Doctors, nurses, and other front-line medical professionals have been receiving a lot of attention lately, for good reason. But it’s important to remember that there are thousands of positions in the medical field that are critical to the inner workings of a medical facility. These jobs may not require higher education or the ability to stand a little blood, but they can be very rewarding.
Medical revenue cycle careers are necessary for a medical facility or office to keep its doors open. It is the process of documenting, collecting, and maintaining finances for all patient services. Without a strong revenue cycle, medical facilities will not have the finances to pay their invoices and staff. Medical facilities are always looking for highly qualified professionals to join their revenue cycle team so that this crucial element of the business keeps pace with the needs of their patients.
The revenue cycle starts with a patient appointment or hospital visit and ends when the doctor or hospital is fully paid for the services provided. There are seven steps to the cycle. These include preregistration, registration, charge capture, claim submission, remittance processing, insurance follow-up, and patient collections.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics overall employment for revenue cycle careers is projected to grow 9% from 2020 to 2030. Approximately 34,300 openings for medical records and health information specialists are projected each year. Many of those openings will result from the need to replace workers who leave the healthcare industry for other jobs or retire.
As our aging population requires more medical services, medical revenue cycle specialists will be needed to organize and manage the increase in patient health information and billing data. Additional records, and the increased use of electronic health records (EHRs), will lead to a greater need for specialists to organize and manage crucial patient and provider information in all areas of the healthcare industry.
Arizona is one of the states with the highest ratio of billing and coding professionals per every thousand jobs at 2.20. That means there is a lot of opportunity for those interested in this field. And it’s important to know that these jobs are in more than hospitals and doctor’s offices. They are also found in skilled nursing facilities, outpatient rehab and care centers, and home health care services.
There are many revenue cycle roles an employee can plan along with all 7 steps. Here is a ranking of the revenue cycle roles that have the greatest need to fill and the number of employers who said they need more talent in that role in December 2021:
- Registrars (59.6%)
- Billing specialists (54.7%)
- Patient follow-up (42.4%)
- Front-office staff (38.7%)
- Central scheduling (37.8%)
- Denial specialists (37.1%)
- Authorization staff (36.1%)
- Claims specialists (35.2%)
- Collections (34.4%)
Changes in the Industry
With healthcare regulations changing at a rapid pace, it is very hard for most healthcare organizations to use the same policies year over year in the revenue cycle. But collecting payments from patients at or before point-of-service is critical to success. Data from an InstaMed report in 2020 revealed that 74% of healthcare providers experience collection times of more than 30 days. High deductibles and other financial worries mean that many patients cannot pay medical bills at the time of service. Healthcare organizations are stuck between the problem of collecting payments on time and risking losing patients.
Now there are new collection strategies, brought on by the pandemic. Many healthcare providers have created new patient payment options, extended payment terms, or adjusted bad debt placement timing in the cycle.
Coding and charge recording are also revenue cycle management challenges. Mistakes by staff lead to claims reimbursement issues. The best employers invest in regular employee education programs that teach best practices in coding, chart documentation, and financial policy.
Medical revenue cycle management continues to evolve and keep pace with rapid changes in the healthcare ecosystem, and the employees within these departments will always be a critical element of any healthcare organization.
Competition for Revenue Cycle Jobs
In some markets, there is intense competition among newly graduated workers for medical revenue cycle positions. Many health systems are seeking new graduates with specific degrees in healthcare management or administration. Employers are looking for familiarity with software like Epic, Cerner, and Meditech and strong math skills. And applicants don’t need a technical background, they do need to be able to handle math and measurements. The best employers are also offering opportunities for cross-training and further education so that their employees can be even more proficient at the entire cycle. Education is paramount for medical revenue cycle professionals because billing regulations and policies can change on an almost quarterly basis. If you are thinking about a medical revenue cycle job, check out our job board. We have several positions available in a variety of settings. Your new career is waiting. Contact us today for more information.