A recent Black Book survey of more than 500 healthcare networks revealed that hospitals in the U.S. have been painstakingly slow in adopting healthcare revenue cycle management (RCM) solutions. At the start of 2018, nearly 26 percent of hospitals had no viable solution in place, and 82 percent of them planned to make value-based reimbursement decisions without one.
For most hospitals, one of the biggest challenges in implementing RCM solutions is finding talent with the right skill set to handle RCM software difficulties. It’s a problem that even the largest healthcare delivery networks face and one that UCLA Health hospitals had to overcome. UCLA Health System Faculty Practice Group (UCLA FPG) employs more than 2,500 physicians with more than 220 primary and specialty practices.
Keeping up with payer contracts
In 2007, more than $4 million in revenue went uncollected at UCLA FPG. The group’s RCM pain points were typical of those in the industry. For example, the group was unable to keep track of over- and underpayments, which made it difficult to adhere to payer contracts. It was also difficult to manage appeals and track recovery as the volume of payer contracts grew and became increasingly more complex.
The difficulty UCLA FPG had in gathering and exporting information, in addition to the complexity and volume of contracts, left it with little negotiating power when dealing with payers. UCLA FPG’s numbers continued to fluctuate until implementing Epic alongside Experian Health’s Contract Manager.
Using this web-based solution, UCLA FPG has been able to automate and improve its revenue cycle due to the solution’s ability to continually monitor and update every payer contract. This has also helped the healthcare group stay compliant with all payer agreements by making it possible to catch errors faster.
Director of Revenue Integrity Measha Ford states: “We are able to catch Medicare overpayments faster with the contract management system. We recently integrated all our Medicare contracts into the system to have a lower risk of compliance issues since we only have 60 days to refund Medicare back once we identify an overpayment. Having this system, having that ability to load the contracts into the system to catch these potential risks, is very helpful.”
The UCLA network now has fewer administrative write-offs every year, faster AR collections, and reduced denials.
Experian Health’s team maintains contract terms, fee schedules, and payment policies and makes sure every claim processed follows UCLA’s contract terms. Online dashboards and reports help monitor reimbursement and reduce payment discrepancies through interactive graphs that expose source claim data and practice management system-specific data attributes.
Analyzing contracts before signing up
In addition to tracking and managing contracts, the group also knows exactly how a new contract or redefined contract terms will affect its bottom line. It has intel on real-world “what if” scenarios to provide insight into how various contract terms affect cash flow for the precise mix of services the group provides. It’s also able to avoid unfavorable contract terms, as they are easily spotted through analysis.
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