Is the high cost of treating Medicare patients causing financial problems for your healthcare organization? With more and more Medicare patients queueing up for hospital care, especially with recent government healthcare expansion, both treatment and reimbursement have been and are becoming more complicated and expensive over time. Medicare is currently the biggest government spending program, and its slow rate of payout, large amount of red tape and high rate of change is costing healthcare organizations billions in revenue (especially since an estimated 35 percent of hospital revenue comes from Medicaid). With these losses, it becomes difficult for hospitals to give the patients the care they deserve, and many challenges arise as a result. Here are five ways that your hospital or healthcare organization can save itself from financial losses due to Medicare.
1. Data, Data, Data
Hospitals generate tons of data about patients and medical procedures. Reading, interpreting and correctly using the information gained from that data is a different matter, though. This data, when applied, can help a hospital predict and prepare for common factors and determine what priorities must be focused upon. Acting on data results from there can help cut down on costs drastically due to the simple nature of efficiency. Zeroing in on analytics and what they say will go a long way to fixing many problems, including financial losses from Medicare.
2. Reduce Overhead Costs
The nature of healthcare is often one of competition and trying to stay up-to-date on the latest practices, procedures and equipment. IT, data systems, commonly used supplies, compliance investments, HR and much more cost hospitals lots of money. As a result of this struggle to stay modern, a healthcare organization’s service costs are usually 10 to 15 percent of their overall expenses. These costs cut into revenue gain and often surpass it. Being smarter about spending and costs without sacrificing efficiency can help a healthcare organization balance out its funding and profit margins. If strategic thought among staff and leadership of a hospital is put into decisions about where to spend, what to spend on and especially where spending is unnecessary, costs of treatment will decrease and profit margins will increase. This will make financial losses much more bearable.
3. Be Smarter About Technology Use and Purchasing
One thing that data can show is where hospital technology, one of the largest overhead costs in a healthcare organization, is and isn’t working. Hospitals often end up competing to have the best technology available, but regularly replacing working equipment is expensive and time-consuming. Being strategic about technology decisions will also involve collaboration amongst providers and staff, as they can decide together what needs to be replaced and what can be kept for further use. Sometimes the best decision is to accept that some older technology can still fulfill its purpose and that the organization should continue exploring the best times to purchase new equipment. From there, financial difficulties with Medicare will be easier to manage, especially because this also means cutting down on bad debt.
4. Create Treatment “Blueprints”
Within the walls of a hospital, there will be some healthcare conditions that are more commonly treated than others. Providers and staff can determine patterns of care, anticipate them and create standard operating procedure plans, or blueprints, for common needs. From there they can cut down on costs by finding common ground on techniques, building out standards and protocols, and planning well so as to make treatment more routine. From there the hospital can streamline buying decisions, reduce inconsistency and compensate for financial loss.
5. Work on Clinical Discipline
Each member of a hospital staff has their responsibilities, and clarifying those responsibilities with an emphasis on accountability, proper training and supervision can go a long way to reducing costs. Laying out blueprints, common protocols and what analytics are saying so everyone is on the same page will increase efficiency and effectiveness, and therefore reduce costs.
How DECO Can Help
These methods are all intertwined, and may take some significant work to get through. DECO is all about helping healthcare organizations run smoothly and effectively through obtaining patient information, streamlining care practices, working through reimbursement model processes and much more. Our team and our customizable proprietary technology work together so that everything in your organization operates in sync, and we work on the front lines with your hospital staff to get it done. If you need help recouping financial losses from Medicare, or from any other healthcare program, contact us today!