10 things to know about how seasonality affects hospital revenue

Seasonality — or patterns in healthcare influenced by different seasons — has a material effect on hospitals' net revenue, according to data released by public accounting firm Crowe.

Using its Crowe Revenue Cycle Analytics software, the firm analyzed financial metrics for 605 hospitals in Medicaid expansion states and 409 hospitals in nonexpansion states. Metrics included accounts receivable, denials, bad debt, credit balance and cash to expected pay.

Ten things to know about how seasonality affects healthcare revenue:

1. Average days in accounts receivable are highest in January at 51.3 days.

2. From January through March, initial denials are 7.8 percent higher than the annual average.

3. Outpatient revenue per case is 4 percent lower from January through March than the annual average.

4. From April through June, net revenue and volume are stable; however, final denials and bad debt grow materially in June. This is particularly true for hospitals operating with a June 30 fiscal year-end.

5. Final denials are 18.5 percent higher than average in June.

6. In June, bad debt transfers are 8.9 percent higher than average.

7. From August through September, outpatient volume falls 6.4 percent.

8. From October through December, outpatient net revenue per case grows, and inpatient net revenue per case is 8.9 percent higher than the annual average.

9. From October through December, accounts receivable days are at their lowest: 1.6 percent below the yearly average.

10. Bad debt transfers are 22.1 percent higher than average in October through December, most likely due to cleanup, according to Crowe.

For the full results, click here.

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