15 RCM tips for hospitals

Hospitals constantly strive to improve revenue cycle management performance amid increasing pressure to improve margins. Here are 15 RCM tips shared with Becker's Hospital Review this year, beginning with the most recent.

1. Ditch snail mail for electronic billing options
Healthcare organizations should offer electronic billing options patients want rather than use snail mail to send paper statements, according to Jim Denny, president and CEO of Duluth, Ga.-based Navicure.

2. Renew focus on patient eligibility verification to reduce claim denials
Healthcare organizations should focus on multiple aspects of the revenue cycle to reduce claim denials, particularly patient eligibility verification, according to Dustin Hamilton, director of product at Louisville, Ky.-based ZirMed.

3. Use billing statements as marketing, education tools
Healthcare organizations should not only use billing statements to communicate financial information, but also as a way to communicate with patients about various initiatives, according to Bryan TenBroek, vice president of business development of Coral Springs, Fla.-based Nordis Technologies.

4. Strong registration on front end reduces work on back end
Healthcare organizations seeking to improve revenue cycle management performance should focus on improving the front end of operations, according to Cynthia Ethier, senior healthcare consultant of revenue cycle transformation at Wellesley, Mass.-based Hayes Management Consulting.

5, Reduce medical billing errors by focusing on edits
Healthcare organizations consistently seek decreases in their medical billing denials to improve revenue cycle performance. They can achieve this by focusing on edits in their patient accounting, EMR or claims management system workflows, according to Kamron Lachney, vice president of hospital operations for Nashville, Tenn.-based Change Healthcare.

6. Educate and monitor compliance with write-off codes
Healthcare organizations seeking to improve their revenue cycle management process should ensure staff is educated on write-off codes, according to Theresa Brandon, managing director of Poway, Calif.-based national healthcare consulting firm Novia Strategies.

7. Issue tracking to improve revenue cycle
One way healthcare organizations can improve their revenue cycle is successful issue tracking, according to Cynthia Ethier, senior healthcare consultant of revenue cycle transformation at Hayes Management Consulting.

8. Start by starting
When seeking to improve revenue cycle management, healthcare organizations should develop a specific plan for each initiative, according to Jim Denny, president and CEO of Navicure.

9. Avoid surprises
Amid the rise in high-deductible plans, providers should look for improved strategies and tactics for collecting reimbursement from patients in a timely manner, according to Dustin Hamilton, director of product at ZirMed.

10. View provider enrollment as a critical part of your revenue cycle
Provider enrollment with payers is crucial, as it ensures proper reimbursement for services rendered, according to Patrick Doyle, senior vice president of Lynbrook, N.Y.-based Newport Credentialing Solutions.

11. Regularly reconcile physicians' notes with submitted charges
As healthcare organizations strive to achieve maximum reimbursement, they should use automation to ensure consistency between physicians' notes and charges submitted, according to Paul Brient, CEO of Newton, Mass.-based PatientKeeper.

12. Achieve accurate clinical documentation to improve cash flow
As hospitals and health systems strive to achieve efficient cash flow, they should focus on clinical documentation and ensure accurate coding, according to Dexter D'Costa, MD, senior director of clinical documentation improvement at Conifer Health Solutions.

13. Use self-service data preparation and analytics solutions
Improving claim collection rates is one way to boost revenue cycle performance, and hospitals can achieve this by using self-service data preparation and analytics solutions, according to Frank Moreno, vice president of product marketing at Bedford, Mass.-based Datawatch.

14. Ditch your singular revenue cycle solutions for a holistic approach
Hospitals and health systems have various options when bringing in additional guidance to improve their revenue cycle. These options include contracting with multiple partners or a single vendor. Steve Huddleston, president and chief client officer at Alpharetta, Ga.-based nThrive, suggests a holistic approach.

15. Benchmarks are guidelines — chances are you can do better
Many hospitals and health systems across the nation use benchmarking to determine improvement areas in revenue cycle. Benchmarking allows these organizations to compare themselves with competitors as well as national leaders. But Peter Angerhofer, a principal at New Hampshire-based Colburn Hill Group, cautions to use benchmarks only as guidelines.


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