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Healthcare Hiring Tools and Recruiting Solutions for Revenue Cycle Staffing

Some healthcare organizations are choosing outsourcing as a solution to the revenue cycle staffing dilemma. According to HFMA, “outsourcing is not controversial in the business world, particularly with broadband Internet’s capability of moving data rapidly through the cloud to remote locations. But this trend has had uneven application in the hospital industry” (Goldsmith et al, 2016). What started with clinicians extends now to the business processes involved in healthcare, and it all comes down to people, specifically “shortages of people with mission-critical expertise, or dealing with the rapidly rising salaries caused by those shortages. That is the case today with such outsourcing of [revenue cycle management] specialties as coders and clinical documentation (CDI) specialists (Goldsmith et al, 2016).

Building a Workforce from Non-Traditional Sources

HealthStream partner nThrive (formerly Precyse) has had several demonstrable successes in their efforts to meet healthcare job shortages by using revenue cycle training to build a workforce from non-traditional sources. A Precyse/nThrive partnership with Vermont HITEC (a not-for-profit education center), provides a ten-week education program of revenue cycle training designed to “prepare individuals to take the medical coding certification exam, issued by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)” (Precyse, 2014). Not only does this program help expand the coding workforce, but it brings greater opportunity to areas of the country where employment options are limited. Healthcare IT News reports that “the Precyse program offers a combination of no-cost education and the advantage of working from home while receiving a competitive wage and full benefits. This presents an opportunity for those living in rural regions of Vermont with limited career opportunities, and is a great option for those who are looking for a fresh start with a new career, as no prior healthcare experience is needed for candidates to apply to the Precyse program,” (Monegain, 2015). Of the 15 underemployed individuals who were part of Precyse’s initial 11 week program, 14 passed the certification exam the first time. Additionally, on March 30, 2017, nThrive and Vermont HITEC celebrated the graduation and official on-boarding of nine Oncology Data Management (ODM) Specialists.

Retraining Existing Staff for Career Transitions

Another solution to staffing woes is to turn coding and other revenue cycle positions into natural destinations for healthcare staff needing a career change. Rather than lose tenured employees to burnout or boredom in their current roles, it makes sense to retrain them to be part of the revenue cycle team. nThrive’s Transitions training program is focused on helping staff make this career leap, which is a win-win for everyone involved. Employees get credit for their knowledge, tenure, and service, and organizations benefit from retaining seasoned employees who know the institution and have extensive healthcare experience. Leading health providers are following the nThrive model. Case Managers, Billers, Patient Access Specialists, Coders, Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists are some of the short supply roles that health systems are finally resolving, not through expensive recruiting, but by ‘creating’ their own staff from the community like nThrive has been doing.

Growing Staffing Needs, a Shortage of Qualifies Employees

What emerges from looking at the staffing situation in revenue cycle is indicative of the staffing outlook in healthcare as a whole. Our industry keeps growing, needing more employees, just as demographics make them harder to find. That means we have to be more creative in finding healthcare hiring tools that can serve as solutions to our people shortage. Limitations like accreditation and geography need not be assumed as insurmountable. Nor should we fail to look within our organizations for likely candidates who would benefit from a career transition into the myriad positions that make up the revenue cycle. What is most apparent is that hiring and staffing the same way it has traditionally been practiced in the world of healthcare human resources is not likely to meet our needs—not now, and especially not in the future.  

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References:

Goldsmith, Jeff, Dave Hampshire, and Jef Nieman; “What Is the Business Case for Outsourcing Revenue Cycle Management?,” September 28, 2016, HFMA, accessed at https://www.hfma.org/Content.aspx?id=50276.

Precyse, “Precyse Partners with Vermont HITEC to Build a Work-at-Home Medical Coding Workforce,” 11/12/14, accessed at http://www.precyse.com/resources/11_12_14_Precyse_HITEC_FINAL.pdf.

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