Health Systems Look to Solve Revenue Cycle Staffing Challenges
Stories about staffing shortages and increased turnover filled healthcare publications before the COVID-19 pandemic, and now it’s getting even more attention. Turnover and revenue cycle staffing are leading indicators of patient satisfaction as well as future revenue cycle strength. Omega Healthcare recently conducted a survey to find out how leaders were addressing revenue cycle staffing in key areas.
The average hospital turned over 100.5% of its workforce in the last five years. Given this level of turnover, it’s no wonder that staffing is the number one concern according to a 2022 list of top 10 patient safety concerns.
Healthcare leaders find it difficult to recruit and train knowledgeable staff across the enterprise—including revenue cycle staffing in the business office. An MGMA survey revealed 60% of physician practices that responded “said their organizations had the hardest time recruiting and retaining non-clinical staff. Turnover rates in non-clinical roles were as follows:
- Business operations support staff turnover: 9.92%
- Clinical support staff turnover: 15.83%
- Front office support staff turnover: 20%
In the billing and medical coding fields, lack of advancement opportunities and low wages were cited as top reasons for turnover and loss of revenue cycle staffing.
Cost of turnover can be tens of thousands of dollars per employee according to American College of Healthcare Executives. There are also additional “hidden” costs of turnover including reduced quality of care and patient safety, lost productivity, and lower morale. Turnover in front office, billing office, and other non-clinical patient-facing staff roles can have a significant impact on patient experience since those staff act as the face of the practice.
A consultant with MGMA points out that “Turnover is costly to the practice, not only in money, but also quality, as it may take months to get the new staff member up to speed with customized EMRs, doctors’ idiosyncrasies, and so on.” Getting up to speed requires significant time and effort into staff training. Too few resources to train revenue cycle staff can lead to errors, rejections, denials, and write-offs—all areas which are also challenged by manual processes and siloed systems.
Revenue Cycle Staffing Challenged by Administrative Demands
Already challenged with hiring, training, and retaining knowledgeable revenue cycle staff, business office leaders are also stretched by highly manual processes and increased administrative demands.
Claims processing and management is labor-intensive, consuming countless hours for research, follow-up, and data entry. Ever-changing payer and regulatory requirements place extra burdens on providers to identify, learn and implement rules, edits, and new processes in a timely fashion. Often, these complex processes are managed manually, and without sufficient staff or training, providers fail to achieve maximum reimbursement.
Similarly, processing and reconciling payments across all funding resources is a time-consuming, highly manual process. Error-prone manual processes lead to slower turnaround time, missed discrepancies, partial audits, and risk of erroneously billing patients. Insufficient revenue cycle staff to manage these processes can lead to backlogs and mistakes, both of which can impact A/R and cash flow.
New Survey Highlights Business Services a Top Concern for Revenue Cycle Leaders
A recent survey reinforces the revenue cycle staffing challenges healthcare leaders are experiencing. Omega Healthcare partnered with Eliciting Insights to conduct a survey of 125 hospital revenue cycle leaders from across the country to find out which areas revenue cycle leaders are focusing on over the next 12 months.
The majority of the top challenges reported in the survey involve business office processes like claims management, billing, payment posting and reconciliation, A/R management and collections, denials and appeals management, underpayment recovery, and physician coding and documentation improvement. These areas represent significant opportunities for evaluation and optimization.
But with revenue cycle leaders and office managers already being asked to do more with less, finding the time with which to identify areas that need improvement and finding the resources to develop and implement improvement plans can seem like an overwhelming undertaking. According to our survey, many are turning to business office outsourcing services.
Top Revenue Cycle Processes to Outsource
The survey found that revenue cycle leaders currently outsource these processes the most:
- 19%: Authorization and Medical Necessity
- 18%: Denials and Appeals Management
- 18%: Underpayment Recovery
In the next 12-18 months, revenue cycle leaders are planning to outsource these processes:
- 48%: Patient Collections
- 48%: A/R Management and Collections
- 45%: Coding and Chart Audit
Learn more in the white paper, “Revenue Cycle Leader Share Top Concerns”
Omega Healthcare Can Help
Omega Healthcare’s Business Office Services, enabled by RevCOLLECT, help clients improve overall efficiency and quality of the revenue cycle. We offer outsourced revenue cycle staffing for Business Office Services including Claims Management and Billing, Payment Posting and Reconciliation, A/R Management and Collections, Denials and Appeals Management, and Underpayment Recovery.
In addition to revenue cycle services, Omega Healthcare offers tech-enabled services that leverage proprietary technology to streamline workflows, automate processes, and improve efficiency.
 “Healthcare Turnover Rates [2023 Update],” DailyPay, June 20, 2023
 “ECRI’s Top 10 Patient Safety Risks for 2022,” Edward Nuber, ECRI, March 18, 2022
 “Overcoming recruiting challenges for non-clinical staff in medical groups,” MGMA Stat, May 3, 2018
 “Cure for healthcare’s high employee turnover is engagement, expert says,” Beth Jones Sanborn, Healthcare Finance News, July 18, 2017
 “Employee turnover — how do you compare?” Pamela Ballou-Nelson RN, MSPH, PhD, CMPE, MGMA Insight Article, August 14, 2018
 “Market Insights Study,” Eliciting Insights, sponsored by Omega Healthcare, April 2023, N=125 hospital RCM decision makers/influencers