North Shore-LIJ Health System has partnered with a company that will manage its patient registration and billing, which will result in about 1,000 North Shore-LIJ employees working for the Minnesota-based firm.

North Shore-LIJ has entered into a 10-year agreement beginning in late July with Optum360 for 14 of the health system's 19 hospitals. Based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, the company, which now has 2,400 employees, provides technology and expertise in patient registration, documentation, billing and payment systems.

These functions, called revenue cycle management, have become increasingly complex and are an area where hospitals typically lose money, said Frank Danza, senior vice president of revenue cycle management at North Shore-LIJ. Danza said the health system could make up to "tens of millions" in currently uncollected revenue by tapping into Optum360's technology and expertise.

What's more, he said, the health system "is looking to lead the market" as these services become increasingly national.

"This allows us to share best practices and makes us the strongest we can be," he said.

Paul Emerson, Optum360's chief operating officer, said the company was excited about the partnership with North Shore-LIJ because of its vision and "excellent reputation."

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"Our goal is to build a national platform that will allow for a more efficient, effective process," he said.

Joseph Moscola, senior vice president of human resources at North Shore-LIJ, said none of the 1,000 or so North Shore-LIJ employees now doing revenue cycle management functions will lose their jobs when they join Optum360. Salaries, seniority and time off will remain the same, he said. The health plans are different but, Moscola said, a bridge plan will ensure that the employees don't lose benefits.

North Shore-LIJ is the largest private employer in the state, with 54,000 employees.

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Emerson said having the employees work directly for Optum360 will ensure they "become part of the culture." Career advancement and training also will be available to them, he said.