Six months into the coronavirus pandemic and hospitals and healthcare providers are now beginning to realize the biggest problem they are going to face if they are to stay afloat -- replacing lost revenue. Many providers canceled elective procedures for months and individuals are still reluctant to go anywhere near hospitals because of COVID-19, and that is causing a tremendous strain on providers who are trying to find money to keep the lights on and keep paying everyone. This places even more importance on making sure that every penny of unpaid debts and medical bills are paid by patients.
A survey of more than 2,300 healthcare professionals from across the country revealed that 36% of them think that lost revenue during the course of the pandemic is the biggest healthcare trend worth watching in the coming year. The survey, conducted by Definitive Healthcare, also revealed that the delay in care for millions of Americans will cause a ripple effect across the industry that will likely be felt for years to come. Following the loss of revenue, what worries healthcare professionals the most is the implications of delayed care, such as ignored preventative and critical care for high-risk and chronic patients.
Another potential hit for healthcare providers is the millions of individuals who have lost their jobs -- and their access to health insurance. That will create more strain on the revenue side of their operations and make maximizing collections of bills -- regardless of their age -- more important.
The potential release of a coronavirus vaccine may be what many people ultimately need in order to feel comfortable scheduling elective procedures again, the survey's authors hypothesized.
Rural hospitals, in particular, are feeling the cash crunch, because many of them were hurting before the pandemic struck across America.
Healthcare providers are going to have to do everything they can to cut expenses and maximize their revenue in order to get through the short- and long-term problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Outsourcing the collection of unpaid bills and bad debt to a collection agency may be just what the doctor ordered and help them on both the revenue and expenses side of the ledger. Providers should be looking at initiating or expanding their relationships with third-party agencies to help them through this crisis.