Outsourcing and healthcare revenue cycle are not strangers. Care organizations typically cite streamlined processes, enhanced technology, maximized efficiencies, improved performance, and reduced operating costs as the positive outcomes of outsourcing. Yet, while it’s practiced widely and often successfully, outsourcing revenue cycle inevitably brings with it a bit of angst, a good deal of inquiry, and sometimes a flat out aversion when patients, dollars, and/or staff are involved. And, of course, they always are.
Homing in on the last of that list, what actually happens with your staff when you outsource your entire business office?
Here are three scenarios and what to expect as the outcome.
Reallocate your internal resources
Let's be honest. This scenario is the least likely of the three, but when it happens, it's the best of both worlds. Onsite staff whose jobs are being assumed are reallocated to other departments within the organization, and the outsource partner takes on the business office functions. Particularly if your organization is growing, there may be additional positions for tenured staff. It's simple and arguably easy — even friendly. It's just not common.
Shift staff to the outsource partner (Re-badging)
Re-badging is exactly as it sounds. Your business office employees or coders discontinue employment with your care organization and begin employment with the outsource partner. While this happens, staff members maintain their same role with their new employer. In this scenario, the logistics can be complex and strategic planning is key. Attention to space planning, timelines, messaging, corporate culture as well as human resource issues is required. And, in truth, some employees may choose not to make the shift.
The final option: layoffs
This third scenario is the one no one enjoys talking about, but sometimes it's the only option for your organization to achieve your goals — whether it's cost reduction or performance improvement, or both. Your current employees would be notified, and the outsource partner would step into the business of running revenue cycle with its own staff.
Although this option is arguably agonizing for employees and difficult for leadership, it is often the "best for business" decision — one that will put the healthcare organization in a good position to deliver the best patient care within an ever-changing regulatory and consumer-driven environment.
The Bottom Line
The options discussed are not intended to be an exhaustive list. The right solution may well be a unique combination of the three scenarios above, and every organization will have a unique set of circumstances or considerations regarding what happens to your staff when outsourcing your organization’s revenue cycle operations. Depending on the size of your organization, current issues, and organizational goals and changes within the healthcare landscape, finding the best fit to maximize your financial performance is key.