5 keys to revenue cycle success: Observations from the 2013 HFMA MAP Event

Mike Mast

The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) held their annual MAP event in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in late October.  The HFMA MAP event is attended by health system leaders and revenue cycle professionals from across the country.  Their goal: to share revenue cycle best practices and bring what they learn back to their organizations.

Year long, attendees work tirelessly to optimize revenue cycle performance and the MAP event provides a venue for them to share ideas, experiences, processes, and expertise so others may achieve similar results.  To help foster discussion and networking, the HFMA recognizes individuals who have demonstrated significant achievement in revenue cycle performance.  And this year, as reforms challenge healthcare organizations to optimize performance and demonstrate value, I was very interested to see what new strategies the HFMA MAP award winners would be sharing.  Needless to say, I was not disappointed.

Upon my departure from Fort Lauderdale I was excited to get back to the office and share what I learned with GE Healthcare colleagues and customers. After all, that’s what the 2103 HFMA MAP event is all about.  And what better way to learn about revenue cycle excellence than from the HFMA MAP Award recipients from this year’s event?  I organized my observations into 5 keys to revenue cycle success.

The 5 keys to revenue cycle success:

  1. Dedicate resources.  Programs from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and commercial payers change constantly. Dedicate resources to understand these changes and, most importantly, communicate across departments as changes come about. This will help reduce preventable denials down the road due to changes in plan structure.
  2. Stay on top of your metrics.  Adopt and constantly measure against the HFMA MAP Keys.  This will not only help you track revenue cycle performance and identify areas that may need some attention but it will also help you track your performance against your peers.
  3. Foster an environment of shared goals.  Connect revenue with care by creating a team environment with your counterparts on the clinical side.  Over time the clinical staff will see how their actions and practices impact the revenue cycle and together you can institute processes to help make sure that clinical denials are reduced through better documentation.  In return they’ll also see that revenue cycle excellence plays a vital part in achieving the health system mission by optimizing profitability and enabling the system to invest in new technologies, facilities or service lines.
  4. Be accountable to patient care.  Almost every MAP award winner placed significant value on culture.  Establish a culture where the patient is at the top of the org chart. This approach is critical to delivering the patient experience that can translate to growth for your health system.  There was also an emphasis placed on not allowing for complacency.  Emphasizing a culture based on accountability and constant improvement has enabled HFMA MAP award winners to constantly question the status quo in order to develop improvements across the revenue cycle. The simple act of tying performance evaluations to the metrics that matter most will foster that culture of accountability.
  5. Reward success.  Implement an incentive program that aligns with the mission of the organization. One HFMA MAP award winner shared their strategy for implementing both individual and team based incentives that rewarded success and progress towards achieving measurable goals that tied directly to revenue cycle performance.  A common side effect of team based incentives is a sense of friendly competition across teams that drives for further performance improvements and develops a sense of camaraderie and accountability.

The above are just samples of the interesting concepts for improving revenue cycle performance that were shared at the HFMA MAP event.  One of the most exciting aspects of attending the HFMA MAP event was meeting with customers who use Centricity Business and Centricity EDI Services as a key component of their strategy to help improve financial performance. To that point, I’d like to take a moment to recognize Geisinger Health System for winning their fifth HFMA MAP Award for High Performance in the Revenue Cycle. With this year’s recognition, Geisinger has the added distinction of being the only health system in the country to be recognized every year since the award was created in 2009.

This post reflects my personal opinions, beliefs and thoughts and does not represent the official views of GE Healthcare”

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