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Health Care Organizations Can Improve Processes and Reduce Risk by Outsourcing Accounting Functions
Business owners and organization leaders spend a significant amount of time and effort making sure they have the appropriate accounting practices in place. This is especially true for health care organizations that need to meet the reporting requirements of multiple governmental and state agencies. And the cost of not complying with these requirements can be extremely high.
According to a survey by The Bank of New York Mellon of 151 large health care facilities in the United States, many of them overlooked several key operating areas — such as contract management, eligibility verification, denial management, and Point-of-Service payment collection — which could easily be outsourced to increase patient satisfaction and the organization’s revenue.
It is important for health care organizations to use accountants who understand the nuances of the health care field, due to the constantly changing regulations and requirements.
Many health care organizations have also found that outsourcing their accounting function can give leaders more time to focus on core business issues.
Below are some examples of how outsourcing accounting functions can specifically benefit health care organizations.
Insight into the health care industry
It is important for health care organizations to use accountants who understand the nuances of the health care field, due to the constantly changing regulations and requirements. This can be particularly difficult for small to medium-sized providers and rural providers, many of whom struggle to find accounting personnel that have the depth of industry knowledge they need.
Leveraging accounting and reporting to outsourced professionals with health care knowledge can strengthen and enhance internal controls by providing a deeper level of segregation. In addition, the health care knowledge can improve the results of cost reporting due to having on-site expertise with a full knowledge and awareness of critical reimbursement issues that come from the cost report.
Assisting with organization growth
The health care industry is particularly dynamic, and can experience growth or reductions in short periods of time. Outsourcing can help those facing quickly increasing growth by providing support to the organization’s current financial team.
Rapid growth rates can stress resources, and outsourcing can provide the board and management with greater confidence that finances are being adequately maintained. Outsourced accounting individuals can help the organization catch up on the backlog of work as well as develop enhanced reporting capabilities.
In addition, owners can be relieved of the burden of managing the accounting function, and focus on increasing the business and managing the growing operations.
Meaningful financial statements
The key to good financial statements is allowing the reader to easily interpret and identify key business issues and problems before they become irreparable.
Having accurate and timely financial statements is a critical component of any organization. An outsourced accounting team’s new perspective on the current process allows them to provide logical and useful information to the users in an improved format.
In addition, an outsourced accountant’s experience working with a range of financial statements can benefit an employer by, for instance, transforming fragmented monthly financial statements into a simpler and more understandable format that eliminates many cumbersome and unnecessary processes.
Building relationships with staff
Some health care organizations are concerned that bringing in outsourced workers may create unrest among those affiliated with the organization. According to an article in HFM Magazine, Strategies for Successful Revenue Cycle Outsourcing, “there is a risk that employees, patients, and the community could feel alienated when working with an organization that is not housed in the provider setting.”
This is why it’s important for outsourced workers to closely collaborate with staff, so everyone is working toward a common goal of improving the organization’s operations. Organizations should choose an outsourcing team that does not work in seclusion, but liaises with the staff and takes their knowledge into consideration when suggesting changes to the organization’s operations.
From our experience, the key to maintaining strong relationships with staff is keeping the lines of communication open, and working through proper approval channels. We set clear boundaries of our role in the organization, and we ask for approvals and direction if we believe we may need to work in an area outside of those roles.
A range of benefits
Health care organizations face a myriad of challenges on a daily basis. Outsourcing their accounting functions may result in cost savings, revenue gains, access to specialized skills, mitigation of risk, and capacity management.