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ACU-Serve, ECS North marry technology, talent

ACU-Serve, ECS North marry technology, talent

Jim KnightAKRON, Ohio – ACU-Serve’s acquisition of ECS Billing & Consulting North gives the company a high-profile foothold in consulting and training, says CEO Jim Knight.  

As part of the deal, Sarah Hanna will join ACU-Serve as vice president of consulting services, as will Kit Shellhouse, both frequent speakers at HME industry events. 

“We’re really a full-service provider, with one exception: We don’t do consulting services,” Knight said. “So, we wanted Sarah and Kit and their team to join us to reach our goal of being a full-solutions provider.” 

In all, 30 U.S.-based employees from Tiffin, Ohio-based ECS North will join ACU-Serve. 

There’s no overlap in the customer bases of the two companies, opening the door for ECS North to provide consulting and training services to ACU-Serve’s customers and for ACU-Serve to provide a broader spectrum of billing and collection services, as well as a technology platform providing workflow visibility, to ECS North’s customers. 

“Together, we have the talent and the technology to bring those customers what they need,” Hanna said. 

With staffing shortages forcing HME providers to reassess their stance on outsourcing, Knight and Hanna say their focus on billing and collections should be on “real costs.” 

“We try to use automation as best we can so we can lower labor costs and give the best percentage rates,” Knight said. “There are two factors: How much are you paying as a percentage of money you’re collecting, and what is your overall collection rate? Sure, there might be a low cost of collection, but if your percentage of write-offs is 5% or more, or your A/R over 90 days is more than 15%, your overall cost of collection is higher than you think.” 

ACU-Serve’s acquisition of ECS North follows its acquisition of Boca Raton, Fla.-based Professional Medical Administrators*, or Pro-Med, last fall. That deal added Sylvia Toscano as vice president of client services and 60 U.S.-based employees. 

“Providers don’t want to have to vet every service or software vendor they might need,” Knight said. “We’ve built that trust in the industry that they can come to us and we’re like a Swiss army knife. Whether it’s revenue cycle management or software integration – we can help them on the correct, most profitable path possible.”


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