Inmediata

Blog – The COVID-19 Impact on the Revenue Cycle for Health Providers

Here’s what your industry peers are experiencing.

Inmediata recently conducted a survey to primary care practices and independent billers in Puerto Rico to understand the impact the pandemic has had on their business. The information has given us the opportunity to understand the impact and struggle of our customers. 

The COVID-19 pandemic’s disruption of the healthcare delivery system has been particularly challenging to primary care.  Prior to the pandemic, primary care providers were already experiencing issues related to access, burnout and rising practice costs that were unsustainable.  Knowing what impact, the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the finances of medical practices helps us to address several ongoing questions:

  • What is the economic impact of the pandemic on health care practices?
  • Are people who need health care still visiting their providers?
  • Are new policies encouraging greater use of telemedicine?
  • Is technology hindering process? Are they adopting new technology tools?

From the survey we have concluded that physician practices of all sizes continue to deal with financial challenges related to payment, combined with the need to leverage new technology tools to mitigate the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fourteen percent of practices on the island have had to make the tough decision of eliminating personnel, while seventeen percent indicated their billing team is now working remote full time as part of their measures to keep their staff safe related to exposure to COVID-19.

Forty four percent of providers have seen a fifty percent decrease in their revenue since the pandemic started in March of 2020.  And, other twenty percent of other respondents claim their revenue has gone down by twenty five percent. 

Below is a summary of the complete survey:

What actions have you taken to help manage the impact of the pandemic?

Results:

  • Eliminated staff – 14%
  • Billing staff now works remote – 17%
  • Cancelled products & services from other vendors – 8%
  • Redesigned the billing & collections workflow to streamline the business – 15%
  • Invested in new technology and services – 8%
  • Implemented remote payment options – 10%
  • Started using appointment calendars – 25%
  • All of the above- 3%

What’s been the economic impact to the revenue since March 1st, 2020?

Results:

  • No decrease – 7%
  • 10% decrease – 10%
  • 25% decrease – 20%
  • 50% decrease – 50%
  • None of the above- 13%

What’s been the economic impact to the revenue since July 1st, 2020?

Results:

  • Full recovery – 9%
  • 10% increase – 13%
  • 10% decrease – 8%
  • Uncertain – 50%
  • Not generated any revenue – 10%

What change in your business will have the biggest impact to your business moving forward?

Results:

  • Technology utilized by staff – 10%
  • Billing and collections workflow – 20%
  • Working remote – 4%
  • Communication with patients using technology – 40%
  • None of the above- 26%

Does your practice use a cloud based practice management system or one loaded on a local desktop computer:

Results:

  • Cloud – 40%
  • Desktop – 27%
  • Don’t use a practice management system – 13%
  • Uncertain – 20%

If For practices using a locally hosted desktop practice management system:

Did it disadvantage you during the pandemic?

  • Yes – 24%
  • No – 41%
  • Unsure – 35%

Which communication tools for patients are most needed by your practice moving forward:

Results:

  • Remote Payment Options – 12%
  • Improved appointment reminder system – 20%
  • New practice management system or electronic medical record – 8%
  • New appointment reminder system – 14%
  • New appointment calendar system -15%
  • Patient portal – 8%
  • All the above – 13%
  • None of the above – 9%

What’s the current trend, what important right now, and what are other practices doing to survive?

It’s unclear whether encounter volume will completely recover anytime soon, and consequently organizations will need to continue to adapt to remain a viable business.  Although the impact to practices differs depending on factors like size and the type of services they render, patient encounters are increasing and practices are figuring out how to get patient’s back in the office and practices are utilizing new ways to increase patient access such as leveraging telehealth. 

However, managing reimbursement and denials has never been more important to the independent practitioner trying to get bye. A back-to-basics revenue cycle management approach will be critical to the success of these businesses. Leveraging and using all the technology that practices already own such practice management systems and clearinghouse can make a difference.  Do you really understand how to reconcile payments, work denials and even check eligibility? 

For example, systems like SecureClaim and SecureTrack enable customers to check eligibility at any point of the revenue cycle.  If you’re not doing this, your leaving money on the table.  Not checking eligibility on every patient and getting it wrong on 2 to 3 patients a day could cost a practice as much as $7,000 a month.  Providers lose money because claims filed to the wrong payer leads to timely filing rejections by the payer and bad debt which can be devastating to any practice. 

Other practices are looking at service options to leverage their expertise in reducing to cost to run your practice while increasing revenue.   Finding the right partner may remove or alleviate some concerns about running your business.  Learn about the success stories of some of our customer’s at Inmediata and see if their problems are similar to yours.  To access more information about SecureAR and case studies.  Please click here. 

Stay focused and we’ll get through this together.

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