Help Wanted: More Providers Seeking Staffing Solutions
Help wanted! That’s the sign you see everywhere these days as the country deals with a historic labor shortage. However, it is not just stores and restaurants dealing with a lack of workers. Healthcare facilities, especially hospitals, are facing their own set of staffing challenges that are reverberating through the industry.
According to Healthcare Finance News, hospital operating margins declined for the second month in a row in October. Operating margins are down by more than 12%, due to rising labor costs. The same report cited in Healthcare Finance News also concluded that labor costs have risen by 12.6% in the year since October 2020.
Inpatient volumes have remained stable and both inpatient and outpatient revenues have grown for the last 8 months. So clearly, the reduction in operation margins is being exacerbated by the labor shortage. We can talk about numbers and profit margins all we want. However, that doesn’t really paint the full picture of what hospitals and practices are up against.
While patient-facing staff receive a lot of attention – think shortages of nurses and physicians’ assistants – back-office staff are just as impacted by the tight labor market. Fewer back-office workers mean longer turnaround times for reimbursements. It means fewer workers will be taking on a heavier workload, compounding staff burnout, and accelerating the Great Resignation of healthcare workers. This vicious cycle will keep repeating itself all while practice managers struggle to keep their offices afloat.
One potential solution to these staffing challenges lies with outsourcing. Increasingly, practice managers are choosing to outsource their labor instead of dealing with the headache of staffing in this market. A third-party vendor can supply labor for a variety of back-office processes. The growing popularity of outsourcing has led to an even more interesting development – staffing services as a part of a full-service RCM partnership. More practices and providers are recognizing back-office staffing as a vital part of their RCM strategy.
Back-office workflow and staffing are a vital part of your RevCycle ecosystem. Increasingly, full-service RevCycle partners are integrating back-office staffing services and customer-facing call centers as part of their service offering. This is a popular option with many practice managers because it addresses staffing needs, as well as training, education, and oversight. Less practice resources are devoted to managing staff and refocused on delivering value-based medical care to patients. An RCM partner will be more equipped to scout and supply new talent, all while reducing labor costs internally at the practice.
There will always be a need for healthcare. People continue to get sick and injured, regardless of what the economy is doing. These are precarious times for practices and hospitals, especially for smaller or rural facilities lacking the resources and patient volume to sustain profitability. Outsourcing staffing needs to a RevCycle partner is one cost-effective way to increase your organization’s capacity and efficiency.
At PRL, we work tirelessly each day to give our providers the best staffing support. Our solutions include training and education, staff white-labeling, and patient experience specialists. Whatever your RevCycle needs may be, PRL is waiting to partner with you. Together, we can help make your practice profitable and resilient enough to thrive even in the most uncertain circumstances. For more information, please contact our Sales team. They would be happy to start a dialogue on how to improve your practice’s financial performance.