Change Your Rev Cycle Management Style for Remote Staff

Originally Published by Healthleaders Media on April 1, 2022.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many organizations to shift staff to remote work over the last couple of years. Revenue cycle departments are no exception.

The National Association of Healthcare Revenue Integrity recently conducted an industry survey which included a variety of revenue cycle leaders. All respondents reported that their department’s current work environment is now either completely remote (47%) or hybrid (53%).

Forty percent of respondents reported changes to their annual review processes or management strategies, processes, and policies.

Among the changes reported were the implementation of new productivity measures, adjustments to work hours to address time zone differences, and the development of new goals and goal-setting processes.

According to the survey, the implementation of productivity measures was the most frequently reported change. Such measures included daily and weekly electronic reports, more frequent personal communication between managers and staff, and daily meetings to discuss accomplishments.

At a recent HealthLeaders Revenue Cycle Virtual Exchange, industry leaders gave more insight on how management styles have changed since more staff is now remote.

Gerilynn Sevenikar, vice president of revenue cycle at Sharp HealthCare in San Diego, says her department is keeping an open mind and learning as they go.

“A hybrid model is preferred in our department,” says Sevenikar. “Working from home is a privilege that is performance-based.”

Dennis Shirley, vice president of revenue cycle at UnityPoint Health in Des Moines, Iowa, agrees that allowing your revenue cycle staff to work from home requires a focus on performance.

“Having remote staff has required a revamp of structure for productivity and managing our teams,” Shirley said.

Sevenikar says she likes the idea of a hybrid work environment for her revenue cycle department because when working remotely, the knowledge transfer that happens when you are co-located can be lost. This, Sevenikar says, can create a huge disconnect.

To this point, Shirley adds that “when it comes to educating teams, you lose those collision points that your employees would have gotten from being at the office.”

To alleviate these issues, it’s important for revenue cycle leaders to routinely engage directors, managers, and other staff to create a sense of community.

“This feeling of being disconnected is not ideal for the workforce. In addition to daily huddles, I have a weekly, all-staff call to remedy this. There are almost 1,000 people that report to me across the enterprise and they are all invited to join the call. We discuss department updates, organizational updates, successes, questions, and just chat. We need to connect with our employees on what is important to them,” says Sevenikar.

UnityPoint Health has done everything from sending out monthly newsletters for trainings, updates, and culture, to setting up coffee and lunch chats to manufacture that sense of community.

“Putting the focus on quality and productivity tracking, as well as manufacturing this culture, has been instrumental to our staff being remote,” Shirley said. “Supervisors that monitor quality allow for the carving out of educational and personable leaders.”

When revenue cycle teams are working remotely, it’s more important than ever to recognize an employee’s success and achievements, Sevenikar notes.

“We meet in a huddle and share an employee story. This helps to let them know I see them and so do their coworkers. This creates a sense of appreciation that dominos into feelings of trust and achievement,” says Sevenikar. “Getting personal with your employees creates a culture of love and appreciation that will help to retain your staff.”

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