To say it has been a challenging few years for the healthcare industry would be an absolute understatement. The most visible face of these hardships are the care providers who work directly with patients. Yet, behind the scenes, there are millions of workers struggling against less seen hardships. In particular, provider organizations are now faced with unprecedented financial shortfalls at a time when workforce shortages are a harsh reality. Without a robust revenue cycle talent pipeline to fill the growing skills gap, healthcare systems may be in danger of exasperating existing issues by falling short of financial goals.
Before it is too late, leaders need to evaluate the current situation and discover ways to energize their team building efforts. Otherwise, these conditions will continue to be a looming threat to quality of care and overall organizational stability.
Assessing the Current State of the Healthcare Revenue Cycle
To put it bluntly, healthcare leaders are concerned. According to recent survey information, 46 percent of CFOs and revenue cycle VPs said their organizations are behind their 2022 healthcare revenue goals. One major driving force behind these sentiments is the current state of staffing. 21 percent of respondents cited attracting and retaining revenue cycle management talent as a top challenge to their revenue cycles. Even worse, nearly half labeled the shortages they were facing as “severe.”
These workforce concerns could not come at a worse time for the industry. While hopes were high for a quick rebound following the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has not quite worked out like that just yet. For one, rising costs are eating into any gains that could be potentially made as organizations work to recoup losses. According to the American Hospital Association, health systems saw a 19.1 percent increase in labor expenses between 2019 and 2021. Similarly, supply and drug costs were also on the rise during the same period.
With workers leaving, the costs to keep them rising and it all being compounded by runaway inflation, leaders find themselves at a crossroads. It’s time to get creative in order to get back on track.
Revenue Cycle Talent
For healthcare organizations to survive this turbulent time, they need skilled talent ready to stabilize their revenue cycle management processes. Obviously, that’s easier said than done when the revenue cycle talent pipeline appears to be drying up. For those struggling to find talent to fill the gaps on their teams, there is no quick-fix solution. However, by taking a few steps to rethink their hiring and retention processes, we can all work towards a more stable financial situation.
- Expand the talent pool with remote work opportunities. Lockdowns spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic knocked down the doors to a new way of working. Rather than backpedal on the progress made in expanding remote and hybrid work opportunities, employers should embrace this new reality. By moving beyond local markets alone, hiring managers open themselves up to a vast world of applicants who are ready with the skills needed to get the job done. Organizations must enter into this sort of strategy with the tools and needed security to ensure a safe working environment wherever employees may sit.
- Build meaningful partnerships. When you’re stretched thin, locking arms with external partners can make a big difference. Organizations offering workforce and staffing organizations have access to deep pools of qualified job candidates. Entering into these partnerships does require work. Without building a relationship with recruiting leaders, there can be costly disconnects down the road. Yet, if you are able to take the time to cultivate a meaningful partnership with a skilled talent provider, it can pay off in the long run.
- Double down on retention. The truth is that it is one thing to get talent in the door; it’s another thing entirely to get them to stay. At a time when costs are rising, boosting salaries is not the only way to build employee loyalty. Flexible working options, creative benefits and investing in culture can be powerful steps towards a more stable workforce. Burnout is spiking in industries of all kinds, but especially in healthcare. Speaking to the whole experience of work – from salary considerations to mental health concerns – can help employers stand out in a competitive market.
Is your team searching for healthcare solutions to enable you to build great teams? Get to know Medix’s healthcare recruitment and staffing solutions – including our focus on optimizing revenue cycle.
Craig Wenrick is the National Director of Revenue Cycle at Medix. Craig works with clients in the revenue cycle field to identify talent for short-term projects and solutions for long-term staffing challenges on their teams. When not at work, you can find Craig spending time with his family and watching any football game he can find on TV.