White House Urged to Look into Price Gouging by Nurse Staffing Agencies

Members of Congress want the White House to investigate nurse staffing agencies after receiving reports of price gouging. A bipartisan group of 195 Congress members wrote to the White House COVID-19 Response Team Coordinator Jeffrey Zient requesting an investigation into reports of alleged price gouging by nurse staffing agencies. The bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA), accused some nurse staffing agencies of increasing their prices to profit from the pandemic.  The members of Congress want the enlistment of federal agencies to determine if this conduct is the result of anticompetitive activity or if it violates consumer protection laws. “We urge you to ensure that this issue gets the attention from the federal government it merits to protect patients in dire need of life-saving health care treatment and prevent conduct that is exacerbating the shortage of nurses and straining the health care system,” the lawmakers state

Ambulatory Care Employment Surpasses Pre-Pandemic Rates

A report shows that overall healthcare employment remains below pre-pandemic rates. However, ambulatory care employment rates have fully recovered. January 26, 2022 – In 2021, healthcare employment experienced no significant growth. However, ambulatory care employment saw an increase in jobs exceeding pre-pandemic rates, an analysis from Altarum revealed . Healthcare employment gained 63,000 jobs, a modest 0.4 percent rise, compared to employment rates in December 2020. Meanwhile, employment in the ambulatory care sector, such as provider offices, clinics, labs, and home health agencies, increased by 3.1 percent in 2021.  The report showed that employment decreased for the nursing and residential care sectors by 4.7 percent. Additionally, the hospital sector experienced a 0.6 percent drop in jobs.  Ambulatory care jobs rose by 242,000 jobs last year, while hospitals experienced a loss of 33,000 jobs and nursing and residential care jobs fell by 46,000.  Over three-fourths of jobs withi

Healthcare Orgs Hit Revenue Cycle Talent Recruitment Snags

Finding senior-level revenue cycle talent is the most challenging for healthcare organizations, but even entry-level roles take an average of 84 days to fill. The Great Resignation and other employment challenges are hitting revenue cycle management, a new survey of hospital and health system leaders indicates. The survey commissioned by healthcare operations company AKASA surveyed 514 chief financial officers and revenue cycle leaders at hospitals and health system across the US using the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s (HFMA’s) Pulse Survey program. The survey was fielded between Sept. 30, 2021, and Oct. 17, 2021. Survey results revealed that the cost of recruiting revenue cycle talent is significant and the timelines to fill open positions is long. An open entry-level revenue cycle position cost hospitals and health systems $2,167 for recruitment, on average, according to the survey. Additionally, finance leaders said it takes an average of 84 days to fill the role d

3 Steps to Increase Profitability

We can count on the cost of providing quality medical care to continue to rise even while having to face forces that lower reimbursement to providers in the healthcare industry. It is easy to get caught up in the day to day operations of your medical practice management and lose your focus on the financial health and trajectory of your practice. Take some time every month to examine the bottom line affect of the systems that are in place in the office. Try to be objective as you review your own routines and habits as well as those of your staff. What follows is a non-exhaustive list of areas to consider as well as suggestions on some steps to take to increase profitability.  Examine the Revenue Cycle There are a number of steps between collecting a patient’s insurance information and closing their account as paid in full, each of which can have an affect on a medical practice’s net income. Each month, take a look at the overall revenue cycle to insure there are no obvious snags or bott

Preventing Cash Flow Problems

The healthcare insurance industry is in somewhat of a flux at the moment, which can cause problems for any practices that aren’t paying careful attention to what’s going on. For example, patients are being held more responsible for health insurance costs than insurance payers, which is evidenced by the rising co-payments and deductibles. This can be a problem for medical practices due to the fact that patients tend to pay much slower than insurance payers, which means that if they aren’t careful, their cash flow could decrease.   Preventing Cash Flow Problems Because patients are being forced to pay higher costs, it means that more of your cash flow is dependent on your patients than on insurance companies. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 25% of families have an unpaid healthcare bill, 10% of families have medical bills they can’t pay at all and 20% are on a payment plan to pay off their bills over time. As you can imagine, this could affect your cash flow dr

How to Reduce Claim Denials

Consistent cash flow is essential to the health of any business. This holds true for medical practices, as well. Maintaining an adequate level of revenue while minimizing the number of claim denials can be a struggle. Unfortunately, claim disputes have a number of associated costs beyond the denied payment. Estimates show that the average medical practice could loose between $30,000 and $80,000 yearly in denied claims and the staffing expense associated with resolving them. Appealing denied claims can be a huge time drain on your staff. In some cases, the process is purposefully designed to discourage the provider. It is for this reason that some 50 to 65 percent of denied claims are never disputed. Bottom line and staffing costs can be exacerbated by deteriorating patient relations. When a patient is receiving bills months after service, they are likely to believe the medical practice is mishandling the billing. Ignore the issue and the same denials are likely to repeat. Staff trainin

Improving Relationships With Your Patients

Patients today expect more from their physician experience than ever before. Communication and transparency are of utmost importance to many patients, but the more fundamental aspects of the relationship should not be ignored. Patients visit physicians in varying states of vulnerability. They are looking for someone to trust, especially when sharing personal details about their health, family and history. For physicians this means balancing the ever increasing demands of their work with the ability to form meaningful bonds with their patients. A strong physician/patient relationship makes for a positive patient experience and is essential to providing quality care. The more you can make patients feel at home, the more likely you are to earn their loyalty and referrals. There are a number of ways that medical practices can make patients feel welcome, trusting and nurtured.  Relationship Skills Positive, personal engagement with patients – by physicians as well as staff – is fundamental