Revenue Cycle Management in times of COVID-19

With many physicians chose to operate remotely and also reduced patient visits to the OP department, the financial health of healthcare providers is now reeling under the shock of COVID – 19. The revenue cycle processes are also operating at a very low level. Here are some key points for the healthcare providers to work on, in order to stabilize financial operations and restore back to normal.

Optimize reimbursements

Coding and billing requirements are changing frequently. Hence with changing guidelines on the revenue cycle processes, improving on reimbursements should be the top priority for revenue cycle decision-makers.

  • With OP care increasingly delivered through telehealth and the several new guidelines for coding and billing being issued by Medicare and other payers need to be implemented quickly and adhered to.
  • Payers are changing the norms for the component they will be reimbursing and lower patient liability and hence charge masters healthcare providers have to be updated.
  • Follow the updates on the payer website.
  • Schedule a discussion with contracted payers.
  • Keep track of denials and identify the source of the denial to make due changes to your revenue cycle processes.

Managing your AR

Both payers and providers are impacted by a critical shortage of revenue cycle and claim management workers. With central billing offices and payer back offices operating at a sub-optimal level, both your pre-pandemic and current AR have been impacted. Few strategies listed below to deal with them.

  • Try to find ways to enable your in-house AR workforce to work remotely or with minimal staffing at your billing office.
  • Many offshore providers have started to work. Augment your workforce significantly with offshore partners and focus on maintaining relationships with payers.
  • Keep in mind you are likely to see a dip in receivables during this pandemic period due to the reduced number of patient visits.
  • Identify AR that is typically reimbursed without any issues and increase follow-up effort on those claims.
  • Clear your backlog of AR which caused due to reduced patient visits.
  • The more you make out of your revenue cycle today, the better your chances of springing back into health in the post-pandemic phase which will require renewed investments in brand building and patient visit improvement. So remember cash is the king.

Deal Patients with Empathy

As we know, amidst this pandemic, many patients are experiencing financial difficulties. Patients checking in are probably in need of critical care services and it is imperative that as a healthcare provider you can identify the impact of payer-specific guidelines on the self-pay or patient responsibilities for payment.

  • Deal each case with care, empathy and an accurate understanding of their financial commitments
  • Develop patient-specific payment options and also suggest the path of the least financial impact.

Facilitate teamwork and remote working

Revenue cycle is a team sport. Most of the healthcare organizations started to operate remotely through work from home model. Here are some pointers to optimize team collaboration and achieve maximum reimbursement.

  • Equip your workforce with necessary devices like computer/laptop, WiFi connectivity, security software, video/audio calling, and conferencing software.
  • Choose the functions that remain onsite. This is a good time to migrate from document scanning to the digital process.
  • Team collaboration is the key to your financial success. Keep your staff connected and improve your recognition and rewards programs.
  • Schedule calls the beginning of shift and end of shift to keep everyone engaged and informed about the updates.
  • Track staff productivity through workflow automation.

Financial Reporting

The impact of the revenue cycle process has on the financial sustainability of healthcare providers in these times of pandemic and after that is very significant. Some reports that will help derive strategic decision making are as follows,

  • Weekly shifts in AR.
  • Bad debt performance.
  • Payer specific operational realities and expected reimbursement dates.
  • Projections for AR and the impact on net revenue.
  • Strategies to reduce the total cost of operations like outsourcing or shift to remote working.

Connect with us today to discuss how our revenue cycle experts can help you through COVID – 19 and beyond.

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