Michigan-based Munson Healthcare employs more than 1,000 physicians, treats patients in 60+ specialties, and is growing rapidly — but their antiquated planning software required regular vendor maintenance that couldn’t keep up. Seeking self-sufficiency and integrated planning processes, Munson Healthcare chose integrated, easy-to-use planning and budgeting software from Syntellis.
Syntellis’ Axiom software is a modern, fully integrated budgeting and planning solution that automates integration with other key healthcare systems, easily configures to support new or existing planning processes, and is backed by decades of healthcare finance expertise.
Integrated Planning and Budgeting Processes and Tools
Seeking to avoid manual processes, including loading data into multiple systems and spending hours trying to reconcile data between systems, Munson Healthcare now has a fully integrated financial planning and budgeting solution in Axiom. “We wanted to have the systems talk and share data to avoid time-consuming reconciliation and manual uploads,” says Alicia Maitland, Vice President of Finance & Corporate Controller at Munson Healthcare. “With Syntellis, we have that.”
Munson strives for year one of its long range plan to be used as the current year operating budget target. Having these systems sharing data eliminates the manual feeds and ultimately improves accuracy in financial planning. The team plans to deepen the integration between capital and budget processes. Maitland explains, “As we approve capital projects that have operating impact (revenue and expenses), we wanted it to systematically feed the departmental operating budgets and financial statements.”
Capital Planning and Financial Planning Improvements
Munson Healthcare has a solid capital planning process in place — one that engages leaders, vets projects objectively, and approves projects expeditiously. Its senior leadership team meets on specific days to review, evaluate, rank, and approve projects — a process in which Syntellis experts participate to provide guidance. When implementing Axiom Capital Planning and Tracking solution, Munson Healthcare established a stronger linkage between its corporate strategic goals and capital requests by requiring each capital request to indicate which strategic goal(s) the project supports. Project ranking also played a large part in which projects were approved and their impact on the operational budget.
Syntellis’ Axiom Financial Planning solution helps Munson Healthcare plan for the long-term by creating a seven-year plan to line up with its $151 million master facility plan at Munson Medical Center, with deep focus on the first three years. The first year projection of the long-range financial plan sets the current year’s operating budget target. “The financial plan helps us establish our targets and where we need to be to position us for short- and long-term success,” states Maitland. Using Axiom reporting, Munson Healthcare calculates any gaps between the targets and current and projected performance to seize opportunities to make changes. Each manager reviews the expected gap to identify cuts and help balance the budget.
Best Practices Expertise and Guidance
After struggling with a prior vendor’s consultants who made unhelpful recommendations on process and financial modeling, Munson Healthcare found Syntellis’ consultants invaluable.
“Every person we work with at Syntellis has expertise we trust based on their work as finance practitioners in hospitals and health systems, plus they have expertise in the software. We really liked the people that we worked with on our implementation. They speak our language,” said Maitland.
Ease of Use Drives Adoption and Satisfaction
Both the Finance team and end users at Munson Healthcare are very pleased with the new system. “We surveyed our management team after the most recent budgeting cycle, and we received very positive feedback on both the product and process, particularly in terms of ease of use. We really like the software, and people here are very happy,” stated Maitland.