Healthcare billing services have been dealing with unforeseen labor shortages since before the pandemic. But the situation has spiraled further, with the pandemic affecting their daily workflow management. A report from EMSI, according to surveys done from 2019 to 2020, showed that America could face a labor shortage of around 3.2 million by 2026. The grim numbers in this report do not consider the factors of the pandemic. The deficit is projected to intensify further with the mounting pressure of Covid-19 and the vaccine mandates.

In this dire situation, healthcare billing teams are struggling to keep their workflow management solid and stable with the help of outsourced professionals and technology solutions. The staff shortage has also severely affected the financial health of the healthcare organizations since there are not many competent professionals in the in-house billing teams to deal with the complexities of the revenue cycle. Medical organizations have thousands of dollars stuck in various revenue streams they have not been able to retrieve due to the lack of professional guidance. Here are some of the ways how staff shortages are affecting healthcare billing services and tips to get you through.

Why is there a staff shortage?

  • The labor shortage has come in from all quarters of the medical industry. Healthcare professionals like doctors and nurse practitioners have also been in huge demand, much greater than the existing staff.
  • A report from the American Hospital Association shows that the USA can face a shortage of 124,000 physicians by 2033.
  • With job vacancies for nurse practitioners increasing by about 30%, the medical industry will need at least 200,000 nurses every year to deal with the upcoming conditions.
  • Provider shortages in the current workflow have resulted in increased pressure on the billing teams of the industry to manage the regular revenue cycle movement.
  • According to a survey by the Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation in 2021, one-third of the medical staff is looking to switch jobs or leave their current positions in medical billing services.
  • While some have reported high-pressure working conditions as a primary reason, nearly 60% of the workers have cited declining mental health conditions as another crucial reason to leave their jobs.
  • In the last few months, conflicts within the medical industry related to vaccine mandates by the federal bodies have also contributed to the shortfall in the medical staff teams. Research shows that around 17 million healthcare workers could be affected due to these ongoing issues.
  • All these reasons, when combined, have put severe pressure on the regular revenue cycle management teams, who are struggling to manage the daily workflow.

Issues in Healthcare Billing Services

  • During its initial days, the pandemic started to put up immense financial pressure on the healthcare systems, leading to severe staff lay-offs.
  • While the organizations were able to cope with it with minimized in-patient visits, the situations have changed due to the return of elective care.
  • Demand for both clinical and non-clinical staff has risen after the Covid-19 restrictions were partially lifted and patients started coming in for elective treatment plans. The changing protocols have also increased the pressure on billing and coding teams.
  • Billers and coders from healthcare billing services are struggling to keep up with the evolving temporary and permanent regulations of the medical industry.
  • Many healthcare billing professionals with decades of experience have left their jobs with an aspiration of higher value work with increased financial stability.
  • This has left the current teams at the hospitals and other medical systems short of domain experts who can handle the challenging situation.
  • Most billing teams have complained of a lack of updated training modules to help them learn the new methodologies of RCM. The working staff has also cited severe accounts receivable build-up in most accounts, leading to the declining financial health of the organization.

Remote Working Productivity

  • Several healthcare professionals involved in non-clinical work have taken to remote working models since the beginning of the pandemic and want to continue as such.
  • Health systems have also agreed upon remote services to ensure that the workflow keeps moving in a positive direction.
  • However, not all healthcare billing services have the necessary infrastructure to track the productivity of the remote working staff.
  • Keeping track of necessary operational data and analyzing them to find loopholes are critical to moving forward in the positive direction.
  • Merely tracking revenue cycle management KPIs will only give you some insights into the cash flow in the organization’s account.
  • You need to upgrade your system to know how the efficiency is faring at each executive level of the workflow process.
  • Before opting for remote working staff, ensure that you have the necessary information technology to track the working patterns of your staff members.
  • You can also opt for professional guidance from leading RCM companies to track how you can upgrade your workflow models to improve workforce efficiency in your organization.

Upgrading Technological Functions

  • The use of upgraded technology will let you handle your revenue cycle better without having to compromise due to staff shortage.
  • Modernized software solutions designed specifically to suit the unique needs of your organization will let you navigate through your understaffed healthcare billing services.
  • Software interfaces let you keep the entire team in a loop. You can grant access to the different functionalities depending on the authorization level of the user.
  • Using these new technological features will dial down your time spent on manual tasks by at least half.
  • The automation technology also supports you with data analysis features which you can use to strategize your future plans in finance.
  • Get in touch with a leading revenue cycle management company offering professional healthcare billing services to understand how you can move forward positively in a healthy financial zone while coping with the ongoing staff shortages.

We hope this article helped you understand the reasons for the increasing staff shortage in the healthcare billing services and how you can manage them. For any queries, connect with us in the comment section below. Please subscribe to our blog for more such articles on healthcare, technology, and management. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for more updates.