Making a Statement
Brian Kueppers’ math is simple: Better statements and invoices equal faster payments.
In the early 1990s, while working for document design and statement processing companies, Kueppers noticed that while a lot of companies, including health care providers, were starting to outsource their billing and statement processing, their document design companies were offering very limited customization options. He saw this as a business opportunity and wanted to start creating statements customized to each client.
In 1995, Kueppers founded St. Paul–based Apex Print Technologies to design and print statements that were “patient focused”—easy to understand, with clearly visible amounts due. “The goal was to get better results from patients, getting them to pay their bills faster, and decreasing the number of phone calls to the health care facilities,” he says.
Apex customizes its designs for each client by conducting patient interviews— asking them what they do and don’t like about the current statements. “Every health care organization’s patients are different from the next one, so we spend a lot of time working on tweaking the statements” for clients and patients, Kueppers says.
By 2007, Apex was making $16 million in annual revenue, but Kueppers realized a shift from paper to electronic technology was looming, and decided to build a platform that allows patients to pay their bills on line.
“A lot of vendors in our industry were afraid of the electronic transformation of paper statements,” Kueppers recalls. “I thought, ‘I could become a victim and watch my business go away, or I could be the guy who brought the technology to people.’”
In 2007, Minnetonka-based Tonka Bay Equity Partners purchased a majority equity position in Apex, providing the company with the cash it needed to develop a proprietary electronic statement processing platform, called MySuite, which launched that same year. “This is when the business started to really grow,” Kueppers says.
Grown it has—49 percent over the last three years, landing Apex on Inc. magazine’s list of fastest-growing for three consecutive years starting in 2008. The company, which now employs 85, is projecting $36 million in revenues this year.
MySuite comprises MySecureBill, a Web portal that allows patients to pay their bills on line and see a history of their statements; and MyEasyView, a tool that allows clients’ customer service representatives to pull out images of the statements that were mailed to patients, issue reprints of the statements, take payments on the phone, and sign up customers for e-statement delivery and e-payments.
“Of all the vendors that I’ve worked with, Apex has been the most customer service friendly,” says Barbara Bowman, director of financial services at Fairview Red Wing Medical Center. “They listen to what we want, and the flexibility that [the software] allows us is pretty amazing. We can view each patient’s statement before we send it out, and add a personalized message if we need to.”
Bowman says that besides reducing printing and mailing costs for her medical center, e-statement adoption has helped bring in payments faster: “Patients are thrilled that they can now program their own auto-deduction on a payment plan—how much they want to pay per month for what account and for how long.”
While health care is Apex’s primary industry— clients include Allina Hospitals & Clinics and Park Nicollet, as well Fairview Health System—the firm also develops documents for financial and utility companies. Kueppers now is expanding beyond Minnesota. In October 2010, Apex Print Technologies acquired Green Bay, Wisconsin–based document delivery company LaserNet, which has a client base in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois.