“The key to understanding the financial health of a medical organisation is uncovering the true cost of the care provided. This includes access to the financial, statistical, clinical, and regulatory data. Sage Intacct’s modern platform enables the flow of that data, and its purpose-built healthcare dashboards help providers make more informed decisions on the direction of their organisation.”
Brian Bogie, Senior Director of Healthcare, Sage Intacct
To attract and sustain new funding sources, financial leaders must be prepared to address greater complexities and advanced reporting requirements. Greater visibility into real-time financial, operational, and clinical data from across the organisation can be time-consuming and even impossible for behavioural health practices that are on outdated, legacy financial systems. Modern systems give leaders the ability to quickly adapt, monitor the business in real-time, and easily report financial information to remain compliant and transparent with new owners and funding sources.
As mergers and acquisitions reach an all-time high and new funding sources take hold, financial leaders must look for easier ways to present consolidated financials and identify new economies of scale. Those providers with outdated, single-entity systems will struggle to keep pace with organization expansion. Using a financial management system that accommodates multi-entity organisations is a good first step.
As more physician practices, hospitals, and payers adopt new value based care payment models, financial leaders are required to have greater insight into clinical data helping them to secure reimbursement rates and negotiate contracts. Accessing and reporting on that data falls on the shoulders of financial leaders and the financial management systems they use. Those behavioral health practices that are not able to report on their quality measures risk missing out on the opportunity to treat the wave of patients who need assistance.
According to an HFMA report, “Behavioral comorbidities can lead to medical costs for physical conditions that are two to three times higher than those without behavioral health conditions, supporting the need for integrated care.” When it comes to consolidating data from multiple systems and creating reports that demonstrate the triple aim of value-based care—positive clinical outcomes, cost effective delivery of services, and a positive patient experience—modern financial systems can give financial leaders confidence to participate in new risk-sharing arrangements with providers and payers.
The unpredictability that has crept into today’s healthcare workforce is causing many providers to rethink their IT strategies and compensation models. Being able to provide employees access to critical systems from anywhere at any time is one of the many advantages IT leaders identify by moving their systems, including their financial management systems, to the cloud. This gives providers the ability to maintain business as usual during lockdown periods and affords greater flexibility to those team members who need it. In addition, new compensation models for staff are being considered, which requires financial leaders to be more creative to attract and retain quality staff.
When working remotely through the early phases of the pandemic, Craig Homecare, a provider of pediatric home-care services, and its finance team were grateful to be able to access their Sage Intacct financial management system from anywhere.
“We were lucky that we replaced QuickBooks before the pandemic began, as our AP process was paper-based, manual, and required extensive in-person employee interaction that took days of hand-offs, approvals, and paperwork filings. Since switching to Sage Intacct’s cloud-based accounting software, the AP process is now completed quickly and electronically. Not only are we handling invoices much faster, but we’re able to do it seamlessly with our team working remotely.”
Angie Bacon, Director of Finance and Accounting at Craig HomeCare
Rising healthcare costs and staff shortages require behavioral health providers to find extreme efficiencies across their operations. By automating repetitive, manual processes, financial leaders can quickly identify opportunities to save time and money, such as a reduction in FTE needed to manage the same or growing volume of patients. In addition, by automating tasks with a modern financial management system, leaders have greater access to real-time insights that can help them better understand the potential impact of staff changes, such as the loss of a therapist or claims administrator.
“With Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning, we can look at different scenarios and make adjustments far, far more easily than we could have with Excel. We were able to reforecast for COVID in a few days rather than a week or more, and that efficiency was key.”
Anthony Scaltreto, Manager, Financial Analysis, Walden Behavioral Care
In the past few years, the growing number of cybersecurity and ransomware attacks in healthcare has skyrocketed. According to a US Department of Health and Human Services report, 34% of US healthcare providers experienced a ransomware attack in the first half of 2021, and $1.27M was paid to retrieve their data. Healthcare data is worth 10x more than financial data on the black market. HIPAA violations also present a significant financial threat to healthcare providers. According to the Compliancy Group tracking HIPAA violations and fines, healthcare providers paid out $13M in fees in 2020, and nearly $6M in 2021.
A 2020 Porter Research study of 100 financial leaders of nonacute care providers revealed a gap in their understanding of how their financial management systems expose patient data. In fact, 71% of leaders claimed that their financial management systems did not use personal health information (PHI) when, in fact, many of their daily functions, such as patient refunds, billing, and reporting of value-based care initiatives required the use of PHI. The same study also revealed that 82% of respondents depend on written policies (versus automated workflows found in modern financial management systems) to prevent data breaches. Rather than face significant financial risks, behavioral health providers must ensure the data in their financial systems is secure and their patients’ PHI is protected.
The pressures discussed in this report necessitate the need for modern, open, and flexible financial management systems. Cloud-based systems afford the security and accessibility that behavioral health practices need to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions. In addition, cloud systems reduce a practice’s dependencies on IT resources—all of the upgrades and system uptimes are handled by the vendor. Moving to the cloud also enables paperless document storage and easy access to historical records, such as invoices and journal entries, for faster audit response times. And finally, modern financial systems make it easy to integrate with other systems and data sources, such as a referral partner’s clinical EHR system, banking systems, check fraud, or any data warehouse.
Whether it’s the shift in reimbursement models, changing regulatory requirements, or the sharp increase in demand for care services, financial leaders must prepare their organisations for the seismic changes the healthcare industry is experiencing. For those forward-leaning organisations operating on modern, flexible financial management systems, like those of Sage Intacct, these changes are viewed more as opportunities for growth than challenges.
Contact us at Akuna Solutions and explore with a Sage Intacct implementation specialist how to leverage the most modern technology available today to support your organisation’s mission.
Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash