Clinical-financial alignment prompting major changes in hospital revenue cycle

According to experts, the trend toward the alignment and integration of financial and clinical operations is steadily increasing within the industry. In an interview with Healthcare Finance magazine, senior vice president of finance at Florida Hospital, Jeff Hurst says that while larger healthcare systems are ahead of the curve in terms of clinical-financial alignment, the entire industry is slowly heading in the same direction. As the senior executive in charge of the health system's enterprise-wide revenue cycle, Hurst has been responsible for multiple consumer outreach initiatives with the aim of developing a more consumer-friendly revenue cycle process.

Due to the complexity of healthcare financing, Hurst claims that hospitals should address the individual needs of patients, rejecting a one-size-fits-all approach in terms of payment options. From a revenue cycle standpoint, Hurst maintains that it is his job to help patients navigate the financial complications of the healthcare system and to focus on continuously improving the patient experience. This can be achieved primarily through education and outreach.

Another major trend in the industry is the rise patient self-pay responsibility. In the case of Florida Hospital, the average self-pay responsibility for patients increased by almost 17 percent from 2010 to 2013. Of the estimated $250 increase, the hospital only collected 20 percent, while the remaining 80 percent went to financial assistance and bad debt. As a result, Hurst determined that payment options needed to be tailored to a patient's socioeconomic status, "triaging" the patient from a financial standpoint.

With the proper outsource receivables management tools and knowledgeable staff, Professional Medical Services can help medical offices efficiently manage their outstanding accounts and reduce backlogs that can grow over time.