Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are experiencing a situation of uncertainty like never before. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically throttled the ability of many ASCs to perform anything but essential procedures, and has also forced some medical systems to re-purpose these centers for unconventional purposes. With revenue cycles at risk of being disrupted entirely, ASCs must adapt–quickly–to ensure that they remain financially viable once the healthcare environment begins to transition back to normal operations.
3 strategies ASCs can use to stabilize their revenue cycles
1. ADAPT TO URGENT NEEDS
Though nearly all elective procedures have been cancelled or delayed for the foreseeable future, ASCs can find alternative means for supplementing these high revenue generating appointments. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently updated guidelines to allow surgery centers to treat emergent procedures like fractures, tears and major lacerations, but also offer high revenue-generating services typically seen at urgent care clinics or emergency rooms. Offering these care options can help ASCs continue to drive revenue with a modified offering.
2. SUPPORT HOSPITALS BY MODIFYING PRIMARY SERVICE OFFERING
Some ASCs also have an opportunity to retrofit their spaces for entirely atypical purposes, playing a key role in fighting this pandemic in the process. While not without its own set of challenges with regard to billing, a number of centers have found a sustainable model for generating revenue by serving as dedicated birthing centers, providing a safe space for new parents to bring their children into the world. This not only allows for an environment with a lower chance of infection from the coronavirus for this susceptible population group, but also frees up valuable beds and resources for hospitals who are scrambling to provide care to COVID-19 patients.
3. BE PROACTIVE ABOUT REVENUE PROCESSING
From a financial and operational perspective, the worst thing ASCs can do during the COVID-19 crisis–is nothing. Though this situation is far from “patient care as usual,” it is critical that typical functions like submitting payer claims, patient payment and billing, and other components of the revenue cycle are not just maintained but optimized. ASCs can’t afford to be reactionary when it comes to maintaining their income streams in the best of times, and now, in a time of crisis, it’s more important than ever to stay proactive and diligent from a financial perspective. This means maintaining typical processes, as well as using empathetic, understanding and strategic communication when collecting out-of-pocket responsibilities from patients.
At this time, we have more questions than answers as to how long COVID-19 will impact the healthcare industry. But what we do know is this: centers can use creativity, adaptability and diligence to generate revenue while doing what they do best–helping patients get back to health.
BHG Patient Lending specializes in helping ASCs maximize revenue, decrease costs, and increase the customer experience. For more tips on how to maintain financial stability amid COVID-19, download our free e–book here.