Hospital execs: More self-pay, lower reimbursement coming post-COVID-19

Hospital and health system leaders are preparing for reimbursement shifts after the COVID-19 pandemic, including growth in self-pay patients and lower reimbursement from commercial payers, according to an analysis from the Guidehouse Center for Health Insights, which cited data from a Healthcare Financial Management Association survey.

The survey, which included responses from 150 provider CFOs and revenue cycle executives, asked for predictions around reimbursement and revenue cycle in the next 12 months. Topics included payer mix changes, consumer experience, revenue cycle IT budgets and price transparency.  

Five takeaways from the survey and Guidehouse’s analysis: 

1. About 70 percent of hospital and health system executives said they are preparing for lower commercial reimbursement as self-pay patients and Medicaid beneficiaries increase.

2. Nearly all — 92 percent of executive respondents — have increased telehealth use. Seventy-three percent said they used telehealth to increase engagement with patients and meet consumerism demands.

3. Payment engagement strategies the executives are using include financial counseling and payment plans (63 percent) and online portals for price estimates and payment (56 percent).

4. Providers are planning for decreases in their revenue cycle IT budgets. Compared to 2019 survey results, 35 percent of executives said their IT budgets will increase in the next year, down from 69 percent. Twenty-seven percent said their IT budget will decrease, up from 5 percent. 

5. For EHRs, 42 percent of respondents said adoption is outweighing challenges presented by EHRs. Sixty-eight percent said they appropriately use available EHR functions. Both percentages are up year over year from 31 percent and 59 percent, respectively. 

View the full analysis here

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