The healthcare industry is facing unprecedented challenges, including severe labor shortages. According to a recent study, more than nine in 10 health systems and physician groups are experiencing a workforce shortage in revenue cycle management (RCM), with many of those reporting vacancies in over half of their RCM roles. This is one of the many reasons why there has never been a better time for health systems to think outside the box for solutions, including an RCM partnership. Often, when organizations first think of RCM partnerships, words such as ‘outsourcing’ come to mind. In reality, an RCM partnership is just that: an alliance of shared goals that drive positive outcomes for the organization, its employees and its patients.
Here are three of the top RCM partnership myths, as well as the realities about their implications and benefits:
Myth 1: An RCM partnership is too expensive
As hospitals and health systems continue to recover financially from the pandemic, adding another expense might seem out of the question. But strategic thinking and investment now will have big payoffs later. More than ever, it is imperative that organizations focus on implementing operational improvements and technology changes that position them to survive and thrive. A revenue cycle partnership utilizing contemporary workflow technology and automation, coupled with expertise and best practices, will improve productivity and reduce costs, leading to sustainable financial performance.
Additionally, due to recent labor shortages, operations departments are often understaffed and overworked. Partnering with a revenue cycle management organization means hospitals and health systems can reap the rewards of proper workflows guided by technology and amplified by automation. This scalability can result in faster financial recovery and accurate billing processes that can improve the patient experience and lead to improved satisfaction scores, patient retention and eventually, increased revenue.
Myth 2: An outside RCM partnership is less secure
Security is a top priority for health systems that store extremely sensitive and confidential patient information. Health system decision-makers can be deterred from partnerships due to concern that the new party will not guard data in the same, secure way. However, responsible and reliable partners make it a priority to keep not only their own operations secure but leverage those same security measures and resources to keep their partners’ data equally protected.
Even with that understanding, it is important to do your diligence when it comes to RCM partners. Examining and understanding their security measures should be a priority, including vetting third-party cybersecurity designations such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and security operations center (SOC) compliance.
Myth 3: Transitioning employees away from a hospital setting is a negative experience
The idea of transitioning hospital employees can cause both employers’ and employees’ concerns. Yet, when speaking to employees who have made this transition, you will hear about having the best of both worlds – the opportunity to stay and work within a health system that is providing community care, while reaping the benefits of a global organization that can provide access to state-of-the-art tools and the opportunity for career advancement. When asked about their experience, one employee explained, “R1 has allowed my staff and me the opportunity to push the boundaries of what the revenue cycle looks like within the hospital setting. We now have resources at our fingertips to give the patient the best experience possible.”
In a time when labor shortages are keeping the C-Suite up at night, partnering with an organization that is solely focused on revenue cycle management can alleviate the staffing shortage while opening the door for advanced training and career growth for transitioned employees.
Truth: RCM partnerships are a game changer
An RCM partnership is a shift in approach that can significantly improve hospital revenue cycle operations. A reliable partner brings deep and broad expertise, industry best practices and technology-driven optimization. When choosing a partner with operational, regulatory and financial expertise, the value becomes clear. In today’s world of public health crises and increasing healthcare labor shortages, this relationship can be the solution that keeps hospitals afloat and ready to provide vital care to the communities they serve.
About Gary Long
Gary Long is the EVP and Chief Commerical Officer for healthcare revenue cycle leader R1 RCM where he is responsible for R1’s commercial functions. Long has spent over 25 years in the healthcare industry, building and leading commercial and operational teams. He can be found on LinkedIn.