Revenue Cycle Labor Shortage and Outsourcing Solutions

solutions to the healthcare shortage April 3, 2023

In healthcare industries, the labor shortage is a significant problem. A recent study predicts that there will be a shortage of more than one million nurses in the U.S. over the next decade. The contributing factors to this issue are:

  • The aging population.
  • The increasing demand for healthcare services.
  • The need for qualified medical professionals.

For this reason, outsourcing has become a solution to this healthcare shortage. 

Taking a step back, let’s first understand how this issue impacts healthcare practices.

How do labor shortages impact healthcare organizations?

Labor shortages can severely impact healthcare organizations. Most healthcare finance leaders even report shortages in revenue cycle workforces – about 20 percent report 30 or more vacancies. It worsens the situation for hospitals, whose operations were already compromised by the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent years, declining reimbursements have necessitated revenue cycle management staffing, which requires a deep understanding of reimbursement and healthcare processes.

These are the areas where staffing shortages affect healthcare organizations:

Labor Shortages Impact the Revenue Cycle Teams of Medical Practices

Are you feeling the strain of the labor shortage in healthcare? It’s creating too much headache for the revenue cycle teams at medical practices. According to estimates, medical practice staff are 49% burnt out and facing staffing shortages. That’s why practices face longer wait times for patients, lower staff morale, and slow revenue due to delays in processing claims. 

Medical practices are also spending more on hiring and training new staff, making it harder to fill open positions. Overall, this results in a reduction in revenue and a decrease in revenue cycle efficiency.

Labor Shortages Affect the Delivery of Patient Care

Labor shortages’ impact on patient care delivery is very real. According to the American Hospital Association, over half of all hospitals in the United States are experiencing a staffing shortage. For this reason, patients must wait longer to get the proper care.

Meanwhile, patients with chronic illnesses may not receive the appropriate level of care due to a lack of staff availability. In some cases, it may lead to more errors in diagnosis and treatment that can harm patient health.

Labor Shortages Can Cause Medical Billers to Overwork

It may take a lot of work to meet the billing demands if you have few medical billers. There may not be enough time for billing staff to ensure that all claims have been paid, which can result in missed payments. Due to too much workload, medical billers might be unable to collect payments on time. A survey shows that this issue can lead to losses of up to $25 billion for healthcare providers across the United States.

5 Best Strategies to Address the Labor Shortage in the Revenue Cycle 

Many healthcare practices need help with a labor shortage in the revenue cycle. The following are five strategies that will help you address this problem.

1. Outsourcing Billing 

You can do more with less effort and fewer staff members by outsourcing the healthcare revenue cycle. With it, you can focus more on the core clinical tasks. Healthcare outsourcing is now a revenue cycle management strategy used by over 70% of medical practices. 

Third-party vendors can also assist with specific tasks on the revenue cycle, such as audit response or self-pay management. Depending on your needs, you can assign the entire job or just a portion of it. 

As shown in the table below, outsourcing has both pros and cons:

It’s easy and quick to set up.It has a high cost. (depends on the vendor)
It reduces some of the overhead of management.It is hard to monitor the vendor’s processes.
It is unnecessary to have extra space or to train intensely.It is essential to find the right outsourcing company.

Outsourcing in healthcare helps you eliminate labor shortages and bring in trained expertise to manage accounts receivables and denials. Not only that, but you’ll also be able to reduce costs and focus on patient care. With the perfect mix of technology, this process is the ideal solution for the healthcare shortage.

2. Automating Processes

Do you want to boost your healthcare practice’s revenue cycle management (RCM) process? Using Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Robotic Process Automation has enabled RCM managers to combat staffing shortages effectively. These intelligent solutions make repetitive tasks easier to handle, reduce manual effort, and manage labor-intensive tasks easier. 

Automating labor-intensive tasks in healthcare can optimize productivity. For example, your front office staff can be freed up to focus on other tasks by installing online patient registration portals. You’re taking great steps to make the most of technology in healthcare!

3. Strategize Tasks for Employees

According to recent statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, labor shortages in the revenue cycle are increasing. Stratifying employee tasks is an effective solution to the healthcare shortage. By organizing your task assignment, your employees can make the most of the resources and finish their work on time. This method can reduce the strain on existing staff and maximize revenue cycle efficiency. 

4. Rural Hospitals and Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs)Can Turn To Staffing Firms and Remote Workers.

ASC leaders say that the biggest obstacle to care is skyrocketing costs due to supply and labor shortages with rising costs in healthcare and labor shortage is one of the main reason It’s time to turn to staff firms and remote workers to combat this. In order to regain control of your revenue cycle, staffing firms can provide the workforce you need. 

Meanwhile, a study found that remote workers decrease employers’ psychological stress. Their flexibility can help you meet the demands of your revenue cycle management strategies. In case of a labor shortage, they can provide short-term contracts to work temporarily. What’s great is that it helps you manage your staffing budget more effectively. 

Working with these healthcare organizations ensures you have the right people to maximize your revenue cycle staffing and cash flow.

5. Better Operational Framework

Operational managers play a crucial role in keeping your healthcare operations running smoothly. For this to happen, you need to invest time and money in workflow systems that facilitate employee performance assessments. The benefits of short-term improvements can be seen in the long run.

Tap Into Our Expertise

Even if you don’t like it, labor shortages will likely persist for some time. Thus, now is the time to apply these practical solutions to accelerate your revenue cycle and improve your financial health!

At 5 Star Billing Services Inc, we offer the highest level of performance for high-quality medical billing and coding. Investing in innovation will free up cash and stave off inflation. Your practice can also save money by outsourcing with the help of our billing services.

Schedule a call with our experts today!

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