Getting the right people on your team can produce profitable returns well into the future.
Gatekeepers to your cash flow, healthcare operational staff—front and back office—can make or break your bottom line. If one member of the team drops the ball, it can result in significant revenue losses for your organization. Fielding a strong revenue cycle operations team is your best strategy for securing a winning financial future. How do you attract, grow, and retain these healthcare All Stars?
You can begin by acknowledging the dedicated men and women who ensure your compliance and profitability. Fully integrated into your healthcare revenue cycle—from patient access management, where insurance eligibility is verified and pre-claim requirements such as prior authorization and medical necessity are met, to claims submission, remittance handling, payment posting, statement processing, denials management, and appeals follow-up—your operations team provides your organization end-to-end service and support. They work hard to make sure you get paid the full amount you are owed as quickly as possible.
As a provider of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) for labs, we know how important it is to have an All Star revenue cycle operations team. We have experienced some of the same recruiting, training, and retention joys and frustrations as you. Based on our experience and the advice of other industry experts, we are confident of one thing: to be the best, you need to employ the best.
Know Where to Look
Finding the right employees is everyone’s job. Getting the right people on the field needs to be an enterprise-wide commitment.
- Start by clarifying job expectations. The job posting needs to go beyond the job's title to frame the specific traits and abilities you are seeking based on the type of work that needs done and how.
- Though industry experience is always a plus, it may be helpful to consider candidates with experience in other related industries to increase your potential talent pool. We have found that backgrounds in finance, accounting, and customer service offer skillsets transferable to healthcare revenue cycle management.
- Current staff can help recruit. Offer incentives, such as a referral bonus or extra PTO, to employees who refer job candidates who become new hires.
- Search the local community colleges and technical schools—particularly those schools with continuing education and certification programs.
- While posting on online job boards, don’t forget to include regional online recruiting sites as well.
Training and Learning Management
Smart technology and optimized workflow are powered by knowledgeable staff. A well-organized employee training program is critical and ongoing employee development and learning management a must.
- New hire onboarding that goes beyond orientation. Prepare new employees to become fully engaged, productive members of the team. New hires to our revenue cycle operations staff go through an extensive 3-week CORE training program to learn the software and process workflow.
- Job shadowing produces the best training results. New team members witness real case work in a controlled approach to further advance their understanding and build experience. We strongly value job shadowing and provide 3-days of Specific Process and Responsibility Coaching (SPARC) for all job changes.
- Standardize best practices. Document procedures for use as reference and to help communicate changes. Our BPO teams can reference detailed, client-specific Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to optimize revenue cycle processing.
- Communicate updates. Weekly team huddles on the floor help our staff keep pace with industry changes.
Find Ways to Keep Great Staff
Great employees are hard to find, and even harder to replace. Skillsets can be found, but it is the lost experience that only time and effort can rebuild.
- Recognize achievement and reward good work. When teams go above-and-beyond on special projects, show your appreciation (pizza parties, monetary gift cards, flex time, etc.).
- Engage creativity with enriching work. The operations staff understand how what they do fits into the big picture.
- Nurture positive, caring relationships. Realizing that flexible schedules can help keep great staff, managers should get to know staff and work with them to meet their needs.
- Provide opportunities for growth and advancement, promoting from within whenever possible.
- Communicate what’s happening – keep employees in the loop. Internal team meetings, department roadmaps, and monthly newsletters are just a few of the ways to stay informed.
Hiring for today’s healthcare is its own challenge. As healthcare reimbursement becomes even more complex, critical thinkers are required at every level in every area of the organization. With the proper investment in time, effort, and money, it is possible to field an All Star healthcare operations team that can produce profitable returns well into the future.