Tips for hospitals to manage costs

Aug 11, 2014 | Hospital Finance Efficiency

Faced with shrinking federal reimbursements in addition to a greater number of patients with high insurance premiums, today's care facilitates need to maximize efficiency to survive. A recent piece by Hospitals and Health Networks found that an integrated, strategic approach to cost management can help reduce operating costs by up to 30 percent while maintaining the quality of patient care. 

The article's first tip is to streamline clinic processes. Not only can this improve workflow, it may also have a positive effect on employee morale by addressing the inefficiencies that have frustrated them in the past. For example, standardizing supplies and vendors not only cuts down on time spent ordering products and supplies, it also allows facilities to take advantage of volume discounts, as well as fewer shipping charges. Physicians should be included in the decision making, so they are aware of the cost of the supplies they want.

Reducing overhead by outsourcing non-clinical functions has also become a popular strategy for facilities looking to manage costs. Outsourcing certain departments or functions such as human resources or marketing can come with significant cost savings, without any negative effect on patient care. 

Outsourcing health insurance collections can also help care facilities avoid unnecessary costs. Health insurance claims follow-up is a time-consuming process that grows more difficult with the rise of third party claims, making it increasingly less efficient for in-house claims management professionals to pursue. The benefits of accounts receivable outsourcing can be felt in as little as 60 days, with facilities enjoying an increased cash flow as well as a decrease in the dollars released to bad debt write-off.