How to improve hospital revenue cycle management: 4 CFOs weigh in

Revenue cycle management has become increasingly difficult for hospitals and health systems as the industry shifts to value-based payment arrangements and patients shoulder more financial responsibility for the care they receive.

Hospital and health system CFOs from across the nation shared how they would improve the revenue cycle process with Becker's Hospital Review.

1. Aaron Eichorn, CFO, University Health System (Shreveport, La.). "Make more information and the administrative work available online. For example, with pre-authorizations, we still have phone calls to make; we still have an inordinate amount of paperwork to fill out. We're not taking advantage like the private sector does of using the internet. For example, you come in for care at a doctor's office and you have a certain amount of your deductible or coinsurance you haven't met yet. We should be able to check online and get the right answer in seconds, not guessing how much money you owe. We should be able to find out online in a second whether you're pre-approved rather than doctors doing peer-to-peer reviews that take up an inordinate amount of physician time. There's got to be a way to leverage the internet to improve the cycle."

2. Mary Beth Briscoe, CFO, University of Alabama-Birmingham Hospital and UAB Medicine Clinical Operations. "Financial leaders should review and refine business processes to assure they are patient-centered and focused on engaging patients in a meaningful manner. Shifting attention from back end revenue cycle activities toward a dynamic upfront patient experience can positively impact patient satisfaction. Equally, billing statements that present patient financial liability in a clear and concise manner can enhance a patient’s understanding of a complex healthcare billing process. Health systems should provide a positive clinical experience; however, if not supported by a similarly positive financial experience, patient satisfaction and organizational reputation could be negatively impacted. We should strive to provide our patients with a positive holistic encounter."

3. Jenni Alvey, CFO of IU Health (Indianapolis). "I would reduce the amount of steps a clinician has to take to get paid and ensure as long as they're taking good care of the patients and documenting appropriately [they] always get paid. I don't think [the current process] is any value add to the patient, to the clinician, to our system and even to our payer. I would love to be able to figure out how to stop the age-old, 'These are the payer requirements in a healthcare system to get paid.' That isn't easy. You would have to get rid of those checkpoints in the process. "

4. Brian Church, senior vice president and CFO, Phoebe Putney Health System (Albany, Ga.). "I would make it easier for patients to pay bills. It's so complex when you have a hospital and individual physicians billing a patient. If I could figure out a way to streamline the patient billing process so it is easily understandable for the patient versus making a bunch of different phone calls to different people, I'd like to move toward that."

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