At the Margins

Our latest insight into health care margin improvement efforts

Quick poll: How do you manage physician billing?

by Rachel Matthews March 6, 2019

Do you manage billing for both employed and independent physicians? Are your physician practices on the same billing system as your hospital?

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Wondering if your patients price shop? Ask if they have a health savings account.

by Robin Brand and Rachel Matthews February 20, 2019

When first introduced, high deductible health plans (HDHPs) were viewed by many as a silver bullet. Cost-sharing promotes consumerism, so the story goes, and so once patients bear responsibility for their health spending, they'll price shop their way to low-cost, high-quality providers. But studies show that individuals with HDHPs are actually more likely to decrease care utilization across health services, including utilization of medication, imaging, and preventative care. HDHP consumers aren't savvy—they're scared.

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How engaged is your revenue cycle staff?

by Anita Mago February 13, 2019

As hospitals and health systems increasingly focus on margin health, the revenue cycle has emerged as a critical strategic asset. Revenue cycle staff and leaders are being asked to do more with less. In this challenging environment, highly motivated and engaged staff are no longer a nice-to-have, they're absolutely essential.

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The revenue cycle reading list: January 2019

by Anita Mago February 6, 2019

Revenue cycle leaders, welcome to your first reading list of 2019! Every month we'll round-up the most interesting and timely revenue cycle content, so you don't have to. Enjoy!

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Online chargemasters mean little to patients—and Congress is noticing

by Robin Brand and Rachel Matthews January 30, 2019

CMS' 2019 price transparency requirement spurred a lot of questions from our members, who were concerned about both compliance and whether or not public chargemasters would actually help patients, or just confuse the already muddy health care cost waters. RCAC continues to monitor the impact of the requirement and how it evolves.

We recently attended The Price of Good Health: Health Policies & Politics in the 116th Congress, a panel event hosted by the Council for Affordable Health Coverage. Portions of the panel focused on the CMS requirement, and several policymakers expressed frustration with the proliferation of electronic chargemasters in lieu of true hospital price transparency. Here are our key takeaways after listening to their conversation:

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What matters (and doesn't) in your patients' financial experience, according to our 1,000-patient survey

by Rachel Matthews December 12, 2018

To offer a best-in-class patient financial experience, it's critical to understand the patient. Every patient comes with a unique financial perspective—differing needs and priorities that providers must navigate. In 2018, our research team set out to chart consumer financial preferences by surveying 1,000 adult patients who underwent a non-emergency surgery within the past 18 months. Our survey had two main components:

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CMS hospital outpatient rule dropped this morning: 3 highlights you need to know.

by Eric Fontana and Kenna Hawes November 2, 2018

CMS this morning released its final regulations for payments to hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) and ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). CMS is adopting several key measures to curb surging HOPD spending amid modest rate updates for HOPDs and ASCs. Overall, HOPD rates will increase by 1.35% in 2019 while ASC services will rise by 2.1%, owing to a new rate update methodology. These updates will take effect on January 1, 2019.

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Want to perfect your patient financial experience? Help us help you.

by Robin Brand and Rachel Matthews October 12, 2018

As hospital margins continue to tighten, health systems face enormous pressure to offer a best-in-class patient experience that also ensures compensation for provided care. Between mobile scheduling, consolidated billing, and personalized financial counseling, satisfying today's patients can be tricky. Providers looking to improve their patient financial experience should ask two key questions: Which financial tools and resources do my patients want? Which of those tools will actually help get me paid?

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