Staffing Shortage In Healthcare Have A Ripple Effect On The Revenue Cycle
Healthcare staffing shortages are a reality throughout the United States. According to availableAmerican Hospital Association (AHA)of the 1100 hospitals reporting staffing at a federal level, 30% indicated immediate and critical shortages of staff. Additionally, fifteen different states reporting that a third of their hospitals had staffing shortages at an acute level.
While this is aacuteresult of the pandemic, it is not going to end anytime in the near future. In a report by McKinsey & Company on the status of the nursing workforce, it is reported that by 2025 the United States will face a shortage of 200,000 nurses or more.
However, nurses are not the only professionals and workers in the healthcare system that are in decreasing supply. Medical assistants, home healthcare workers, and non-medical staff in hospitals are also leaving the profession.
The asset management firm Mercer reports that over 3 million of these jobs will not be filled in the upcoming five years.
The impact of this human resource shortage, coupled with higher hospitalization and medical treatment rates, supply chain problems, and increasing labor costs, will result in revenue problems for public healthcare system and nonprofit providers.
Adding Business Process Outsourcing Solutions
While some healthcare systems have attempted to address the labor shortage by reskilling or retraining existing staff to address the needs of the system.
This may be a short-term solution, but it also has the potential to increase the burnout rate in the medical field, which is already at an all-time high.
To help preserve existing staff, prevent burnout, and increase the efficiency of healthcare systems, partnering with a business process outsourcing (BPO) partner allows for the addition of proven, effective, healthcare specific types of technology solutions.
The technology creates the ability to automate specific tasks, freeing up qualified staff members to focus on their key job functions.
Utilizing a BPOthat specializes in working with healthcare systems is a crucial consideration. These companies have experience and expertise in revenue cycle management (RCM) throughout the healthcare industry.
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When adding a healthcare specific BPO and RCM partner, the healthcare system can automate a percentage of accounts receivable, medical coding, and patient experience services.
The ideal BPO uses a coding team that is certified by the American Health Information Management Association as well as the American Academy of Professional Coders.
Using a BPOpartner with these qualified teams results in a dramatic reduction in the number of medical coding and billing errors. These errors are not just costly; they take time to correct, which results in delays in reimbursement, lower reimbursement rates, and a decrease in patient experience in the healthcare system.
In addition, these teams should be trained and experienced in working with various health plans and healthcare services.
Knowledge of compliance and regulations on a state and federal level is critical for the team, and it will translate into faster claims processing, fewer denials, and better reimbursement rates.
Another feature that a top BPOand RCM partner can provide is a better patient experience. These companies offer patient contact options and solutions to manage the direct contact required with patients to assist with scheduling appointments through to processing payments and collections.
With real-time data available to both the BPO and the healthcare system, essential financial decisions can be made based on highly accurate numbers.
For small to large healthcare systems, this allows effective decision-making at any time, which is increasingly important as revenue decreases and systems struggle with a myriad of human resource and operational challenges.
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Supporting Human Resources, Not Replacing Essential Staff
Using a BPO and RCM partner is not designed to replace human assets in healthcare systems, but rather to support and augment the essential work completed by in-house staff.
Through the use of this advanced technology, hospital systems, and BPO partners can exchange data through a highly secure system and ensure compliance with any changes to electronic medical records (EMRs) and medical coding.
At the same time, in-house staff has some of the workloads shifted, helping to reduce burnout rates, to retain trained individuals, and to continue to attract much-needed new professionals at all levels in the healthcare system.