Revenue Cycle Solutions

Why Have Someone Else Perform Your Business Office Functions

The managing of any business is detailed and involves many areas. In most industries these areas, or departments, are compartmentalized. Someone is in charge of operations. Another is responsible for production. There’s a department for finance and accounting. Then there is sales, marketing, and recruiting, etc. In the Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) industry most, if not all, of these functions are given to one or two individuals: an ASC administrator and possibly a business office manager. One method of aiding the management of and increasing the profits of an ASC is to allow a qualified outside party perform some business functions, specifically those associated with revenue cycle management and accounting and financial management. This is often referred to as "outsourcing".

Following are some areas to help in deciding if letting an outside party perform business office functions is a viable option.

Why Should I Let Someone Else Perform My Business Office Functions

Managing an Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) is growing more complex every day. It is becoming increasingly difficult to manage the business side of an outpatient surgery center which can lead to a lack of focus on providing high quality patient care. Administrative challenges are increasing, reimbursement rates are declining, and business operating costs are rising. These, coupled with complicated payment systems, elaborate compliance requirements, and IT security and reliability issues, can lead to increased time, attention, and frustration in administrative matters. This in turn can cause profit margins to decrease, slow revenue growth, and ultimately reduce partner income.

The combining of clinical and financial information technology systems, in conjunction with changing reimbursement rates, complicated billing processes and the associated compliance risks are leading more ASCs to choose an outside company to perform business office functions. Many outpatient surgery centers are progressing beyond just having an outside party perform billing and collections to handling all the revenue cycle functions. They are also looking to find qualified ASC specific experts to handle their accounting and financial management.

Outside Party vs. In-House

The big question is: Should I have an outside company perform my back office functions or keep these processes in house? There are many considerations Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) should contemplate when deciding whether to retain or let go of back office functions (transcription, coding, billing, accounts receivable, collections, accounting, etc.). If kept internally, an outpatient surgery center would be able to utilize existing staff, avoid dependence on a billing company or outside accounting firm, and maintain control of services of the revenue cycle process and monthly accounting responsibilities. If an outside party performs business office functions, an outpatient surgery center would not need to hire, train and retain back office staff or an accountant with limited ASC industry accounting experience, would improve collections performance, decrease costs, change back office expenses into a variable cost versus being fixed, and would reduce many administrative headaches. Additionally, other factors to consider in deciding between an outside company vs. in-house must include: cost and complexity of Information Technology, security risks, properly calculated revenue recognition, and increased regulations associated with coding, billing, HIPAA requirements, etc. By letting go of control of these business office functions and ASC can gain better control of their revenue. See what Amblitel’s Back Office Services provide.

What Services Should be Performed by an Outside Party

The next consideration in delegating business office services to an outside company is deciding which business functions should an Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) let go of and which should be kept in-house? Traditionally, allowing an outside company to handle business office functions has been limited to transcription, coding, billing, and some accounting services. There are many companies that provide these traditional services to ASCs. However, back office services consist of much more. If an outpatient surgery center wants to maximize the value it receives from an outside company, it must think of all the tasks and processes associated with the cash flow and tracking of the center. All of these tasks and processes are defined as "The Revenue Cycle" or "Accounting or Financial Management" and it must be managed in its entirety if an ASC is to get the best possible financial return for its outpatient surgery center. An ASC may decide to outsource all the tasks of the revenue cycle, from transcription to collections and accounts receivable management along with all the financial accounting functions. Typically a center might give these tasks to several different vendors that do one part. It would be easier if one partner was capable of providing and responsible for the overall revenue cycle performance and the accounting and financial management. Amblitel provides all of these services.

Are There Other Options

Traditionally, Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) were faced with a pretty clear cut choice: perform the revenue cycle process and accounting internally or outsource it to an outside company. If you chose to do it in-house, that means buying a practice management system and the required IT infrastructure, an accounting system, along with the associated costs of hiring and training staff, updating, and maintaining the systems. Then it became possible to have the health information and accounting system hosted remotely and accessible via the Internet and eliminate all the complexity and costs associated with the ASC having a stand-alone IT infrastructure. This model is known as either an ASP (Application Service Provider) or SaaS (Software as a Service) and either name refers to a time sharing arrangement.

Is there an option somewhere between doing it "in-house" versus an outside company doing it? Yes! Amblitel provides an alternative that allows outpatient surgery centers to manage the revenue cycle or accounting tasks with in-house employees, but utilize the business platform (Information Technology Platform, business processes, reporting, accounting, etc.) that Amblitel has for our back office services. This is called "Insourcing". This approach is designed around the current trend in information technology known as "software on demand". This concept provides remarkable technology advantages to ASCs, particularly, single owned centers. Ask us if Insourcing is right for you.

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