We have all seen the statistics and, in many ways, they still don’t seem real. Yet, like so many people affected by the pandemic, revenue cycle leaders wake up every day to face the harsh reality of what COVID-19 has done to the healthcare landscape. The American Hospital Association estimates a 2020 cumulative loss of $323B within the industry due to a combination of factors, including:

  • Lost revenue from canceled services
  • Additional costs associated with support for frontline workers such as PPE
  • Direct hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients1

Add to this the fact that millions of Americans have been furloughed or lost their jobs outright, and we are now faced with a situation where the payer mix has drastically changed, causing revenue cycle leaders to reevaluate where to allocate their resources to capitalize on financial opportunities. 2

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As vaccines find their way into the arms of a steadily growing percentage of the population, that light becomes brighter every day. Revenue cycle leaders have reason for great optimism as we head further into 2021.

Sources of Optimism in Revenue Cycle

First, insurance enrollment is rebounding as people take advantage of the Biden Administration’s special enrollment period on the ACA exchanges. In fact, early a quarter million Americans added insurance coverage in the first two weeks alone.3

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is reimbursing telehealth services, offering a much-needed lifeline of revenue to the healthcare industry. There is general consensus that this policy will not go away post-pandemic. 

Finally, many organizations have reduced cost by sending their eligible employees home to work remotely. Memorial Health System and ProMedica have each reported successful outcomes adopting a work-from-home model, and it’s possible that their policies remain in place in the post-COVID era as well.4

The On-Going Question: Where Do We Go From Here?

Revenue cycle leaders will likely need to make adjustments to their talent strategies in 2021.  First, hard collections in today’s environment is an outlier. Most organizations have implemented fresh, patient-friendly tactics that show compassion and partnership. To stay in the game, you need talent who understand that approach.  

Next, change has become the new normal. Healthcare organizations need talent that are adaptable and flexible to meet changing revenue cycle demands. Similarly, if your organization is considering a remote work strategy, the profile of your ideal candidate will change. Certain candidates are well-equipped to thrive at home, while others may not be. 

Lastly, recovery will be a slow process. Historically, the U.S. economy sees a dramatic increase in contract labor in post-recession periods. It may make sense to consider adding temporary staff to add flexibility and mitigate risk in the coming months.

Whatever strategy you choose to work towards revenue cycle recovery, be ready to adjust.  If there’s one thing we’ve all learned through COVID-19, it’s that we can’t grow too comfortable as things change quickly. 

Is your team searching for the healthcare solutions to enable you to build great teams on the road to recovery? Click here to learn more about Medix’s healthcare recruitment and staffing solutions – including our focus on optimizing revenue cycle. 

About the Author

Tony Spagnolo Author MedixTony Spagnolo is the Senior Director of Healthcare at Medix where he has spent the better part of 13+ years working with providers and third party Revenue Cycle Management companies to acquire talent that meet their short-term and long-term needs. When not at work, you can find Tony playing with his two sons and most likely getting too emotionally invested in the outcome of Chicago White Sox baseball or Xavier University basketball games.    

 

Sources:

  1. https://revcycleintelligence.com/news/aha-projects-323b-in-covid-19-hospital-financial-losses-in-2020 
  2. https://revcycleintelligence.com/features/healthcare-revenue-cycle-recovery-after-the-covid-19-pandemic
  3. https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/2021-marketplace-special-enrollment-period-report
  4. https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/revenue-cycle/4-ways-covid-19-reshaped-revenue-cycle