Take Your ASC Revenue Cycle to the Next Level Your employees are the most important tool to success BY JHO OUTLAW

We all know every penny counts, but the rapidly changing rules surrounding ASC reimbursement can make revenue cycle man-

agement difficult. We can be ready for whatever changes come our way if we have the right tools, anticipate and adapt. When we think “tools,” we generally think software, hardware and medical equipment, but the most important tool for an ASC’s success is something else that is sometimes forgotten. More on that later. Below are a few tips to man- age your revenue cycle successfully. Do your homework. Software and hardware are important tools for improvement. Surviving during 2017 and being prepared for 2018 will no doubt require partnerships to provide end-to-end solutions. Today’s ASCs should focus on the big picture. Your office and clinical software needs to address your needs and wants. You will have “give and take” with any solution, but there is a solution out there just right for you. Be sure to do the work when deciding. Use data to negotiate. Analytics tools are more important than ever. Making strategic decisions without meaningful and accurate data is the beginning of the end. There are sev- eral analytics tools available, and it is important to research and study each of them so you can determine which best suits your needs. Cer- tainly, the most successful ASCs use data when negotiating managed care contracts. The days of accepting the data the insurance company presents you with are gone. You must be pre- pared with costing analytics when discussing your rates. Renegotiat- ing your contracts should always be

tedly, the most challenging aspect of managing RCS key players is the time and energy we must spend to clearly define outcome expectations on an individual basis, but this is where the magic begins. Why is this time-consuming and

on your mind, and you need a well thought-out plan detailing the time- lines and priorities. Engage your team. There is abso- lutely no doubt that we need our soft- ware, data and analytics to succeed, but the key to optimal revenue cycle solutions (RCS) success is using these tools to lead our most important tool— our people. People are an often-over- looked tool we all have in our toolbox. So many leaders think RCS direct con- tributors are simply task masters, but this idea could not be further from the truth. We spend inordinate amounts of time and resources trying to auto- mate RCS processes and have been successful in many ways, but there is no way to run a successful RCS with- out trained, energetic, enthusiastic and engaged team members. Today’s RCS staff must be critical thinkers, goal driven and results focused. Admit-

complex? Specific to RCS, we use key performance indicators (KPI) to judge our success and plan for improvement. When it comes to the big picture, we are good at documenting these KPIs. For example, it is not hard to figure out, based on our payer and service mix, the overall healthy percentage of our accounts receivable (AR) should be less than 90 days old. We struggle to do the same, however, for the indi- vidual contributors. Sticking with the aged AR KPI, we can accomplish this by reviewing the individual assign- ments in the same way we review the big picture. Once we have done this, we can set the outcome expectations for the individual contributor as well. Once we are sure that a team member has the training and tools necessary to do a good job, we can judge that their AR should be less than 90 days old as one of their personal KPIs. When we take the time to do this for our team members and educate them as to exactly what we expect as outcomes, the end result is pretty amazing. Revenue cycle services teams do not reach best practice results when the people are driven by task. They reach best practice results when people are led by results expectations.

Jho Outlaw is the senior vice president of revenue cycle services at Surgical Information Systems in Fort Myers, Florida. Write her at

The advice and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent official Ambulatory Surgery Center Association policy or opinion. 20 ASC FOCUS NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017|

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