Healthcare Revenue Cycle Recovery After The COVID-19 Pandemic

Over the last two years we’ve all seen hospitals and providers across the world do the unthinkable.

As a healthcare provider, you have probably multitasked—attending both surgeries and long tele-counseling shifts, working in makeshift emergency wards packed with patients— all the while dealing with issues like burnouts and stress.

Add to this, massive overhead costs related to cancelled surgeries, personal protective equipment (PPE), hiring workforce support, updating processes and much more. According to estimates from the American Hospital Association (AHA), some of these expenses amount to $50.7 billion for the US healthcare industry.

Across the world today, industries are experiencing The Great Resignation—a global phenomenon. Employees are voluntarily quitting jobs for a plethora of reasons including COVD-19 safety concerns, inflation, job dissatisfaction, income disparity, etc. The healthcare industry is no stranger to this crisis. Considering your business likely doesn’t have a stable workforce to rely on, how do you plan to manage broken processes, reduce expenditure and improve your business bottom line?

The pandemic has severely altered the way healthcare businesses function and you’ve probably had to rise to the challenge yourself. The good news is there are ways to make sure that your healthcare business and bottom line no longer take the hit.

Revenue Cycle Recovery for The Healthcare Industry

According to AHA projections, the healthcare industry lost $323 billion in COVID-19 related expenses during 2020. This is likely to get worse in the future as a result of additional layers of COVID-19 impact.

As a healthcare professional, you will need to be more resilient to avoid future losses. Telehealth and patient-centric billing are two ways to help stabilize your healthcare revenue cycle recovery.

Let’s find out how they’ve been helpful.

Telehealth For Business Recovery After Covid-19

Many patients (senior citizens, new parents, etc.) still avoid clinic visits for safety reasons. Other patients are reluctant for reasons like lack of time. Obviously, your business can’t continue to suffer losses until patients can make up their mind.

Ever since the pandemic hit, telehealth has emerged as one of the biggest innovations in healthcare delivery. In fact, more than nine million Medicare-insured patients opted for telehealth facilities with a weekly increment of 1.7 million patients.

How will hospitals survive financially?—telehealth is your answer. Pivot to telemedicine to maintain your revenue cycle integrity without disrupting patient care. It is an effective way to deal with declining patient footfall and bottom line.

However, just because telehealth worked out for providers during COVID-19, the jury’s still out on whether it is an effective post-pandemic resource for revenue cycle recovery. Given that life and businesses are adapting to a new normal, will it be a viable option in the future? Yes, indeed.

During the peak of the pandemic, everyone including physicians, administrators and even billing professionals felt the need to change patient-care delivery. It’s probably why telehealth has become so popular as an alternative to patient care and as a means to revive your healthcare business.

Patient-Centric Billing for Business Recovery After COVID

According to the National Health Statistics Report as many as 31.6 million people did not have health insurance in 2020. Many businesses have withdrawn insurance coverage benefits for employees thanks to pandemic-induced cost-cutting measures. Furthermore, job losses and pay cuts during the pandemic rendered many incapable of paying insurance premiums.

The post-pandemic economic recession has only made things worse. The cost of healthcare services are at an all-time high and patients are simply unable to afford insurance plans.

As a healthcare provider, you should adopt patient-centric billing practices to address the shift in insurance coverage. It helps to partner with a diverse mix of payers who understand the importance of value-based patient care.

You can plan your healthcare revenue cycle recovery through patient payment plans. This gives patients the opportunity to sign up for convenient payment plans for medical services prior to their appointments. Procedural costs are clearly communicated to ensure transparency and timely payments. It can help improve both patient collections and revenue integrity for your healthcare business.

How Can RCM Outsourcing Help?

Imagine this: it’s a busy weekend at the hospital. You’re a pediatrician. A patient’s mother requests a home-visit because her son is complaining about a crippling stomachache. You visit your patient, diagnose him for a possible case of food-poisoning, share the prescription and subsequently the bill.

You will agree that healthcare delivery has not changed much. Here’s how outsourcing fits into the current context.

Considering the example above, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to conduct a home visit if you’re dealing with burn out or staff shortage at the hospital. Revenue cycle outsourcing can help you address both issues.

Telehealth is an excellent alternative to patient-care delivery but it can take too long to implement. In these scenarios, consider outsourcing your revenue cycle operations to third-party service providers who will manage the day-to-day functions of your healthcare business. What you get out of it: the ability to improve patient engagement and offer teleconsultation services. The outsourcing team can also manage your billing functions and help you to reclaim more time to improve your bottom line.

Remember the bit about ‘the great resignation’? When you don’t have an in-house team for revenue cycle management, you can choose to outsource.

Outsourcing your business processes to HelioNext could prove to be an effective revenue cycle recovery strategy. Leverage our expertise to streamline your workflows, reduce costs and most importantly, focus on value-based patient care delivery.