How to Reduce the Cost to Collect in Hospital Revenue Cycle Management

June 19, 2023 Brian Keller0

Efficient revenue cycle management is crucial for the financial stability and success of hospitals. Within the revenue cycle, one key area that requires attention is the cost to collect. Cost to collect refers to the expenses incurred by hospitals in the process of collecting payments for services rendered. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of focusing on reducing the cost of collection and provide practical strategies to improve efficiency in hospital revenue cycle management.

What is Cost to Collect?

The cost to collect encompasses various expenses involved in the revenue cycle, such as staffing, technology, supplies, and administrative tasks related to billing and collections. It is important to understand and analyze these costs to identify areas for improvement and potential savings. By streamlining processes and optimizing resources, hospitals can significantly reduce the overall cost of collection, leading to improved financial performance.

Why Focus on Cost to Collect?

Reducing the cost to collect offers several advantages for hospitals. Firstly, it enhances the bottom line by maximizing revenue and minimizing expenses. Secondly, it improves cash flow by reducing the time it takes to collect payments. Moreover, a streamlined revenue cycle with lower costs enhances the patient experience, as it minimizes billing errors and simplifies the payment process. By focusing on the cost to collect, hospitals can allocate their resources more effectively and ensure financial stability in an increasingly complex healthcare landscape.

Calculating Cost to Collect in the Hospital Revenue Cycle:

To begin reducing the cost of collection, hospitals must first understand how to calculate it. The formula for the cost to collect is:

Cost to Collect = (Total Operating Costs / Total Collections) × 100

Total operating costs include all expenses associated with the revenue cycle, such as salaries, software licenses, office supplies, postage, and collection agency fees. Total collections refer to the amount of money collected from patients and insurance providers during a specific period. By using this formula, hospitals can determine their baseline cost to collect and track progress as they implement cost-saving measures.

Improving Cost to Collect:

Streamline administrative processes: Automating and digitizing billing and collection processes can significantly reduce costs. Implementing an electronic health records (EHR) system, using electronic claims submission, and investing in revenue cycle management software can streamline workflows, reduce paperwork, and minimize errors.

Enhance staff productivity: Properly trained and efficient staff can contribute to a more cost-effective revenue cycle. Conduct regular training sessions to keep staff updated on industry changes and best practices. Additionally, consider cross-training staff members to handle multiple tasks, which can increase productivity and reduce the need for additional hires.

Improve patient communication and education: Clear and transparent communication with patients regarding their financial responsibilities can minimize billing confusion and payment delays. Provide upfront cost estimates, educate patients about insurance coverage, and offer convenient payment options. Implementing self-service portals or mobile applications where patients can access their billing information and make payments can also improve efficiency and reduce costs.

Identify and address billing errors: Billing errors can result in delayed payments and increased administrative costs. Regularly review billing processes and implement quality assurance checks to catch and correct errors before claims are submitted. Conducting regular audits and implementing coding and documentation improvement initiatives can also help minimize errors and denials.

Negotiate favorable contracts with payers: Analyse contracts with insurance providers to ensure reimbursement rates are fair and reasonable. Identify opportunities to negotiate better terms and establish relationships with payers that promote prompt payments and reduced administrative burden.

Optimize revenue cycle workflows: Evaluate the entire revenue cycle process, from patient registration to claims submission and payment posting. Identify areas where delays, redundancies, or errors occur and streamline those workflows. Automating repetitive tasks, implementing electronic eligibility verification, and using predictive analytics to identify potential issues can enhance efficiency and reduce costs.

Collaborate with third-party vendors: Partnering with reputable third-party vendors, such as revenue cycle management companies or collection agencies, can help hospitals streamline processes and reduce costs (Similar to CIVXDATA). These vendors specialize in revenue cycle optimization and can provide expertise and resources to improve collections while reducing administrative burdens.

Enhance patient eligibility verification: Verify patient insurance eligibility and benefits prior to rendering services. This helps identify any coverage issues or potential denials early on, reducing rework and improving collection rates. Implementing real-time eligibility verification systems or utilizing clearinghouses can automate this process and improve accuracy.

Embrace patient-centered billing: Adopt a patient-centered approach to billing by providing clear and concise statements, offering payment plans or financing options, and implementing patient-friendly billing policies. Simplify the payment process by accepting various payment methods, including online portals, mobile payment options, and automated payment plans. These initiatives can encourage prompt payments and reduce the administrative burden associated with collections.

Continuously monitor and optimize: The healthcare landscape is constantly evolving, and new regulations, payer requirements, and reimbursement models emerge. Hospitals should stay updated on industry changes and adjust their revenue cycle strategies accordingly. Regularly monitor KPIs, conduct audits, and seek feedback from staff and patients to identify areas that need improvement. Continual optimization is key to reducing the cost of collection in the long run.

The Wise Words!

Reducing the cost to collect is vital for hospitals to optimize revenue cycle management and ensure financial stability. By implementing strategies such as streamlining processes, enhancing staff productivity, improving patient communication, addressing billing errors, and negotiating favorable payer contracts, hospitals can significantly reduce their cost to collect. By doing so, they can improve financial performance, enhance cash flow, and provide a better patient experience.

Efforts to reduce the cost of collection require a comprehensive and continuous approach. It is important for hospitals to regularly assess their revenue cycle processes, identify inefficiencies, and implement targeted improvements. By doing so, they can achieve long-term financial sustainability and better allocate resources to patient care and other critical areas.

To know more information on how CIVDATA can be your help in Medical Billing services, please feel free to get in touch by Clicking here… 

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