Over the course of March, we are diving deep into four key benefits of outsourcing revenue cycle management (RCM) for ASCs. Last week, we looked at the ways in which RCM providers can bring workflow and process optimization using best-in-class technologies to ASCs. This week, we will examine how outsourcing RCM provides ASCs with smart staffing solutions, and helps them avoid the need for succession planning.
For ASCs, an experienced billing and coding staff with built in redundancies is not just a luxury, it is a necessity. Hiring inexperienced staff or becoming dependent on just one or two good people could end up costing your center hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It can be incredibly difficult to find someone who can be an immediate contributor, especially if your ASC is in a rural area. You are likely to be in a position where your only choices are to hire someone with no experience or someone with experience only in a hospital or physician’s office setting. This means they will need to work on a fairly steep training curve, during which time your ASC could be losing thousands of dollars. There are a number of reasons for this problem, not least of which is that getting together the pay and benefits necessary to attract experienced professionals in this department may not be a priority for your center.
RCM providers have the resources to pay well, provide good benefits, and situate themselves in desirable locations. They know how to find and hire the best of the best, and often have a pipeline of eligible applicants waiting for a spot to open up. And while ASCs don’t necessarily get to choose their location- rural Virginia needs healthcare too- they can still hire, through outsourcing, talented individuals that may not be up for a big move.
Another issue faced by ASC billing and collections departments is that of succession and contingency planning. Your ASC may have a talented professional working on your billing, but what if he/she goes on vacation? Will the entire department be put on hold for a week? It is also worth considering what will happen when that person inevitably retires. Not only will you be faced with staffing issues, but the outgoing staff member may pass any bad habits they have onto the new staff member during training. If they are inexperienced, it will be very difficult for them to spot mistakes, and practices that leave money on the table for your ASC will continue.
A good RCM provider will have dedicated professionals assigned to your ASC, with redundancies in place so billing isn’t halted- no matter what happens. This also means that you have someone dedicated to your center’s billing and collections, and that person has a whole team behind them, providing support and resources. Requirements are constantly changing in the field, especially with upcoming ICD-10 changes, and an RCM provider will be on top of that. They will keep staff updated as well, and provide them with all required employee development and training.
As ICD-10 and other regulatory changes make billing and coding a more difficult and exacting process, it is increasingly important to have the right team, both internal and external, in place to ensure money isn’t being left on the table.