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Healthcare Headaches

Rene Letourneau, for HealthLeaders Media, September 13, 2013
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However, funding this technology initiative comes with its own set of hurdles, he adds.

"The biggest challenge that we have at the present is unique to our facility because we opened a brand new hospital in August 2012. A lot of IT resources are being funneled there, which means there are fewer resources to help the revenue cycle automate processes."

Revenue cycle complexity

As the healthcare industry evolves, it is becoming increasingly complicated for provider organizations to operate the revenue cycle successfully, says Kris Zimmer, senior vice president of finance at St. Louis-based SSM Health Care, a 4,000-bed health system covering four states. He sees this as one of his organization's largest challenges.

"Complexity is increasing at an alarming rate and while, theoretically, that complexity results in more precise payments, there is a lack of recognition of how inefficient that complexity is in terms of the infrastructure providers need to bill correctly and what payers need in order to monitor payments," Zimmer says. "If you add the cost of all that up, it's very, very inefficient on the whole."

Marlene Zurack, senior vice president and CFO for New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, agrees that revenue cycle complexity is a big challenge and says the onerous job of maintaining accurate data doesn't make it any easier.

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