In 2021 staff shortages were ranked as the number one concern among hospital CEOs in a recent survey by the American College of Healthcare Executives. Staffing, topped other financial challenges and patient safety, as the second and third most pressing concern respectively.
“This is the first time since 2004 that financial challenges has moved from the most significant challenge to the second position,” says Deborah J. Bowen, FACHE, CAE, president and CEO of the American College of Healthcare Executives. “Both long- and short-term solutions are needed to address the shortages in critical front-line staff shown in our study to ensure hospitals have workforces that can meet the demands for safe, high-quality care both today and in the future.”
How did staff shortages become the top concern? It’s a complex problem that cannot be traced to a single issue. However, the pandemic certainly contributed to staffing challenges particularly as work-from-home opportunities lured talent out of healthcare facilities.
The same person who used to work for the local Memorial Hospital from their home can now also work for large, highly resourced health systems hundreds of miles away. The pandemic opened an entirely new front that is making it more challenging for hospital and ASC leaders to fully staff up in many areas, including revenue cycle management and IT.
Although financial challenges are listed as the second most pressing concern, staffing costs are bundled into this category as well. Among the financial challenges, the increasing costs for staff and supplies came at the top of the list with 87% of CEOs citing this concern. Therefore, the negative impact of staffing challenges comes with a twofold effect.
According to Healthcare Innovation, a new nationwide survey was recently conducted by research firm Censuswide polling CFOs and vice presidents of revenue cycle management (RCM). The results were striking. The survey revealed that 92% are experiencing some degree of a labor shortage, with 48% citing a severe shortage in staff. Meanwhile, among those organizations experiencing revenue cycle & billing department labor shortages, 40% of billing departments say their organizations have up to 3 in 4 positions vacant.
Grappling with workforce challenges, some healthcare providers are leaning into intelligent automation or outsourcing to combat their staffing woes. Healthcare leaders are facing more responsibilities being stretched between fewer people, greater competition in attracting qualified staff, and increasing struggles with retaining existing talent. Outsourced talent often brings a broader pool of highly qualified revenue cycle experts than a hospital or ASC would be able to find in its own local community.
At MedTek, our consolidated revenue cycle management process drives efficiency and transparency at every step. By collecting and analyzing historical, current, and predictive data, we’re able to measure all of our client’s revenue cycle processes and apply continuous, impactful improvement. Our committed teams of Medical Transcriptionists, Certified Coders and Billing Experts deliver the highest levels of accuracy. And our dedicated customer service team is readily available to provide technical support. If staffing problems are challenging your organization, reach out to MedTek to see how we can help.