Optimizing revenue cycle: 5 quotes on how COVID-19 renewed focus on hospital billing

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a tremendous financial burden on hospitals and health systems, a challenge that will likely persist as the virus continues to spread in the latter half of this year and into early 2021.

While volume losses and strain on the system are largely uncontrollable, there are strategies hospital administrators can implement to improve what is controllable: capturing revenue and standardizing productivity by using analytics.

Lynn Mettler, client delivery officer at Ingenious Med, moderated a webinar panel discussion Sept. 24 on revenue cycle optimization with Dennis Deruelle, MD, executive director of hospital medicine at American Physician Partners in Brentwood, Tenn., and Derick Perkins, managing partner at Metis Advisors. The webinar was hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Ingenious Med. 

Here are five quotes from the panelists on how COVID-19 renewed their focus on operationalizing hospital billing and using analytics to manage volumes: 

1. "The COVID-19 pandemic has made us staff in a flexible way for changing volume every day. To do that, we had to understand our volume in real time," Dr. Deruelle said. "Through our Ingenious Med billing capture platform, we were able to know at the end of the day how many cases we had. We could predict accurately what we'd have the next day, and by adjusting staffing on a grid, we were able to match our workforce to volume."

2. "Although COVID-19 presented new challenges, our coders were able to catch up on some smaller balances for claims that have been lingering," Mr. Perkins said. "We used Ingenious Med to make sure all our charges were captured at the point of care. Previous to Ingenious Med, we were manually charging interest, which can lead to missing charges and decreased A/R."

3. "To bill at the point of care, we had to cross-credential physicians in different markets," Dr. Deruelle said. "During COVID-19, it has been useful to use one common platform. When physicians move around hospitals, they use the same billing platform. They know where to go to bill, and can bill their virtual visits and their critical care visits in the same place, which made it pretty seamless for them."

4. "Especially during the pandemic, when we're seeing more Medicaid and underinsured patients, organizations must have a comprehensive self-pay strategy. This includes the ability to make payments online, and even pay for some services in advance," Mr. Perkins said. "All organizations should have patient advocates to explain some of the in-house payment arrangements. You must also have a financing option for patients that aren't able to pay."

5. "We had insight into what our doctors were doing on the ground — and we could look at it literally every day — and look at our mortality data and look at the outcomes and then share it on a weekly basis," Dr. Deruelle said. "It literally saved lives for us and it allowed us to be nimble and to follow the science and get the information into our doctors' hands at the point of care."

To view the full webinar panel discussion, click here.

To learn more about Ingenious Med, click here.

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