Staffing Issues Affect Medical Billing for Rural Hospitals

Rural hospitals are facing the burden of managing clinical as well as business side of their practice. Due to time constraint, rising number of patients and lack of experienced staff, handling basic operations has become a troublesome task. To make matters worse, rise in cost of care and decrease in reimbursement has increased challenges for rural hospitals.

As per the 2014 budget proposed by the Obama government, critical access status for various hospitals will be eliminated and only 100% of cost will be paid instead of 101%. Reduction in this payment will bring significant changes to rural hospitals as majority of patients coming to this hospital are Medicare patients (sicker and older than their urban counterparts).

Amidst payment cuts, such hospitals don’t have money to buy expensive IT due to which complying with regulatory requirements such as ICD-10 and HIPAA-5010 has become extremely difficult. This change is not just forcing rural hospitals to cut their services but many hospitals are even planning to close down.

Staffing issues affecting revenue cycle of rural hospitals:

Approximately 20% of the population in the US lives outside of American cities and suburbs whereas, only 9-10% of doctors practice in rural areas. Hiring and retaining staff in rural hospitals is very difficult as interest in moving to a rural area is very low.

Lack of well trained coders and billers creates room for errors, leading to delayed or no payment. Even if rural hospitals happen to hire experienced staff, retaining them with a good salary becomes impossible due to lack of finance as payment is declining from government side.

Some of the common challenges faced by rural hospitals are:

  • Rise in number of days in account receivables
  • Reduction in annual collection revenue
  • Decrease in revenue generation from third-party insurance
  • Lack of trained coding and billing staff
  • Unavailability of resources and in-house staff training  

Accuracy in clinical documentation, error-free coding, quality reporting and performance monitoring is extremely important for strengthening the revenue cycle management of rural hospitals. These tasks are possible only when sufficient time and money is invested and well-trained coders and billers are hired, which is difficult task for such hospitals. Due to these limitations, many rural hospitals are hiring a billing partner to handle their medical billing services.

The headache of getting expert billers and coders, buying latest software and management of other administrative functions can be eliminated by outsourcing hospitalist medical billing functions to a reputed company. Billing partner will be assigning a separate team of billers for your hospital, ensuring timely claim filing, follow-ups and reimbursements.

Billing partners such as offer a team of billing specialists to rural hospitals that are facing reduction in payments due to staffing issues. Our main aim is to strengthen the revenue cycle of such hospitals by assigning them a well-trained team that will handle claim development, accurate coding, electronic filing, timely follow-up with insurance companies and other administrative tasks. We have a proven track record of helping rural hospital reduce claims denials and maximize profits through comprehensive hospitalist medical billing services.