REVENUE CYCLE DISASTER RECOVERY PLANNING (DRP) IS CRITICAL
Most hospitals have highly detailed disaster plans that are mostly focused on direct patient care issues and that is absolutely the appropriate focus. However, we as revenue cycle professionals advocate the reminder that cash flow is a critical when disaster strikes. The following wikipedia link articulates DRP issues fairly well – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disaster_recovery_plan
Here are a few questions to think about as you review your revenue cycle disaster plan:
What is the increased volume capacity of the hospital and how would sudden increased volume caused by a disaster and perhaps sustained for several weeks impact registration, coding, billing and collections? For example, if you are accustomed to X OP/ED visits and Y census, what happens if volumes increase to hospital capacity? Is it a 25% increase, 40% or more? If your system is down and staff can’t get to work, what is the plan?
How quickly can EHR’s, subsidiary AR ledgers, patient account histories and other data be accessed and what would the process be to do it?
Is there a resource in the revenue cycle operation that is well versed in securing funds from various agencies that are involved in disaster relief?
Generally, 99% of hospital employees live in the immediate area surrounding the facility. They are therefore in the effected area and most are either dealing with personal trauma or in other cases they are patients. But the work of financial and revenue cycle professionals must continue in order to maintain patient services and to support the viability of the hospital. This includes management and technicians as well.
The contemporary and increasing practice of using remote hospital resources for certain functions is an option to consider, not only during disaster conditions but routinely. This option delivers an experienced labor pool and/or leadership team when the need arises.
Nearterm is in the business of providing interim resources to healthcare providers as part of the business model. Nearterm has clients routinely accessing this model as part of their routine non-disaster operation but it is easily applied when providers face disaster management challenges. Resources might include senior financial leaders, department heads, HIM Directors, Patient Financial Service Managers, Coding Managers, Collectors, Billers, call center personnel and more.
We are always interested in sharing solutions developed by hospitals and colleagues. Please feel free to share your experience by responding to this blog. If you would like to hear more about how we can be of assistance or simply get acquainted, let’s talk.
Jim Matthews; Nearterm Corporation