Does Your Revenue Cycle Need a Fitness Plan?

Bob Conrad Healthcare, Revenue

I work out at a Lifetime Fitness gym. If you haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy one of these facilities you are missing a truly unique experience. They take customer service, quality, and cleanliness to a new level. As a business traveler, I’ve been to at least eight of their facilities across the country. Each gym is standardized with the same processes. What makes that so great?

Cleanliness: The equipment is always clean. The employees are constantly wiping, washing, and scrubbing down the floors and equipment.

Equipment: The equipment is state-of-the-art and always works. If by chance, one is broken, it is clearly labeled out of use. They even post the repair date so customers know when it will be back in service.

Policies: Policies are clearly displayed and enforced ensuring all guests adhere to the same safety and usage requirements. Employees are empowered by their supervisors to make decisions when someone is violating the rules.

Customer Service: Staff is friendly; they address you by name at registration and are helpful. They know how to communicate with guests. This comes from special, standardized training.
This is impressive! I ask myself, how do organizations like this consistently get it right? How do they ensure all facilities across the US are performing to this high level of excellence?

Let’s jump over to a hospital’s revenue cycle. Many healthcare facilities believe their revenue collection process is at the same high level of excellence as lifetime fitness – but as we work with hospitals and health systems, we see a different picture.

There are some very common issues that cause hospitals to lose millions in their revenue cycle:

  • Accounts Receivables: Is there a formal process for working AR? Are you measuring the percent of AR that you recover each month?
  • Contract rate vs paid rate: Are you collecting the amount you are contracted to receive from the insurance companies?
  • Contract rate compared to other healthcare providers in your area: Know your rates. There can be a wide discrepancy in the contract rates from one provider to the next which works in favor of the insurance companies
  • Missing charges: Are you accounting for every charge during an encounter? Are you missing sub charges that you should have received?

Focusing on the processes in these four areas can help you uncover lost revenue and drive your organization to excellence within the revenue cycle.

The question is, why are so many CFO’s and Revenue Cycle VP’s resistant to having third-party audits on their processes to uncover missing dollars? Is it embarrassment, guilt, or feeling at fault? I would hope not, but in many cases, execs think their revenue cycle is operating perfect, sans problems. Our answer – you shouldn’t be opposed to a third party free audit to evaluate your current state.

Companies like Lifetime Fitness are excellent because they’re not afraid to look in the mirror for inefficiencies and instill a culture of continuously being better for their customers and employees. If we are going to fix healthcare, we need to all be open to looking in the mirror to understand where we might be able to improve.