs of the population in and around the Great Lakes Bay Region.

Today, the 347-bed facility focuses on rehabilitation and recovery. Some patients stay for short periods to regain function and independence following surgery, illness, chemical dependency or mental health issues. Others receive skilled or extended care in one of HealthSource’s long-term care neighborhoods.

Improving back-office efficiency.

Just as patient services have evolved to keep pace with the community’s needs, the hospital’s administrative staff looks for ways to improve efficiencies.

In 2015 the leadership team began looking for ways to automate its human resources, payroll, AP and other business functions. “Our leaders did their research in each area and then chose from the three best options,” says Melissa Conlay, accounting supervisor, HealthSource Saginaw.

When it came time to automate its manual AP invoice process, HealthSource selected Commerce Bank. In 2021, HealthSource became the first Michigan employer to upgrade to CommercePayments® Payment Hub, an integrated payables solution that works with the hospital’s accounting system and allows suppliers to be paid the way they prefer — by AP card, ACH, check or wire. The hospital earns a revenue share for those that choose electronic payment.

The difference the automated system has made on the department’s day-to-day operations, Conlay says, is remarkable.

Today, invoices are emailed or uploaded each day to the Commerce platform for coding and routing. “It’s now possible to have invoices approved and ready for payment in 24 hours,” she says. It takes Conlay about an hour to review an AP check run, a task that formerly took three or four hours, thanks to the convenience of reviewing online data provided by Commerce.

The automated AP invoicing system is also more reliable, Conlay says. “Things don’t get lost. I don’t have to worry about invoices that don’t get paid,” Conlay says.

Conlay also appreciates the electronic audit trail created for each invoice in the system. “I used to have to go into a storage room and dig through boxes to find old invoices when we had audits,” recalls Conlay. “Now I can download a file from Commerce, access all the details I need and then send it off. I highly recommend it.”

“Life-changing” automation.

During the transition to the Payment Hub in 2021, Conlay says that bi-weekly meetings with Commerce helped simplify implementation. Now, when information needs arise, her banker gets her the data she needs. “For us, the real benefit of AP automation is on the back-end,” she says. “I love having information at my fingertips when I want it.”

“It also gives me back my time for important tasks,” she continues. “Instead of running to the file cabinet every two minutes, I can focus on our department’s needs and be more thorough on other work. It’s been good for quality control.”

With only approximately 500 employees, HealthSource Saginaw has a significantly smaller staff than full-service hospitals. “It’s good for morale,” she says. “Even though we operate on a smaller scale, a system like this can be so beneficial. It has been life-changing.”

"For us, the real benefit of the AP automation is on the back-end. I love having information at my fingertips when I want it." Melissa Conlay, Accounting Supervisor, HealthSource Saginaw