The HFMA Annual Conference in Orlando just wrapped up. Thousands of people came to participate in learning sessions and to talk about issues they face on a day-to-day basis. After talking to many people, the general concerns I heard most were how do providers survive the growing uninsured population, substantial cuts in reimbursements that exist, and potential cuts being proposed by federal budgets?
These fears often had a common underlying question: “How I can control my costs to manage my margin?”
From these discussions, a couple of central themes presented themselves that providers wanted to hear about.
M&A Activity is Still Robust
Mergers and acquisitions continue to be prevalent in the industry, and although they have leveled off somewhat over the last couple of years, they are still happening at a good rate. When two different entities merge, one main goal is the consolidation of resources to become more efficient and lower costs. The whole reason two companies merge is to provide better care to the patient and to help reduce costs so more money can be spent on free care. This is how a merger or acquisition gets approved by regulators.
The big hurdle when this happens is how do you combine separate resources that are on different databases into one integrated solution so that one team can work off it. Options are to pay to integrate the two into a new EHR or combine them into one platform they already have. However, this costs millions and the disruption it can create could make things worse for a while.
The next logical solution is to find software that can do this for you – something that is more cost-effective and can provide better service for a single CBO. Providers want to know how they can accomplish this.
Doing More with Less
With reimbursements going down, a lot of talk took place about how they can do more with less. Labor is the biggest budget item any provider or business faces, so with revenue shrinking, providers need to get more productivity out of their staff. Providers were very interested in learning how technology can help them get more out of their existing staff.
Simple things like “how many claims does a rep work when talking to an insurance payer” were questions that providers could rarely answer. Having a solution like Artiva Magnify that can track what an agent is doing in real-time along with historical performance data is key to getting this accomplished, and providers wanted to hear about it.
Providers are clearly thinking about the future and how can they control costs to maintain margins. Possible changes in federal reimbursement models are making them even more concerned. How to combine staffing centers into one manageable database and managing agent productivity were central discussion topics to help control and/or lower cost.\
The technology exists, so there are options. Keep on looking, as these will be critical factors to managing a revenue cycle in the future.
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