This blog is excerpted from a recent HealthStream webinar entitled “How to Hit Your Revenue Cycle Goals in 2022.” The webinar featured presenters, Susan Gurzynski-Wells, HealthStream’s Director of Product Management for Leadership and Finance. Susan was joined by Mary Beth Rozell, the Senior Director of Revenue Cycle Solutions for nThrive.
The pressure to meet revenue cycle goals in healthcare can be enormous, and a pandemic did not make things any easier, but the right kinds of educational tools can help ensure that employees are well equipped to help the organization meet those goals. The presenters shared their thoughts on how organizations can evaluate and elevate revenue cycle growth and development plans by prioritizing education.
Aligning Organizational Goals
Aligning organizational goals is foundational to hitting revenue cycle goals. Gurzynski-Wells talked about the importance of leaders establishing goals that align with the organization’s mission, vision and values. She also cited the importance of understanding how those goals might mesh with those of staff members. Gurzynski-Wells advised some self-reflection in the goal setting process. “Are your goals incorporated into your own personal development plan, that of the organization and those of your staff members truly aligned?” asked Gurzynski-Wells.
Growth and Development – A Post-Pandemic Priority
Gurzynski-Wells also pointed out the tough realities of ongoing staff shortages in healthcare being exacerbated by the pandemic. She pointed to the statistics recently reported by the American Hospital Association that 31% of American hospitals are reporting critical staff shortages. In addition, the Labor Department reported that a whopping 4.4 million Americans had quit their jobs and that 3.6% more healthcare employees quit their jobs than in the previous year, giving the healthcare segment one of the highest resignation rates in the country.
In Rozell’s practice, she is seeing higher priorities placed on growth and development plans that are tied directly to employee retention and revenue recognition. Rozell cited a recent study by Perdue that included 5 generations of learners. “Of those learners, 35% can be categorized as gen X or gen Y and they have an expectation that there will be formalized training in the workplace. Employers are struggling to meet the expectations of these learners and their preference for short, concise education as part of a formalized process,” said Rozell.
She further advocated for these kinds of formal training processes by pointing out their value in times of growth or transition. “Having these kinds of plans in place helps to onboard new employees, and it also helps during times of transition to cover positions when there is little or no time for formal training,” said Rozell.
Remote work has also increased the importance of formalized training processes. As employers became comfortable that productivity would not suffer as a result of employees working remotely, it became clear that many workers will not be returning to traditional work environments as much of that work space is or will be converted to revenue-generating space. Rozell points out that remote work eliminates the “at the elbow mentors and trainers” which will necessitate putting systems in place to connect those employees with the kinds of resources that will allow them to get up to speed quickly and build and maintain productivity.
Lessons From a Pandemic
Rozell went on to say that “we learned many lessons during the COVID-19 crisis, and we need to be sure that we are incorporating those lessons into our ongoing continuity plans.” Rozell points to the organizations that responded to the challenges of revenue cycle management during the pandemic with specialized coders that focused on COVID-19 claims with the goal of avoiding audits. Rozell admits that this step may not have eliminated the possibility of an audit, but it did leave providers in a better position should an audit occur as these specialized coders were able to take a more deliberate and informed approach to the influx of claims.
COVID-19 along with the emergence of telehealth options has brought increased focus on upskilling and re-training particularly in light of the emerging and changing guidance around reimbursement for COVID-19 and telehealth visits.
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