Wow! Was 2019 as much of a blur to you as it was to me?
Maybe I’m getting old (ok, that is a fact, not a maybe), but it sure seems to have flown by. It’s satisfying to see some stability in the healthcare sector, with many organizations improving their bottom line due to consolidations and greater efficiency in the revenue cycle. Programs like clinical documentation integrity, denials management, and targeted second-level coding reviews have helped.
As we look forward to 2020 in the healthcare industry, I believe we will see the return on investment programs accelerate while seeing each part of the revenue cycle become more efficient and effective from patient access to collections.
We hear rumors of ICD-11 and other national programs on the horizon that will help drive these efficiencies. This includes as we enter the time of use for the EHRs seeking the promises made by the investment.
Now the bad news: healthcare costs continue to rise at an alarming and disproportionate rate to United States inflation. Our employee health insurance premiums are up more than 400% since the founding of Harmony in 2010 with the exact same insurance coverage options. Service has certainly not improved by 400%!
Putting solutions to work
There are solutions that can fight these increases. These include deregulation allowing open competition between payors and litigation reform. As we saw in the airline industry, deregulation created a very static price for decades without a claimed risk to safety. We have also seen how deregulation of state-to-state insurance all but stopped the inflationary pressures in the auto insurance industry.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention clinician pay in a conversation about healthcare costs. We’ve seen very little increase, as overly burdensome restraint to their incomes and career viability becomes a less than optimal motivator for the best and brightest to care for us.
Creating a smarter, stronger system
There is no end to the challenges and opportunities that the new year will bring. We must press our politicians and business leaders to be bold. We need them to take a stand in creating a system that provides us all with access to quality and cost-effective healthcare and health plans.
With all this said, Harmony’s goal, dedication, and culture focus on putting healthcare professionals and their organizations in a place to maximize their potential – be it in career development or gaining the highest ROI possible.
I wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season and a new year filled with inspiration and opportunities!