Academic hospitals feeling cash flow crunch

Jul 3, 2014 | Hospital Finance Efficiency

During last month's Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) annual conference, leadership from a variety of different healthcare facilities met to discuss the challenges being faced as a result of a changing marketplace and increased federal regulation.

At the event, FierceHealthFinance reports that a panel of revenue cycle experts, including CFOs, senior directors of patient accounting, and directors of revenue cycle enhancement discussed how the introduction of "big projects" at hospitals can improve revenue cycle management.

Cash flow management has emerged as a major challenge for care facilities, and academic hospitals, which used to be the top performers in the nonprofit sector, have been feeling the crunch especially hard. Rising expenses and shrinking reimbursement have left these hospitals seeking new means of increasing cash flow.

According to the source, UCSF Medical Center has recently invested millions in a new revenue cycle management project to increase efficiency. The project originally met significant resistance, as the hospital had to pay tens of millions on top of existing expenses to keep their old system online while bugs in the new system were addressed. But a year after installation, cash flow at the facility has increased by nearly 18 percent. 

However, many facilities that are currently facing cash flow challenges do not have the resources or time to implement such an expensive and lengthy solution. Hospital stakeholders are likely hesitant to invest more capital in a solution that has no guarantees of success.

Fortunately for these types of facilities, a much more rapid and cost-effective solution is available. The decision to outsource medical insurance claims processing to Professional Medical Services can result in increased cash flow and a decrease in the overall percent of accounts receivable over 90 days of age.