The Impact of Covid-19 on Physicians’ Practices: 32% Reduction in Collections Industry Wide vs. 11.8% Reduction for Revele's eClinicalWorks RCM Clients.
When the Covid-19 pandemic first hit the US in March 2020, no industry was left unaffected, but its impact on the medical sector and physicians’ practices was like no other. Many medical providers have been struggling financially ever since the initial wave. As the profession raced to handle the most extraordinary medical emergency of our lifetime, the quarantine meant that other nonessential medical issues and routine check-ups were delayed, with significant financial consequences on these practices’ financial health.
How significant? Let’s take a look at the numbers.
According to recent studies, America’s healthcare system collectively has lost $50.7 billion in monthly revenue because of the pandemic. That’s because most healthcare facilities could not handle nonessential or non-Covid-related procedures as a result of social distancing requirements as well as patient anxiety. This loss was felt across the board: An AMA survey of physicians nationwide found an average drop in revenue of 32%.
The industry shed more than 1.4 million healthcare worker jobs in the pandemic’s first month. And while those numbers have returned, they remain stuck below pre-pandemic levels. The impact also varied significantly according to specialty. A study of Medicare physician spending showed a reduction of 6% for nephrology in the first six months of 2020, while physical therapy experienced a 34% reduction.
All of this arrived on top of the social and psychological impact of the pandemic on healthcare workers, who faced the risk of personal exposure to the disease, not to mention contending with the legitimate fear of infecting loved ones.
The switch to Telemedicine was a necessary development of the pandemic because it allowed patients to consult with their physicians when in-person visits were not permitted or when patients did not feel secure about visiting their physician’s office.
Medicare spending on Telehealth skyrocketed from 0.1% of total Medicare physician spending pre-pandemic to more than 16% of total spending in April 2020. But even with the increased number of Telehealth appointments, physicians still saw fewer patients than before the pandemic.
The growth of Telehealth has benefitted patients and alleviated some of the financial pain for physicians’ practices. Historically there have been discrepancies in payment rates and qualifications for Telehealth versus in-person visits. When the pandemic first hit, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a waiver allowing Medicare to pay for Telehealth services at the same rate as in-person visits. Notably, this policy change was subject to any existing regulations on the state level. According to the nonprofit Center for Connected Health Policy, most, but not all, private insurers followed suit, agreeing—though only temporarily—to reimburse Telehealth visits at the in-person rate. Although these responses by the federal government and private payers are encouraging, the financial struggle for healthcare providers continues.
Revele RCM Clients Average Decrease in Revenue Much Less Than Overall Industry Average
An AMA survey of physicians nationwide found an average drop in revenue of 32%. However, the average decline in collections for Revele RCM Clients during the same period was significantly less at 11.8%. In other words, non-Revele medical practices experienced a decrease in collections almost three times worse than Revele's RCM Clients.
Under these trying circumstances, every dollar counts. That’s why RCM services provided by Revele can make a difference, as illustrated during the recent crisis.
Each Revele client, regardless of size, has a Client Success Team consisting of five subject matter experts on top of the typical staff required to process and resolve medical claims. The Client Success Team consists of the following:
- Client Performance Manager - Leads CST and proactively analyzes client performance and industry changes to identify opportunities for revenue performance.
- Billing Resource Consultant - Helps customers with timely issue resolution, process adoption, and ongoing training.
- Billing performance Lead - Oversees day-to-day claims processing and aligns team performance with client expectations and goals.
- Coding Resource Consultant - Helps customers improve payment velocity by analyzing denials and rejections. Provides chart audits and ongoing medical coding education. Looks for proper coding techniques to improve revenue optimization. Reviews codes and trends for compliance purposes.
- eClinicalWorks EHR Optimization Specialist - Provides ongoing eCW software optimization, conducts annual database reviews, and provides knowledge, training, and recommendations on new eCW software features.
Revele’s team of experts is a luxury many practices can not match. It offers a full-service solution, helping physicians adjust to every challenge, including the unprecedented and sudden challenges created by Covid-19. Revele helped many of its clients pivot to Telehealth in a concise time frame. Furthermore, while new charges decreased for most, Revele could supplement the Client's cash flow by turning old, denied claims into accelerated cash using Revele's proprietary AR resolution technology. Furthermore, Revele's clients didn't have to deal with the many staffing and personnel challenges the typical medical practice faced. With Revele’s Revenue Cycle Management services, you can spend less time worrying about revenue and more time doing what you do best — providing care.
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