Business office expenditures are on the rise, part 2
As we noted in the first installment of this two-part blog series, several factors are driving up the costs of business operations for US providers. Competition is one reason, with providers vying for the attention of patients now responsible for more of their own healthcare costs and enhancing their offerings to be more attractive.
Last time, we quoted Laura Palmer, FACMPE, a senior analyst with MGMA, and her comments bear repeating: “Medical practice executives are an integral part of the healthcare framework and are playing an increasingly important role in serving patients, as there is an entire business and structure behind effective care-delivery models. Employing staff with expertise in medical practice management can position the practice for long-term success.”
Healthcare legislation such as ICD-10 is another cause for the increase in expenses, which is forcing many providers to hire certified coders to handle the transition.
For these reasons and others, providers facing these increased staffing costs, especially small- to mid-sized practices, are wondering where the money will come from. Many are considering whether outsourcing business office functions might be a smarter alternative to staffing up with full-time employees.
Outsourcing can be a viable option, for certain. While some healthcare providers do have understandable concerns about relinquishing certain perceived control to an outside firm and possible risks to patient satisfaction, the truth is that outsourcing to a reputable firm with a proven track record may be the answer.
One of the benefits of outsourcing is that it often enhances cash flow. Obviously, not having to hire permanent, highly trained staff to deal with new regulations can enhance cash flow considerably as a result of reduced operational costs. Additionally, outside firms often bring with them advanced technologies which enhance overall productivity, improve staff effectiveness, enhance the patient experience and can reduce overall costs significantly.
Outsourcing can also minimize administrative workload and free up internal staff whose attention and efforts might be more strategically focused elsewhere. A qualified RCM firm can help you develop a strategy for cash acceleration to help your revenue cycle withstand potential downturns due to reimbursement miscues.
Bringing in an outside firm can also eliminate staffing concerns and challenges, with many consulting firms offering flexible staffing alternatives to hiring fulltime staff.
As we said at the beginning, if you’re considering bringing in an outside firm be sure that you investigate them thoroughly before you procure their services. Insist on getting references, and carefully evaluate their reputation and success rate with previous providers.
We anticipate that this topic will be discussed for some time, so check back for more thoughts in the near future.