HFMA releases revenue cycle recommendations

The Healthcare Financial Management Association has set plans to release an updated version of its ongoing "Patient Friendly Billing" report series, offering advice on improving revenue cycle management and case studies profiling revenue cycle management success.

The report drew its data from research on 14 high-performing hospitals located across the U.S., including Baptist Hospital of Miami, CHRISTUS St. John Hospital, Geisinger Medical Center and Sharp Grossmont Hospital. It identified those hospitals after crunching data on 5,000 nongovernment, short-term acute care hospitals, rating them on financial and patient satisfaction performance. The group's criteria included days in accounts receivable, return on assets and patient willingness to recommend the hospital.

The group found that even among high-performing hospitals, there are still some significant gaps in how well the revenue cycle process works. Respondents to an HFMA survey found that only 50 percent of high-performing hospitals felt that critical financial counseling functions were patient friendly, and just 57 percent felt either billing or collections fit this description. Clearly, the industry can benefit from feedback on these functions.

According to the report, which premiered at the group's recent Revenue Cycle Strategies Conference in Chicago, three traits distinguish high-performing revenue cycle departments: organizational cultures that emphasize the importance of the revenue cycle, the ability to speed up process improvements and mastery of key areas necessary to accomplish goals in their environment.

To bring their hospital to that point, HFMA's recommendations include that executives should set high expectations for staff working at revenue cycle functions; invest in training and improved compensation; create and participate in organization-wide revenue cycle teams; build revenue cycle strategy around patient experience; and create systems to reward outstanding revenue cycle performers.

An executive summary of the report is available now, but the full document won't be released until November 16.

To learn more about the project:
- read the executive summary
- scan this HFMA item

Related Articles:
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HFMA ANI 2009: Revenue cycle management rules the day
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