After 20 Years Managing the Revenue Cycle, Here’s One Thing I’m Just Learning Now

Alicia Anderson

It really pays to get a checkup – even before you know something’s wrong. And especially if we’re talking about a revenue cycle management system.

This pearl of wisdom has become increasingly clear to me since I joined GE Healthcare as a process consultant, after two decades in healthcare revenue cycle management at Columbia and Cornell medical centers.

However, as I know from experience in the field, getting a preventive checkup is not the norm. Often, the thinking is that, hey, the organization’s goals are being met in terms of cash flow, net collection ratio, etc. Everything looks OK. You’re too busy to look any deeper. And you’re skeptical of any vendor’s offers of help. They’re just trying to sell you something. Right?

That’s how I used to feel. But now that I’m on the other side, sometimes I wish I could set my former self straight. A simple checkup in the form of a system assessment can help a lot, without requiring much time or new software.

Many billing staff members are overwhelmed by day-to-day challenges. As it turns out, however, this lack of bandwidth is exactly the reason it’s valuable to have an outside expert perform an assessment.

 

What does an assessment involve?

A system assessment by GE Healthcare is the vital health check that your team is probably too busy to do. It’s about asking whether you’re leaving money on the table in the form of:

  • Underpayments
  • Undercoding
  • Missing charges

We can also uncover process Band-Aids – those little workarounds that people do when their tools aren’t properly calibrated for their processes. One after another, these “fixes” quickly add to the inefficiency and complexity of a system. Smoothing out those bumps can work wonders.

Or sometimes, an assessment can identify an opportunity for improved financial or operational health that you didn’t know you had. Performance excellence could be within a tweak of your system.

And the whole thing only takes a day or two of talking with and observing the right people in action with the system. You can relax while GE Healthcare does the work– we know where to look and what to look for.

 

When should you get a checkup?

For those organizations in a steady state, an assessment once every 18 months should be enough to maintain high performance.

However, given the constant evolution in our industry, any number of other developments may immediately call for an assessment. Anytime your organization adds procedures, specialties or locations, for example, you should check whether you have the right tools to maximize revenues.

Or, if you’re considering new or upgraded revenue cycle management solutions, that’s another good time for an assessment to ensure you’re getting the right solution.

Ultimately, your revenue cycle will be healthier – and you’ll feel better, too.


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