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Transformation toward value-based healthcare is reshaping the delivery of care, patient expectations, and payment structures.
Improve your revenue cycle performance through standard metrics, peer comparison, and successful practices.
By Suzanne Lestina
Providers are being challenged with payment changes and cuts, increases in uncompensated care, and the implementation of ICD-10 and other federally unfunded mandates. This has resulted in hospital budget cuts and cost reductions. Revenue cycle leaders will continually be challenged to do more with less.
It is clear that thriving in today's healthcare environment requires strong leadership. I have seen this firsthand among HFMA's 2011 MAP Award winners, all of which have achieved the designation of "high performance in revenue cycle." Getting to that level requires revenue cycle leaders who are not just good but great. These leaders have the necessary desire and skills to continually move their organizations to higher levels of performance.
Patient-friendly revenue cycle approaches are key to improving overall performance. While each of the 12 2011 MAP Award winners had to meet financial goals, they were also challenged to improve patient satisfaction and the patient experience. MAP Award winners had to achieve a score of 75 percent or higher for "would definitely recommend" in the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey.
While revenue cycle leaders are unique and leadership styles vary, there are five traits that I believe move these leaders from "good to great," to borrow a term from Jim Collins.
They measure improvement. Although high-performing revenue cycle leaders' metrics score in the top quartile, they are never satisfied. They refer to their performance as good and then immediately talk about what they can do to move the metrics even higher. For example, when it comes to point-of-service cash collections, I've never heard a great revenue cycle leader say, "I'm happy where we're at." Instead, I hear things like, "We've done a good job, but we can do even better."
They compare performance. At a recent HFMA event, a revenue cycle leader shared one of his organization's performance metrics. He thought his organization's net days in accounts receivable was right around the top performers in the industry. But when I asked him, "Compared to what and whom?" the revenue cycle leader wasn't exactly sure. A good leader compares his organization's performance to other industry organizations and confirms they are doing a good job.
What elevates a revenue cycle leader from good to great is their desire to figure out where their organization's performance on metrics stands in the industry and how they compare with their organization's peers, as well as how to move those scores to a higher level.
They identify solutions-with an emphasis on patient-friendly practices. High-performing revenue cycle leaders conduct in-depth analyses of their current performance, leverage peer comparison data to set meaningful goals, and set realistic targets to move their performance scores from good to great.
In identifying potential solutions, they consider how patients will be affected and aim to implement patient-friendly practices. For example, one award-winning organization implemented an online bill payment program to increase collections. However, by streamlining the collections process, the program eliminated personal contact with patients. Because not all patients are comfortable sharing their credit card information online, the organization allowed patients to opt out of the online payment program and instead talk to a patient financial services representative to finalize bill payment.
Another award-winning organization was able to improve its scheduling process by grouping all pre-encounter services-including schedulers, preregistration and verification staff, financial counseling, and pre-arrival nursing-together to address patient needs.
A third organization was able to develop an "out-of-pocket" calculator for their registrars to produce accurate information on copays, deductibles, and coinsurance for patients.
They share best practices with peers. Great revenue cycle leaders are always looking for ways to implement best practices. They do this by asking questions, challenging status quo, engaging in conversations with their peers, and bringing that information back to their organizations to determine if there are other, better ways of improving performance.
At the 2011 MAP Event this past October in Miami, MAP Award winners shared revenue cycle best practices with their peers. There were many instances of "a-ha" moments, as stated to me by one attendee: "Suzanne, education was great. I came back with a couple of novel ideas, and that always thrills me. I'm more excited than ever about the MAP initiative and what it's doing for the revenue cycle. I met a lot of people who were inspired-just as I was-to rise to the top when, in the past, being average was OK. After the panel discussion, I had a couple of good conversations with folks about just how to make it happen, too."
They engage staff in improving patient satisfaction and financial outcomes. High-performing revenue cycle leaders invest in their human resources. Great leaders understand that their staff are one of their most valuable assets to ensuring that financial and patient satisfaction outcomes are not only achieved but sustained.
MAP Award winners have implemented several ways to track staff interaction with patients to improve patient satisfaction. For example, at one organization, patients who talk to a staff member-at the front end and at the back end of the revenue cycle-are asked to rate how their call was handled. The staff member records the patient's response on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest), and any score below 3 is used for additional training to improve the patient experience.
High-performing revenue cycle leaders take a disciplined approach to process improvement and patient satisfaction. This includes encouraging innovative ideas, engaging staff, implementing innovative patient-friendly processes, comparing performance to their peers, measuring their success, and striving to push the bar to the highest level of revenue cycle performance possible.
The many challenges facing revenue cycle leaders today-and on the horizon-can be overwhelming to a good leader, but a great leader is ready to take them on.
Suzanne Lestina is director of revenue cycle MAP, HFMA (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Learn more about HFMA's MAP initiative.
Publication Date: Friday, November 18, 2011
In this Business Profile, Shawn Yates, director of healthcare product management at Ontario Systems, discusses the growing challenge of managing self-pay accounts and provides insight on how providers can successfully collect patient payments.
In this business profile, Cathy Smith, leader of the revenue transformation consulting practice at The Claro Group discusses how the organization helps hospitals and medical groups reimagine their revenue cycle.
In this business profile, Deloitte & Touche LLP executives Anne Phelps, principal and U.S. healthcare regulatory leader, and Daniel Esquibel, senior manager, explain ways health systems, health plans, and physician practices can prepare for MACRA.
In this Business Profile, Bruce Haupt, president and CEO of ClearBalance, discusses how a patient loan program can increase patient collections, reduce bad debt, and speed cash flow.
In this Business Profile, Jerry Bruno, principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, discusses the importance of choosing revenue cycle solutions that help an organization meet the challenges of a quickly evolving healthcare environment.
In this business profile, Lane Jackson, a partner in the Grant Thornton LLP Health Care Advisory Services practice, with extensive experience in overseeing system implementations and revenue cycle reorganizations, discusses best practices for elevating revenue cycle performance during an EMR implementation. Grant Thornton LLP is a sponsor of the Large System Controllers Council Affinity Group.
Patient financial engagement is more challenging than ever – and more critical. With patient responsibility as a percentage of revenue on the rise, providers have seen their billing-related costs and accounts receivable levels increase. If increasing collection yield and reducing costs are a priority for your organization, the metrics outlined in this presentation will provide the framework you need to understand what’s working and what’s not, in order to guide your overall patient financial engagement initiatives and optimize results.
No two patients are the same. Each has a very personal healthcare experience, and each has distinct financial needs and preferences that have an impact on how, when and if they chose to pay their healthcare bill. It’s no longer effective to apply static billing techniques to solve the complex challenge of collecting balances from patients. The need to tailor financial conversations and payment options to individual needs and preferences is critical. This presentation provides 10 recommendations that will not only help you improve payment performance through a more tailored approach, but take control of rising collection costs.
This white paper, written by Apex Vice President of Solutions and Services, Carrie Romandine, discusses the importance of patient segmentation and messaging specifically related to the patient revenue cycle. Applying strategic messaging that is tailored to each patient type will not only better educate consumers on payment options specific to their billing needs, but it will maximize the amount collected before sending to collections. Further, targeted messaging should be applied across all points of patient interaction (i.e. point of service, customer service, patient statements) and analyzed regularly for maximized results.
This white paper, written by Apex President Patrick Maurer, discusses methods to increase patient adoption of online payments. Providers are now seeking ways to incrementally collect more payments due from patients as well as speeding up the rate of collections. This white paper shows why patient-centric approaches to online payment portals are important complements to traditional provider-centric approaches.
Increased electronic engagement between healthcare providers and patients provides significant opportunities for improving revenue cycle metrics and encouraging patients to access EHRs. This article, written by Apex Founder and CEO Brian Kueppers, explores a number of strategies to create synergy between patient billing, online payment portals and electronic health record (EHR) software to realize a high ROI in speed to payment, patient satisfaction and portal adoption for meaningful use.
Faced with a rising tide of bad debt, a large Southeastern healthcare system was seeing a sharp decline in net patient revenues. The need to improve collections was dire. By integrating critical tools and processes, the health system was able to increase online payments and improve its financial position. Taking a holistic approach increased overall collection yield by 10% while costs came down because the number of statements sent to patients fell by 10%, which equated to a $1.3M annualized improvement in patient cash over a six-month period. This case study explains how.
With the ICD10 deadline quickly approaching and daily responsibilities not slowing down, final preparations for October 1 require strategic prioritization and laser focus.
Read how Gwinnett Medical Center provides clear connections to financial information, offers multiple payment options for patients, and gives onsite staff the ability to collect payments at multiple points throughout the care process.
Read how Orlando Health was able to perform deeper dives into claims data to help the health system see claim rejections more quickly–even on the front end–and reduce A/R days.
To maintain fiscal fitness and boost patient satisfaction and loyalty, healthcare providers need visibility into when and how much they will be paid–by whom–and the ability to better navigate obstacles to payment. They need payment clarity. This whitepaper illuminates this concept that is winning fans at forward-thinking hospitals.
Financial services staff are always looking for ways to improve the verification, billing and collections processes, and Munson Healthcare is no different. Read about how they streamlined the billing process to produce cleaner bills on the front end and helped financial services staff collect more than $1 million in additional upfront annual revenue in one year.
Effective revenue cycle management can be a challenge for any hospital, but for smaller providers it is even tougher. Read how Wallace Thomson identified unreimbursed procedures, streamlined claims management, and improved its ability to determine charity eligibility.
Before launching an energy-efficiency initiative, it’s important to build a solid business case and understand the funding options and potential incentives that are available. Healthcare leaders should consider taking the steps outlined in the whitepaper to ease the process of gaining approval, piloting, implementing, and supporting sustainability projects. You will find that investing in sustainability and energy efficiency helps hospitals add cash to their bottom line. Discover how hospitals and health systems have various options for funding energy-efficient and renewable-energy initiatives, depending on their current financial structure and strategy.
Health care is a dynamic mergers and acquisitions market with numerous hospitals and health systems contemplating or pursuing formal arrangements with other entities. These relationships often pose a strategic benefit, such as enhancing competencies across the continuum, facilitating economies of scale, or giving the participants a competitive advantage in a crowded market. Underpinning any profitable acquisition is a robust capital planning strategy that ensures an organization reserves sufficient funds and efficiently onboards partners that advance the enterprise mission and values.
The success of healthcare mergers, acquisitions, and other affiliations is predicated in part on available capital, and the need for and sources of funding are considerations present throughout the partnering process, from choosing a partner to evaluating an arrangement’s capital needs to selecting an integration model to finding the right money source to finance the deal. This whitepaper offers several strategies that health system leaders have used to assess and manage capital needs for their growing networks.
Announcements from several commercial payers and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) early in 2015 around increased efforts to form value-based contracts with providers seemed to point to an impending rise in risk-based contracting. Rather than wait for disruption from the outside in, health care providers are now making inroads on collaborating with payers on various risk-based contracting models to increase the value of health care from within.
Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) is a not-for-profit hospital serving a population of roughly 200,000 in Yuma and the surrounding communities.
Before becoming a ZirMed client, Yuma was attempting to manually monitor hundreds of thousands of charges which led to significant charge capture leakage. Learn how Yuma & ZirMed worked together to address underlying collections issues at the front end, thus increasing Yuma’s overall bottom line.
Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services works with partners to audit the market and the facility’s role in that market to identify opportunities for improvement. This approach leads to successes; Kindred’s clinical rehab and management expertise complements our partners’ strengths. Every facility and challenge is unique, and requires a full objective analysis.
As the critical link between patient care and reimbursement, health information enables more complete and accurate revenue capture. This 5-Minute White Paper Briefing shares how to achieve cost-effective revenue integrity by your optimizing HIM systems.
Speedier cash flow starts with better CDI and coding. This 5-Minute White Paper Briefing explains how providers can improve vital measures of technical and business performance to accelerate cash flow.
Qualified coders are getting harder to come by, and even the most seasoned professional can struggle with the complexity of ICD-10. This 5-Minute White Paper Briefing explains how partnerships can help improve coding and other key RCM operations potentially at a cost savings.
The point of managing your revenue cycle isn’t just to improve revenue and cash flow. It’s to do those things effectively by consistently following best practices— while spending as little time, money, and energy on them as possible.
How Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford increased payments received within 45 days by 20% and reduced paper submission claims by 70% by using ZirMed solutions.
The reasons claims are denied are so varied that managing denials can feel like chasing a thousand different tails. This situation is not surprising given that a hypothetical denial rate of just 5 percent translates to tens of thousands of denied claims per year for large hospitals—where real‐world denial rates often range from 12 to 22 percent. Read about how predictive modeling can detect meaningful correlations across claims denials data.
Emergency Mobile Health Care (EMHC) was founded to be and remains an exclusively locally owned and operated emergency medical service organization; today EMHC serves a population of more than a million people in and around Memphis, answering 75,000 calls each year.
Since the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) introduction, CMS has paid more than $100 million in bonus payments to participants. However, these bonuses ended in 2015; providers who successfully meet the reporting requirements in 2016 will avoid the 2% negative payment adjustment in 2018, so now is the time to act! Included in this whitepaper are implications of increasing patient responsibility, collections best practices, and collections and internal control solutions.
Getting paid what your physician deserves—that’s the goal of every biller. Yet even for the best billers, achieving that success can be elusive when denials stand in the way of success, presenting challenges at every turn. Denials aren’t going away, but you can learn techniques to manage and even prevent them.Join practice management expert Elizabeth W. Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC, to: Discover methods to translate denial data into business intelligence to improve your bottom line, determine staff productivity benchmarks for billers, and recognize common mistakes in denial management.
Physician practices must improve organizational efficiency to compete in this era of reduced reimbursement and escalating administrative costs.
Many healthcare organizations are pursuing next-generation health information systems solutions. Learn more about Navigant's work with University of Michigan Health System.
The proper implementation of healthcare information technology systems is crucial to an organization’s financial health.
Copyright 2016, Healthcare Financial Management Association.
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