By: Francisco Francisco, Assistant Manager Medicaid, Michael Lopez, Medicaid Manager, John Barrera, Senior Manager Medicaid
Hiring the right candidates to fill revenue cycle positions can be extremely challenging. For one, candidates are required to have experience working in a patient-centric setting. Communicating and educating patients are critical functions. The ability to provide patients with a positive experience from the first point of contact cannot be undervalued. But what happens when providers don’t have the pool of experienced candidates to choose from? What are their alternatives in filling their revenue cycle teams?
Another challenge in filling positions for the revenue cycle is the allocation of available resources to hire new employees, especially if providers need to hire a large team, such as one needed to handle their uninsured patient populations.
CBIZ recently sat down with some of our existing clients to obtain feedback on what the current hiring landscape looks like.
Due to the ripple effects of the global pandemic, employees are now demanding flexible work schedules such as remote or hybrid positions. These demands have created hiring challenges for positions such as registration, which rely on face-to-face interaction with patients. “We try to offer remote work positions for areas which we can track and manage,” says one client regarding positions for coding and pre-certifications.
Other providers are, shall we say, less impressed with the work product from their remote workers: “They want to get paid a million dollars to do nothing,” says another provider.
Some providers have been cross-training staff members in the emergency room and registration to deal with staffing shortages. “We offer overtime to the cross-trained staff so that they can work multiple departments” says one provider.
Although cross-training gives employers and employees more flexibility, it is only a temporary fix that often does not solve long-term staffing needs. An overreliance on pulling employees from one area to fill in for another can become counterproductive to the overall performance of the revenue cycle.
Some clients of ours in small hospitals mentioned that they have lost staff members to larger facilities that pay higher wages. Due to the factors mentioned above, small providers are often operating with inadequate staffing levels (skeleton crews), which can negatively impact productivity on both the front and back ends of the revenue cycle.
In a number of published surveys, burnout has been cited as a major reason for revenue cycle employees leaving the industry. Please keep in mind that excess workload can lead to less productivity and burnout over a prolonged period.
As the public health emergency continues to unwind, providers are facing numerous challenges with staffing their revenue cycle. Factors such as the Medicaid disenrollment process and the related increase in uninsured patients will lead to an increased staffing burden for those facilities that provide their own Medicaid eligibility services without the help of a third party. Anticipating what staffing will be needed for the 12-month disenrollment period will be hard to predict, especially as it relates to the need to hire and onboard new staff members.
If you would like to further discuss your revenue cycle staffing challenges, especially as it relates to your uninsured or underinsured patient population, please reach out to Juan Chico at Jchico@cbiz.com.