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Healthcare Financial Leaders Rank Competitive Talent Market, Vaccine Mandates and Burnout as Biggest Workforce Challenges

Challenges significantly impair revenue cycle employee recruitment and retention

AKASA, the leading developer of AI for healthcare operations, released findings from a new survey where healthcare finance leaders ranked the biggest challenges in recruiting and retention within the revenue cycle as healthcare organizations navigate significant staffing gaps across the board.

The survey of more than 400 healthcare financial leaders ranked the following as the biggest challenge impacting operations:

  • #1: Competitive market for talent (71%)
  • #2: Vaccine mandates (42%)
  • #3: Employee burnout (41%)
  • #4: Rapid employee turnover (40%)
  • #5: Limitations to offer remote work (23%)

“The back office of healthcare is essential to keeping the doors of hospitals open by making sure the bills are paid,” said Malinka Walaliyadde, co-founder and CEO of AKASA. “Yet, these teams are facing labor shortages like never before. COVID-19 has stretched hospitals and healthcare systems beyond the breaking point. And for all the new problems the pandemic has introduced, it has also shone a light on decades-old issues, where healthcare operations teams have historically been understaffed. To tackle these challenges, leaders should continue to evolve strategies that boost morale and recruitment efforts, and examine opportunities to leverage AI to alleviate the burden on their teams.”

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Staff churn and the onslaught of COVID have both resulted in healthcare professionals working overtime and extra shifts. Beyond burnout, this is putting added financial strain on healthcare systems, as overtime pay is often higher than standard pay and further taxes the already-depleted resources of many revenue cycle departments. Added financial strain makes it more difficult to hire the additional people who are needed, which furthers the workload of the current team – creating a vicious cycle.

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With the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the healthcare worker vaccine mandate, some healthcare leaders may find it more difficult to find new talent or retain current staff who have been resistant to complying with the requirements – especially in states which have been lax on enforcing COVID-19 restrictions. As remote work increases and becomes the norm, hospitals and healthcare organizations are now competing with other providers across the country for the same talent. If a revenue cycle specialist is working at a local provider and making $14 an hour — but can remotely work for a larger healthcare provider in another state for $16 an hour — they have little reason to stay put. This also puts smaller systems and more rural ones (who often have lower pay scales) at an extreme disadvantage. Individuals are also leaving jobs for lateral moves, with the same pay, if it means they can work remotely.

“The hard truth of the revenue cycle is that no one ever touches everything,” said Amy Raymond, head of revenue cycle operation at AKASA. “There isn’t enough time or staffing resources. What happens? Queues get deprioritized, denials aren’t appealed, accounts receivable gets increasingly aged, payments are delayed, and write-offs go up. This is where automation can have a tremendous impact. Implementing automation immediately expands a team’s capacity to work. More tasks can be worked with the resources and time a team has. Automation also allows RCM leaders to elevate their staff to work more challenging, rewarding work and allows them to work at the top of their skill set.”

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AKASA is helping leaders understand the changing dynamics impacting the revenue cycle, offering strategies and insights from our experts and solutions to transform healthcare operations in this challenging environment. To learn more, download our new report, “No Resignation: Solving Today’s Greatest Staffing Challenges in the Healthcare Revenue Cycle.”

Commissioned by AKASA, the survey fielded responses from 411 chief financial officers and revenue cycle leaders at hospitals and health systems across the United States through the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s (HFMA) Pulse Survey program between December 1, 2021 and December 21, 2021. The national survey was designed to assess the adoption of automation in revenue cycle operations at hospitals and health systems across the U.S.

AKASA is the leading developer of AI for healthcare operations. AKASA scales human intelligence with leading-edge AI and ML securely trained on customer data to learn unique systems, continuously adapt to changing environments, and deliver comprehensive automation and analytics for complex workflows. The result is a seamlessly integrated, customized solution that reduces operating costs, frees up staff to do the work they love, and helps health systems allocate resources to where they matter most.

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