If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s the value of being prepared for major industry shifts. And while 2023 looks a bit brighter in terms of global health emergencies, forecasted changes in the healthcare industry could work against the recent recovery efforts.
These anticipated trends have the potential to majorly impact both your bottom line and the quality of your patient care. So, it’s in the best interest of your ASC to understand and prepare for the rapidly approaching changes to medical billing practices.
Trend 1 | The Looming Recession
The alarm bells for a global recession are only growing louder as we begin 2023. In fact, one independent research firm recently put the odds at 98.1%.1 Economic downturns impact budgets far and wide, but ASC profit margins can take a serious hit when the cash isn’t flowing in. With challenges covering out-of-pocket costs and the loss of health insurance due to unemployment, patients reduce healthcare spending in an effort to keep household expenses to a minimum. This, in turn, lowers provider profit margins, placing ASCs in budgetary strangleholds that may very well last until the economy recovers.
Trend 2 | Contract Staffing Changes
The pandemic created a large influx of contract (temporary) clinical employees due to staffing shortages, but now, that trend is reversing back to permanent employees. The latest HFMA Outlook Survey projected a 47% increase in full-time healthcare staff in the next year.2 While permanent employees may foster workplace stability with a deeper understanding of practice ins and outs, they also raise operating costs with benefits, training, resources, and other essential tools for success.
Trend 3 | Minimal Credit Reporting
Medical debt collection agencies recently announced a major shift in their credit reporting policies. Before, threats to add medical debts to credit reports pressured patients to pay their bills. Now, more lenient protocols are expected to eliminate upwards of 70% of negative remarks on credit reports from outstanding medical bills.3 While this may be an exciting development for patients, ASCs are left to collect payments on their own without significant leverage. Paired with poor revenue cycle management (RCM), countless revenue opportunities can get lost in the cracks as in-house billing teams attempt to manage the ever-increasing deluge of patient claims and insurance follow-ups.
Trend 4 | Billing Seasonality
With the January 1st annual deductible reset, many patients schedule costly appointments and procedures at the end of the year. This means booming business around the holidays — and stagnant cash flow around throughout the first quarter. This effect also translates into a material impact on revenue cycle performance. A recent revenue cycle analytics study calculated the highest A/R days (51.3) and claim denial rates (7.8%) in January, with performance growing stronger as the year progressed.4 While consistent revenue generation is ideal, ASCs must plan ahead and structure budgets around year-round stability, despite month-over-month revenue fluctuations.
Each of these trends presents a serious threat to cash flow, and ASCs only further increase their risk of revenue loss with disordered RCM practices — which is understandable, given the overwhelming amount of details and communication needed to correctly process each claim. That’s why the revenue cycle management and certified professional coding teams at in2itive are expertly trained in all things ASC. Our goal is to partner with your team to help remove the stress from your billing process, allowing you to focus entirely on high-quality patient care without worrying about your revenue cycle.
Looking for a dedicated partner to position your center for success? Let’s talk! Our team of billing specialists is ready and eager to help.
1 Rapoza, K. (October 11, 2022). Odds of Global Recession: ‘98.1%.’ Broader Picture ‘Concerning.’ Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2022/10/11/odds-of-global-recession-981-broader-picture-concerning/?sh=1de221035964
2 Hut, N. (June 13, 2022). HFMA’s latest Outlook Survey reflects a healthcare industry on more stable footing: 5 takeaways. HFMA. https://www.hfma.org/topics/news/2022/06/hfma-s-latest-outlook-survey-reflects-an-industry-on-more-stable.html
3 Holzhauer, B. (June 28, 2022). As of July 1, your medical debt may no longer hurt your credit score – here’s why. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/select/medical-debt-credit-report/
4 LaPointe, J. (April 1, 2019). Seasons Have Material Impact on Hospital Revenue Cycle Performance. RevCycleIntelligence. https://revcycleintelligence.com/news/seasons-have-material-impact-on-hospital-revenue-cycle-performance