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5 revenue cycle leaders weigh in on staffing challenges

5 revenue cycle leaders weigh in on staffing challenges
August 18, 2022 Rachel Tirabassi

By Andrew Cass for Becker’s Hospital Review

Staffing is one of the biggest challenges facing revenue cycle leaders today. Here are what five leaders recently told Becker’s about that issue.

James O’Connell. Director of revenue cycle at Inspira Health (Vineland, N.J.):

Currently, I believe the greatest challenge to most hospitals is maintaining staff in the revenue cycle. Filling open positions in both the front-end registration and back-end patient accounting areas has become very difficult. Inspira, like many hospitals, is running at only a fraction of the budgeted positions for these areas.

We are also experiencing turnover after people hired into these positions have been in place long enough to transfer into other areas of the hospital. It is not unusual for the business office and registration to be the entry point into the system for someone seeking other opportunities. However, now with the shortage of qualified candidates out there, it is only exacerbating the situation when we train someone for three to six months, and then they immediately transfer out of the revenue cycle to a position that pays them 5 percent to 10 percent more per hour.

Sheldon Pink. Vice president of revenue cycle at Luminis Health (Annapolis, Md.):

I believe we have to be better leaders because retention is a universal challenge. Retention will be a statistic that leaders will be judged by in the future. It’s not only going to be revenue cycle performance. As a vice president of RCM, I will not keep hiring a director every three or four months. Based on our market dynamics, people are not leaving for the dollar. They’re going because they don’t like their leader. After all, other jobs are available, so as leaders, we must focus on developing our team and being better managers.

Niobis Queiro. Senior vice president of revenue cycle management at Tufts Medicine (Boston):

Healthcare has never been competitive in relation to the pay scale of our revenue cycle team members. We also have high expectations with little training and resources delivered. This is a recipe for disengagement and difficulty in attracting a competent workforce. When the average starting hourly rate for a registrar in Massachusetts is around $20 an hour, but you need to earn $36.24 an hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment, you have to question how are we supporting the viability of our staff and why are we creating our own high turnover rate. We state that this profession has defined career paths, but we are not behaving as such. We need to pay appropriately, get our team members educated and certified and reach out to students early as they make decisions for their future and spark interest. We need to walk the talk. Let’s make revenue cycle management a known professional path.

Lisa Schillaci. Vice president of revenue cycle operations at Houston Methodist: 

We must be deliberate in encouraging our employees to contribute and grow in ways that are most meaningful to them. Talent management must be pursued daily, with focus on meeting our employees’ needs of connectedness, flexibility and their overall well-being.

Lauren Vessie, Director of patient access at Renown Health (Reno, Nev.):

Today’s economy and workforce is very different than it has ever been before, and our entire team has worked very hard on creative solutions allowing us to continue to balance normal operations, providing care to our patients in need, while also protecting our staff from burnout and turnover.

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