RAC audits prevented paper costs from declining, but even that was a win, Buell says. "We were able to keep our paper costs steady, though we reduced enough paper in billing to bring in another team member to help with audit management," she says. "Audits are very paper-driven; if we hadn't added this technology, then my paper expenses would've increased by 25%."
The remittance and payment processes for third-party payers is already complex, and doing it manually is painstaking. When the ICD-10 transition is rescheduled, the accompanying onslaught of codes will become nearly impossible to deal with manually.
"We're all pulled in so many directions and we're all trying to prioritize projects. Those that have the [revenue cycle] technology see the value, but there are no government penalties for not getting it as there are with EHRs," Buell says. "So it's only natural that we focus on the places where we get penalized. But we have to pay attention to the money that's coming in the door now. If you can get that money posted quicker, then you can use it to your benefit for projects like an EHR."
As financial leaders, you've read countless articles about revenue cycle and how to plug leaks. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in daily work and become blinded by the familiar. SHS's story is a good reminder: always pay close attention to work process and flow.