- Forecast and budget. At the end of the year, healthcare revenue cycle leaders must prepare for the budget cycle. Forecasting what volumes might look like is crucial to ensure teams are adequately staffed and have the resources to support the needs of the business. Although this year it may be difficult to forecast with as much accuracy as in years’ past, many healthcare revenue cycle teams estimate volumes will stay where they are currently until there is a vaccine widely available. If adding staff in 2021, here are a few characteristics to consider in new associates.
- Understand the organization’s goals. For healthcare revenue cycle leaders to accurately forecast, they must understand the needs of the business and what the organization is expecting in terms of growth in the year ahead. For example, is the organization expecting to grow its orthopedic volume? Will there be any acquisitions? What are the revenue goals for the organization? These are questions leaders must understand so the healthcare revenue cycle team can support those initiatives.
- Audit claims. Although healthcare revenue cycle leaders audit claims monthly to ensure open accounts receivables don’t carry over into the coming month, they should do a “deep clean up” at the end of the fiscal year. Start by evaluating open accounts receivable and conduct a claims audit to determine how to accelerate cash flow. Focus on unbilled claims and try to get that as low as possible. In an ideal world, there is minimal clean up, however, no healthcare revenue cycle team is perfect.
- Evaluate staff. Stack rank the team. Who is at the bottom? Who is at the top? How can top performers continue to be challenged and engaged and how can the lowest performer improve? Who could benefit from additional training? Does staff know the career paths available to them? These are the questions every revenue cycle leader should think about at the end of the year in order to develop a talent strategy in 2021. Additionally, evaluate associate engagement scores. What areas should be targeted in 2021? How can you best support mental health and stress levels? If the engagement survey had questions pertaining to work during COVID, what was the feedback, and how can it be implemented in the New Year? Remember, high staff engagement translates into a positive patient experience (PX), so prioritizing hiring and retaining the right personnel is key.
- Analyze vendors. Healthcare revenue cycle management solutions and software are increasingly important in today’s healthcare system, but revenue cycle managers need to make sure the system they’re using is working for their team and their team is utilizing it correctly. The end of the year is a great time to reconnect with technology vendors to get updates on the system, ask for staff training or hear about new products that may be on the market. If current software isn’t conducive for the team, consider putting out Request for Proposals (RFPs) to understand other players and price points in the market.
- Assess work from home. As COVID cases continue to rise, some healthcare revenue cycle leaders are evaluating if it’s possible for the team to work from home. Some teams have transitioned successfully while others are wary to make the change. Create a contingency plan that prioritizes associate safety should the need arise to work from home. If managing a blended team of on-site and remote employees in the New Year, here are a few suggestions to do so successfully.
If you check these items off your list, you and your team will be better prepared to head into 2021 ready to hit the ground running. If you’re looking to add to your team now or in the New Year, let us help you! Click here for more information on how.