2 experts weigh in on revenue cycle efficiency in a shifting healthcare environment

As patient financial responsibility grows and value-based reimbursement models become the norm, efficient and effective revenue cycle management becomes increasingly vital to a healthcare organization's bottom line.

At Becker's Hospital Review's 6th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable in Chicago Nov. 14, a panel of revenue cycle experts — including Jim Dietsche, executive vice president and CFO at Green Bay, Wis.-based Bellin Health, and Brian Kemp, vice president of operations at Change Healthcare — discussed how financial leaders can ensure revenue cycle efficiency in the future, address payer negotiations and navigate the shifting healthcare landscape.

Mr. Dietsche and Mr. Kemp weighed in on a few ways organizations can streamline the revenue cycle as they look to the future.

"Creating a simple platform to be able to tell individuals what the cost of their healthcare is going to be, what out-of-pocket cost is going to be … [in a way] that they can understand and ensuring there's a payment process around bill collection so [patients] know they have options … we should move toward that," Mr. Dietsche said.

Mr. Kemp agreed with Mr. Dietsche and discussed how Change Healthcare is addressing revenue cycle efficiency.

"We have been working to understand what drives costs in the revenue cycle and how to eliminate waste. [In addition, we have implemented] initiatives to increase automation through the use of robots and artificial intelligence, just to make that [bill collecting] process — which is often painful for patients — a little less painful, a little more automated and a little more efficient," Mr. Kemp said.

As many healthcare financial leaders know, a key aspect of ensuring proper reimbursements is payer negotiation, which has been challenging in recent years, Mr. Dietsche explained.  

"The trends in payer negotiation are frustration," he said. "We continue to be frustrated because we are only in value-based models that are acceptable to them. We get the data and we save them a lot of money … we are lowering the cost of healthcare in our region … and payers want to give you something for that, but it's not enough to get us to truly advance."

Despite the frustration, providers must continue to push payers to accept contracts that reward higher for lowering the cost of care — especially as healthcare moves toward value-based reimbursement models.

"We continue to partner and work with [payers] because we want the data … to help lower the cost of healthcare … we are still on this ride with the payers and we will continue to push them so we get more of that risk and are reimbursed accordingly,"Mr. Dietsche said.

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