Becker's Hospital ReviewMay 14, 2021
In the wake of COVID-19, many healthcare leaders are concerned about their organization’s financial viability and are seeking new revenue cycle management (RCM) strategies to increase profitability and market share.
At the virtual Becker's Hospital Review 11th Annual Meeting, Jason Ross, senior vice president of revenue and network management for LifePoint Health – a nationwide health system with 87 hospitals in 29 states – discussed his organization's experience with revenue cycle partnerships in a featured session sponsored by R1 RCM. He offered best practices that can help health systems jump-start their financial recovery efforts, providing five key takeaways:
- When standardizing RCM to increase efficiency and improve financial performance, consider partnerships. At the beginning of 2020, LifePoint Health launched a project to drive RCM standardization across all facilities and improve the patient experience. The team felt confident it could handle revenue cycle management in house – but to do it right, they knew it would require a significant investment of time, resources and technology.
"For an organization of our size, it would be irresponsible not to look at every possible pathway to implementing a consistent, standard, centralized RCM workflow," Mr. Ross said. "Our goal was to make the most improvements in operational performance with the least amount of investment, in the shortest amount of time. An RCM partnership emerged as the clear choice to help us reach this goal.”
- As organizations evaluate partners, cultural alignment is essential. As LifePoint evaluated revenue cycle partners, they looked for process rigor, cultural fidelity and speed to value. "Our DNA is rooted in operating small, community-based hospitals," Mr. Ross said. "One reason we’re successful is our very disciplined operators that adhere to process rigor. We wanted a partner that was equally committed to a highly detailed workplan and disciplined but flexible processes."
LifePoint met with numerous revenue cycle management companies, engaging in open dialogue with leaders and operators at every level, before deciding that R1 RCM was the best cultural fit. R1 demonstrated both process rigor and speed to value through detailed financial models that showed how they’d accelerate cost savings and augment net revenue with minimal disruption to LifePoint’s operations.
- Revenue cycle management should enhance the patient experience as well as financial performance. Looking ahead, LifePoint expects its partnership with R1 RCM to help them innovate, stay ahead of the curve and prepare for the consumerization of healthcare. “At every point in the revenue cycle, healthcare organizations should be looking at how to remove friction from the patient experience. As consumers ourselves, healthcare leaders can intuit what our patients want; we just need to leverage the right technology and revamp our processes accordingly.”
- Automation should be used strategically across the revenue cycle to improve efficiency and accuracy. The revenue cycle is rife with tasks that can be automated, but it’s important to leverage the right type of automation technology for each process. For example, robotic process automation (RPA) can perform various highly repetitive, labor-intensive revenue cycle tasks with greater accuracy and speed than a human could. By using R1 RCM's intelligent automation technologies, LifePoint has successfully redeployed employees to higher value activities.
- As healthcare moves toward value-based care, revenue cycle management expertise is critically important for health systems. LifePoint has a growing portfolio of value-based work, including a robust Medicare Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Program across nearly half its hospitals for approximately 165 episodes of care. Documenting and coding appropriately for a Medicare bundled payment is absolutely critical to accurately estimating what Medicare expects to pay for that patient over a 90-day period. “If you have poor performance in areas such as HIM or CDI, you won't succeed with bundled payments," Mr. Ross said. "By strengthening our revenue cycle operations through R1, we can have even greater confidence that we’ll be prepared for value-based reimbursement models."
To view the session on demand, click here.
Author Bio: Originally published in Becker's Hospital Review.