Please remember that nominations not selected this month are still eligible for future months. We received many impressive nominations that we look forward to recognizing in the future! You are welcome to re-submit if you would like.
Please join us in congratulating our July 2020 Department of the Month!
Oschner Health's AP Department
"I would like to nominate the Accounts Payable Department of Ochsner Health for the IOFM Accounts Payable Department of the Month.
Ochsner Health is Louisiana's largest non-profit academic healthcare system and provides coordinated clinical and hospital patient care across the region with 40 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and specialty hospitals and more than 100 health centers and urgent care centers.
Per capita, New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana were some of the hardest hit areas by the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Ochsner Health rose up to meet the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. Ochsner Health created the space and staff necessary to treat these patients and provide testing to the community. This included procuring the necessary equipment and supplies to support the patient care and testing efforts. Ochsner Health never ran out of beds, never ran out of PPE and is providing 30% of the testing in the State of Louisiana.
The Ochsner Health Accounts Payable team was faced with unprecedented challenges which included technology and equipment challenges with the work from home mandate. We had high speed scanners and MICR printers that could not be easily moved. Additionally, the market demands relating to PPE required flexibility and timeliness of payment to new vendors while maintaining the processing for our normal invoice volume. The team experienced personal stress related to the disruption and uncertainty.
The Ochsner Health Accounts Payable team stepped up in a big way. Equipment that could not be easily relocated and tasks that were not able to be performed remotely were identified. Accommodations were made for employees who could not work from home due to internet access. We socially distanced our existing space and set up a skeleton crew which scanned the mail, printed the checks, mailed the checks and accessed the Accounts Payable systems onsite.
The remainder of the team was deployed for remote operations on March 12th. We worked with our IS team to ensure that all of our team members could access our organization's Accounts Payable systems using VPN technology from their laptops. To ensure minimal disruption on productivity, monitors and back-up scanners were provided. Zoom and MS Teams technology was utilized to hold weekly staff meetings and many ad-hoc sub-group meetings. Cisco Jabber were provided to the customer service team which allowed them to return calls via the internet.
Innovative solutions were developed to set up emergency vendors and to process emergency payments to new vendors. We procured equipment and PPE from vendors we had never done business with before. We had instances where the AP team were coordinating with our Supply Chain partners to set up and vet vendors, create purchase orders, match purchase orders, receive goods and remit checks all in the same afternoon/evening to make the 8:00 PM FedEx pickup deadline all while working mostly remotely. We encountered multiple instance where organizations were repurposing to meet the challenge which included distilleries making hand sanitizers and furniture companies making face shields. We worked closely with these vendors to help them create invoices so that we can receive and process the payments timely.
To manage the team remotely, we utilized our existing productivity measures to ensure all resources were fully deployed and to re-deploy resources as circumstances changed. For example, our employee expense reimbursement volume was reduced due to the travel restrictions. We re-deployed these resources to support supplier invoice processing and customer service.
We maintained our normal work volume and processed the additional volume. At its height, our invoice volume had increased 12% above our pre-COVID-19 volume. Using technology and the resourcefulness of our team, we were able to get emergency payments out to PPE vendors and Ochsner Health was able to successful meet the surge and to build up an inventory of PPE should we experience another surge in the fall/winter of 2020.
In closing, I want to thank each and every member of the Ochsner Health Accounts Payable team. This crisis has demanded great effort and sacrifice from Ochsner Health and for our part, the Accounts Payable team has done everything necessary for Ochsner Health and the people of Louisiana and Mississippi to recover from this pandemic."
— Patrick Landry, Director of Accounts Payable, Oschner Health
Do you know a department that deserves to be recognized? We're actively accepting nominations for our next Department of the Month!
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