A recent study of 11,000 healthcare employers with more than 11 million employees found the average turnover in healthcare jobs in 2017 was 20.6%, up from 15.6% in 2010, putting healthcare’s turnover second only to hospitality’s. (1) Industry leader Tranquilmoney explains how unexpected changes in physicians’ office staff can significantly impact office revenue cycles and what to do about it.
(South Orange, NJ) January 2, 2019—Physicians’ offices usually have lean staffs so changes such as resignations, vacations and serious illness – as well as difficulty filling empty positions with qualified staff – has a serious effect on accounts receivable and therefore the revenue cycle. Staff turnover is rampant and increasing. Tranquilmoney co-founder, Dr. Karun Philip suggests how physicians can manage their practice uninterrupted by staff changes.
Staff Turnover on the Rise
The healthcare job market has never been more supply-driven. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare unemployment rate hit 2.5% in April 2017 – the lowest level in more than 10 years. The result is a restless workforce that can go anywhere it pleases at any time. Healthcare organizations have tried many initiatives to keep employees in place, all with little or no impact on turnover. (1)
In a northeastern Ohio study of 762 staff in 77 community family practices, over a 2-year period, practices averaged a 53% staff turnover rate. Longevity varied by position, with a mean duration of only 3.4 years for business employees. The study concluded that the potentially disruptive effect of personnel turnover on practice functioning, finances, and longitudinal relationships with patients deserved further study. (2)
Revenue Cycle Challenges Lead to Physicians’ Selling Practices
Healthcare revenue cycle challenges put more pressure on providers in private practices. Unlike providers employed by hospitals or health systems, physicians in small practices may take on multiple hats. With limited staff and capital resources, these providers may have to handle many things from patient access to medical practice management.
As a result, small practice owners are increasingly selling practices to larger healthcare organizations to shoulder the financial and clinical burdens. For the first time in 2016, more physicians were employed than owned their practices. Approximately 47 percent of patient care providers had a full or part ownership stake that year versus 53.2 percent in 2012. (3)
For those who would like to remain independent, small medical practice leaders should address the following healthcare revenue cycle management pain points:
- Many small and independent practices still use manual healthcare revenue cycle processes. A recent survey uncovered that 95 percent of practices with less than five physicians identified their facilities as “not tech savvy.”
- Consider revenue cycle management outsourcing. In light of falling revenues, 59 percent of medical providers and 86 percent of hospitals said that their organizations planned to eliminate medical billing processes that are resource-intensive, error-prone, manual, and back-end by the third quarter of 2017.
- Approximately 90 percent of small, independent physician practices also stated they are not prepared financially or technically for the challenges of transitioning to value-based reimbursement arrangements. (4)
Dr. Karun Philip, Co-Founder and President of Tranquilmoney explains, “Most private physician offices operate with lean staff, especially in back office billing and insurance management. If they are handling billing on their own, each unexpected shift in personnel threatens the billing cycle and therefore imperils office revenue. Physicians need an uninterrupted back office process that will continue regardless of personnel changes.”
Dr. Philip continues, “To remain in private practice, modern medical practice management requires a high degree of accuracy, especially in billing and financial management. Often, physicians can manage their practice more simply by engaging a cloud-based healthcare financial management service.”
Tranquilmoney handles the flow of physician offices without the added weight of personnel issues on the doctor’s back. Tranquilmoney offers more than just software to aid a physician’s back office in insurance claims; they reinforce the flow of processes to keep the practice running uninterrupted by personnel changes. With reliable technology managing processes, unexpected changes in staff would not affect revenue. (5)
Tranquilmoney was incorporated in 1995 to provide solutions aimed at reversing the trend of doctors in independent practices feeling at a loss with the increased complexity of the business and regulatory side of the healthcare industry. The pattern of physicians selling their practices to large hospitals is one that is avoidable. Tranquilmoney has the tools in place to provide physician practices with financial management services, such as physician receivables management, pharmacy receivables management, healthcare insurance forms processing, and data capture services. In short, doctors can focus on patient care knowing that their practices are in order. The company is based in South Orange, New Jersey with back office facilities in Chennai, India. Tranquilmoney Inc. operates as a subsidiary of MM Group For more information, visit www.TranquilMoney.com.
- Rosenbaum, Michael. “Will 2018 Be the Year Healthcare Addresses Its Turnover Problem?” Becker’s Hospital Review, 16 Jan. 2018.
- Ruhe, M, et al. “Physician and Staff Turnover in Community Primary Care Practice.” Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, Cited by U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 2004.
- LaPointe, Jacqueline. “Healthcare Employment Shifting to Hospital-Employed Providers.” RevCycleIntelligence, RevCycleIntelligence, 6 June 2017.
- LaPointe, Jacqueline. “3 Pain Points Affecting Small Practice Healthcare Revenue Cycle.” RevCycleIntelligence, RevCycleIntelligence, 7 July 2017.
- PRACTICETRACKER™, EHR and Practice management software.Tranquilmoney.com. 2018. Web.
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Karla Jo Helms