Eller MBA Students Consult with Green Valley Fire District on Nurse Practitioner Program

Feb. 16, 2018

Eller MBA Green Valley Fire District consulting team

In fall 2017, Eller MBA students Ben Subeck, Sam Ferolie and Alex Redburn worked closely with the Green Valley Fire District (GVFD) 30 miles south of Tucson to create a business plan for the Fire-Based Urgent Medical Service (FBUMS), the district’s popular nurse practitioner program designed to assist neighbors with non-emergency medical conditions.

As part of their Eller MBA business consulting course, the trio presented findings from a survey they conducted with Green Valley’s residents about the program. They found that though 58 percent of Green Valley residents were not aware of the service, there was broad community interest in the program once residents knew about it.

Although more than half of the residents of Green Valley were unaware of this program, says Subeck, “those who use it, love it,” according to a story in Green Valley News.

The students began their consulting project by evaluating out-of-pocket expenses in order to determine how the program can be financially self-sustaining. The program cost to the fire district is approximately $374 per visit, compared to $83-$143 for a normal doctor’s visit or $180 for an urgent care or emergency room visit that doesn’t result in hospitalization.

After looking at the financials, the team concluded that the $374 “included fixed costs that will decrease as more residents use the service,” says Redburn.

The students additionally recommended a marketing campaign so that residents become more aware of both the program and the fact that the program accepts Medicare and insurance. They also suggested changing the name of FBUMS, which has a negative connotation when pronounced F-BUMS.

Finally, the student team recommended that GVFD consider other opportunities for revenue, such as “offering vaccinations, sport physicals, health education and mobile clinics” at set costs, according to Kim Smith of Green Valley News. Other revenue streams might include program grants.

Working with the GVFD allowed the students to provide sound advice for the program while expanding their own knowledge of healthcare management, and particularly high-demand, public nurse practitioner programs.

The students’ work also resulted in another business consulting project for GVFD in the spring 2018 semester. The new team of Eller MBA students—Chris Tweedy, Bill Tyndall, Joseph Khoury, and team lead Randi Mitchell—is further evaluating the district’s billing and internal processes.

Specifically, the team is reviewing the processes for coding and billing insurance companies related to data collection and management. “Our goal,” says Mitchell, “is to uncover problem areas that currently impact GFVD’s ability to obtain the best insurance reimbursements.”

“We will use the data to make tangible recommendations for immediate process improvements,” she concludes.

Learn more about how Eller Business Consulting pairs students with organizations to solve real business challenges.

Header photo: the spring semester Eller MBA GVFD consulting team (left to right): GVFD Chief Chuck Wunder, Will Tyndall, Chris Tweedy, Randi Mitchell, Taylor Hadden and Joseph Khoury.