Purchase of Tulsa Firm Seen as Leap in Medical Banking

PNC Financial Services Group Inc.’s recent acquisition of Tulsa-based claims clearinghouse Healthcare Administration Technologies Inc. gives PNC the ability to streamline the entire claims process between the health care provider and the insurance company, an industry spokesman said.
PNC is viewed as a bank that is creating best practices in the evolving medical banking industry, said John Casillas, executive director of the Medical Banking Project, a policy research and strategic advisory firm in Franklin, Tenn.
“There are other people that are doing things in this area, but this has the potential of being the most comprehensive product offering for those types of services,” Casillas said.
John Carter, CEO of Healthcare Administration Technologies, 5200 S. Yale Ave., said the company, which he started in 1993, has added nine employees to its staff of 19 since the acquisition in April.
He said the acquisition would make the clearinghouse, which has nearly 200 hospitals on its network in about 25 states, the healthcare business service center for PNC.
Carter said the company, which is now called PNC Healthcare Services, provides an application to health care providers, mostly hospitals, for processing transactions with insurance companies.
“PNC definitely has a long-term commitment to the health business,” he said. The merger “was just a perfect fit of talent, resources and personalities with just enough overlap that we really understood each other.”
Paula Fryland, senior vice president and manager of PNC’s national healthcare group, said PNC has been involved in the convergence of banking and healthcare for the past 10 years.
She said PNC has been a “torchbearer” in developing advances in the electronic exchange of information and funds in the healthcare arena.
“The preferable way is electronic because it is much cheaper for all involved,” she said. “The efficiency that you gain by creating that electronic interface, and then enabling any number of different providers or hospitals to use that, is great.”
She said the acquisition of Healthcare Administration Technologies “enables us to provide the full range of transaction sets in the communication between the payer and provider.”
Casillas said the acquisition is indicative of the industry movement to unify health care financial transactions.
“What PNC has done is they have basically leapfrogged the next generation by integrating a clearinghouse capability into their treasury management operations,” he said. “Very soon, if not today, PNC can go to any health care provider and say we can offer you a complete one-stop shop for all your health care financial transactions.”

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