Strategies to help hospitals prepare for residency season

In just a few weeks the feeding frenzy will start as physician and medical residents become available for hire.

For large health systems, this can mean the addition of several hundred new providers. In the chaotic rush to bring providers onboard as quickly as possible, a massive amount of work needs to happen. Adequate staffing, on the part of the health system is critical.

When enrollment processes are not managed properly, lost revenue can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in a matter of months for a lower level provider. When enrolling highly specialized physicians such as neurosurgeons or plastic surgeons lost revenue can be significantly higher.

A providercannot enroll in a commercial health plan until they are contracted to work at a particular location. However, just because enrollment forms cannot be submitted until the provider's hiring contract is in place, doesn't mean there isn't plenty that can be done ahead of time to help avoid needless delays.

To help hospitals prepare for the onslaught of new hires, Newport Credentialing Solution's Vice President of Operations, Allyson Schiff, shares the following tips to ensure a smooth onboarding process.

Stay on top of providers. There is much work that a provider must do before they enroll in a health plan. To avoid delays, stay on top of them to ensure that data such as licenses, liability certificates, DEA licenses and covering and admitting privileges are obtained as quickly as possible. Communicate to the providers that it is critical that they provide these documents as quickly as possible. When the provider does not respond, re-educate. Give checklists of required information to residents so that they know what they are responsible for and when.

Stock up on signature pages. Get signature pages prepared and have providers sign them early on. Even though enrollment applications cannot be submitted until a provider officially signs their contract with their place of employment, having signed forms ready to go means not having to chase providers later on. Additional signatures on blank pages, because things come up, is another helpful way to prepare.

Give a heads-up. Alert health plans in advance to the massive amount of submissions that they can expect to receive. With an estimate in hand, health plan staff can advise on how they would like to receive this information. Some commercial carriers will even accept an advance recruitment form containing basic information on providers.

Don't go it alone. Managing the enrollment process is a time-consuming and tedious task, especially for larger healthcare organizations with literally hundreds of new providers coming on board annually. A key benefit of working with an outsourced enrollment partner is they will know the steps to takein advance of getting the processes started. Outsourced providers also have the resources (people and cloud-based technology) in place to make sure nothing is missed along the way. It is their job to be able to handle large increases in provider onboarding, so leverage them as much as possible.

The sooner an application is submitted, the better the chance of getting the requested start date. This, in turn, means revenue can start flowing right away; a win for both the provider and healthcare organization.

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