Revenue cycle management is now of extreme importance due to the immense resource demands of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The healthcare industry is taking extensive measures to cope with the demands of the pandemic; however, there are brand new revenue cycle challenges regarding income generation, medical coding and billing, and designating proper resources.

The Healthcare system is losing income rapidly

Some practices may not have enough income to respond to the surge of covid-19 testing and patients. A recent Advisory Board estimate states that a typical 1,000-bed hospital system with a moderate surge in COVID-19 patients is expected to lose approximately 50 percent of its quarterly revenue. This COVID-19 examination includes prominent hospitals in the United States. Even prestigious hospitals are notably affected and are forced to hand out pay cuts and furlough workers. According to a new study conducted by HealthAffairs, there is a national estimate of $654 billion in direct healthcare costs during the pandemic. 

Medical Coding

Medical coding and billing is imperative to track the spread of Coronavirus. Amidst the pandemic, the unemployment rate brings further difficulties for coding and billing. The CDC has defined crucial coding and reporting guidelines for COVID-19. These guidelines include best practices in regards to coding confirmed cases. Furthermore, specific guidelines are included for all of the following; defining the proper sequence of codes, patients who were exposed to COVID-19, screening patients for COVID-19, and primary codes for definite symptoms of COVID-19.

Designating Resources

Hospitals are now overloaded with a large number of symptomatic Coronavirus patients. Furthermore, there are staff shortages and hospitals are running low on supplies. An article published by the Center for Health Security recommends hospitals to limit the number of staff who are exposed to COVID-19 patients. It is necessary to utilize overtime and long shifts for staff in the COVID-19 units to limit the number of staff needed. Additionally, when possible, use staff who are immune (recovered) in the COVID-19 units. Overall, COVID-19 has impacted the Revenue Management Cycle extensively. By taking advantage of the notable improvements, such as the implementation and execution of new medical codes, the healthcare revenue cycle will ultimately become increasingly resilient for the future.